Regional universities are Oklahoma’s best kept secret.
Regional universities are the best-kept secret in Oklahoma’s higher education system. Not only do they provide students with a quality education, they are remarkably affordable, close to home, and almost half of graduates have no student debt.
For a full-time Oklahoma student enrolled at a regional university, the average annual total cost to attend is 46% lower than at the University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University. The Oklahoma regional university system takes special care to keep tuition fees low, without creating additional costs for students, as many scholarships, including Oklahoma’s Promise, cover tuition, not fees. Students and parents of students who are currently paying for college will recognize how affordable the price is. Few potential students realize the magnitude of the total fees they will be charged by the university they plan to attend. At some universities, fees average 138% of the cost of tuition, more than three times the cost of fees at regional universities. Those interested can view the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education 2020/2021 Student Cost Report at https://okhighered.org/studies-reports/student-costs/ 2020-21.pdf
Recent high school graduates can find traditional college and university experience at RUSO at a lower cost. In addition, the large percentage of non-traditional students – transfer students, working adults, and part-time or returning students – appreciate that RUSO provides affordable education and is flexible enough to allow them to cut expenses by maintaining employment at low cost. full time, live at home or take care of family.
Regional universities provide 43% of all state public baccalaureate degrees. RUSO graduates – numbering nearly 9,000 in 2020/2021 – receive high-quality, affordable education close to home. Students are taught by professors with doctoral degrees in classrooms with a low student-instructor ratio. Graduates pursue well-paying careers across our state in allied health, nursing, accounting, pharmacy, and more. After graduation, RUSO alumni become the teachers, administrators, civil servants, engineers, contractors, forensic pathologists and rulers of our state, including Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton; Everett Dobson, Executive Chairman of Dobson Fiber; and Chad Richison, CEO of Paycom.
As the largest four-year university system in the state, RUSO’s six public universities have campuses and satellites located in each quadrant of our state: East Central University, Northeastern State University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Central Oklahoma. Students from rural communities can easily locate a regional university near their home.
Those attending college for the first time, or returning after a break, should consider the benefits of earning a four-year degree from a regional university; affordable, high-quality education that will prepare them for employment after graduation and a busy life.
Connie Reilly is chair of the Board of Regents of the Oklahoma Regional University System.