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College Attendance  

Oklahoma can celebrate an increasing number of students attending its public colleges and universities. Our college enrollment is at record levels. Enrollment has increased 7 percent since 1998 and by almost 20,000 students in the last five years. The increasing numbers of college students is important. As shown on the next page, Oklahoma has too few college graduates among its citizens.

Enrollment in Oklahoma Public Colleges and Universities, Five-Year Trend (Annual Unduplicated Headcount). 1998-99: 211,876; 1999-00: 209,559; 2000-01: 213,972; 2001-02: 220,768; 2002-03: 228,249.

There is an interesting pattern among Oklahomans with respect to college participation. Recent surveys of Oklahoma's fifth- through 12th-grade students and their parents revealed that most of these students have future plans to attend college, and their parents expect them to do so. And yet, more than 40 percent do not enroll in college directly from high school. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, Oklahoma’s college-going rate is seven percentage points lower than the national average. Thus, the State Regents’ programs that help prepare high school students for college and encourage college participation—OHLAP, GEAR UP and EPAS—are very important.

Intention to Attend College and Actual College Attendance Among Oklahoma High School Students. 5-8th grade student planning to attend college: 83%. 9-12th grade students planning to attend college: 94%. 5-12th grade parents planning for their children to attend college: 92%. College-Going Rate: 56.3%.

Fortunately, unlike the college-going rate directly from high school, the college-going rate among Oklahoma adults is quite strong. One of every four students enrolled in Oklahoma colleges and universities is over the age of 30.

Our state outpaces the nation in adult learners aged 25 to 49 enrolled part-time in higher education. According to the most recent data, 3.1 percent of 25- to 49-year-olds attend college part-time in Oklahoma compared to the national average of 2.7 percent.

25-49-Year-Olds Enrolled Part-Time in Higher Education (2001). Oklahoma: 3.1%. National: 2.7%.

Adult education is increasingly crucial to the economic success of our families and state, particularly as our nation moves toward a more knowledge-based, global economy. The current enrollment patterns indicate that too few students go directly to college from high school, but as they get older and participate in the changing workplace, they recognize the value of obtaining a college education.

Preparation of High School Students

College Attendance

Benefits of Higher Education


Degree Completion

Resources & Funding


OSUIT student.
Photo courtesy of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.