Best Private Colleges in Arkansas 2022

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Arkansas.

Best Private 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

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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How do we determine Arkansas's best private 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.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 12 private universities in Arkansas. To be included in the list below of the best private universities in Arkansas, schools must be fully accredited, private, non-profit institution, and must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

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Best Private Colleges in Arkansas

  1. #2

    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

  2. #3

    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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  3. #4

    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
  4. #5

    Philander Smith College

    Little Rock , AR

    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

  5. #6

    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

  6. #7

    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
  7. #8

    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

  8. #9

    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

  9. #10

    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
  10. #11

    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

  11. 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 Private Colleges in Your Area 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. Lyon College
  3. Ouachita Baptist University
  4. John Brown University
  5. Philander Smith College
  6. Harding University
  7. University of the Ozarks
  8. Crowley's Ridge College
  9. Williams Baptist University
  10. Central Baptist College