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Oklahoma State University

Higher education is a powerful economic driver for the state of Oklahoma, with the potential for even greater impact.

And higher education is a bargain in Oklahoma, ranking among the nation’s best in most affordability measures.

Amid much discussion nationally and locally about the cost and impact of higher education, including misinformation and misguided ideas, the information below highlights Oklahoma State University’s continuing success in providing great value at a great price.

Edmon Low Library at OSU


  • OSU has partially offset decreased state funding with record enrollment and record fundraising
  • System-wide, Stillwater-campus, freshman enrollment have all hit record highs in last five years
  • Over the past seven years, OSU Stillwater undergraduate enrollment has grown by 3,300 students, an average increase of more than 470 students a year
  • OSU reached its $1 billion Branding Success fundraising campaign goal nearly two years early, raising cash, pledges and estate gifts of more than $1.2 billion
  • OSU student growth has been fueled by more Oklahomans and growth in out-of-state students, who are an important revenue source for OSU and our state
  • Non-resident students pay a higher tuition rate, which has allowed OSU to maintain lower costs for in-state students (even with the increase of out-of-state students, every qualified in-state student has a spot at OSU)
  • When combined with federal support for sponsored programs in instruction, research and extension, as well as federal financial aid awarded to students, the annual revenue from outside our state totals $340 million, which is $217 million more than state appropriations to OSU

Enrollment Records

4,289 Freshman, 2012
37,059 System-wide, 2012
24,511 Stillwater-campus, 2015
20,277 Undergrad Stillwater, 2016


  • OSU has remained diligent in managing and reducing costs, while continuing to offer great value
  • Despite 10% growth in students the past 10 years, growth in employees has been virtually flat (8 employees, or 0.2%) over the same period; during that decade, employees per 100 students dropped from 20.8 to 19
  • Said another way, OSU’s institutional support cost per student of just under $1,200 is 50% of the national average for four-year public institutions
  • OSU’s energy management program has been a model for the state; the behavioral-based program has saved more than      $35 million since July 2007
  • OSU has gained savings through changes to its purchasing card program, a self-insured health plan, and outsourcing custodial services, waste management and most of its vehicle fleet
  • New work order system uses mobile technology to respond quicker and get more done across campus


  • State appropriations this year account for 14% of the revenue for all agencies that carry out OSU’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and extension across all Oklahoma counties and beyond
  • That is a decrease from 18% the previous year; the state-funded portion of OSU’s total budget was 38% 15 years ago; the actual dollars directed to higher education have dropped by $37 million over that time
  • Tuition and fees account for 27% of the total OSU budget, compared to 15% 15 years ago
  • Still, OSU ranks among the most affordable in the region, Big 12 and among land-grant institutions

Employee Growth vs. Student Growth from Fall 2009 to Fall 2014

  • The Student population has increased by 2,929
  • The number of full-time employees have decreased by 235


plus 2,929 students, minus 235 Full time employees

Revenue Sources - FY2017 OSU System

Pie chart showing revenue sources described below

  • Auxiliaries: 28%
  • Tuition and Fees: 27%
  • Other: 13%
    • Income: 4.2%
    • Educational Services: 3.9%
    • Endowments/Facilities & Administration: 4.1%
    • Federal Appropriations: 1.2%
  • Sponsored Programs/Research: 10%
  • Student Aid: 6%

OSU System-wide Budget

Line graph showing relationship between state funding and tuition and fees described below

  • State appropriations
    • 2003: 38% of the total budget
    • 2017: 15% of the total budget
  • Tuition/Fees
    • 2003: 16% of the total budget
    • 2017: 27% of the total budget


  • OSU is named to a variety of national lists for its value; for instance, Princeton Review selected OSU for providing students the “best bang for their tuition buck” 
  • Oklahoma is third lowest state in average student cost for public four-year universities
  • Oklahoma is lowest of the 16 member states in the Southern Regional Education Board for tuition and mandatory fees at public four-year schools
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks Oklahoma fifth in the nation in overall affordability
  • Tuition and fees as a percentage of per capita personal income in Oklahoma is 16.8%; second lowest among all neighboring states (New Mexico is 16.6%); most of those states top 20%
  • OSU’s tuition and fees are 69% of the national average for land-grant universities; cost of attendance is 78% of the national average
  • A recent ranking places OSU among the best universities nationally for providing scholarships that help reduce student debt

Annual Costs

Tuition & Fees 2015-2016

  • Land-Grant Average: $11,312

  • Big 12 Average: $9,245

  • OSU: $7,778

    • OSU Tuition and Fees for 2016-17 $8,321 − over $900 in savings

Average Student Debt

Graduation Gown

 Did you know nearly 50% of OSU Students graduate with no debt?

The average amount is $22,591, well below the national average and the lowest in the Big 12