Oklahoma’s higher education system is made up of more than 100 diverse higher learning institutions, including public and private colleges and universities, technical schools, and online colleges. The largest public colleges are the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Central Oklahoma. These institutions and many other universities in Oklahoma offer both traditional and online degrees to students living in and out of state. The agency responsible for overseeing public higher education in Oklahoma is the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The State Regents set academic standards for higher education institutions, grant degrees, approve tuition and fees, and manage scholarships at state colleges and universities.
There are several higher education initiatives underway in Oklahoma. Perhaps the most talked-about initiative of the Oklahoma State Regents is the Complete College America (CCA) program. As the name suggests, the goal is to increase the number of college-educated Americans. This ambitious higher education initiative hopes to increase the number of college degrees and certificates earned in Oklahoma by 1,700 per year over the next 12 years. Oklahoma would like to see a 67% increase in college completion by 2023. More emphasis will be placed on serving underrepresented populations and helping financially-strapped students pay for college. The CCA initiative will also develop more accelerated degree completion options and distance learning programs for those who want cheap online degrees.
Oklahomans and those who want to attend school here don’t have to go far to find great higher education in the Sooner State. You can even attend some of the biggest and most prestigious universities in Oklahoma without having to leave your house. The University of Oklahoma’s Outreach program offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that can be completed 100% online or on campus. Those who are looking for online graduate degrees or certificate programs can find that and more at Oklahoma State University’s OCampus. Choose from master’s degrees in entrepreneurship, industrial engineering, business administration, nutritional sciences, and more. If you want to simply continue your education or take a few informal courses, then you can do so for free at Northeastern State University, which offers OpenCourseWare to all students from anywhere in the world. Students can also attend one of the many big online colleges that have campuses in Oklahoma, such as DeVry Unviersity, ITT Technical Institute, and the University of Phoenix.
The energy sector is booming right now in the Scooter State. According to Forbes, which ranks Oklahoma among the best states for business right now, the state is the fourth largest producer of natural gas and the fifth for crude oil. No surprise, some of the biggest companies in the state – Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy – are in the energy business. Other key industries in Oklahoma include aerospace, with more than 500 aerospace-related companies located in the state; bio and life science and medical R&D; and data centers, according to the state’s Department of Commerce. Students looking to earn an in-demand degree may therefore want to consider programs in engineering, information technology, biology, medicine, and business. Here’s a look at schools providing online learning in the state: