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Benefits of Higher Education  

Higher education benefits the person, our state and society in general.

Education Pays: National Unemployment Rate and National Median Earnings.

As businesses and industries look to Oklahoma as a possible site for relocation or expansion, the education level of their potential workforce is key in the ultimate decision of whether to bring or create more jobs in our state. Oklahoma currently ranks 42nd among the 50 states in the number of adults 25 years and older with at least a bachelor’s degree. Although Oklahoma lags behind the national average in the proportion of college graduates in its population, since 2000 our state has increased the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s or associate degree at a faster rate than the national average.

In 2004, Oklahoma public colleges and universities graduated 1,049 more students than in 2002. The latest State Regents’ Employment Outcomes Report found that 89 percent of associate degree graduates and 86 percent of bachelor’s degree graduates remain in Oklahoma one year after graduation. However, those figures dropped to 76 percent and 67 percent, respectively, after five years. Although the majority of college graduates remain in Oklahoma, many of those in technical fields of study, such as engineering and computer science, are leaving the state for better employment opportunities.

Percent of State Population 25 Years or Older With Associate Degree. In 1996, the baseline for Oklahoma was 5.0%, and the national was 7.2%. Oklahoma status for 2003 was 6.3%, and the national 7.0%.

Percent of State Population 25 Years or Older With Bachelor's Degree or Higher. In 1996, the baseline for Oklahoma was 20.1%, and the national was 23.6%. Oklahoma status for 2003 was 21.9%, while the national was 26.5%.

Employment Rates of Oklahoma Resident Associate Degree Graduates After One Year. In 1996, the baseline for Oklahoma was 89%. Status for Oklahoma in 2002 was 89%.

Employment Rates of Oklahoma Bachelor's Degree Graduates After One Year. In 1996, the baseline for Oklahoma was 85%. Status for Oklahoma in 2002 showed 86%.

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.