Best Colleges & Universities in Oklahoma 2024


Oklahoma is one of the most beautiful and historic states in America. Oklahoma has rich Native American heritage, stunning landscapes, and friendly people, making it a great place to attend college. Oklahoma, known as the 'Sooner State,' is home to several private, public, liberal arts, and religious colleges. The state's vast expanses of open land host some of America's largest oil fields. In-state schools offer some of the most highly-respected and innovative engineering, cartography, and geography programs to facilitate growing demands within the oil industry.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

A degree from an Oklahoma college or university isn't restricted to those who have aspirations of working in the oil industry. Just wanting a more affordable college is reason enough. According to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the total undergraduate tuition and fees in OKPromise research institutions are over 26% lower than their peer average. In addition to that, the OKPromise program helps residents apply for scholarships as early as the 8th grade. Oklahoma also participates in the Academic Common Market which allows residents of Oklahoma (and non-residential students from 14 participating states) to pay in-state tuition rates for Oklahoma schools. See to see if you qualify to take part in the program.

Tight-knit school communities and large universities with more research opportunities are all available in Oklahoma. Whether you're seeking financial assistance or a specific degree program, Oklahoma's colleges and universities have you covered with their numerous options and opportunities to excel in your chosen career path.


EDsmart assesses colleges in Oklahoma based on data that covers four main areas:

  • Cost (average net price)
  • Academic quality (graduation rate)
  • Student satisfaction (retention rate)
  • Salary After Attending (the median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, at 10 years after entering the school)

All data was gathered from the U.S. Dept of Education websites College Scorecard and College Navigator.

This ranking assesses the affordability and value of top colleges in Oklahoma so students can make informed decisions about which college to attend.

Best Colleges in Oklahoma for 2024

1. Northeastern State University

  • Average Net Price: $34,255
  • Graduation Rate: 88.50%
  • Retention Rate: 96.80%
  • Median Earnings: $88,842

As an in-state public university, NSU offers an affordable tuition rate for Oklahoma residents. Total estimated annual costs are under ,000. With a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio, class sizes are smaller providing more individual attention and mentorship from professors.

As the oldest institution of higher learning in Oklahoma, NSU has an open enrollment policy to provide access. Nearly 40% of students are first-generation college goers. NSU has over 100 student organizations, Greek life, competitive athletic teams, and an active social environment on its friendly campus. NSU celebrates Cherokee culture and provides scholarships, resources, and tailored support for Cherokee students. NSU offers lots of academic support resources like free peer tutoring and writing assistance to foster student achievement.

2. Oklahoma State University-Main Campus

  • Average Net Price: $13,188
  • Graduation Rate: 64.11%
  • Retention Rate: 84.01%
  • Median Earnings: $53,923

Oklahoma State University is a public institution that has been operating under the Morrill Act since 1890. Today, it is widely chosen for its Business, Marketing, Management, Engineering, and Agriculture programs, supporting over 24,600 students in total. OSU graduates tend to earn an above-average annual starting salary of ,000. ranks it at #1 among Best Colleges in Oklahoma, and the U.S. News and World Report place it at #182 among National Universities. The overall average cost of attendance is 13,188 and, in addition to the financial benefits, OSU also hosts a vibrant campus environment. Incoming students live on campus during their first year.

3. University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

  • Average Net Price: $19,867
  • Graduation Rate: 65.41%
  • Retention Rate: 87.81%
  • Median Earnings: $59,648

The University of Oklahoma is made up of 22,000 undergraduates who have the advantages of a public research institution whilst still being part of a school that’s small enough to foster close relationships. The University of Oklahoma is a leader in the public sector, offering 170+ majors that made it into the Carnegie Institution’s Very High Research Activity classification. U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Oklahoma #61 in Top Public Schools, #83 in Best Colleges for Veterans, and #127 in National Universities. Oklahoma University is well known for their liberal arts and humanities program with other popular majors being psychology, zoology and entomology, finance, and organizational behavior studies.

4. University of Tulsa

  • Average Net Price: $26,781
  • Graduation Rate: 71.75%
  • Retention Rate: 83.18%
  • Median Earnings: $56,788

Students at the University of Tulsa benefit from a smaller university, small size means the student body feels connected and involved in each other’s lives. They also have a world-class faculty that leads research, collaboration and personal growth. According to the U.S. News and World Report the University of Tulsa ranks #70 in Best Value Schools and #89 in Best Colleges for Veterans. All undergraduate students benefit from the presence of student success coaches on their respective TU campus. These coaches assist with the transition to university life and encourage high levels of dedication to your studies.

5. Oklahoma City University

  • Average Net Price: $26,834
  • Graduation Rate: 70.09%
  • Retention Rate: 80.03%
  • Median Earnings: $50,325

Oklahoma City University is an impressive private university in Oklahoma City with 1,476 undergraduate students. It’s smaller than you might expect from looking at the enrollment figure but has a big presence. The Oklahoma City acceptance rate is 73% which is on par with other major US universities. Popular majors include Humanities, Nursing, Dance, and Music Performance. Oklahoma City University’s 71% graduation rate is higher than the national average. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Oklahoma City University among their National Universities for several years.

6. Oklahoma Christian University

  • Average Net Price: $18,369
  • Graduation Rate: 56.41%
  • Retention Rate: 78.49%
  • Median Earnings: $47,069

Oklahoma Christian University (OC) was founded in 1950 as Central Christian College run by people in the Church of Christ. This private institution is devoted to offering Christian higher education to students of all backgrounds. The 97% acceptance rate annually welcomes over 1,800 undergraduate students. Most pursue majors in fields such as business, engineering, health professions, communications, and education. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Oklahoma Christian University ranks #39 in Regional Universities West and #31 in Best Value Schools. Students can pursue undergraduate degrees in:

Performing Arts


Sports Management

Mass Communication



Criminal Justice


And more.

Oklahoma Christian also offers a unique Yellow Ribbon Program through which qualifying veterans can enroll in undergraduate programs completely tuition-free. All in all, the school seeks to provide students with a community of stalwart believers where they can interact comfortably with peers and professors of similar faith.

7. Southwestern Oklahoma State University

  • Average Net Price: $12,238
  • Graduation Rate: 44.73%
  • Retention Rate: 69.60%
  • Median Earnings: $45,817

Southwestern Oklahoma State University is a highly regarded college in Oklahoma. According to the U.S. News and World Report, SOSU sits at #71 in Regional Universities West, #84 in Top Performers on Social Mobility, and #37 in Top Public Schools. Though it may be considered on the smaller side, with just over 4,600 students, SOSU maintains an acceptance rate of 93% and offers financial aid to 93% of its student body. Students pursue specializations in Nursing, Business Administration and Management, Elementary Education and Teaching, and more. Ambitious freshmen also have the opportunity to participate in a uniquely designed “President’s Leadership Class”–a four-year leadership program comprised of SOSU’s top scholars. All in all, the school’s primary goal is to prepare students for any vocation they choose to pursue, promoting both intellectual and personal long-term achievement.

8. Southern Nazarene University

  • Average Net Price: $19,449
  • Graduation Rate: 51.03%
  • Retention Rate: 67.34%
  • Median Earnings: $52,663

Students are encouraged to grow spiritually as well as academically. With around 2,000 students, SNU has a close-knit campus community where it's easy to get to know professors and make friends. SNU offers competitive tuition rates. Over 98% of students receive financial aid, including various institutional scholarships.

With an intimate 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio, SNU classes foster personalized guidance and mentoring relationships. SNU champions global citizenship through study abroad partnerships with colleges worldwide.

Post-graduation, SNU alumni report high rates of graduate school admissions and career placement, bolstered by abundant on-campus leadership opportunities. Students often spearhead ministry groups, clubs, athletics teams, residence life, and other organizations. Campus life blooms through 30+ student groups, intramural and Division II sports, and regular social events, concerts, and programs.

9. University of Central Oklahoma

  • Average Net Price: $17,116
  • Graduation Rate: 44.61%
  • Retention Rate: 69.34%
  • Median Earnings: $47,453

In 1890, the University of Central Oklahoma opened its doors. It strives to instill its students with “the confidence to succeed through transformative learning experiences.” Its acceptance rate of 81% brings in around 13,300 students. Students pursue specializations in fields like Liberal Arts General Studies, Criminal Justice & Corrections, Business Administration & Management, and more. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the university ranks #68 in Regional Universities West, and awards it an overall grade rating of ‘B’ for academics, diversity, and value.

10. Oral Roberts University

  • Average Net Price: $23,385
  • Graduation Rate: 45.32%
  • Retention Rate: 81.56%
  • Median Earnings: $44,293

Oral Roberts University has maintained an unwavering commitment to their mission of providing students with a quality education that helps them become good leaders. To be part of ORU is also to be a global, multicultural campus with more than 4,000 students representing 140+ nations and all 50 states. With over 150 majors and minors, concentrations, and certificate programs for various degree levels, you will surely find an opportunity no matter where you are in your educational journey. The schools outstanding online options as well as campus opportunities in Tulsa provide everything you need. U.S. News and World Report ranked Oral Roberts University #132 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.

11. Southeastern Oklahoma State University

  • Average Net Price: $10,426
  • Graduation Rate: 41.04%
  • Retention Rate: 57.64%
  • Median Earnings: $44,617

SE costs around ,000 per year in total tuition and fees for in-state students, making it very affordable compared to many universities. SE has an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio resulting in smaller, more personalized class environments and close faculty interaction. SE offers bachelor's and master's degrees focused on the needs and job outlook for southeastern Oklahoma. Programs tailor to local careers.

As an open admission state school, SE provides increased access to higher education for all types of students in the region. There are over 60 active student clubs/organizations, Greek life, concerts, plays, athletic events and more happening on campus. With around 4,500 total students, SE has a close-knit, welcoming campus community centered around long-standing traditions.

SE is the leading provider of new teachers in Oklahoma. The education programs integrate early classroom experience. SE offers over 30 undergraduate and graduate programs fully online for added flexibility. SE operates an affiliated flight academy to train professional pilots with flight lessons and simulator training. Overall, SE provides an affordable and accessible regional state university experience with signature aviation training and close-knit campus life.

12. Oklahoma Baptist University

  • Average Net Price: $20,564
  • Graduation Rate: 51.44%
  • Retention Rate: 70.60%
  • Median Earnings: $44,360

Oklahoma Baptist University is a private religious institution that began in 1910 with the commitment to serve the community of Shawnee, Oklahoma. Today, it’s home to over 1,430 undergraduate students and maintains an acceptance rate of 56%. According to the U.S. News and World Report, OBU ranks #23 in Regional Colleges West, #23 in Best Value Schools, and #22 in Best Colleges for Veterans. Students can pursue undergraduate degrees in nursing, liberal arts and humanities, and education. Graduate degrees are available in business, Christian studies, marriage and family therapy, intercultural studies, and nursing. According to, OBU earns an overall grade rating of ‘B’ and ranks #9 in Best Colleges in Oklahoma. Alumni make an above-average starting salary of $40,900 per year, empowered and motivated to succeed by their comprehensive college experience.

13. East Central University

  • Average Net Price: $11,157
  • Graduation Rate: 42.32%
  • Retention Rate: 58.12%
  • Median Earnings: $43,159

Since its founding in 1909, East Central University (ECU) has been offering an assortment of majors and other educational opportunities to all kinds of students. Today, it’s home to a student population of 3,350 and maintains a 65% acceptance rate. awards it an overall grade rating of ‘B-‘ for diversity, athletics, and value, and, according to the U.S. News and World Report, it sits at #44 in Top Performers on Social Mobility. The university offers courses both in traditional classroom settings and through the online format. A few of the most popular majors include Business, Health Professions, and Parks and Recreation.

14. Oklahoma Panhandle State University

  • Average Net Price: $7,210
  • Graduation Rate: 28.70%
  • Retention Rate: 41.01%
  • Median Earnings: $45,592

Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU) first opened its doors in 1909, committed to serving the community of Goodwell, Oklahoma. The school’s 91% acceptance rate currently invintes a student population of almost 1,300. Students pursue popular areas of specialization, including Nursing, Business, Biology, Computer Science, Animal Sciences, and more. The U.S. News and World Report ranks it #17 among Regional Colleges West. OPSU is organized into four separate but collaborative academic schools, including the online programs, the school of Agriculture, Science, and Nursing, the School of Business and Technology, and the school of Arts and Education.

15. University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

  • Average Net Price: $9,215
  • Graduation Rate: 39.11%
  • Retention Rate: 59.75%
  • Median Earnings: $39,676

At the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma you will receive a specialized, life-changing educational experience. Their outstanding core curriculum combined with the professional staff of instructors will prepare you for your future career in the sciences, arts, or business. The university is small with a total undergraduate enrollment of 846 students. U.S. News and World Report ranks USAO among National Liberal Arts Colleges and ranks it #157 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.

16. Northwestern Oklahoma State University

  • Average Net Price: $10,970
  • Graduation Rate: 32.13%
  • Retention Rate: 59.28%
  • Median Earnings: $43,404

Northwestern Oklahoma State University is a public post-secondary educational institution that first opened its doors to the community of Alva, Oklahoma in 1897. Today it ranks as one of the nation’s most affordable small colleges. The acceptance rate of 59% brings in an enrollment of nearly 2,000 total undergraduate students. If you’re on a budget and want to pursue your degree close to home, Northwestern is definitely a top-ranking institution to consider.

17. Cameron University

  • Average Net Price: $8,919
  • Graduation Rate: 23.76%
  • Retention Rate: 63.47%
  • Median Earnings: $39,357

Since its founding in 1908, Cameron University has been dedicated to the advancement of students from Lawton, Oklahoma and beyond. Today, it’s home to over 3,150 undergraduate students, brought in because the school accepts 100% of applicants. Through its associate’s, bachelor’s, and graduate degree programs, it offers courses in fields like Business, Criminal Justice, and Corrections, Psychology, Accounting, and more. At Cameron University, coursework is substantially more collaborative and comprehensive because professors lead every class, rather than TAs or grad students.

18. Oklahoma Wesleyan University

  • Average Net Price: $21,939
  • Graduation Rate: 42.01%
  • Retention Rate: 59.30%
  • Median Earnings: $54,357

Oklahoma Wesleyan University is a Christian, private college with an enrollment of 568 students. The Oklahoma Wesleyan acceptance rate is 83%. As a Biblically-focused university OKWU provides a model thought process and way of life for students.They aspire to embody the best of Wesleyan tradition and always act in accordance with their faith. The college is a place of serious study and engagement, among other things. The staff and students there are committed to Jesus Christ, God’s word and finding the truth. U.S. News and World Report ranked OKWU #44 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.

19. Rogers State University

  • Average Net Price: $13,361
  • Graduation Rate: 24.18%
  • Retention Rate: 60.32%
  • Median Earnings: $42,648

Located in the heart of small-town Claremore, Oklahoma, Rogers State University (RSU) is a public, four-year institution home to nearly 3,200 students in total. Both the 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio and the 61% acceptance rate allow students to enjoy comprehensive, one-on-one learning alongside their peers and instructors. A few of RSU’s more popular majors include Business Administration and Management, Biology/Biological Sciences, and Nursing. The U.S. News and World Report places it at #14 among Regional Colleges West.

20. Mid-America Christian University

  • Average Net Price: $17,694
  • Graduation Rate: 33.52%
  • Retention Rate: 61.70%
  • Median Earnings: $45,508

Since its founding in 1953, Mid-America Christian University (MACU) has upheld its mission to “Dream Bigger” and “Do Greater.” Today, it maintains a 100% acceptance rate and provides educational opportunities to traditional students, adult learners, and graduate students alike. Because it’s a private Christian institution, home to just nearly 1,200 undergraduate students in total, it’s able to cater to individual needs and provide wide-ranging learning opportunities. awards Mid-America Christian University an overall grade ranking of ‘B’ for diversity, value, and athletics, distinguishing it as the #9 Best Value College in Oklahoma.


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