Arkansas’s Most Affordable Colleges & Universities of 2021

Here are the most affordable colleges and universities in Arkansas. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you, at a price you can afford.

Arkansas’s Most Affordable Colleges & Universities of 2021

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. 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.

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What are Arkansas’s Colleges & Universities?

Arkansas’s Best Overall


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The following list of the most affordable colleges and universities in Arkansas is composed entirely of schools offering four-year undergraduate degree programs. We’ve identified 16 colleges and universities that satisfy the following three conditions:

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees
  3. Its stated tuition and fees must be under the national average of $16,000/year.

How do we determine Arkansas's most affordable colleges and universities?

The best colleges pound for pound!

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call Concentrated Influence. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

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.

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

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

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Arkansas’s Most Affordable Colleges & Universities

  1. #1

    University of Arkansas–Fort Smith

    #13595 institution's historical influence
    #221 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    5K

    Fort Smith, AR

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    What is University of Arkansas–Fort Smith known for?

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

    • Literature
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Arkansas Tech University

    #3339 institution's historical influence
    #1227 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    9K

    Russellville, AR

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    What is Arkansas Tech University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

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  3. #3

    University of Arkansas at Monticello

    #4245 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    3K

    Monticello, AR

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    What is University of Arkansas at Monticello known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Education
    • History
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Communications
  4. #4

    University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

    #2861 institution's historical influence
    #1093 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/18

    Pine Bluff, AR

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    What is University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff known for?

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

    • Education
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

    #1290 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Student body

    1K

    Little Rock, AR

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    What is University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
  6. #6

    Henderson State University

    #2339 institution's historical influence
    #841 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1044/21

    Arkadelphia, AR

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    What is Henderson State University known for?

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

    • History
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Law
    • Communications
  7. #7

    Arkansas State University

    #1174 institution's historical influence
    #1472 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1116/24

    Jonesboro, AR

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    What is Arkansas State University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Southern Arkansas University

    #3223 institution's historical influence
    #1310 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1067/21

    Magnolia, AR

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    What is Southern Arkansas University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    University of Central Arkansas

    #1389 institution's historical influence
    #1029 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/24

    Conway, AR

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    What is University of Central Arkansas known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Arkansas Baptist College

    #10967 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    12%

    Student body

    <1K

    Little Rock, AR

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    What is Arkansas Baptist College known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    University of Arkansas

    #306 institution's historical influence
    #1356 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    Fayetteville, AR

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    What is University of Arkansas known for?

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

    • Business
    • Law
    • Education
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    University of Arkansas at Little Rock

    #1237 institution's historical influence
    #1043 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    7K

    Little Rock, AR

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    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
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Philander Smith College

    #2460 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    1K

    Little Rock, AR

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    What is Philander Smith College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Crowley's Ridge College

    #8026 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    <1K

    Paragould, AR

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    What is Crowley's Ridge College known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
  15. #15

    Ecclesia College

    #6324 institution's historical influence
    #752 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    25%

    Student body

    <1K

    Springdale, AR

    View profile

    What is Ecclesia College known for?

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

    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
  16. #16

    Central Baptist College

    #9480 institution's historical influence
    #182 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/19

    Conway, AR

    View profile

    What is Central Baptist College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical

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Photo By University of Arkansas - Fort Smith - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0