Education in Oklahoma

With an educational system made up of public school districts and independent private institutions, Oklahoma had 631,337 students enrolled in 1,849 public primary, secondary, and vocational schools in 540 school districts as of 2006. Oklahoma has the highest enrollment of Native American students in the nation with 120,122 students in the 2005–06 school year. Ranked near the bottom of states in expenditures per student, Oklahoma spent $6,614 for each student in 2005, 47th in the nation, though its growth of total education expenditures between 1992 and 2002 ranked 22nd. The state is among the best in pre-kindergarten education, and the National Institute for Early Education Research rated it first in the United States with regard to standards, quality, and access to pre-kindergarten education in 2004, calling it a model for early childhood schooling. While high school dropout rates decreased 29 percent between 2005 and 2006, Oklahoma ranked in the bottom three states in the nation for retaining high school seniors, with a 3.2 percent dropout rate. In 2004, the state ranked 36th in the nation for the relative number of adults with high school diplomas, though at 85.2 percent, it had the highest rate among southern states.

Oklahoma State University, The University of Oklahoma, and The University of Central Oklahoma are the largest public institutions of higher education in Oklahoma, operating through one primary campus and satellite campuses throughout the state. The two state universities, along with Oklahoma City University and the University of Tulsa, rank among the country's best in undergraduate business programs, The University of Tulsa College of Law, Oklahoma City University's School of Law, and the University of Oklahoma College of Law are the state's only ABA accredited institutions. The University of Oklahoma and University of Tulsa are in the top percentage of universities nationally for academic ratings, with the University of Tulsa the only university ranked in the top 100. Oklahoma holds eleven public regional universities, including Northeastern State University, the second-oldest institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River, also containing the only College of Optometry in Oklahoma and the largest enrollment of Native American students in the nation by percentage and amount. Langston University is Oklahoma's only historically black college. Six of the state's universities were placed in the Princeton Review's list of best 122 regional colleges in 2007, and three made the list of top colleges for best value. The state has 54 post-secondary technical institutions operated by Oklahoma's CareerTech program for training in specific fields of industry or trade.

In the 2007–2008 school year, there were 181,973 undergraduate students, 20,014 graduate students, and 4,395 first-professional degree students enrolled in Oklahoma colleges. Of these students, 18,892 received a bachelor's degree, 5,386 received a masters degree, and 462 received a first professional degree. This means the state of Oklahoma produces an average of 38,278 degree-holders per completions component (i.e. July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008). The national average is 68,322 total degrees awarded per completions component.

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