Oklahoma Seventh-Lowest in Public College Tuition

10-19-05 - A national survey ranks Oklahoma seventh-lowest in tuition and fees at four-year public universities.

The report released Tuesday by the College Board, makers of the SAT, shows the annual cost of attending a four-year state institution is $3,430, $2,061 below the national average of $5,491 for tuition and fees.

Puerto Rico offered the cheapest rates at $1,410 and was followed by Nevada, Florida, Hawaii, Georgia and New Mexico.

"It's still a bargain in Oklahoma," said Maryanne Maletz, vice chancellor for budget and finance for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Maletz said the cost of a college education is often cheaper than the $3,430 cited by the College Board. The board's Oklahoma average lumps comprehensive schools like the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University with regional colleges such as the University of Central Oklahoma.

In the two-year public college category, Oklahoma was 23rd-lowest, with annual tuition and fees of $2,260. The national average for community colleges is $2,191.

Most Oklahoma community colleges do not receive ad valorem money, Maletz said. In many other states, tuition is subsidized by local property taxes.

Tuition and fees at all state higher education institutions increased an average 7.4 percent this academic year, less than in recent years. The hike was 9.2 percent in 2004 and 18 percent in 2003.

The College Board report showed Oklahoma's private universities are much less expensive than most other states.

Annual tuition and fees average $13,420, the ninth-lowest in the ranking. The national average for a private university is $21,235.