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Online and On-Campus Colleges in
ARKANSAS

Online and On-Campus Colleges in & Arkansas

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed March 2, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2, 2016, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed May 26, 2017: About our University, Arkansas Tech University, http://www.atu.edu/about.php; About UAFS, University of Arkansas Fort Smith, http://uafs.edu/about/about-uafs; About, University of Arkansas, http://www.uark.edu/about/index.php; Online Undergraduate Programs, Arkansas State University, http://degree.astate.edu/programs/undergraduate.aspx; Bachelor's Degrees, UCA Online, University of Central Arkansas, http://uca.edu/online/bachelors-degrees/; Riding Together: Cycling Culture in Conway, UCA Magazine, University of Central Arkansas, http://uca.edu/magazine/riding-together-cycle-culture-in-conway/; University of Arkansas at Monticello, http://www.uamont.edu/; Undergraduate Programs Online, University of Arkansas Little Rock, http://ualr.edu/online/program-types/undergraduate-programs/; About, Southern Arkansas University, https://web.saumag.edu/about/; History/Mission, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, https://www.uapb.edu/administration/finance_administration/human_resources/faculty_and_staff_handbook/historymisson.aspx; Our Mission, Harding University, http://www.harding.edu/about/mission;
  • Campuses and Affiliates, University of Arkansas System, accessed May 26, 2017, http://www.uasys.edu/campuses-affiliates/
  • Arkansas State University System, accessed May 26, 2017, http://www.asusystem.edu/
  • "SAU fastest growing, most affordable," Texarkana Gazette, May 29, 2016, accessed May 26, 2017, http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/texarkana/story/2016/may/29/sau-fastest-growing-most-affordable/624825/
  • Scholarship and Programs, Arkansas Department of Higher Education, accessed May 16, 2017, http://scholarships.adhe.edu/scholarships-and-programs/a-z/
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What are you looking for in a college in Arkansas? Affordability? A student-focused culture? The ability to take certain courses from home? Whatever attributes are most important to you, it can help to have as much information as possible about your options before making a decision for your own education.

Luckily, the state of Arkansas offers many options for students who want to earn a college degree. The two main public university systems in the state, the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University, include two-year and four-year schools with campuses throughout the state. There are also a number of other public schools, independent universities and private faith-based colleges.

Community college students hoping to transfer to a university should be sure to check for articulation agreements between their two-year institution and various four-year schools in the state. A thorough and painless transfer can help take some of the pressure off of your first semester in a university bachelor's program.

Best 4-Year Colleges in Arkansas

We analyzed loads of data from the U.S. Department of Education - 13 separate factors - to figure out which schools were the best traditional and online colleges in Arkansas.

Methodology
1Arkansas Tech University+
ADMISSION RATE
89%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
12

Finishing near the top of multiple categories of our rankings helped propel Arkansas Tech University into the No. 1 spot. The Russellville school charged students the state's second-lowest average tuition and fees amount in 2015-16, and the median amount of college debt carried by 2015 graduates was less than $17,500 — good for the No. 4 spot in that category statewide.

Only three schools offer a larger on-campus degree catalog than Arkansas Tech, and it featured eight out of the ten campus-based flexibility metrics we checked for. Students have access to career counseling as well as options for life experience credit and degree plans that can be fully completed through weekend and evening courses. Arkansas Tech also offers placement services to recent alumni.

Additional Info
2University of Arkansas - Fort Smith+
ADMISSION RATE
56%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

First established as a junior college in 1928, this outpost of the University of Arkansas System expanded to become a premier regional university while retaining the mission of providing a reasonably priced education to Arkansas residents. The Fort Smith school reported the No. 1 most affordable average tuition and fees expense in the state, and its projected total cost per student also topped the charts.

Average net price, calculated by subtracting the expected amount of institutional grant and scholarship aid from the aggregate cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board and other essentials, provides an estimate of out-of-pocket college expenses. UAFS was home to the No. 1 average net price figures in the state in 2015-16, for middle-income students as well as those with significant financial need.

Additional Info
3University of Arkansas - Main Campus+
ADMISSION RATE
60%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
11

The flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System was founded as a land-grant institution in 1871 and has grown into a nationally renowned research university in the more than 145 years since it first opened its doors. It posted the No. 4 graduation rate statewide in 2015-16, and its percentage of first-year students returning to continue their education as sophomores was the highest among all schools in our top ten.

The U of A also presented students with more than 200 degree programs to choose from in 2016 — the largest academic catalog in Arkansas — and its selection of online degree programs ranked No. 6 in the state. More than 80 percent of graduates were able to take care of their college debt within three years after finishing their degree programs, as well, giving the Fayetteville campus the No. 3 spot statewide on that metric.

Additional Info
4Arkansas State University+
ADMISSION RATE
70%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$15
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
27

The flagship campus of the Arkansas State University System emerged as one of the top destinations for students seeking an online bachelor's degree in Arkansas. Its distance education catalog was the largest in the state and featured degrees in the social sciences, communication studies, social media management and more.

The Jonesboro school was also one of the best online colleges in Arkansas by enrollment, taking the No. 1 spot on that metric thanks to more than 50 percent of enrolled students taking at least one course in the virtual classroom in 2015-16. On-campus students also had a sizeable selection of degrees to choose from, according to A-State's No. 2 ranking for the size of its traditional catalog.

Additional Info
5University of Central Arkansas+
ADMISSION RATE
92%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
16

The University of Central Arkansas is another one of the top online colleges for Arkansas students. The overall selection of online degree programs ranked No. 2 in the state and includes undergraduate programs in health care and business. Tuition costs were manageable at the Conway school, placing at No. 6 statewide for affordability, and the proportion of institutional grant aid awarded to students ranked No. 5 among schools on our list.

UCA students also have a tendency to see their educations through to the end. Only two other schools on our top ten posted higher rates of graduation and first-year student retention. If you're a cyclist, also, you may have an extra reason to consider UCA. Its home city of Conway works to encourage bicycle transportation and was designated an official Bicycle Friendly Community in 2011.

Additional Info
6University of Arkansas at Monticello+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
5

This small University of Arkansas System school located about 40 miles west of the Mississippi River is one of the few remaining open-enrollment universities in Arkansas, which means that no student is turned away in the admissions process regardless of standardized test scores or past academic performance. Tuition and fees were attractive as well, coming in at No. 4 statewide for their affordability.

The average net price figures for middle- and low-income students at UAM ranked No. 4 and No. 6, respectively, and that comparatively low out-of-pocket cost tended to lead to a manageable student debt burden for graduates. The median amount of debt carried by UAM alumni was just $15,000 in 2015, good for the No. 1 ranking in the state on that metric.

Additional Info
7University of Arkansas at Little Rock+
ADMISSION RATE
90%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
10

The University of Arkansas System campus in the state's capital city stood out most significantly in terms of the amount of institutional grant aid it provided its students. Only one other school statewide helped offset the cost of tuition to a greater degree than UA Little Rock. Students also had access to the state's third-largest catalog of on-campus degree programs and a formidable selection of online undergraduate degrees.

Nearly 44 percent of students at UA Little Rock took at least some courses via distance education in 2015, placing it at No. 3 statewide in that category. The online catalog here includes bachelor's degrees in management, health education, business information systems, professional writing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) for registered nurses who have already completed a clinical training program.

Additional Info
8Southern Arkansas University+
ADMISSION RATE
67%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
14

Southern Arkansas University is relatively small, with around 4,000 students on its rolls, but administrators don't expect it to be that way for long. The Magnolia school was named the fastest-growing university in Arkansas in 2015, and its array of online programs seems to be ready to handle the increased demand. Just three other schools in the state offered a wider selection of degrees that can be earned entirely in virtual classroom, and just one other institution topped its nearly 50 percent online enrollment in 2015.

The average net price of an SAU education ranked No. 5 in the state for low-income students and No. 7 for those with family incomes closer to the midline. SAU also retains its first-year students at the fourth-highest rate among schools that made our top ten.

Additional Info
9University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff+
ADMISSION RATE
46%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

The Pine Bluff campus of the University of Arkansas System is the only public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) institution in Arkansas, and its commitment to providing access to higher education is made clear in the data. It ranked No. 3 in the state for the affordability of both its tuition and fees average and its estimated cost of books and supplies, and it provided students the largest portion of institutional grant aid in the state.

Both low- and middle-income students at UAPB paid an average net price that ranked No. 2 for affordability in their respective categories, and nearly 50 percent of graduates were able to pay off the balance of their student loans within three years of finishing their degrees. The school also offers career counseling for students and placement services for graduates.

Additional Info
10Harding University+
ADMISSION RATE
99%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
15

Our No. 10 school is a private Christian faith-based institution located in Searcy, about an hour northeast of Little Rock. Harding University reported the highest graduation rate of any school on our list in 2016, and just one other institution posted a higher rate of first-year student retention. Harding students also paid the lowest cost of any school on our list for books and supplies in 2015-16.

The campus-based degree catalog at Harding was substantial, featuring over 100 programs and taking the No. 6 rank statewide for its variety. It also offers a range of courses and degrees in the virtual classroom, ranking No. 3 in the state for the number of programs available to distance education students.

Additional Info

Most Popular Degree Programs in Arkansas

Some students want to be part of a large major subject group and some would rather pursue a less common study plan. Whichever situation applies to you, knowing which degree programs are most popular among Arkansas students can help.

In-Demand Careers in Arkansas

If you're interested in designing your academic approach to best suit a high-demand occupation once you've finished your degree, it can help to keep an eye on the job market. Here's a list of Arkansas careers that are expected to grow over the next several years.

Career Title Total Employment Projected Job Growth Annual Salary
Family and General Practitioners1,36011.8%$205,320
Physicians and Surgeons, All Other2,56016.9%$190,350
Podiatrists7015.1%$178,540
Pediatricians, General13011.2%$175,260
Dentists, General70017.8%$166,020
Nurse Anesthetists32021.9%$151,480
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates3208.4%$141,550
Compensation and Benefits Managers1507.9%$126,400
Pharmacists3,5205.2%$119,950
Marketing Managers1,09016.9%$119,190

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Arkansas

Arkansas students who need some additional help paying for college can look into these and other state programs. The Academic Challenge Scholarship provides gradually increased award amounts to qualifying traditional and non-traditional students, and the Governor's Distinguished Scholarship is a program for high academic achievers that pays tuition, fees and room and board up to $10,000 per year.

 
Provost Scholarship
Applicant must be an out-of-state resident with a minimum 3.75 GPA and minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 1400 (composite ACT score of 32).
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.

 
7th GotScholarship $20K Give Away
Applicant must be a current or future college student/graduate with outstanding loans in any area of study. Applicant must be 18 years of age or older and register with GotChosen.com in ordered to be entered into the random drawing. Selection not based upon GPA, essay, or financial need. Award required to be used for educational expenses.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 28

 

 

 
President's Non-Resident Scholarship
Applicant must be an incoming freshman student who is not a resident of Utah. Applicant is automatically considered with application for admission.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$17,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.

 
Amigo Scholarship
Applicant must have a minimum 3.5 high school GPA with minimum composite ACT score of 23 (combined SAT Reasoning score of 1070) or have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA with a minimum composite ACT score of 26 (combined SAT Reasoning score of 1170). Applicant must not be from New Mexico.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$14,815

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 1 (fall); October 1 (spring)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable for four years.

Additional Resources

Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    • Remedial services
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Guaranteed tuition plan
    • Tuition payment plan
    • Any other alternative tuition plan
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University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
2801 S University Ave
City
Little Rock
State
AR
Zip Code
72204
Website
ualr.edu/www/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
420-560
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
440-510
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
18-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
9,575
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
90%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,108
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
22
Number of Online Programs Offered
10
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
44%
University of Arkansas
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
Administration Bldg 425
City
Fayetteville
State
AR
Zip Code
72701
Website
www.uark.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
500-600
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
510-620
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
23-28
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
22,159
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
60%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,522
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
11
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
28%
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1200 N University Mail Slot 4789
City
Pine Bluff
State
AR
Zip Code
71601
Website
www.uapb.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
380-500
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
400-500
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
350-485
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
16-20
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,545
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
46%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,271
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
16
Number of Online Programs Offered
1
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
41%
Arkansas State University-Main Campus
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
2105 E. Aggie Road
City
Jonesboro
State
AR
Zip Code
72401
Website
www2.astate.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
400-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-540
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
420-480
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
21-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
9,592
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$15
Admission Rate
70%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,050
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
19
Number of Online Programs Offered
27
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
50%
Arkansas Tech University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
Administration Bldg 200; 1509 N Boulder Ave
City
Russellville
State
AR
Zip Code
72801
Website
www.atu.edu
Test Scores
Recommended
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
11,191
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
89%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,192
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
31
Number of Online Programs Offered
12
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
36%
University of Arkansas at Monticello
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
Highway 425 South
City
Monticello
State
AR
Zip Code
71656
Website
www.uamont.edu/
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,428
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,446
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
22
Number of Online Programs Offered
5
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
43%
University of Central Arkansas
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
201 Donaghey Ave
City
Conway
State
AR
Zip Code
72035
Website
www.uca.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-570
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
440-550
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
9,887
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
92%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,889
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
18
Number of Online Programs Offered
16
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
23%
Harding University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
915 E. Market Ave.
City
Searcy
State
AR
Zip Code
72143
Website
www.harding.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
490-620
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
480-620
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
22-28
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
4,450
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
99%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$17,805
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
15
Number of Online Programs Offered
15
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
19%
Southern Arkansas University Main Campus
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
100 E. University
City
Magnolia
State
AR
Zip Code
71753
Website
WWW.SAUMAG.EDU
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
390-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
420-540
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
18-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,123
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
67%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,896
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
14
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
50%
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
5210 Grand Ave
City
Fort Smith
State
AR
Zip Code
72913
Website
uafs.edu/
Test Scores
Recommended
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
6,714
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
56%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$5,086
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
28
Number of Online Programs Offered
4
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
31%
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