Most Affordable Online Colleges In Arkansas

Prospective students, both in-state and out-of-state, should consider Arkansas schools when researching where to earn their online degrees in Arkansas.

Updated September 6, 2022

Most Affordable Online Colleges In Arkansas

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By 2020, nearly 60% of Arkansas jobs should require applicants to possess some form of higher education. The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services supports these projections in its latest research: half of the state's fastest-growing jobs require a college education. Affordable online programs in Arkansas help both in-state and out-of-state students obtain these careers due to programs' accessibility, flexibility, and affordability. Continue reading to learn more about the most affordable online colleges in Arkansas, as well as tuition, school calendars, and financial aid. If you still have questions about the best online programs in Arkansas after reading this article, contact online programs directly to learn more.

You can research Arkansas's top affordable online colleges in this section. Rankers choose schools that offer excellent programs at affordable prices; each program features at least three online programs and charges out-of-state students no more than $25,000 per year in tuition. Rankers also analyzed schools' student-to-teacher ratios, graduation rates, and career counseling services. Each school description includes a direct link to its online programs.


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These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master's or PhD programs.

Why Choose Arkansas for Online Higher Education?

In 2016, Arkansas colleges and universities offered 48 online degrees, attracting nearly 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 82 of which were international.

Many factors draw U.S. students to online learning. Previously underserved groups — such as full-time professionals, single parents, and laid-off workers — benefit from online education. Likewise, international students earn degrees online to avoid travel and housing costs associated with living abroad.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost of Attending an Online College in Arkansas

Arkansas residents who earn a bachelor's online spend approximately 60% less than out-of-state students who attend the same public colleges and universities. For associate programs, in-state students save 25% on tuition compared to out-of-state students. To qualify for in-state tuition, new residents must live in Arkansas for six months; Arkansas boasts one of the shortest residency requirements in the United States.

Some Arkansas colleges and universities participate in the Academic Common Market (ACM), a consortium of schools in 16 southern states. Depending on the ACM state where you live and your intended major, you may qualify for in-state tuition at an online college in Arkansas.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2017 Explore Online Degree Programs in ArkansasSearch Program

Compared to online programs in other states, Arkansas boasts competitive tuition rates that can save you thousands of dollars on your degree.

Continue reading to review three online tuitions at a public four-year university, private four-year university, and two-year college. Nearly all private schools charge in-state and out-of-state students the same tuition rate. Keep in mind that tuition rates differ at other private and public schools; you may find more affordable online programs in Arkansas than the prices below.:

Considering an Arkansas School as an Out-of-State Student

In 2016, just over 3,000 out-of-state students earned their degrees online in Arkansas. Out of this group, graduate students outnumbered undergraduate students by a 5-to-1 ratio. In this section, you can learn more about how out-of-state students may benefit from tuition reciprocity agreements and university-specific policies that attract talented out-of-state students. As always, research specific colleges and universities to learn more about tuition and financial aid policies that can impact tuition costs.

Tuition Discounts

Arkansas holds membership in the Southern Regional Education Board, which uses the ACM to reduce tuition costs for college students living in its 16 member states. Eligible out-of-state students pay in-state tuition. Prospective students should keep in mind that some colleges and universities participate in the ACM only at the graduate level, meaning out-of-state undergraduate students pay out-of-state tuition in all circumstances.

Aside from regional agreements, the University of Arkansas offers a non-resident tuition award for eligible transfer students living in the six states that border Arkansas. As you research other public schools, determine if they use similar scholarships or programs to attract out-of-state applicants.

State Authorizations for Online Learning

All states besides California cooperate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). Within these states, participating colleges and universities work together to streamline their distance education requirements. Similar requirements help online students transfer credits between institutions in different states. Visit the NC-SARA website for Arkansas for a complete list of Arkansas NC-SARA schools. The site includes links to each school so you can quickly determine which schools offer online programs that match your interests.Check with an admissions or financial officer.

Tuition rates are ultimately program- and institution-based. Ask someone from a prospective program about what rates apply to you specifically as a potential member of a specific program. Explore Online Degree Programs in ArkansasSearch Program

More Schools in Arkansas

Southern Arkansas University Main Campus
Arkansas State University Main Campus
South Arkansas community College
Pulaski Technical College
College of the Ouachitas

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Arkansas's Online Schools

This section offers answers to frequently asked questions regarding inexpensive online universities in Arkansas. For further questions, contact programs directly.

Do online credits cost more or less in Arkansas?

Earning an online degree in Arkansas can potentially save you thousands of dollars on your education. Prospective students hoping to save the money should focus on public colleges and universities. Out-of-state students should first determine if their home states' public schools offer better in-state tuition rates than what they would pay as out-of-state students at an Arkansas public school. The average online tuition for private Arkansas schools often mirrors that of other states.

Although many schools allow students to study part time and pay for courses individually, studying full time yields the most significant financial benefits. At many schools, full-time students pay a set tuition rate that allows them to take additional courses at no extra cost. You should carefully consider programs where full-time students enjoy this advantage.

Which Arkansas schools accept the most transfer credits?

Each school in Arkansas sets its own transfer credit policies. Public colleges and universities may transfer your associate degree credits to a bachelor's program, especially if you earned your associate at an Arkansas community college. Not only does earning an associate degree before applying to a bachelor's program increase your transfer credits, but this strategy may also save you money on your degree. Two-year programs cost significantly less than four-year programs. As mentioned earlier, in-state students at a two-year public college can save nearly 90% on per-credit tuition compared to students at a four-year private university. Out-of-state students save upwards of 80% on their tuition bills for their first two years of college if they follow this same strategy.

Regardless of which school you plan to transfer to, maximizing your transfer credits starts with earning good grades. For example, at the University of Arkansas, students must earn a C grade or higher in all courses in which they hope to receive transfer credit. Also, for credits to apply, students must earn them at regionally accredited colleges or universities. The University of Arkansas does make some exceptions to these rules; other schools may not have such generous policies.

Will any online colleges in Arkansas accept a GED?

Most online colleges in Arkansas accept the GED. The University of Arkansas, the state's premier public university, accepts GED applicants as long as they complete 16 specific year-long high school courses. Applicants who do not meet this requirement may still apply as long as they complete these courses during their freshman year. Southern Arkansas University uses slightly different admissions standards; applicants may possess GEDs, but only receive conditional admission if they score below a 19 on the ACT.

To gain unconditional admission at Southern Arkansas University or other institutions with similar policies, students should study for and take the ACT before applying. Private colleges may have more stringent application requirements. One of the most highly-rated private universities in Arkansas, Ouachita Baptist University requires that applicants possess high school diplomas.

How many academic terms per year do online colleges in Arkansas offer?

At the University of Arkansas, students can start earning their degrees online during the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Harding University, a private school, uses the same start dates.

The best online programs in Arkansas do not offer start dates every week or month. If the program you select employs three start dates throughout the year; however, you should not have to wait for more than four months to begin your education. Use this time to prepare: take any required standardized tests, buy necessary computer hardware and software, and refine your academic focus.

You can also use the weeks or months before school to adjust your personal and professional schedules to work around your studies; many students struggle with juggling school, work, and family in the weeks after starting an online program. Preparing now can reduce your future stress and increase your odds of academic success. Finally, before starting school, you can explore free online learning options open to people living all over the world. In a later section, this article explains free online learning courses in greater detail.

Which online colleges will accept FAFSA in Arkansas?

Affordable online schools in Arkansas use the FAFSA to award need-based financial aid to incoming students. Before applying, ensure that schools on your shortlist accept the FAFSA. The FAFSA website allows you to search for member colleges and universities. Those that possess a Federal School Code accept FAFSA results. Submit FAFSA results as soon as possible to schools to which you plan to apply. The sooner schools can access your information, the sooner they can calculate your financial aid award.

Even if your college accepts FAFSA results, you may still need to submit other information to the financial aid office. Some schools require additional information to award school-based financial aid. As policies differ across higher education, contact individual schools to learn more about financial aid for online and out-of-state students. Performing research now can prevent you from missing out on valuable scholarships, grants, or loans.

Are there any free online classes I can take from Arkansas colleges?

Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, no colleges or universities in Arkansas offer free online classes, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs). One reason that free online courses may not exist in Arkansas involves NC-SARA. When MOOCs first appeared, states grappled with whether MOOCs fell under NC-SARA regulations. States did not know if MOOC credits would transfer between schools in two states. NC-SARA has yet to resolve this issue, meaning that some states like Arkansas do not provide free online courses.

Despite Arkansas colleges and universities not offering MOOCs, you can still take free online courses at institutions in other states, the credit from which may transfer to an accredited online university in Arkansas. To find out which schools might accept MOOC credits, contact their admissions departments for more information.

Although the state's colleges and universities do not offer free online courses, Arkansas boasts a unique program that grants residents aged 60 and over free tuition at all public colleges and universities. This guarantee extends to online courses and programs. Though restrictions apply, senior citizens can expand their educational horizons, stay active in retirement, or prepare for a second career that more closely aligns with their interests.

How can I find the online program options at Arkansas colleges?

Unlike other states, Arkansas does not have a centralized website detailing all online program options at the state's colleges and universities. However, some universities, such as the University of Arkansas, boast easy-to-use online resources that explain online learning. For both in-state and out-of-state prospective students, these university websites include valuable information about degree options, the online learning experience, and tuition. Also, admission counselors may provide additional information that applies to low-cost online degrees in Arkansas.

As you review college and university websites, make a shortlist of those that best match your academic interests and career goals. Doing so will allow you to turn dozens of potential programs into a manageable few. Explore Online Degree Programs in ArkansasSearch Program

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Arkansas's Top Affordable Online Colleges

#1

Arkansas State University-Main Campus

School Information
Location Jonesboro, Arkansas
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 53%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Arkansas State University-Main Campus joins the list of the top online colleges in the nation. The accredited institution's distance learners have 10 online bachelor's programs to choose from. A total of 19 online master's programs are also available. 

Arkansas State University-Main Campus enrolls a total of 7,939 distance learners.

An average of 3,461 degree-seekers enroll at the public school located in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Virtual learners complete their courses online from anywhere in the nation. Online enrollees find many student services designed specifically for them. Students can take advantage of the academic advising, financial aid counseling, and career services offered by the online school.

The online college's programs are available in many popular majors to appeal to different degree-seekers. Graduates qualify for positions in many different fields with their accredited degree. The institution prioritizes a low-cost education. Undergraduates pay $301 per credit on average, and 97% receive financial aid.

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#2

Harding University

School Information
Location Searcy, Arkansas
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 69%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in Arkansas, Harding University is a private School. Students can enroll in Harding's residential and online undergraduate and graduate programs. Online learners choose from a catalog of 129 online degrees. Enrollees receive a strong liberal arts and professional education. Students complete degrees in various disciplines.

The school offers degrees that blend classroom learning and practical experience, such as internships. Virtual learners may need to complete limited on-campus residencies. Most online degrees require no in-person requirements. Faculty teach using real-world examples. The school’s web-based services include academic tutoring. 

Prospective students can expect an admission rate of 61% at Harding University. Students use affordable tuition and financial aid to help pay for college. Online learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of where they live.

The school has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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#3

Southern Arkansas University Main Campus

School Information
Location Magnolia, Arkansas
Admission Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students can earn affordable online degrees at Southern Arkansas University-Main Campus. The school, located in Arkansas, offers a comprehensive catalog of programs. Working professionals pursue the institution’s degrees for career preparation and advancement. 

The school’s full- and part-time enrollment options provide learning flexibility. Students benefit from the online program's flexible course schedules. The school offers hybrid programs with in-person and online sessions. Small classes promote personalized learning.

The institution offers five associate degrees and 34 bachelor’s programs. Graduates can choose from 13 online master's programs. Students pay for their degrees with affordable tuition and generous financial aid.

Southern Arkansas University Main Campus Facts:

Institution Status: public

Online Students: 2,498

Total Online Programs: 16

Degree-Seekers Awarded Aid: 99%

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#4

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

School Information
Location Little Rock, Arkansas
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 43%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock's top-ranked online programs make it one of the best online schools. At the public institution, distance learners enroll in business, healthcare, STEM, and social science programs. Many programs offer a fully-online route to a college degree. Online enrollees skip having to commute to the Little Rock, Arkansas name campus and instead earn their degree from the comfort of their home.

Online programs feature virtual learning environments where remote learners communicate with teachers and peers. Programs help participants build career-ready skills through hands-on learning experiences. The school provides distance learners with academic advising, financial aid counseling, and career counseling to support their academic journey.

With undergraduate and graduate programs, the accredited online institution meets the needs of diverse students. Degree-seekers meet graduation requirements more easily because of the flexible format.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock At a Glance:

Students Pursuing Online Degrees: 5,209

Online Bachelor's Programs: 19

Total Number of Online Master's Programs: 12

Students Receiving Aid: 95%

Students Awarded Student Loans: 43%

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#5

Arkansas Tech University

School Information
Location Russellville, Arkansas
Admission Rate 95%
Graduation Rate 38%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

One of the top online schools, Arkansas Tech University's online programs are some of the best. At the public institution, distance learners enroll in business, healthcare, STEM, and social science programs. Students can earn a college degree 100% remotely through many programs. 

Online programs feature virtual learning environments where remote learners communicate with teachers and peers. Programs offer hands-on learning experience so participants can practice skills needed for their future careers. Academic advising, financial aid counseling, and career counseling are available to the school's distance learners to support their academic career.

With programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, the accredited online institution meets the diverse needs of its students. The flexible format makes completing graduation requirements easier for degree-seekers.

Arkansas Tech University Numbers:

Total Online Learners: 5,885

Total Online Bachelor's Programs: 5

Online Master's Programs: 9

Students Awarded Financial Aid: 96%

Students Awarded Student Loans: 36%

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AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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