When Mario Gonzalez was a freshman at East Central University in Ada, he found himself in an unfortunate situation.
Gonzalez played football at ECU as a walk-on, but his playing career was cut short due to injuries. Rather than continuing to attend ECU, he transferred to Western Oklahoma State College, in his hometown of Altus, where he earned his associate degree in business administration.
Now 23, Gonzalez is a senior at the University of Central Oklahoma. Although he eventually left Altus to continue his education, Gonzalez said transferring to a community college for two years was a good decision for him.
Tuition was less expensive, he said, and going to school in Altus allowed him to save on living expenses by living with his parents.
“It was a wonderful choice,” he said.
A new report shows that students like Gonzalez make up the majority of Oklahoma's undergraduates.
The report comes from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center as a part of a series of snapshot reports dealing with student mobility. According to the report, 58 percent of students who receive a bachelor's degree in Oklahoma have credit from a community college on their transcripts.
Nationwide, 45 percent of students take courses at community colleges before receiving their bachelor's degrees. Although Oklahoma is above average in that regard, Texas tops the list, with 78 percent of bachelor's degree holders having at least some community college credit.
Oklahoma had the seventh highest percentage of bachelor's degree earners with community college credit. Other Plains states tended to be above average, as well — Kansas was fourth on the list, with 65 percent. Nebraska was just behind Oklahoma, in eighth place with 57 percent.