A database compiled by Oklahoma Watch shows just 34 Epic graduates enrolled this fall at the state’s two flagship research universities, the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

That falls short compared to other similarly-sized public school systems.

The two largest districts – both urban school systems with significant numbers of students in poverty and coping with trauma – had more graduates enrolled in college. Combined, OU and OSU enrolled 73 students from Oklahoma City Public Schools and 171 from Tulsa Public Schools.

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Suburban school systems, with fewer students in poverty, reported significantly more graduates attending those universities: a combined 524 from Edmond Public Schools, 210 from Moore Public Schools and 100 from Putnam City Public Schools.

At other four-year universities across the state, we found 82 Epic graduates enrolled. And at the state’s two-year community colleges, 255 Epic graduates enrolled.

Because enrollment data collected by Oklahoma Watch is only for in-state, public colleges and universities, there are some limitations. For one, some students attend an out-of-state college – 7.4% statewide in 2018, according to the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability.

Also, the enrollment data provided is for first-time freshmen and does not include students who took nontraditional paths to higher education.

Public relations firm Price Lang, speaking for Epic, said the school’s internal data suggests graduates’ college-going rate is closer to the statewide one. Because Epic students live in all 77 counties, many attend colleges in bordering states, the firm said. Looking only at Oklahoma colleges “isn’t an accurate representation of actual attendance.”

The 2018 state profile for Epic’s statewide virtual high school, however, shows that its out-of-state college-going rate is 3.3%, which is less than half the state average of 7.4%.

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