Arkansas Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2015

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Quick Facts:
  • 17 Colleges

    in Arkansas offer
    full online programs

  • 386 online programs

    were available
    in 2014

  • 196 online graduate degrees

    were offered by Arkansas
    schools in 2014

Best Online Colleges in Arkansas for 2015

The state of Arkansas and its postsecondary institutions have embraced online learning, and enrollment figures in such programs have steadily increased year over year. Traditional and online colleges alike are investing in fully online degree programs to make education more accessible to students. The following list ranks top institutions in the state for online programs. These rankings take into account a variety of factors, including a commitment to delivering the best online education possible.

RANK COLLEGE Tuition And Fees Enrollment Accredited MORE INFO
1 University of Arkansas at Monticello$3,0003,850YES
University of Arkansas at Monticello offers an online program leading to the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. The program is designed to develop students’ critical thinking, effective communication, literary analysis skills, technological literacy and community and global awareness. With a faculty that comprises successful writer-teachers from diverse backgrounds, students gain exposure to other aesthetic and cultural perspectives. In addition, the University of Arkansas at Monticello offers four master’s degrees online in the School of Education. These include the master of education with emphasis in special education or teacher leadership, the master of education in educational leadership, the master of education degree in physical education and coaching, and the master of arts in teaching degree. Three of these degrees lead to teacher licensure.
2 Arkansas Tech University$5,28611,562YES
Arkansas Tech University’s online program, eTech, provides coursework leading to associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Associate programs include Early Childhood and General Education. Bachelor’s degree programs are available for Professional Studies, Early Childhood Education, Emergency Management and Administration, and RN to BSN. Master’s degree programs include Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and College Student Personnel.
3 University of Arkansas at Little Rock$6,85412,182YES
University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers regular 17-week, semester-length courses and 7-week accelerated courses for students in its online degree programs. With the additional flexibility of online classes you can participate in coursework according to the demands of your own schedule. UALR participates in Quality Matters (QM), a nationally recognized program that certifies the quality of its online instruction.
4 Southern Arkansas University Main Campus$7,146N/AYES
Southern Arkansas University offers educators the flexibility to pursue graduate degrees online. Programs are available for the MA in Teaching, MS in Agriculture, MS in Computer and Information Science and MS in Kinesiology-Coaching. The online format uses the cohort concept to create collaborative learning relationships for the duration of the program and prepare students to demonstrate established competencies.
5 Arkansas State University-Main Campus$7,18011,965YES
The Large Scale Distance Learning Operations of Arkansas State University-Main Campus give students in all types of circumstances the flexibility to earn a degree online. Whether you are pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree, ASU online classes provide the same course material as campus classes. The difference is that the classes are available 24/7 at your convenience.
6 University of Central Arkansas$7,33310,827YES
The University of Central Arkansas online graduate program is committed to excellence. All online courses are taught by UCA faculty, not other graduate students. Student-to-professor ratio is kept low so professors and students get to know each other. Tuition rates are low, and financial aid is available to qualified students in all programs.
7 University of Arkansas$7,55421,201YES
University of Arkansas offers many of its degree programs online for students who have family and work responsibilities that require a flexible school schedule. Study for a bachelor’s, masters or even a doctoral degree without setting foot on campus. Degree diplomas earned online are the same as those earned in the classroom.
8 Ecclesia College$15,140213YES
Ecclesia College emphasizes an organic life in Christ as the foundation for a higher education experience. The school’s mission is to graduate leaders whose spiritual life is the basis of their professional life. Online courses at Ecclesia College offer an Associate of Biblical Studies, a Bachelor of Biblical Studies and a Bachelor of Christian Leadership.
9 John Brown University$21,7742,211YES
John Brown University offers all graduate business degrees online, giving business professionals the convenience of a flexible course participation. Graduate courses include an MBA in Leadership and Ethics, MBA in International Business, MS in Leadership and Ethics or MS in Higher Education Leadership. Online bachelor’s degree programs are offered for a BS in Business Administration and BS in Liberal Arts.

Search Accredited Arkansas Colleges Online

Prospective students in Arkansas have extensive choices for online studies. The search tool below can help students narrow their search to find schools that meet their educational and professional needs. Using the tool’s filters, students can review and compare factors ranging from tuition to degree programs for online colleges in the state

Degree Level:
Tuition:
Student Population:
School Type:
17 results TUITION ACCEPTANCE RATE STUDENT POPULATION SCHOOL TYPE
University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 59% STUDENT POPULATION 25,341 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration - General Business
  • Bachelor's Degree in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education
  • RN to BSN Program
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Executive MBA
  • Master's Degree in Educational Leadership
  • Master's Degree in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education
  • Master's Degree in Operations Management
  • Master of Laws Degree in Agricultural and Food Law
  • M.Ed. in Adult and Lifelong Learning
  • M.Ed. in Physical Education
  • M.Ed. in Special Education
  • Master of Science in Agricultural and Extension Education
  • Master's Degree in Educational Technology
  • Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.)
  • Professional Master of Information Systems (MIS)
  • MSN
  • Master of Science degree in Human Environmental Sciences
  • MS in Food Safety
DOCTORATE DEGREES
  • Doctoral Degree in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education
  • Ed.D. in Educational Leadership
  • Ed.D. in Adult and Lifelong Learning
  • DNP
Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro, Arkansas Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 76% STUDENT POPULATION 13,552 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership in Curriculum And Instruction
  • Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership Special Education
  • Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership
  • Ed.S. Education - Specialist in Principalship
  • Ed.S. Education - Specialist in Superintendency
  • Education Specialist in Gifted And Talented Director
  • Master of Science in Education (Mse) For Special Education - Instructional Specialist 4-12
  • Master of Science in Education (Mse) For Special Education - Instructional Specialist P-4
  • Master of Science in Education in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Master of Science in Education in Educational Theory And Practice
  • Master of Science in Education in Gifted, Talented, And Creative
  • Master of Public Administration
University of Central Arkansas Conway, Arkansas Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 90% STUDENT POPULATION 11,534 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing Rn To Bsn
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Science in Education in Advanced Studies of Teacher Leadership (Mse)
  • Master of Science in School Leadership, Management And Administration
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (Mat)
  • Master of Science in Education (Mse) in Reading
  • Master of Science in Education in Special Education (Mse)
  • Master of Science in Instructional Technology (Ms)
  • Master of Geographic Information Systems (Mgis)
  • Master of Science Degree in Health Sciences
  • Master of Science in Nurse Educator With Clinical Specialty Track (Msn)
  • Master of Science in Nursing in Clinical Nurse Leader Track (Msn)
  • Master of Science in Community And Economic Development (Ms)
  • Master's of Science in School Counseling (Ms)
  • Master of Science in Family And Consumer Sciences (Ms)
  • Master of Science in Library Media And Information Technologies (Ms)
Arkansas Tech University Russellville, Arkansas Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 85% STUDENT POPULATION 11,369 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
ASSOCIATE DEGREES
  • Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • Associate of Arts in General Studies
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing - Rn To Bsn
  • Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership
  • Master of Science Degree in Emergency Management And Homeland Security
  • Master of Arts in Teaching English To Speakers of Other Languages
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • Master of Science in College Student Personnel
Henderson State University Arkadelphia, Arkansas Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 62% STUDENT POPULATION 3,583 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Educational Specialist
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership
  • Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership Building Level Leader Licensure
  • Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership Curriculum/Program Admin Licensure
  • Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership Instructional Facilitator
  • Educational Specialist
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (Mat)
  • Master of Science in Education - Advanced Instructional Studies
  • Master of Science in Education in Advanced Instructional Studies - Early Childhood Specialty (P-4)
  • Master of Science in Education in Advanced Instructional Studies - English As A Second Language Specialty
  • Master of Science in Education in Advanced Instructional Studies - English Specialty
  • Master of Science in Education in Advanced Instructional Studies - Instructional Facilitator
  • Master of Science in Education in Advanced Instructional Studies - Interdisciplinary Studies Specialty
  • Master of Science in Education in Advanced Instructional Studies - Mathematics Specialty
  • Master of Science in Education in Advanced Instructional Studies - Middle School Specialty
  • Master of Science in Education in Advanced Instructional Studies - Physical Education Specialty
  • Master of Science in Education in Reading Mission Statement
  • Master of Science in Education in School Counseling
  • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
  • Master of Science in Education in Special Education - Special Education Early Childhood
  • Master of Science in Education in Special Education 4-12
  • Master of Science in Education in Special Education Educational Examiner P-12 Licensure
  • Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Master of Science in Developmental Therapy
  • Master of Liberal Arts (Mla)
  • Master of Science in Sports Administration
Southern Arkansas University Main Campus Magnolia, Arkansas Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 61% STUDENT POPULATION 3,404 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Master of Education Educational Administration And Supervision
  • Master of Education: Curriculum & Instruction (Elementary & Secondary)
  • Master of Science in Computer And Information Science
  • Master of Science in Agriculture
  • Master of Science in Kinesiology - Coaching
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, Arkansas Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE NR STUDENT POPULATION 2,867 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Pine Bluff, Arkansas Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 28% STUDENT POPULATION 2,615 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - General Business
  • Bachelor of Science in Education in Human Resource And Workforce Development
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor in Social Work
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Education in Educational Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Education in Human Resource And Workforce Development Education
  • Master of Science in Operations Management
  • Master of Laws in Agricultural & Food Law
  • Master of Education in Adult And Lifelong Learning
  • Master of Education in Educational Technology
  • Master of Education in Physical Education
  • Master of Education in Special Education
  • Master of Science in Agricultural and Extension Education
  • Master of Information Systems
  • Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Master of Science in Engineering
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Human Environmental Sciences
  • Master of Science in Food Safety
DOCTORATE DEGREES
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Education in Human Resource And Workforce Development Education
  • Doctor of Education in Adult And Lifelong Learning
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
John Brown University Siloam Springs, Arkansas Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 70% STUDENT POPULATION 2,596 SCHOOL
TYPE
Private
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Business Administration in International Business
  • Master of Business Administration in Leadership & Ethics
  • Master of Science in Leadership & Ethics
  • Master of Science in Leadership & Higher Education
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Guide to Arkansas Online Colleges

In Arkansas, many schools now offer online coursework and programs, making distance learning a reality for busy college students. The University of Arkansas’ YOU of A Online, for example, has 30 online degree programs ranging from a minor in social work to a doctorate in educational leadership. Like many online programs at traditional institutions, YOU of A Online has sharp focus on the graduate level, with a majority of programs and coursework dedicated to master’s degrees in engineering and education.

College Education in Arkansas

While the University of Arkansas serves as the state’s educational anchor, it is far from the only postsecondary option available to students. The state is home to 90 colleges, universities and career schools with total enrollment of more than 235,000 students and a convenient mix of certificate, undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The state capital, Little Rock, offers an array of academic choices, from historically black colleges with religious affiliations to large public schools with research centers for analytics and integrative nanotechnology. The city is home to two private four-year liberal arts colleges—Arkansas Baptist College and Philander Smith College. Both have a rich heritage, with the former dating back to 1884 and the latter, a founding member of the United Negro College Fund. Philander Smith offers four different baccalaureate programs, serving numerous low-income or “first in the family” students.

As for public institutions, Little Rock hosts the state’s largest two-year colleges as well as the University of Arkansas medical school. Situated in North Little Rock, Pulaski Technical College serves almost 10,000 students. Another big state school, University of Arkansas at Little Rock gives students a selection of more than 100 degree programs. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), which has its main campus in Little Rock, is the only state-sponsored health sciences school. UAMS offers 64 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, professional and specialist degrees as well as certificates.

Spotlight on Online Learning in Little Rock

Although Pulaski Technical College has 15 years of experience providing online courses, the biggest distance learning provider in this city is the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Through UALR Extended Programs, students can customize web-based studies and follow either a seven-week accelerated schedule or the usual 17-week semester. The menu of choices for online programs spans 13 bachelor’s degrees, six master’s degrees and two graduate certificates. Certain options target high-growth professions, such as interpreting in American Sign Language or nursing, through the RN to BSN degree completion program. UALR students can also take advantage of electronic delivery for other disciplines, such as criminal justice, business administration, math and speech.

Tuition and Fees for College in Arkansas

Tuition costs can make or break a prospective student’s decision to attend a particular school, representing one of the most important considerations in choosing a college. Rates vary widely depending on the type of learning institution, with private and for-profit schools typically costing more. In Arkansas, student residents paid about $7,600 per year in tuition in 2012.

Students must take other costs into account as well. Most colleges and universities have added expenses, including application and enrollment charges, parking fees, technology costs and recreation fees.

The cost of living is one more factor for the college hopeful. Arkansas’ living expenses are relatively stable, however, housing and food prices do vary by city. The cost of living (COL) is about 10 percent less than the national average, allowing college studies for a comparatively minimal budget in the state. Below is more information about the COL in some of Arkansas’ most popular cities, compared to the national mean (100%).

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Fort Smith -13.9% -25.5% -7.5% -9.5% -12.1% -12.5% -8.3%
Conway -13.4% -21.2% -2.1% -8.0% -3.4% -10.2% -16.0%
Jonesboro -11.1% -24.9% -2.5% -8.9% -11.2% -14.1% -2.7%
Fayetteville -7.9% -22.7% -4.7% -0.2% -4.8% -7.3% 0.6%
Hot Springs -6.2% -14.7% -2.7% -4.3% -14.4% -15.2% 2.9%
Little Rock -3.5% -7.8% -7.1% 4.1% -6.0% -6.5% 0.4%

College isn’t free, but an affordable education can pay dividends in lifelong career success and earnings. Below is a list of the top schools in Arkansas where affordability and a quality education provide a worthwhile return on investment (ROI). The following five colleges in the state represent the best ROI when calculating the lifetime earnings of graduates minus the total cost of attendance:

  1. University of Arkansas – Main Campus
  2. Hendrix College
  3. Harding University
  4. Southern Arkansas University – Main Campus
  5. Arkansas State University

Paying for College in Arkansas

Even with a moderate cost of living, many students seek out ways to lower out-of-pocket costs, while others may still need financial assistance. Students can choose from national, state and school-based aid options. Federal loans and scholarships are a great place to start. Students must first fill out FAFSA forms so need-based funds can be allocated. About 75 percent of Arkansas undergraduate students received federal aid in 2012.

Scholarships are a popular option for college students because the funds are gifted and do not have to be repaid upon graduation. Private companies, nonprofit organizations, individual colleges and universities, and the government all offer scholarship monies to students. Here are some of the scholarship programs available in Arkansas:

  • American Council of Engineering Companies
  • Arkansas Farm Bureau
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
  • Arkansas Nurses Foundation
  • Arkansas Single Parent Association
  • Bird Dog Foundation
  • Cargill
  • Dixie Youth Baseball
  • Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company
  • Murphy Oil
  • Trinity Foundation

Accreditation Regulations in Arkansas

Students looking at online colleges in Arkansas should do research on institutional accreditation, especially if they plan to apply for federal aid. Schools must meet specific accreditation requirements in order for the student to receive such assistance. In Arkansas, the primary regional accrediting organization is the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Arkansas colleges may also have individual programs or departments with accreditation from specialized agencies. For instance, the University of Arkansas’ Walton College of Business maintains accreditation from the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). This approval tells students and parents that the business school has passed muster by a peer-review board with more than 70 years of experience in the major.

Online Resources for Students in Arkansas

For individuals considering Arkansas online colleges, knowledge is power. Having a better understanding of the online education landscape and services for students can make a big difference. The listed resources below cover wide-ranging topics, including tips on locating scholarship opportunities in the state.

Major Arkansas Educational Resources: