Originally published in The Oklahoman
Four Oklahoma schools are ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the category of Best Regional Colleges in the magazine's 2017 report released last week.
The Regional Colleges category comprises 334 schools that focus almost entirely on the undergraduate experience and offer a broad range of programs in liberal arts and in fields such as business, nursing and education, according to the report.
The colleges are ranked in four regions, with Oklahoma in the 15-state West region.
The magazine ranks larger institutions under the categories National Universities and Regional Universities.
For the 23rd consecutive year, Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee is the highest-ranking Oklahoma school on the Best Regional Colleges list.
OBU is ranked No. 5 in the West, and is the only Oklahoma school listed as an A+ Schools for B Students in the Regional Colleges category. The designation notes schools where students who aren't academic superstars can be accepted and thrive.
Other Oklahoma schools on the list of Best Regional Colleges in the West and their rankings are St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, 17; Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee, 20; and Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, 22.
OSUIT was ranked No. 5 among Top Public Regional Colleges in the West.
For the second year, OSUIT was ranked No. 1 for students to graduate with the least amount of debt in the West region. Less than half of its students graduate with college loan debt, and the average amount for those with debt is $13,775, according to the report.