Best Colleges in Oklahoma

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Finding the right school can be a formidable task for any college-bound student looking to find the right balance of academics, location and cost. Oklahoma is home to 54 public and private colleges and universities, offering a diverse range of academic opportunities and professional studies, with over 740,000 students enrolled. To help you gain perspective and sort through an ever-expanding wealth of education and government data, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Oklahoma, including the top four-year and two-year schools.

Recently, the State Regents adopted a new approach to higher education funding in Oklahoma focusing on new performance achievement criteria. This model seems to be having an impact on the quality of education in-state; Oklahoma is well on its way to meeting the goals of Gov. Mary Fallin’s 2011 Complete College America initiative, surpassing yearly goals for increasing the number of earned degrees and certificates. The projections look good for continued college attendance, retention and awarded degrees and are bolstered by the Oklahoma’s Promise program that provides scholarship funding to 18,000 high school students yearly.

Oklahoma is ranked 17th in the country for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, fields considered crucial to the success of Oklahoma’s economy in coming years as energy sector jobs continue to decline. Oklahoma is also ranked 5th in the nation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for affordability of higher education. To meet coming challenges Oklahoma is also implementing numerous technology initiatives designed to ensure the improvement of state communications infrastructure and greater correspondence between higher education institutions and local industry.

Income gains are significant for bachelor’s degree holders in Oklahoma, averaging +32.5% annual income over workers only holding a high school degree. Students holding a bachelor’s degree also earn, on average, 1.66 times (a lifetime average of $2,567,174) the income earned by those who only hold a high school degree. Significantly, 85% of graduates remain in-state and hold jobs one year after graduation, a sure sign of the opportunities available for students post-graduation.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1University of Tulsa 5/570.14%Tulsa, OK

Founded in 1894, the University of Tulsa is a mid-sized university situated on 209 acres near downtown Tulsa. It boasts more national scholarship winners than all Oklahoma colleges combined. The university has an enrollment of 3478 and offers more than 60 undergraduate majors.

TU is notable for its petroleum engineering major, where students receive instruction in a $16-million facility with a drilling simulator. The university was also one of the first in the nation to build a campus mosque. Alumni include Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, and Dr. Phil McGraw, TV host.

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2Oral Roberts University 4/553.44%Tulsa, OK

Established in 1963 by evangelist Oral Roberts, ORU is an interdenominational Christian University with an undergraduate enrollment of 3078. Situated in Tulsa on 323 acres, the university consistently rates as one of the best colleges in Oklahoma. ORU offers more than 60 undergraduate majors, 14 master's programs and two doctoral degrees. Popular majors include business, theology and health-related professions.

The university operates a Hispanic Center to help Hispanic students improve their language skills and adjust to life on campus. Notable alumni include Today Show cohost Kathie Lee Gifford and Ryan Tedder, lead singer of OneRepublic.

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3Northwestern Oklahoma State University 2/534.38%Alva, OK

Northwestern Oklahoma State University's 70-acre main campus is in Alva, with branch campuses in Enid and Woodward. Founded in 1897 with a current enrollment of 2013, the university has one of the more rural settings of Oklahoma colleges. Students may select from 40 majors leading to B.A. and B.S. degrees. Master's programs are offered in education, counseling psychology and American Studies. Popular majors include education, business, accounting, criminal justice and nursing.

The university's fees for room and board are among the nation's most affordable. Notable alumni include former NFL player Lynn Scott (Dallas Cowboys) and Newbery award-winning author Harold Keith (Rifles for Watie).

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4University of Oklahoma 2/567.44%Norman, OK

With an enrollment of 21,844, the University of Oklahoma is one of the largest colleges in Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, OU offers more than 150 majors on three campuses. The School of Meteorology is #1 in the nation for severe storm research.

In 2016 OU enrolled 313 National Merit Scholars, more than any other public or private university in the U.S. In 2014 OU was the only university in the nation to have Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Truman, Goldwater and Fulbright Scholars all in the same year. Notable alumni include Darrell Royal, football coach, Greg Dobbs, baseball player, and Olivia Munn, actress.

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5Oklahoma State University 2/561.03%Stillwater, OK

Founded in 1890, Oklahoma State has a main campus spanning 1489 acres in Stillwater. Boasting an enrollment of 20,821, it is one of the largest colleges in Oklahoma and ranked #149 among National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. The veterinary program was named one of the best in the U.S. by Princeton Review. Popular majors include engineering, business, family and consumer sciences, and biomedical sciences.

In addition to its broad-based undergraduate academic majors, OSU is well respected for its graduate schools including Spears School of Business, Center for Health Sciences, and a wide array of technical and vocational training courses. Notable alumni include country singer Garth Brooks and pro golfer Rickie Fowler.

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6Oklahoma Christian University 3/547.44%Edmond, OK

Situated on a 200-acre campus in Oklahoma City and founded in 1950, Oklahoma Christian University has grown to an enrollment of 2600. Students may select from more than 60 majors in 14 academic departments. Twenty study abroad options are also offered. The gaming and animation program ranked as one of the top 30 undergraduate programs by PC Gamer.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognized OC for community outreach efforts including a mentoring program with inner-city schoolchildren and work on campus with physically and mentally challenged children.

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7Oklahoma Baptist University 4/550.65%Shawnee, OK

Founded in 1910 and affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Oklahoma Baptist University is located on a 200-acre campus in Shawnee. It is one of the smaller colleges in Oklahoma with an enrollment of 1986. Students may pursue more than 86 undergraduate courses leading to bachelor's and master's degrees from seven colleges.

In addition to academics, students participate in intramural sports, more than 110 student organizations, Bible study groups and community outreach activities. Study abroad programs include cities in Europe, China, Brazil, Japan and Mexico.

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8University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma 1/546.31%Chickasha, OK

Originating as a women's college in 1908 and coed since 1965, USAO is known as the only public liberal arts institution among Oklahoma colleges. Located in Chickasha with an enrollment of 904, it has a student/faculty ratio of 12:1. Undergraduate majors include interdisciplinary studies, arts and humanities, social sciences and business, science and physical education, education, and speech-language pathology.

Boasting the highest admission standards in Oklahoma, USAO was one of 19 American universities awarded an "A" for its superior curriculum from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. It is the only Oklahoma college named a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

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9Oklahoma City University 4/558.65%Oklahoma City, OK

Located in the heart of Oklahoma City on a scenic campus of 104 acres, the university has an enrollment of 2300 including students from 46 states and 49 countries. OCU is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Notable for its Kramer School of Nursing and College of Performing Arts, the university also offers majors in business, arts & sciences, law and theology. Famous alumni include Broadway actress Kristin Chenoweth and TV host Chris Harrison.

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10Oklahoma Panhandle State University 2/517.01%Goodwell, OK

Unique among colleges in Oklahoma for its prairie setting in the state's panhandle, OPSU is located in Goodwell between Guymon and Texhoma. Founded in 1909 as an agricultural institute and accredited for four-year degrees in 1925, the university now offers nearly 100 undergraduate degrees and over 340 online courses. Six academic schools include University College, Agriculture, Business and Technology, Education, Liberal Arts, and Math/Science/Nursing.

With an enrollment of 1298, the college offers a number of programs designed to promote community enrichment and lifelong learning. OPSU is a member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and has won several regional and national championships.

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11Oklahoma Wesleyan University 4/537.08%Bartlesville, OK

Founded in 1972 by the Wesleyan Church, this evangelical university is one of the smaller colleges in Oklahoma. The 35-acre campus in Bartlesville is 45 minutes from Tulsa. OKWU has an enrollment of 1205 and approximately 75% of students receive financial aid. The university has a student/faculty ratio of 12:1. Popular majors include nursing science, business, and theological and ministerial studies.

The scenic campus features Spanish architecture and the historic La Quinta Mansion. In addition to pursuing academic courses, students participate in chapel services, Bible studies, and summer ministry camps in different areas of the country.

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12Northeastern State University 1/530.74%Tahlequah, OK

Situated in Tahlequah, an hour southeast of Tulsa, NSU has a history very different from other Oklahoma colleges. It was founded in 1846 as a national seminary for the public education of Cherokees. Today with an enrollment of 7,045, the university offers 54 undergraduate and 24 graduate programs. Additional campuses are in Broken Arrow and Muskogee.

Popular majors include criminal justice, psychology, elementary education, and biological sciences. The student/faculty ratio is 18:1. On-campus activities include more than 80 student organizations and 10 NCAA athletic teams. A Learning Abroad program offers students an opportunity to study in one of 55 countries.

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13Southeastern Oklahoma State University 2/528.82%Durant, OK

Founded in 1909 and located in Durant near the Texas/Oklahoma border, Southeastern Oklahoma State University has an enrollment of 4,000. Like many Oklahoma colleges, it began as a teacher's college. Today the university offers 38 bachelor's and 13 master's degree programs. Popular majors include education, engineering technology, business, liberal arts, general studies and psychology. Other growing fields include aviation and occupational safety.

With Native American students comprising 30% of enrollment, the college ranks in the top 10 nationally for Native American graduates. Famous alumni include country singer/actress Reba McEntire, Major League baseball player Brett Butler, and NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman.

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14Southwestern Oklahoma State University 2/533.59%Weatherford, OK

Located in Weatherford, near Oklahoma City, Southwestern Oklahoma State University is medium in size compared to other colleges in Oklahoma. Founded in 1901, it operated as a teacher's college and evolved into a four-year university. With an enrollment of 4240, it offers more than 1000 courses and six academic colleges including a college of pharmacy and school of nursing.

Popular majors include health-related professions, education, business, engineering, and parks and recreation management. Associate programs are offered in topics ranging from wildland firefighting to Cheyenne Arapaho tribal management. Notable alumni include Rex Ryan, NFL coach for the Buffalo Bills, and Ray Burris, Major League baseball player.

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15East Central University 2/533.65%Ada, OK

Situated in Ada, 90 miles from Oklahoma City, East Central University features a small town environment and boasts an enrollment of 4000. The regional university offers Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts and Master's degrees. It is unique among colleges in Oklahoma for its B.S. degrees in Environmental Health Science and Cartography.

ECU is the only public college in Oklahoma to offer a B.S. in Legal Studies and it was the first in the state to implement a collegiate officer program allowing students to complete police officer certification while pursuing their bachelor's degree. Notable alumni include PGA golfer Gil Morgan, and Chicago Bears linebacker Clifford Thrift.

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16University of Central Oklahoma 2/537.3%Edmond, OK

Central features a 210-acre campus in the bustling Oklahoma City metropolitan area. With an enrollment of 17,000, it is one of the state's largest universities compared to other Oklahoma colleges. Offering 116 undergraduate majors and 70 graduate majors, the public university is known for its programs in forensic science, graphic design, music theatre, and teacher education.

The university is one of two institutions in the United States to be designated an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site. Central is also home to the Urban Teacher Preparation Academy, a training initiative that prepares students to teach in urban high-need schools.

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17Rogers State University 2/518.77%Claremore, OK

Located in Claremore, 30 minutes from Tulsa, RSU has an enrollment of 4000. Considered one of the most innovative colleges in Oklahoma, RSU was the first public university in the state to offer bachelor's degrees online. Popular degrees include business, biology, and social sciences, but the university also offers programs in emergency medical services, game development, sports management and environmental conservation.

The university operates a full-power public television station and a 120-acre nature conservatory located on the campus. RSU also features study abroad opportunities and participates in the Washington Center Internship Program, placing students in internships at the nation's Capitol.

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18Southern Nazarene University 4/545.96%Bethany, OK

Situated on a 40-acre campus in Bethany, west of Oklahoma City, Southern Nazarene University was founded in 1899. With an enrollment of 1600, the Christian liberal arts university is small compared to other Oklahoma colleges, but it offers an impressive number of degree programs. Popular courses of study include business administration, education, social science and theology/ministry.

Bachelor's programs are also available in growing fields like environmental studies, international business, pre-pharmacy, network engineering, and exercise science. Many courses may also be accessed online. Notable alumni include Boyd Matson, TV host and journalist, and Gary Hart, former Colorado Senator and presidential candidate.

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19Saint Gregory’s University 4/523.46%Shawnee, OK

Founded in 1875 by Benedictine monks who traveled to what was then Indian Territory, St. Gregory's is unique as the only Catholic university among Oklahoma colleges. Featuring a liberal arts curriculum, the university focuses on excellence in academics combined with spiritual enrichment. Located in Shawnee, with an enrollment of 620, the university offers small class sizes with a student/faculty ratio of 12:1.

St. Gregory's offers eight academic areas with more than 40 associate, bachelor's, and master's degree programs. Popular majors include nursing, business, theology, and education, but students may also choose to study visual arts, biomedical science, exercise science, and criminal justice, among other fields.

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20Southwestern Christian University 3/535.9%Bethany, OK

SWCU began as Southwestern Bible College in 1946 and later became a junior college before transitioning to a four-year university. The private university is situated on a wooded 10-acre campus in suburban Bethany, west of Oklahoma City. Featuring a Christ-centered liberal arts curriculum, it offers more than 30 undergraduate degrees. One of the smaller Oklahoma colleges, it has an enrollment of 778.

Popular majors include business, management and marketing, liberal arts, behavioral sciences, theology, and social services. Students may also study sports and fitness management, visual and performing arts, and psychology.

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21Langston University 1/5N/AOK

Founded in 1897 and named for John Mercer Langston, a civil rights pioneer, Langston University is the only historically black university among Oklahoma colleges. Located in Langston, near Guthrie, the rural campus spans 40 acres. Over the years enrollment has grown to 2059 with a student/faculty ratio of 18:1. The university offers associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees and is well known for its agricultural research.

Popular majors include health professions, business, homeland security, firefighting, and psychology. Poet Melvin B. Tolson, portrayed in the movie The Great Debaters, taught at Langston from 1947-1964. Notable alumni include actress Jennifer Hudson and Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson (Dallas Cowboys).

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22Cameron University 2/523.5%Lawton, OK

Originally an agricultural high school founded in 1908, Cameron University now boasts a 160-acre main campus in Lawton, near the Wichita Mountains, parks and lakes. It is the largest four-year institution in the southwest area of Oklahoma. With an enrollment of 5100, the university has a student/faculty ratio of 19:1.

Students may choose from more than 50 degree programs including associate, bachelor's and master's degrees. Popular majors include information technology, environmental science, criminal justice, and education. Among Oklahoma colleges and national universities, Cameron is frequently cited for its affordability.

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23Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City 1/54.14%Oklahoma City, OK

Previously known as Oklahoma State University Technical Institute and founded in 1961, OSU-OKC has an urban campus spanning 110 acres in Oklahoma City. With an enrollment of 6700, the university offers nine academic divisions. Students may pursue a wide choice of associate degrees and certificate programs, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Administration and a Bachelor of Technology in Emergency Responder Administration.

Programs not available at other Oklahoma colleges include alcohol and substance abuse counseling, cardiovascular ultrasound technology, wind turbine technology, and crime victim/survivor services, among others. The university offers nine degrees that may be completed entirely online.

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Associate degrees are considered to be essential for providing specialized courses and unique education opportunities relevant to the local economy. These programs often focus on continuing professional education and provide working students with an opportunity to advance their careers and accrue credits that can later be applied towards a four-year degree. Students can check the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education site to see if their credits are eligible for transfer. Two-year certificate and associate programs awarded in Oklahoma increased 3.2% (10,864 to 11,212) from 2012-13 to 2013-14, reflecting an upward trend in research funding and expanding research volume.

Data gathered in a comprehensive 2013 report on the Oklahoma education system by Battelle shows a significant income increase of +17.4% for associate degree holders, compared to those with only a high school diploma. Over the course of a full working life, associate degree holders earn 1.24 times (a lifetime average of $1,801,373) more than workers who hold only a high school diploma. Associate degree holders also enjoy greater financial security, with 65% of employees holding an associate degree having employer-provided pension plans.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Northern Oklahoma College 1/520.4%Tonkawa, OK

NOC was founded in 1901 and is Oklahoma’s oldest community college. It is located in Tonkawa, Oklahoma with additional locations in Enid and Stillwater. The Aspen Institute recognizes NOC among the top 10% of community colleges in the nation because of its innovative online course options.

One of the best colleges in the state in terms of affordability and rigor of curriculum, NOC offers associate degree options in the arts, sciences, and applied sciences. Qualifying students also have access to dual enrollment at NOC and Northwestern Oklahoma State University as a part of the NOC/NWOSU bridge program.

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2Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology 1/531.28%Okmulgee, OK

OSUIT is the only university in the state that specializes in applied technology. OSUIT partners with corporations around the world to develop curriculum that is current and relevant to workforce needs.

The institute boasts a 100% career placement rate for graduating students. With 31 associate degree programs in applied science, four associate degree programs in science, and three bachelor degree programs in technology, students have the opportunity to find their niches in the realms of science and technology.

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3Western Oklahoma State College 1/517.88%Altus, OK

WOSC has served students in Jackson, Tillman, Kiowa, Greer, and Harmon counties since it was originally established as Altus Junior College in 1926. In 1974, state legislators changed its name, but WOSC didn’t change its commitment to providing affordable and challenging higher education options to the community.

WOSC prepares students to transfer to four-year Oklahoma colleges or to enter the working world with their associate degrees in arts, science, or applied science in hand. Popular majors include physical and engineering sciences, behavioral science, and radiologic technology. Students also have the opportunity to join WOSC’s baseball, basketball, softball, cheerleading, and rodeo teams.

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4Carl Albert State College 1/523.65%Poteau, OK

CASC is named after former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Carl Albert, who was from the same southeastern region of Oklahoma that the college serves. In addition to its main campus, CASC has a smaller, satellite campus in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. The school also provides online course offerings to increase accessibility in the community.

CASC is one of the premier two-year Oklahoma colleges for nursing students, qualifying them to become registered nurses upon completion of their degrees. The 27 other academic programs at CASC prepare students for success in the arts, business, engineering, and other sectors.

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5Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City 1/54.14%Oklahoma City, OK

OSU-OKC belongs to the prestigious Oklahoma State University System, and several of its programs are designed so students can seamlessly transfer to four-year colleges after two years. OSU-OKC also provides 40 different associate degree and certificate programs in the humanities, arts, and sciences.

The Office of Student Development is very active at OSU-OKC, and there are over 25 student life organizations on campus, including the Native American Student Association, Computer Technology Club, Student Government Association, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. There are also ample service learning opportunities provided to students, allowing them to gain valuable experience in their fields.

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6Redlands Community College 1/522.62%El Reno, OK

In 1940, the first graduating class of Redlands Community College included eight proud students who had completed their coursework in the basement of El Reno High School. Today, Redlands serves approximately 2,200 associate degree-seeking students in the El Reno area and beyond. Needless to say, the school has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

Redlands is considered one of the best colleges in the state for veterans and an excellent option for all local residents who are looking to further themselves with an associate degree in applied science or art. To give students valuable work and life experiences, Redlands offers an on-campus internship program and study abroad options.

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7Seminole State College 1/527.83%Seminole, OK

SSC is known for producing world-class athletes, such as MLB players Nick Blackburn and Eric Gagne, as well as world-class graduates who find success in a variety of careers. The school offers students a mix of liberal arts associate degree programs as well as two-year science and technology programs.

Distance learning course options make it easy for students who work part-time or full-time to complete their course work. Students can also join baseball, softball, volleyball, golf, dance, and basketball teams.

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8Murray State College 1/520.65%Tishomingo, OK

MSC serves 10 counties: Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Love, Johnson, Marshall, Murray, Carter, Garvin, and Pontotoc. Its main campus in Tishomingo is right next to Lake Texoma, one of the largest and most stunning manmade lakes in the world. Its smaller campus is located in nearby Ardmore, allowing the school to serve over 3,000 students.

Like many two-year colleges in the state, MSC offers associate degrees in applied science, arts, and science. A distinguishing feature of the school is its membership in the University Center of Southern Oklahoma, which lets students take classes at other participating Oklahoma universities.

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9Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College 1/522.93%Miami, OK

NEO emphasizes leadership, courage, and innovation. Its agriculture associate degree programs are well-respected for the in-class and real world agricultural experience they offer students. Two-year degree programs in business and technology, communication and fine arts, math and science, the health professions, and the social sciences also give NEO graduates an edge.

The school has nine intercollegiate athletic teams, over 40 clubs and organizations, and hosts co-curricular activities such as band, vocal music, and musical theater.

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10Tulsa Community College 1/513.32%Tulsa, OK

TCC is the largest community college in the state, serving around 30,000 students per semester from Tulsa and surrounding areas. With 220 associate degree and certificate programs, TCC also offers more courses and options than most other two-year colleges in the state.

Over 36% of students enrolled in courses at TCC come from underrepresented and underserved communities. Additionally, the school is ranked first nationwide for the number of Native American students it serves. These figures illustrate the school’s dedication to providing access to affordable and flexible education for a diverse range of talented students.

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11Eastern Oklahoma State College 1/520.42%Wilburton, OK

Originally established as a mining college in 1908, Eastern Oklahoma State College now grants associate of arts (AA), associate of science (AS), and associate of applied science (AAS) degrees in specific areas of agriculture, social science, business, education, humanities, science, and math.

Resources like online tutoring and online advising distinguish this institution as a leader in terms of its use of technology. A robust selection of continuing education classes as well as a number of intramural sports teams also set Eastern Oklahoma State College apart.

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12Rose State College 1/511.68%Midwest City, OK

Rose State College is just a short drive away from downtown Oklahoma City, and it serves over 8,000 students in the area. Rose State is one of the best colleges in the state for scholarship opportunities. Its unique “Ticket to Rose Program” ensures free tuition to graduates of Choctaw High School, Del City High School, Midwest City High School, Carl Albert High School, and Star Spencer High School.

Rose State College also has an open-door admissions policy, admitting all local students who are interested in higher education opportunities. The college does a great service to its community by increasing access to its 60, high-quality associate degree programs.

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13Oklahoma City Community College 1/511.53%Oklahoma City, OK

OCCC is the fourth largest college in the state, and per semester, enrolls approximately 28,000 students who can choose from 60 different associate degree options. OCCC has an impressive state board pass rate in Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapy Assistant, and Registered Nurse programs.

With over 3,000 classes to choose from, including weekend, evening, and online classes, OCCC students have plenty of flexible options to fulfill the course requirements of their degree plans. OCCC enrollment also comes with several other perks, including campus clubs, intramural sports teams, and free access to Rosetta Stone.

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14Connors State College 1/512.78%Warner, OK

With two conveniently-located campuses in Warner and Muskogee, Connors State College is one of the most affordable schools for students in the Muskogee area southeast of Tulsa. CSS started out as an agricultural school in the early 1900s but has since expanded drastically, now offering two-year degrees in business, communication and fine arts, math and science, nursing, and the social sciences in addition to its distinguished agricultural programs.

Student organizations such as the Aggie Club, Math and Science Club, Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa, and Behavioral Science Club give students the chance to get involved in what they love and meet like-minded peers.

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15College of the Muscogee Nation 2/512.12%Okmulgee, OK

CMN is a two-year, private Native American tribal college located in Okmulgee, the capital of the Muscogee Nation. The school prepares students for high-level careers in tribal fields. CMN offers an AA in Native American studies, an AS in tribal services, an AAS in gaming, and an AAS in police science in addition to certificate programs. CMN students may also use the credits they earn to transfer to other universities in pursuit of four-year degrees after they complete two years of study.

CMN is the only tribal college in the state. The Comanche Nation and Pawnee Nation are currently developing similar colleges in Oklahoma.

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16Bacone College 3/513.28%Muskogee, OK

Bacone College is a private, Baptist-affiliated, liberal arts college that offers offers both bachelor’s degree programs and associate degree programs. It was founded in 1880 to serve the Native American population in the area, and it is currently the oldest higher education institution in Oklahoma and popular among liberal arts majors seeking associate degrees.

A total of 51% of Bacone students graduate with associate degrees. Over 40% of Bacone students claim Native American heritage, and the school has strong ties with both the Muscogee Nation and the Cherokee Nation.

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If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Oklahoma, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Sooner State.

Oklahoma is located just above Texas, between the Ozark Plateau and the Great Plains. It became a state in 1907 and encompasses extraordinarily diverse ecological regions and terrain spread over 69,898 square miles. Oklahoma offers a wealth of historical attractions, including a wide stretch of Route 66 and particularly strong Native American Indian heritage. Cultural attractions also include 300 museums and world-class sports facilities. Outdoor adventurers will find a wealth of activities and scenic locations in the 34 state parks and 78,500 miles of rivers and streams. Its largest urban center is Oklahoma City, located at its geographical center, closely followed by Tulsa (“Oil Capital of the World) in the northeast of the state.

Recent decreases in oil prices have led to drops in employment in the energy industry, especially oil and mining. This trend has put stress on the local economy, with nonfarm employment expected to grow more slowly than the national average. However, Oklahoma’s economy is transforming via rapid progress in technological infrastructure and educational initiatives such as the Training for Industry program.

With an eye to tapping into global commerce in technology, aerospace and defense industries, Oklahoma is transforming itself into a hub of innovation. Agricultural science and biosciences are flourishing, and new technologies are being developed and applied to the oil and gas industries, with an eye to decreasing dependence on foreign energy. Oklahoma is a top-ten energy producing state in the U.S. and gas costs 7% less than the national average.

Lower taxes than the national average and higher employment rates contribute to a higher quality of life as broadly reported by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. The median price of a home is $137,000 and rent is approximately 25% cheaper than the national average.

Regional Spotlight: Northwest Oklahoma

  • Major Cities: Blackwell, Enid, Guymon, Kenton, Perry, Ponca City, Woodward
  • Attractions: Little Sahara State Park, Great Salt Plains State Park, Roman Nose Resort Park, Cimarron River Valley, Ponca City Marland Mansion
  • Cost of Living: Enid’s Areavibes Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: Northwestern Oklahoma State University – Alva, Northwestern Oklahoma State University – Enid, Northwestern Oklahoma State University – Woodward, Oklahoma Panhandle State University – Goodwell
  • Population: 3,749,005 statewide
  • Unemployment: 4% statewide

Regional Spotlight: Northeast Oklahoma

  • Major Cities: Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Muskogee, Bartlesville
  • Attractions: Natural Falls State park, Tulsa City Fireworks, Greenleaf State Park, Illinois River
  • Cost of Living: Tulsa’s Numbeo Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: Bacone College, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oklahoma State University, Langston University, Northeastern State University, Rogers State University, University of Tulsa
  • Population: 3,749,005 statewide
  • Unemployment: 4% statewide

Regional Spotlight: Central Oklahoma

  • Major Cities: Oklahoma City, Norman, Edmond, Moore, Stillwater
  • Attractions: Guthrie’s Historic District, Bricktown, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Oklahoma City National Memorial
  • Cost of Living: Oklahoma City’s Numbeo Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City University, Redlands Community College, Brown Mackie College, DeVry University, Mid-America Christian University
  • Population: 3,749,005 statewide
  • Unemployment: 4% statewide

Regional Spotlight: Southwest Oklahoma

  • Major Cities: Lawton, Medicine Park, Duncan, Altus
  • Attractions: Quartz Mountain Resort, Michita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Lake Altus-Lugert
  • Cost of Living: Lawton’s Areavibes Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: Cameron University, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Wayland Baptist University, Western Oklahoma State College
  • Population: 3,749,005 statewide
  • Unemployment: 4% statewide

Regional Spotlight: Southeast Oklahoma

  • Major Cities: Broken Bow, Durant, Hugo, Idabel, McAlester, Poteau
  • Attractions: Choctaw Country, Museum of the Red River, Lake Carlton, Broken Bow Lake, Robbers Cave Trail System
  • Cost of Living: Durant’s Areavibes Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: Eastern Oklahoma State College, Murray State College, Seminole State College, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, St. Gregory’s University
  • Population: 3,749,005 statewide
  • Unemployment: 4% statewide


Oklahoma is undergoing diverse and exciting changes; a large portion of the state’s students who attend college in Oklahoma live and work in state after graduation. For tuition purposes, and if the student intends to live in Oklahoma post-graduation for work, it is a good idea to establish residency. Residency is generally established by living in state for 12 months or longer, but students should be aware that Oklahoma has potentially strict domicile requirements.

Domicile shows not only residency, but also the intention to remain. Attending college is considered to be temporary residency, and students seeking domicile must meet other criteria, often to be judged on a case-by-case basis.

For Minors

If the student is under the care or financial support of a parent or legal guardian then residency is dependent upon the status of the parent or legal guardian. Students who have graduated high school and have resided with a parent or legal guardian for two years prior to graduation are eligible for residency status. If parents are separated and either domiciled outside of Oklahoma, residency status will be subject for individual review.

For Adults

Financially independent adults can establish residency only by demonstrating intent to stay in state, that is, domicile. Criteria include the following:

  • Must reside in Oklahoma for 1 year prior to the first day of class
  • Establish that they are living in state for purposes beyond those of school alone
  • Demonstrate intent to continue living in-state post-graduation
  • Proof of financial independence
  • Judged on a case-by-case basis

Additional Resources for Oklahoma College Students

College Savings

Education Nonprofits

Higher Education News

Official State Links