For the second consecutive year, OSU Institute of Technology was ranked first for students to graduate with the least amount of debt in the West region in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 list of Best Colleges released Wednesday. The lowest debt load distinction places OSUIT third among all regional colleges in the nation.
OSUIT, which participated in the rankings for the third year, was listed as No. 5 in the Top Public Schools- West; No. 20 in Top Regional Colleges-West; and No. 7 in Best Ethnic Diversity rankings for the West Region.
Fifteen states are included in the region: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Less than half of all OSUIT students graduate with college loan debt, and the average amount of debt is $13,775, according to U.S. News’ rankings. Analysts report the average student debt nationally is $35,051, that’s two and a half times more than OSUIT students have when they graduate.
In fact, of all the regional colleges in the North, South, Midwest and West regions, OSUIT ranked third in lowest student debt.
“One of the things that brings me great pride at OSUIT is that our students leave here with little or no debt after they walk across our graduation stage. It’s become a very rare thing in this country, and I am honored that we are recognized as the top school in our region to offer such an affordable, but vital, education,” said Dr. Bill R. Path, OSUIT president.
Rogers State University was ranked second for graduates with the least amount of debt in the West region.
OSUIT continued to make the list of the top colleges in the West region in both the overall and public school categories. U.S. News rankings take into consideration several factors such as freshman retention rates, graduation rates, student to teacher ratios, acceptance rates, ACT/SAT test scores and percentage of classes with 20 or fewer students.
OSUIT was also recognized in the Best Ethnic Diversity regional rankings. U.S. News factors in the proportion of minority students, excluding international students, among each institution’s 2015-16 academic year student body.
The methodology, developed by Philip Meyer and Shawn McIntosh, produces a diversity index that ranges from 0.0 to 1.0. The closer a school’s number is to 1, the more diverse the student population and the more likely it is for students to interact with peers from different ethnic groups.
OSUIT’s index number is 0.54 with the largest minority group on campus being Native Americans, which make up 14 percent of the student population.
“Creating a diverse and inclusive environment is something we at OSUIT are continuously striving toward,” Path said.“Having a diverse campus with people from different backgrounds and with different life experiences is one of the best ways for our students to learn and truly become global citizens.”
Other Oklahoma institutions to make the West region’s Best Ethnic Diversity rankings are St. Gregory’s University, Rogers State University and Oklahoma Baptist University.