A report released by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education identified what is termed the state’s “Complete College America” goal: “to increase the number of degrees and certificates earned […] by an average of 1,700 per year, resulting in a 67% percent increase by 2023.” Endorsed by the governor, this mission was in part inspired by the projection that nearly 70% of all Oklahoma jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by the year 2020.
The state has recognized that one of the best ways to continue to award degrees to its residents is through flexible programs, namely online education opportunities. And with a host of organizations leading the charge, including the state’s membership in the SREB (a regional online agreement we’ll explore below), the premier public and private colleges in Oklahoma have never been better equipped to provide online learning opportunities.
But before we look at the best online colleges in Oklahoma, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in Oklahoma today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Oklahoma
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Oklahoma had 66 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 29 public schools, 14 nonprofits and 23 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 15,945 at public schools, 3,869 at private nonprofits and 233 at private for-profits.
- 29 public
- 14 non-profit
- 23 for-profit
Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the ’15-’16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $7,450, while the out-of-state average was $18,870, the 6th lowest amongst all states. It’s reported that in 2014 alone, public schools in Oklahoma had over a $9.2 billion impact on the state economy, while also supporting over 85,000 jobs in the state. To learn more about the economic impact of higher education, refer to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Oklahoma awarded $84.7 million in need-based grants and $10.8 million in non-need grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up 9.1% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education. Oklahoma also awarded out $187 million in tuition waivers over the same period.
The State of Online Higher Education in Oklahoma
The NCES estimates that at least 10.6% of students enrolled in Oklahoma’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 83.3% were reported to be undergraduates and 71.7% were found to be living in Oklahoma.
Organizations dedicated to bettering online education, often in step with efforts to reach the statewide CCA goal for 2023, are the Oklahoma Distance Learning Alliance (ODLA), the state-run Reach Higher program and the new Great Plains Net distance learning system. ODLA is a membership-based collection of distance educators in Oklahoma, from K-12 to higher education, schools, distance technology providers and professional training services. These groups work together to better the online learning experience, sharing their expertise and resources to improve distance education for every incarnation of Oklahoma student.
Reach Higher is the state’s campaign to support students who have yet to complete their degree, often with online alternatives that make it easier for established professionals who are a few credits shy to finish. This program is clearly linked to the state’s efforts to up the total number of Oklahoma resident who hold a degree.
Finally, the GPNet service is a self-described “consortium of universities in the Midwest.” The consortiums distance courses and distance training options are plentiful, with many able to be pursued on a per course basis. In an October 2015 piece, TheJournal.com pointed out that Oklahoma’s rural high school students are the ideal candidates for the GPNet, as they can earn college credits online while wrapping up their high school education — up till now, a service many rural high schoolers were denied based solely on where they lived.
Oklahoma is also a member of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus. An initiative that lets students sift through an impressive directory of online programs throughout the southeast U.S. SREB also has strong aid initiatives. Services like the Academic Common Market/Electronic Campus and the Regional Contract Program for Health Professions let students fully enroll in a selection of out-of-state programs while paying in-state rates. While the program selection is small and the admissions criteria strict, for qualified students these are incredible opportunities. Questions about Oklahoma’s specific level of involvement in the SREB are addressed here.
Best Online Colleges in Oklahoma
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Oklahoma. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in Oklahoma, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Oklahoma or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Northwestern Oklahoma State University||Alva||$$$$$||709 Oklahoma Blvd|
Alva, OK 73717-2799
Northwestern Oklahoma State University, one of the best online colleges in Oklahoma, offers three online programs in business and nursing. Students who have completed their general education requirements before entering the business major can usually complete the coursework within five to six full-time semesters. The business program has no on-campus requirements. There is one synchronous course during the last term. California and Massachusetts students are not accepted into the school’s online programs at this time.
The online RN to BSN program does not require any campus visits or clinical hours, but it does require students to be registered nurses and to reside in Oklahoma. Students can start the program any semester and must have a 2.5 GPA to be accepted. They must maintain that GPA throughout their time in school.
|2||Oklahoma State University||Stillwater||$$$$$||107 Whitehurst|
Stillwater, OK 74078-1015
Located in Stillwater, Oklahoma State University offers two bachelor’s degrees that can be completed online: a BS in business administration and a BS in electrical engineering technology. The business administration program offers two concentrations: general business and management. The BS in electrical engineering is offered in conjunction with the Oklahoma City Campus. The program has students take lower-level requirements at any college, then continue with upper division courses that are offered on the campuses of OSU-OKC or Rose State College through interactive television.
CDs and podcasts of lectures are available. Students must be accepted to OSU before they can enroll in online courses, and all students are assigned advisors to help guide their program of study. OSU is among online colleges in Oklahoma to offer virtual office hours. Master’s programs and certificates are also available online, including nonprofit management and industrial engineering and management.
|3||Oklahoma Wesleyan University||Bartlesville||$$$$$||2201 Silver Lake Rd|
Bartlesville, OK 74006-6299
Oklahoma Wesleyan University, an evangelical Christian university in Bartlesville, offers five bachelor’s degrees online. The degrees include business administration, criminal justice, ministry and leadership, organizational management, and RN to BSN. Students in the business administration program can choose from five different specialization options. Students must complete core courses with at least a 2.0 GPA. The RN to BSN nursing program requires students to have at least 42 transferrable credit hours. Each course in the program lasts five to seven weeks, and students must maintain their RN licensure while enrolled.
OWU is among online schools in Oklahoma to allow students to take one class at a time and register for all core classes at once with the assistance of an academic advisor. Tuition is locked in for core courses at the time of enrollment. All students receive in-state tuition, and tuition is the same whether students attend classes online or on-campus.
|4||Oral Roberts University||Tulsa||$$$$$||7777 S Lewis Ave.|
Tulsa, OK 74171
Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts University offers online bachelor’s degrees in 13 different majors. Online students take one or two classes during each seven-week session, with two sessions offered each fall, spring, and summer. Even without transfer credit, students who follow the assigned degree plans can graduate in less than four years.
There are 10 minors available to online students. Some programs require that students select a minor, such as the BS in international business and ministry, which combines a business concentration with a minor in evangelism and missions. The liberal studies major is designed for students who want to study different topics. To graduate, students must complete 63 credits in two to three subject areas. Oral Roberts is among online colleges in Oklahoma to offer a Christ-centered education. Other programs include information technology and leadership studies.
|5||Southwestern Oklahoma State University||Weatherford||$$$$$||100 Campus Dr|
Weatherford, OK 73096-3098
Southwestern Oklahoma State University, one of the best schools in Oklahoma, offers several bachelor’s degree options, including an RN to BSN and a BS in health information management. Both programs use the online platform Canvas. Through interactive television, students can earn a BBA in management, which is a two plus two program. The BS in organizational leadership is offered in a blended model. This degree is part of Oklahoma’s Reach Higher program, requiring a minimum of 72 transfer credits and that applicants be at least 21 years old.
SWOSU, located in Weatherford, is the only university in Oklahoma that offers the BS in health information management. This four-year program requires students to complete two years of pre-professional curriculum and then complete the final two years online. The program boasts a 90% employment rate for 2014 graduates.
|6||Northeastern State University||Tahlequah||$$$$$||600 N Grand|
Tahlequah, OK 74464-2399
Online bachelor’s degrees at Northeastern State University include criminal justice, health care administration, hospitality and tourism management, medical laboratory science, nursing, supply chain management, and organizational leadership. For students who have an associate degree or a similar amount of credits, the criminal justice program offers fast-track classes that allow students to finish the program in less than two years. The university offers 400 online courses. Northeastern is among online colleges in Oklahoma to offer many of it’s degrees in the 2+2 program.
Students interested in the medical laboratory science program can complete the final 60 credits of the program online, with laboratory practices completed off-site. This program admits one cohort each fall, has an 86% pass rate for the board of certification exam, and boasts a 100% employment rate. Residents of Massachusetts or the Commonwealth of North Mariana Islands cannot participate in NSU’s distance education programs.
|7||Oklahoma Panhandle State University||Goodwell||$$$$$||323 Eagle Ave|
Goodwell, OK 73939-0430
Oklahoma Panhandle State University, located in Goodwell, offers a number of courses online and an RN to BSN nursing program. Courses offered online include chemistry, business administration, and education. The RN to BSN program was founded in 1996 and was one of the first nursing programs to offer all required courses online. All courses in this program are offered asynchronously and practicum experiences can be completed near the student’s location. The program has flexible policies regarding transfer credit, and students are admitted each term. Applicants must have a 2.0 GPA in prior coursework. The program is designed for part-time students and most courses are offered each term. Oklahoma Panhandle is one of the online colleges in Oklahoma that bases its nursing curriculum on Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. Courses in the program include nursing in rural America and nursing leadership and management.
|8||Rogers State University||Claremore||$$$$$||1701 W Will Rogers Blvd|
Claremore, OK 74017-3252
Rogers State, the first university in Oklahoma to offer bachelor’s degrees entirely online, started offering online programs in 1992. RSU operates campuses in Claremore, Bartlesville, and Pryor, and offers five bachelor’s degrees online. Online undergraduate degrees include liberal arts, business administration, business information technology, organizational leadership, and applied technology. Most of these programs also have options for choosing an area of specialization. Students in the business information technology program can choose to focus in computer network administration or software development and multimedia.
Online courses at Rogers State, one of the best online schools in Oklahoma, are taught asynchronously, and there are no on-campus requirements. Only residents of Oklahoma are eligible for the programs. Online students have the same eligibility for financial aid and scholarships as on-campus students. Classes are offered in the fall, spring, and summer, with 16-week terms in fall and spring and eight-week terms in the summer.
|9||Southern Nazarene University||Bethany||$$$$$||6729 NW 39th Expy|
Bethany, OK 73008
Southern Nazarene University, a private, Christian, liberal arts university, is located in Bethany, near Oklahoma City, and is one of the best online colleges in Oklahoma. The university offers three online bachelor of science degrees in the areas of organizational leadership, business administration, and network management. Courses are asynchronous and five to six weeks in length. Each online class is limited to 20 students.
Several of these undergraduate programs have additional requirements for admission. Students interested in the network management program must take an entrance exam at the time of application. Acceptance into this program requires a score of 80 on the exam and only the top 16 people will be admitted. For the business administration degree, students must have completed some prerequisite coursework before they can enter the program. All of the online bachelor’s programs are designed for students who have earned at least 60 transferable credits prior to enrollment.
|10||Cameron University||Lawton||$$$$$||2800 West Gore Blvd|
Lawton, OK 73505-6377
Cameron University, located in Lawton, offers a number of bachelor’s degrees through their distance learning program, including fully and partially online degrees. Fully online programs include bachelor of science degrees in criminal justice and interdisciplinary studies. The interdisciplinary studies degree was designed for students whose needs were not met by one of the structured majors. The program provides a unique degree plan for each student, and students can apply after they have earned 24 credits. CU is among online schools in Oklahoma that does not offer courses to students in California, Florida, and Massachusetts.
Thirteen additional programs can be completed mostly online, with more than 50% of the coursework available online. The online percentage of these programs vary, from the bachelor of science in organizational leadership, which is 95% online, to the bachelor of arts in English, which is 64% online. The school uses Blackboard as its online platform, and hybrid and interactive tv courses are also available.
|11||Southwestern Christian University||Bethany||$$$$$||7210 NW 39th Expressway|
Bethany, OK 73008
Southwestern Christian University, located in Bethany, offers one online degree, the bachelor of professional leadership. The degree integrates biblically-informed curriculum with a liberal arts education. Students can choose from four concentrations that include business, management, social services, and Christian leadership. The social services concentration prepares students for acceptance into a graduate program in psychology, with courses that include developmental psychology, juvenile delinquency, and substance abuse and chemical dependency. The Christian leadership concentration prepares students for working in ministry or for graduate programs in ministry, theology, or biblical studies.
Students can set their own pace, and there are no on-campus requirements. Textbooks are included in the cost of tuition and are shipped directly to students. Unlike some online colleges in Oklahoma, all exams and tests are taken online.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Oklahoma
Below, we’ve sorted the top online colleges in OK by their tuition rate.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||University of Oklahoma - Health Sciences Center||Oklahoma City||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Northeastern State University||Tahlequah||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||Cameron University||Lawton||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||Rogers State University||Claremore||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||Southwestern Oklahoma State University||Weatherford||School profile||$$$$$|
|6||Northwestern Oklahoma State University||Alva||School profile||$$$$$|
|7||Oklahoma Panhandle State University||Goodwell||School profile||$$$$$|
|8||University of Oklahoma - Norman||Norman||School profile||$$$$$|
|9||Mid-America Christian University||Oklahoma City||School profile||$$$$$|
|10||Southern Nazarene University||Bethany||School profile||$$$$$|
|11||Oral Roberts University||Tulsa||School profile||$$$$$|
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Oklahoma
Drover Academic Scholarship
The Drover Scholarship is open to freshmen entering the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. To be eligible, students must be residents of Oklahoma, and have a high school GPA of 3.5+ and ACT score of 27+. The award is a one-year tuition waiver valued at $3,600.
Freshman Achievement Scholarship
The Freshman Achievement award is open to students entering the University of Central Oklahoma with an ACT score of 30+ and a GPA of 3.0+. Sixty incoming freshmen will receive this award each year. The value is $2,500 per year for 4 years.
Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship
Open to transfer students entering the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. To be eligible, students must be Oklahoma residents, members of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, hold an associate’s degree, and demonstrate excellence in academics and leadership. The award is a one-year tuition waiver valued at $5,100.
President’s Leadership Scholarship
This scholarship will be awarded to 20 to 25 freshmen entering the University of Central Oklahoma. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0+, an ACT score of 21+, and be actively involved in three or more student organizations. The award is $3,000 plus half of the cost of room and board for 4 years.
President’s Leadership Scholarship
Open to freshmen entering the University of Arts and Sciences Oklahoma with a GPA of 3.5+ and an ACT score of 24+. To be eligible, students must be residents of Oklahoma, and demonstrate financial need. The award is a tuition waiver valued at $6,560 per year.
Fifty scholarships in the amount of $1,600 per year for 2 years will be awarded to transfer students entering the University of Central Oklahoma. Recipients must maintain a GPA of 3.5+.
This scholarship is available to freshmen entering University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. To be eligible, students must be residents of Oklahoma, and have a high school GPA of 3.25+ and ACT score of 24+. The award is a one-year tuition waiver valued at $3,200.
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