U.S. News Recognizes RSU for Low Student Debt

Rogers State University was recognized among the region’s top schools for lowest student debt upon graduation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges annual survey.

This is the fifth consecutive year U.S. News’ Best Colleges has recognized RSU for having graduates with low student debt when compared to regional peers. The annual report, released Tuesday, noted almost half (49 percent) of RSU’s 2015 graduating class earned a diploma without student debt, which was the most among western regional colleges. For those who did assume student debt, RSU graduates had the second-lowest average debt of $16,146 when compared with western regional college peers.

RSU was joined by Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology-Okmulgee as the only Oklahoma schools included in the ranks of graduates with lowest student debt for all national or regional colleges and universities.

RSU President Dr. Larry Rice said the university’s high marks for low student debt can be traced back to the university’s commitment to securing public and private aid for a student body where most students will be the first in their families to graduate from college.

“We remain focused on increasing the number of Oklahomans with a college degree, and making financial aid readily available is a key component in that process,” Rice said. “Declining state support for higher education makes it increasingly difficult for students to earn degrees. I applaud our Financial Aid office and the RSU Foundation for helping our students secure financial assistance that keeps a college degree within reach.”

RSU remains committed to providing financial aid for students, including the allocation of $5.2 million in scholarships for the 2016-17 budget year. Scholarships and tuition waivers represent 16 percent of RSU’s budget this year.

The U.S. News data include loans taken out by students from their colleges, from private financial institutions, and from federal, state and local governments. Loans to parents are not included. The “average amount of debt” refers to the cumulative amount borrowed by students who incurred debt; it’s not an average for all students.