Best Small Colleges in Arkansas 2024

BEST IN ARKANSAS SMALL COLLEGES

Small colleges in Arkansas are a great option for students interested in a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Whether the focus is on the technical or on the liberal arts, small colleges give you the chance to pursue a well-rounded education while working closely with classmates and professors in a dynamic community atmosphere.

10 Best Small Colleges in Arkansas 2024

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  1. Hendrix College
  2. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  3. Harding University
  4. Henderson State University
  5. University of Arkansas at Monticello
  6. Southern Arkansas University
  7. John Brown University
  8. Philander Smith University
  9. Ouachita Baptist University
  10. Lyon College
  1. Henderson State University 75%
  2. Ouachita Baptist University 74%
  3. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 68%
  4. Hendrix College 68%
  5. Williams Baptist University 64%
  6. Southern Arkansas University 63%
  7. Central Baptist College 62%
  8. University of the Ozarks 55%
  9. Harding University 54%
  10. John Brown University 53%
  1. Arkansas Baptist College 22 to 1
  2. Southern Arkansas University 18 to 1
  3. University of Arkansas–Fort Smith 18 to 1
  4. Williams Baptist University 16 to 1
  5. University of the Ozarks 16 to 1
  6. Harding University 14 to 1
  7. John Brown University 14 to 1
  8. Henderson State University 14 to 1
  9. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 14 to 1
  10. Philander Smith University 12 to 1
  1. Hendrix College $33,350
  2. Lyon College $30,414
  3. Ouachita Baptist University $30,140
  4. John Brown University $28,924
  5. University of the Ozarks $24,950
  6. Harding University $22,230
  7. Williams Baptist University $18,570
  8. Central Baptist College $17,400
  9. Crowley's Ridge College $15,250
  10. Philander Smith University $13,014
  1. Hendrix College $33,000
  2. John Brown University $13,920
  3. Ouachita Baptist University $13,500
  4. Harding University $10,540
  5. University of Arkansas–Fort Smith $7,092
  6. University of Arkansas at Monticello $6,631
  7. Henderson State University $5,670
  8. Southern Arkansas University $5,274
  9. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff $5,184
  1. Williams Baptist University
  2. Central Baptist College
  3. University of Arkansas–Fort Smith
  4. Crowley's Ridge College
  5. University of the Ozarks
  6. Arkansas Baptist College
  7. Lyon College
  8. Ouachita Baptist University
  9. Philander Smith University
  10. John Brown University
  1. Lyon College 27%
  2. John Brown University 53%
  3. Harding University 54%
  4. University of the Ozarks 55%
  5. Central Baptist College 62%
  6. Southern Arkansas University 63%
  7. Williams Baptist University 64%
  8. Hendrix College 68%
  9. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 68%
  10. Ouachita Baptist University 74%
  1. Crowley's Ridge College 10 to 1
  2. Hendrix College 10 to 1
  3. University of Arkansas at Monticello 11 to 1
  4. Central Baptist College 11 to 1
  5. Lyon College 11 to 1
  6. Philander Smith University 12 to 1
  7. Ouachita Baptist University 12 to 1
  8. Harding University 14 to 1
  9. John Brown University 14 to 1
  10. Henderson State University 14 to 1
  1. University of Arkansas–Fort Smith $4,104
  2. University of Arkansas at Monticello $4,779
  3. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff $5,130
  4. Henderson State University $5,880
  5. Southern Arkansas University $6,750
  6. Arkansas Baptist College $8,760
  7. Philander Smith University $13,014
  8. Crowley's Ridge College $15,250
  9. Central Baptist College $17,400
  10. Williams Baptist University $18,570
  1. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff $5,184
  2. Southern Arkansas University $5,274
  3. Henderson State University $5,670
  4. University of Arkansas at Monticello $6,631
  5. University of Arkansas–Fort Smith $7,092
  6. Harding University $10,540
  7. Ouachita Baptist University $13,500
  8. John Brown University $13,920
  9. Hendrix College $33,000

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

Arkansas's Best Small Colleges and Universities Badge
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The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Arkansas is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 16 small colleges in Arkansas. The list below of the best small colleges in Arkansas. To be included schools must fully accredited, and must have student body populations below 5,000 students.

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Best Small Colleges in Arkansas 2023

  1. #2

    Harding University

    Searcy , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/25

    Career Outlook for degree at Harding University

    Cost of Degree: $22,230
    Expenses: $12,308
    Starting Salary: $47,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 13 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Harding University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Bible And Ministry
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
  2. #3

    John Brown University

    Siloam Springs , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/25

    Career Outlook for degree at John Brown University

    Cost of Degree: $28,924
    Expenses: $13,204
    Starting Salary: $55,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is John Brown University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #4

    Henderson State University

    Arkadelphia , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1007/21

    Career Outlook for degree at Henderson State University

    Cost of Degree: $7,560
    Expenses: $19,534
    Starting Salary: $40,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    900/16

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

    Cost of Degree: $8,064
    Expenses: $13,350
    Starting Salary: $30,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 13 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Ouachita Baptist University

    Arkadelphia , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/25

    Career Outlook for degree at Ouachita Baptist University

    Cost of Degree: $30,140
    Expenses: $13,810
    Starting Salary: $46,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Ouachita Baptist University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Christian Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    4K

    Career Outlook for degree at Southern Arkansas University

    Cost of Degree: $9,310
    Expenses: $15,372
    Starting Salary: $39,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Southern Arkansas University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Southern Arkansas University’s Online Degrees

    BBA/MBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 150
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Arkansas at Monticello

    Cost of Degree: $8,029
    Expenses: $12,174
    Starting Salary: $35,800
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is University of Arkansas at Monticello known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Philander Smith University

    Little Rock , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Philander Smith University

    Cost of Degree: $13,014
    Expenses: $13,198
    Starting Salary: $27,300
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Philander Smith University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    Lyon College

    Batesville , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    27%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/25

    Career Outlook for degree at Lyon College

    Cost of Degree: $30,414
    Expenses: $14,730
    Starting Salary: $44,800
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Lyon College known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Crowley's Ridge College

    Paragould , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Crowley's Ridge College

    Cost of Degree: $15,250
    Expenses: $10,200
    Starting Salary: $29,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Crowley's Ridge College known for?

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

  11. #12

    University of the Ozarks

    Clarksville , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/20

    Career Outlook for degree at University of the Ozarks

    Cost of Degree: $25,950
    Expenses: $11,400
    Starting Salary: $38,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is University of the Ozarks known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    Arkansas Baptist College

    Little Rock , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    9%

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Arkansas Baptist College

    Cost of Degree: $8,760
    Expenses: $14,300
    Starting Salary: $25,100
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Arkansas Baptist College known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    5K

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Arkansas–Fort Smith

    Cost of Degree: $5,754
    Expenses: $16,374
    Starting Salary: $35,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    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
  14. Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/20

    Career Outlook for degree at Central Baptist College

    Cost of Degree: $17,400
    Expenses: $11,466
    Starting Salary: $43,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 13 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Central Baptist College known for?

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

  15. #16

    Williams Baptist University

    Walnut Ridge , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/21

    Career Outlook for degree at Williams Baptist University

    Cost of Degree: $18,570
    Expenses: $12,820
    Starting Salary: $36,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Williams Baptist University known for?

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

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Arkansas’s Best Small 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 utilized 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 for Medical Sciences
  3. Lyon College
  4. Ouachita Baptist University
  5. John Brown University
  6. Henderson State University
  7. Philander Smith University
  8. Harding University
  9. Southern Arkansas University
  10. University of the Ozarks
  11. Crowley's Ridge College
  12. Williams Baptist University
  13. Central Baptist College
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