dcsimg

Online Colleges in
ARKANSAS

Online schools in Arkansas

Article Sources
  • Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Industries, Accessed December 28, 2016, http://www.arkansasedc.com/industries
  • Best Online Bachelor's Programs, Rankings, Education, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed December 27, 2016, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/bachelors/rankings
  • Colleges in Arkansas, Higher Education, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed December 28, 2016, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/ar
  • Educational Rankings, Rankings & Advice, Higher Education, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed December 28, 2016, http://www.usnews.com/rankings
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, Accessed January 2, 2017. https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Rural Profile of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, Research and Extension, University of Arkansas System, Accessed January 4, 2017, https://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/MP-531.pdf
  • "Top 5 Industries in Arkansas: Which Parts of the Economy Are Strongest," NewsMax, Scott Hinderer, Accessed December 28, 2016, http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/arkansas-industries-strongest-economy/2016/01/20/id/710235/
  • U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, CareerOneStop, State Profiles, Arkansas, Accessed December 28, 2016, https://www.careerinfonet.org/state1.asp?next=state1&id=11&nodeid=12&soccode=&menuMode=&stfips=05&x=36&y=10
  • U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, Accessed January 1, 2017, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
X

Arkansas colleges and universities are the cornerstone of the state's success. According to the Arkansas Economic Development Council, Arkansas' educated workforce attracts new businesses, helps maintain an unemployment rate "consistently below the national average," and primes the state for challenges of the 21st Century.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that there are 92 colleges in Arkansas, more than a third of which are publically funded. Options include major state universities, private liberal arts and career training colleges, online schools and more. Here is a breakdown of Arkansas colleges and universities by institution type and degrees offered.

Institution type No. offering bachelor's degrees No. offering associate's degrees No. offering certificates and other non-degree awards No. offering advanced degrees (master's, Ph.D., etc.)
Private for-profit33332
Private nonprofit121144
Public13343713

Source: College Navigator, NCES

Major Arkansas college towns

While Arkansas' higher education landscape is diverse, there are several areas in which colleges — and college students — are more concentrated. Employers are often drawn to major college towns, which tend to be centers of research and highly-skilled workers. The following table highlights just some of Arkansas notable college towns. The NCES' Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) tracks key college information while the Census Bureau offers additional community stats. For comparison, Arkansas' statewide average bachelor's degree attainment rate is 21,1 percent:

Major Arkansas college towns
CityStudent share of population
(2015)
Pop. w/ 4+-year degrees
(2015)
Colleges in 10 mi. radiusMajor institutions
Little Rock 13.6 percent 39.3 percent 24 University of Arkansas at Little Rock
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Pulaski Technical College

(North Little Rock)

Jonesboro

18.1 percent

29.8 percent

1

Arkansas State University

Fayetteville

33.6 percent

46.6 percent

8

University of Arkansas

Blue Cliff College

Conway

33.4 percent

37.3

5

University of Central Arkansas

Hendrix College

Sources: NCES - IPEDS, Census Bureau: Quick Facts

Major Arkansas colleges and universities

Arkansas is home to several nationally-ranked colleges and universities, like the public University of Arkansas and private Hendrix College. Other prevalent options include community colleges, religious colleges and career schools. The following table highlights some of Arkansas' best colleges and universities based on U.S. News & World Report's 2017 college rankings, but it is by no means comprehensive. Check out other notable colleges elsewhere on this page.

Top Arkansas colleges and universities

Category

College

Institution type

Enrollment

(2016)

Tuition, fees

(2016)

Overall Rankings

(National)

University of Arkansas

Public university

22.195

$8,820

Public Schools

(National)

Arkansas State University

Public university

9,592

$10,100

Liberal Arts Colleges

(National)

Hendrix College

(Conway)

Private nonprofit liberal arts college - Methodist

1,327

$42,440

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

(National)

University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff

Public university

2,545

$6,676

Best Value Colleges, Universities

(Southern Region)

Harding University

Private nonprofit

4,450

$18,635

University of the Ozarks

Private nonprofit

651

$23,750

Sources: U.S. News & World Report, 2017; IPEDS, 2015-16

Online education in Arkansas

America's segue toward a more knowledge-based economy makes college graduates more valuable than ever before, and this is just as true in Arkansas as in any other state. Workers with solid 21st century skills attract more jobs, better wages and, in turn, a higher standard of living. The trick is making college degrees accessible to everyone, which is where online colleges in Arkansas really shine.

Online education can make college more manageable for working residents, parents and others for whom regular campus visits are difficult. One important, but often-overlooked group that stands to benefit tremendously from online programs in Arkansas: the state's sizable rural population. According to the University of Arkansas System's Division of Agriculture Extension (UAEX), higher educational attainment among rural residents lags significantly behind state and national averages. This is true for all levels of degrees, from entry-level certificates through master's degrees and doctorates. Degrees in STEM-related disciplines are especially lacking.

Fortunately, the UAEX reports college-going and graduation rates have slowly but steadily improved over the last decade. The expansion of online colleges in Arkansas likely contributed to this growth. As the following table demonstrates, dozens of Arkansas schools of all types and sizes now offer online courses and degrees. A breakdown:

Online colleges in Arkansas

Institution type

No. offering associate degrees

No. offering bachelor's degrees

No. offering advanced degrees

No. offering certificates

State total

Public

23

9

9

15

31

Private nonprofit

1

6

2

1

7

Private for-profit

2

2

2

2

3

State total

26

17

13

18

41

Source: College Navigator, NCES

Notable online colleges in Arkansas

There are dozens of online programs in Arkansas. In- and out-of-state students can now pursue college certificates and degrees in a myriad of areas, often from home and on their own schedules. As with campus-based programs, however, options vary from one school to the next, and some online schools in Arkansas are better known than others. Here is snapshot of some of Arkansas' highest-ranked online colleges and programs:

Top online programs in Arkansas

Schools

Offerings

Students participating in online learning

Undergraduate                       Graduate

Featured online programs

University of Arkansas

Classes, degrees, certificates and professional licensing plans

28.3 percent

31.8 percent

RN to BSN

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Executive MBA

Arkansas State University

(Fayetteville)

Classes, degrees and certificates

31.6 percent

69.7 percent

BA in Political Science

Master of Public Administration

Curriculum Director Certificate

John Brown University

(Siloam Springs)

Classes and degrees

8.7 percent

42.8 percent

BS in Psychology

MBA

MA in Higher Education

Southern Arkansas State

(Jonesboro)

Classes, degrees and licensing lans

31.6 percent

69.7 percent

MS in Clinical, Mental Health Counseling

Principal Licensure

MBA

Arkansas Tech University

(Russellville)

Classes and degrees

34.8 percent

67.3 percent

MS in Health Informatics

RN to BSN

AS in Early Childhood Ed.

Sources: U.S. News & World Report, 2017; National Center for Education Statistics - IPEDS, 2014-5

Students interested in exploring all the schools and institutions based in Arkansas offering online & campus-based programs can explore the map below

VIEW MAP >

Arkansas: Industries, careers to watch

As important as it is, a college degree is only one factor that can impact your career and earnings outlook. Another: how in-demand your area of study is. Arkansas' economy is dynamic, shifting over time. Traditional sectors like agriculture and manufacturing are still important, but are not necessarily adding jobs as quickly as others. Here are some of Arkansas' most promising industries and employers:

Arkansas: Promising industries, key employers
Aerospace and Defense
Why it's hot
Major employers
Arkansas is home to about 180 aerospace and defense companies, making aerospace and aviation its second leading export. The Arkansas Economic Development Council (AEDC) credits the state's numerous runway and aviation sites and its skilled workforces.

Dassault Falcon Jet Corp.

Aerojet Rocketdyne

Aviation Repair Technologies

Raytheon Missile Systems

Lockheed Martin

Bioscience
Why it's hot
Major employers
Arkansas is a major base for agricultural-related bioscience research; the University of Arkansas for Medical Science allows company access to its state-of-the-art resources, making it an incubator for new bioscience firms.

Tyson Foods

Baxter

U.S. Department of Agriculture

National Center for Toxicological Research (FDA)

Information Technology
Why it's hot
Major employers
Many software development and data management companies set their roots in Arkansas thanks, in part, to the state's low cost-of-living and utility costs and electric rates, which power a growing field of data centers. The AEDC reports some of the world's largest and most sophisticated software and data management companies have headquarters — or a strong presence — in Arkansas.

Acxiom

Fidelity Information Services

HP

nGage Labs

Acumen Brand

FIS

Business Services
Why it's hot
Major employers
Information technology companies are not the only major firms to set headquarters in Arkansas: seven Fortune 500 companies are housed in the state, including the world's largest retailer, Walmart.

J.B. Hunt

Walmart

Tyson Foods

Acxiom

Murphy Oil Corp.

Dillards

Healthcare
Why it's hot
Major employers
Arkansas' numerous hospitals, healthcare firms, and university research and medical centers support a booming healthcare market. Of the state's top 20 major employers, eight are healthcare-related. Healthcare jobs are also among some of the most in-demand careers in terms of both workforce representation and projected occupational growth between 2014 and 2024.

University of Arkansas for Medical Science

Baptist Health

Arkansas Children's Hospital

UAMS Medical Center

St. Bernard's Medical Center

Source: CareerOneStop, Department of Labor

How to enroll in online and campus-based programs in Arkansas

Choosing and applying to college programs is always stressful, but the process for online colleges in Arkansas is no more complicated than it is in campus-based programs. Here are a few points to keep in mind as you work through the admissions process:

  • Rankings are not everything. Use our lists of featured programs and map tool to find and research several schools before finalizing your short list.
  • Readers seeking financial aid or who intend to go on to higher-level programs should confirm institutions' accreditation status before applying; many financial aid awards and graduate programs require that students attend accredited schools.
  • Note that many online colleges in Arkansas offer in-state residency status and tuition to all enrolled students. They may also offer special scholarships, rates and student services.

All of these points demonstrate the importance of research. Check out the following resources to get started.

Featured traditional and online Schools in Arkansas

The following table demonstrates the range of Arkansas schools and colleges. Keep scrolling to find even more colleges and a useful college mapping tool.

Featured schools: Top colleges in Arkansas

School

(City)

Institution type

Tuition

fees

(2016)

Students receiving financial aid (2016)

Popular areas of study

Arkansas State University

(State University)

Public university

$10,100

85 percent

Liberal Arts

Healthcare

Education

Psychology

Hendrix College

(Conway)

Private liberal arts college

$42,400

64 percent

Social Sciences

Biological Sciences

Psychology

English Literature

University of Arkansas - Little Rock

Public university

$8,165

73 percent

Business

Healthcare

Protective Services

Biological Sciences

Arkansas Tech University

(Russellville)

Public University

$6,192

67 percent

Interdisciplinary Studies

Nursing

Business

Psychology

Harding University

(Searcy)

Private nonprofit

$18,635

62 percent

Business

Healthcare

Education

Liberal Arts

John Brown University

(Siloam Springs)

Private nonprofit

$25,324

53 percent

Business

Visual, Performing Arts

Education

Engineering

Sources: U.S. News & World Report, 2017; NCES - IPEDS 2015-16

Article Sources