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.

Best Public 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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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.

How do we determine Arkansas's best public 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.

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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

    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. #5

    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

  6. #6

    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

  7. 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

  8. #8

    Southern Arkansas University

    Magnolia , AR

    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

  9. 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

  10. 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

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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

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