Best Colleges in Arkansas 2022

Here are the best colleges and universities in Arkansas, categorized into two lists – research universities and liberal arts colleges – to help you find the right kind of school for you.

Best Colleges in Arkansas 2022

Colleges and Universities in Arkansas

Colleges and universities in Arkansas are uniquely affordable, with just under half providing tuition rates of $9,000 or less. We’ve also found 7 high quality olleges offering online degree programs in Arkansas. Included in this list are the state’s two largest universities, the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University. Though students can find some overlapping degree programs at the two schools, each has its specialties. For example, students hoping to pursue degrees in architecture, agriculture, or business may want to consider the University of Arkansas, while those interested in biology, nursing, or political science may want to attend Arkansas State University.

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Additionally, about one third of the schools in Arkansas have a religious affiliation. Student populations at these schools range from just under 200 students up to 5,000, and allow students to pursue degrees merging religious studies with fields like chemistry and history. While tuition at each of the state’s 12 private schools varies greatly, costing anywhere between $9,000 and $46,000, many of these colleges boast high graduation rates and small class sizes.

While Arkansas is perhaps best-known and loved for countless lakes, Hot Springs National Park, and the United States’ only active diamond mine. The Natural State houses many higher education institutes where students can earn associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in a full range of disciplines.

With so many affordable schools and competitive degree programs, students attending school in Arkansas have the luxury of combining their individual budget needs with their desired degree paths. For more information on attending school in Arkansas, check out some of the state’s top schools.


What are Arkansas’s Colleges & Universities?

Arkansas’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Arkansas's best colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

We’ve identified 22 colleges and universities in Arkansas that meet our criteria. This list of the top colleges in Arkansas below focuses on schools that offer bachelor’s degrees. The ranking features fully accredited public and private colleges and universities in Arkansas.

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Best Colleges in Arkansas 2022

  1. #1

    University of Arkansas

    Fayetteville , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    What is University of Arkansas known for?

    University of Arkansas’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Law
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Earth Sciences
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    7K

    What is University of Arkansas at Little Rock known for?

    University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • History
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Arkansas State University

    Jonesboro , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1116/24

    What is Arkansas State University known for?

    Arkansas State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/24

    What is University of Central Arkansas known for?

    University of Central Arkansas’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Harding University

    Searcy , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/25

    What is Harding University known for?

    Harding University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Nursing
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Social Work
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Arkansas Tech University

    Russellville , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Arkansas Tech University known for?

    Arkansas Tech University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Earth Sciences
    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • History
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    John Brown University

    Siloam Springs , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/26

    What is John Brown University known for?

    John Brown University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

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  8. #9

    Henderson State University

    Arkadelphia , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1044/21

    What is Henderson State University known for?

    Henderson State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/18

    What is University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff known for?

    University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Ouachita Baptist University

    Arkadelphia , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    What is Ouachita Baptist University known for?

    Ouachita Baptist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #12

    Southern Arkansas University

    Magnolia , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1067/21

    What is Southern Arkansas University known for?

    Southern Arkansas University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    2K

    What is University of Arkansas at Monticello known for?

    University of Arkansas at Monticello’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    Philander Smith College

    Little Rock , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Philander Smith College known for?

    Philander Smith College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Lyon College

    Batesville , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

    What is Lyon College known for?

    Lyon College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • History
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #16

    Crowley's Ridge College

    Paragould , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Crowley's Ridge College known for?

    Crowley's Ridge College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
  16. #17

    University of the Ozarks

    Clarksville , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/20

    What is University of the Ozarks known for?

    University of the Ozarks’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    Arkansas Baptist College

    Little Rock , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    12%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Arkansas Baptist College known for?

    Arkansas Baptist College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    5K

    What is University of Arkansas–Fort Smith known for?

    University of Arkansas–Fort Smith’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #20

    Central Baptist College

    Conway , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/19

    What is Central Baptist College known for?

    Central Baptist College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
  20. #21

    Williams Baptist University

    Walnut Ridge , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/20

    What is Williams Baptist University known for?

    Williams Baptist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Business
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    5K

    What is University of Arkansas Grantham known for?

    University of Arkansas Grantham’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

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Arkansas’s Best Colleges in Your Area of Interest

Resources for College-Bound Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Hendrix College
  2. University of Arkansas
  3. Lyon College
  4. Ouachita Baptist University
  5. Arkansas State University
  6. John Brown University
  7. Henderson State University
  8. Philander Smith College
  9. Harding University
  10. University of Central Arkansas
  11. Southern Arkansas University
  12. University of the Ozarks
  13. Crowley's Ridge College
  14. Williams Baptist University
  15. Arkansas Tech University