Best Public Colleges in Arkansas 2022

Best Public Colleges in Arkansas 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Arkansas provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

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 colleges offering online degree programs in Arkansas.

Indeed, online students can earn their degree at one of the state’s two largest universities, the University of Arkansas or 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. It is possible to study these subjects both through traditional and online degree programs in the state of Arkansas.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Roughly 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. Both traditional and online students can pursue degrees that merge religious studies with fields like chemistry and history.

Tuition rates at each of the state’s 12 private schools vary greatly. Arkansas’s private colleges and schools cost anywhere between $9,000 and $46,000. Many of these private colleges boast high graduation rates and small class sizes.

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

With so many affordable schools and competitive on-campus and online 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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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 10 public universities in Arkansas. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Arkansas, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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Best Public 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

    University of Arkansas’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • General Business
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Human Resources And Workforce Development Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Development And Family Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • General Business
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Human Resources and Workforce Development Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Development and Family Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1116/24

    Arkansas State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Law
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • Financial Wellness
    • Hospitality Management
    • Human Resourse Management
    • Marketing
    • Marketing Analytics
    • Real Estate
    • Sales
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN to BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BGS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Applied Science
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Disaster Preparedness/Emergency Management
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Creative Media Production
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Digital Technology and Design
    Degree Concentrations
    • Game Design
    • Mobile App Development
    • Web Design
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Engineering Management Systems
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Organizational Supervision
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Strategic Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Applied Science
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Creative Media Production
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Digital Innovation
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Disaster Preparedness/Emergency Management
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BGS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Organizational Supervision
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/24

    University of Central Arkansas’s Online Degrees

    BS in Addiction Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in General Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BGS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Insurance And Risk Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Management Information Systems
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Analytics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #5

    Arkansas Tech University

    Russellville , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    9K

    Arkansas Tech University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Applied Science
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BFA in Creative Writing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice And Criminology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency Management And Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Organizational Leadership
    Degree Concentrations
    • Agriculture Business
    • Child Development
    • Inter-College
    • Public Relations
    • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1067/21

    Southern Arkansas University’s Online Degrees

    BBA/MBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 150
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. 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:

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Arkansas–Fort Smith’s Online Degrees

    BA in Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Arkansas’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

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. University of Arkansas
  2. Arkansas State University
  3. Henderson State University
  4. University of Central Arkansas
  5. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  6. University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  7. Southern Arkansas University
  8. Arkansas Tech University
  9. University of Arkansas–Fort Smith
  10. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff