Best Online Colleges in Oklahoma

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In a recent report, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education identified a need to increase the number of postsecondary degrees awarded annually, and one of the major proposed solutions was the strengthening of pathways to certificates and degrees. The state has followed through with this commitment by offering benefits specifically for online learners.

Because Oklahoma is one of 16 member states on the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), resident students have access to the Academic Common Market (ACM). This arrangement among fellow members allows online learners to pay in-state tuition rates for select programs at colleges and universities located outside of their home state. Additionally, students in Oklahoma can access the Online College of Oklahoma (OCO), a useful resource offering more than 3,400 online courses,18 online degrees, and links to colleges and universities for enrollment services.

Distance learning provides several benefits. Asynchronous course schedules allow online learners to complete classwork at the time and pace of their choosing, and online colleges typically offer dramatically lower tuition fees to students studying in their home state. Students wishing to supplement their online instruction with hands-on learning may also choose to enroll in hybrid courses, which integrate on-campus requirements, such as labs or lectures, into the curriculum. Other in-person requirements in these programs can include internships, study abroad opportunities, and work-study programs.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Northwestern Oklahoma State University 79.32 2/5 31% Alva, OK

Northwestern offers several online bachelor degree options, including a BS in accounting or business administration and an RN to BSN nursing program. Of the many Oklahoma online colleges offering bachelor degrees, Northwestern is best suited for students already at the junior or senior levels of their education, since general education classes are not currently offered online. Freshman students would need to take a combination of online and on-campus courses. There is no limit on the number of credits that can be transferred to Northwestern from other institutions. Student with an associate degree can complete the program 100% online.

With three campuses serving Northwestern Oklahoma, NOSU is known as an affordable university with lower than average student debt and affordable housing for its in-state students. Its online programs extend the school's academic reach beyond the Oklahoma border, but in-state online students still benefit with an average in-state tuition rate of less than $300 per unit compared to $509 for students outside the state.

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2 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus 78.86 3/5 62% Stillwater, OK

Oklahoma State’s OCampus offers online degrees, certificates, and open courses to its 35,000+ students. Distance students can choose from 18 undergraduate and graduate degrees through the College of Sciences and Natural Resources, the College of Human Sciences, the Spears School of Business, and the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology. Programs include the bachelor of science (BS) in electrical engineering technology, the master of science (MS) in entrepreneurship, a bachelor’s marketing degree completion program, and an MS in design, housing, & merchandising, among others.

Nine online certificates are on offer, covering areas of study from business data mining to non-profit management. Students also have the option to pursue individual credit and noncredit courses. Classes are facilitated through the D2L learning platform. Academic support is provided by the same advisors as those on campus, and distance students can access resources including an online writing center. Online students must first apply and be admitted to OSU as a regular student.

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3 Northeastern State University 60.91 2/5 30% Tahlequah, OK

With seven undergraduate degree programs to choose from in the areas of business, health, and legal studies, Northeastern State University is one of the best online colleges in Oklahoma in terms of bachelor degree options. Classes can be taken 100% online or combined with on-campus learning. Students looking for a purely online experience have access to technical support, tutoring, disability services, and the school's unique "Ask a Librarian" live chat service for research papers and other writing assistance.

Originally founded in 1851 as the Cherokee National Female Seminary, the school remains a popular choice for women, who make up more than 60% of the student population. Online students who live near campus have the option of participating in any of the more than 80 student organizations, including four sororities, seven fraternities, and the "Rowdy Crowd," a group that promotes school spirit at sporting events.

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4 Oklahoma Panhandle State University 60.91 3/5 28% Goodwell, OK

Originally established as an agricultural college in 1909, Panhandle State University now offers courses in five areas of study: business and technology, education, liberal arts, science, math, nursing, and agriculture. In 1996, the school's RN-BSN Nursing program was one of the first programs in the nation to make classes completely available to students online. RN students may receive 30 credit hours of upper-division coursework for the completion of an AS or diploma in nursing. It is one of the best online colleges in Oklahoma. The school offers more than 47 online courses that can be applied towards 60 different undergraduate degrees (earned in a blended online/on-campus format) ranging from Accounting to Sociology. Per credit tuition rates are slightly lower than other Oklahoma schools, and all students applying for admission are automatically considered for available scholarships and grants. Transfer students must have minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. Non-degree seeking students have no prerequisite requirements.

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5 Southwestern Oklahoma State University 60.68 3/5 35% Weatherford, OK

Southwestern Oklahoma State services almost 5,000 undergraduate students in Southwestern Oklahoma. In addition to its two campuses in Weatherford and Sayre, Oklahoma, it has a variety of distance learning options for off-campus and out-of-state students, including interactive T.V. (where participants at designated off-campus locations interact with instructors and fellow students through a two-way television set), Webinars, (live-streaming events that take place at specific times, but at any location through the student's computer), and, online learning. As one of the top online colleges in Oklahoma, Southwestern Oklahoma offers four undergraduate degree programs that utilize this distance learning technology. The RN-BSN and BS in Health Information Management are 100% online programs; the BBA in Management is an interactive T.V. program, and the Organization Research BS program includes a combination of online and traditional classes. The school has an average class size of 23 students, making it feel more personal, even at a distance.

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6 Rogers State University 59.55 3/5 20% Claremore, OK

Rogers State is one of the few Oklahoma online colleges to offer Liberal Arts degrees in subjects such as English and Global Humanities. They have bachelor degree programs in the areas of business and applied technology and were the first university in Oklahoma to offer an undergraduate degree to students through a 100% online program. Rogers State offers associate degrees in applied technology, business administration, liberal arts, and computer science. Currently all programs are only open to residents of Oklahoma. The library can be accessed at anytime and provides access to articles, journals, books and AV material, ebooks, and images. Minors are available on-campus in creative writing, english, humanities, philosophy, Spanish, and technical writing. Students can rent or purchase books through the Roger State Bookstore; it can be accessed online. Rogers prepares its students for life after college by teaching them to be financially literate.

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7 Oral Roberts University 59.09 4/5 51% Tulsa, OK

Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts is a well-known, Christian university whose students come from all over the country (most recent enrollments represent all 50 states and 85 foreign countries). It is one of the best online colleges in Oklahoma for students looking for majors with a Christian focus. Among its online bachelor degree options are a BA in Christian Caregiving and Counseling, a BA in Church Ministries, and a BA in Biblical Literature. More standard majors, such as Business Administration, Psychology, and Communications, are also offered in an online format. Several programs, including psychology, biblical literature, and Christian caregiving require completing an 18-unit minor. The accelerated, 7-week pace of classes means online students can earn their degrees in less than four years. This format has students take two classes simultaneously. Online students are invited to partake in the on-campus commencement ceremonies. The school has year-round admissions.

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8 Oklahoma Wesleyan University 58.18 4/5 45% Bartlesville, OK

Oklahoma Wesleyan is connected to the Wesleyan Church, a protestant religious denomination. Despite identifying itself as an evangelical Christian university, non-denominational students are welcome, and it is one of the best online colleges in Oklahoma for students enlisted in the military and their spouses. The school offers several Bachelor degree programs, both 100% online and in a blended campus/online format, including Organizational Management (online), Criminal Justice (online), and Ministry and Leadership (online and campus). Wesleyan has multiple associate and master's programs. Their STEP program helps adult-learners with no, or little college credit earn an associate degree with an accelerated; the degree can be earned in less than two-years. Reduced tuition rates are offered to active duty enlisted personnel. The school's policy of a one-time enrollment for all classes and terms at the beginning of a student's academic career locks in tuition rates for the duration of every student's education.

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9 Cameron University 49.77 3/5 19% Lawton, OK

Cameron, located in the city of Lawton, is one of the only online colleges in Oklahoma to offer a guarantee. "The Cameron University Guarantee" promises that if any student who graduates from one of their bachelor degree programs is found by a future employer to be unprepared in a core area of their major field of study, additional education will be provided to the student free of charge. This guarantee applies to on-campus students and to students in their two, 100% online BS programs. Online programs include criminal Justice and interdisciplinary studies. The school has 11 bachelor degree programs that are mostly online (with some core classes conducted on campus). All general education classes are available online, and the school offers interactive T.V. and hybrid study options. Free tutoring services are available on campus. Online courses are taught through Blackboard.

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10 Southern Nazarene University 49.09 3/5 40% Bethany, OK

Southern Nazarene is a private, Liberal Arts University that offers a Christian-focused education taught in short five- to six-week courses in smaller-than-average class sizes. With a maximum of 20 students per class, new students in any of Southern Nazarene's three online bachelor degree programs can get personal attention from instructors when needed. Bachelor's programs include organizational leadership, business administration, and network management; online associate and master's programs are offered. (Nazarene does not guarantee online associate students will be able to complete their degree in the time expected; the online format has recently changed.) Distance learners have the reassurance of 24/7 tech support and online tutoring. Hardware/software issues are easier to solve with a new laptop, which is provided by the school as part of the program costs. Financial aid and scholarships are available to all students, including online enrollees, and a majority of students (85%) at the school receive some form of financial help.

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More About Online Colleges in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is rapidly developing its technology and communications infrastructure to meet new challenges, and it is not surprising that online and distance education is becoming more sophisticated and widespread throughout the public and private education sectors. Through new initiatives like OneNet, which seeks to expand broadband networks across the state, especially to rural communities, Oklahoma is making great progress towards expanding education opportunities to a wider audience.

Demand is ever increasing for online education, and the Online College of Oklahoma, established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, reports over 250,000 enrollments since opening its virtual doors in 1998. OCO offers over 3,400 courses and 18 degree-programs online and is a model for career-advancement education.

Programs like Reach Higher are designed to help students complete degrees, and distance-learning programs have sprouted up in more than 20 colleges and universities in Oklahoma. These programs are tailored to those who need the flexibility of asynchronous coursework and the convenience of attending classes and completing coursework from any location.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in Oklahoma for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

Tuition costs are often a factor in choosing online education, and the cost of tuition has only continued to rise in recent years following state budget cuts, rising 7.1% in Oklahoma (private 4-year sector) from 2006-07 to 2011-12 and 17.3% at public colleges and universities from 2008-14. In 2011-12, average tuition and fees for public two-year in-state was $3,000, four-year in-state was $6,000 and approximately $22,500 for four-year private nonprofit schools.

Online education offers at least some degree of compromise, enabling students to continue working as they pursue their degrees, and in the right circumstances could be a financially advantageous choice to students who face economic challenges. Despite these financial hardships and rising tuition, enrollment is on the rise: in fall 2012, 26,420 students were reported to be enrolled exclusively in distance education programs in Oklahoma.

Best Online Colleges in Oklahoma of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva, OK
2 University of Oklahoma Norman, OK
3 Oral Roberts University Tulsa, OK
4 Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK
5 Northeastern State University Tahlequah, OK
6 Oklahoma Wesleyan University Bartlesville, OK
7 Rogers State University Claremore, OK
8 Southwestern Oklahoma State University Weatherford, OK
9 East Central University Ada, OK
10 Southwestern Christian University Bethany, OK
11 Southern Nazarene University Bethany, OK
12 Oklahoma Christian University Edmond, OK
13 Cameron University Lawton, OK
14 Langston University Langston, OK