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Arkansas Online Colleges & Universities: Top Schools for 2018

Updated on: 01/04/2018
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Enrollment in online programs at Arkansas colleges is on the rise. Just over nine percent of all Arkansas college students were enrolled exclusively in online coursework. Over seven percent of Arkansas graduate students are enrolled entirely online. Arkansas Tech University Online (eTech) offers 100-percent online programs leading to certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees. eVersity, another wholly online university, is part of the University of Arkansas system and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, criminal justice, healthcare management, information technology and university studies. UA Online (University of Arkansas) has more than 80 online degree programs. Arkansas students have options beyond UA with other colleges and universities on the Arkansas Higher Education directory many of which offer classes online.

Finding out which online Arkansas colleges or university offers the best program used to involve an exhausting search. The growth and diversity of academic and career programs in “The Natural State” can make the search even more difficult. This guide is devoted to providing up-to-date information that Arkansas students need to know about tuition, financial aid, grants and scholarships. We rank the best online colleges in Arkansas for 2018 and provide a search tool to assist students in conducting a search of online colleges quickly and efficiently.

Best Online Colleges in Arkansas: 2018

Students have their own ideas of what makes the best online college. One might look for the best accredited online colleges in Arkansas, while another student may want to find the best affordable online colleges in Arkansas. Our ranking methodology includes a broad range of pertinent metrics, including both academic excellence and affordability. Finally, rankings take account of each institution’s offerings of wholly online or blended academic programs. Use the links on each ranked college or university to connect directly with the school.

  • Accredited public or private not-for-profit institution

  • At least 3 online associate degrees or certificate programs (2-year schools)

  • At least 3 online bachelor’s or master’s degrees (4-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition below $5,000 (2-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition below $25,000 (4-year schools)

Colleges receive a total score based on performance in the following categories:

  • Average in-state net price for first-time/full-time undergraduates

  • Count and breadth of online programs available

  • Student-teacher ratio

  • 6-year graduation rate (4-year schools only)

  • % of beginning, full-time undergrads receiving scholarship/grant aid from the college

  • Average $ of financial aid students receive directly from the college

  • Availability of academic/career counseling services

  • Availability of job placement services for students and graduates

  • 3-year loan default rate

  • AC Online Peer-Based Value (PBV)*

*PBV is a proprietary metric that compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or a similar) qualitative score. It also compares the qualitative score of the program to the score of other programs with the same (or similar) cost. In short, the PBV calculation denotes the overall value – or ‘bang for your buck’ – of an online degree.

Our college rankings are backed by data collected and analyzed from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, a program managed by the National Center for Education Statistics. Surveying over 7,500 colleges annually, it is among the most longstanding and trusted providers of U.S. postsecondary information.

  • Most recent “Final Release” data available as of October 2017

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro, AR 100.00 $5,760 23 69% 17:136%no yes yes
2 Harding University Searcy, AR 99.33 $16,560 14 96% 16:162%no yes yes
3 Southern Arkansas University Main Campus Magnolia, AR 99.23 $6,300 14 82% 17:130%no yes yes
4 University of Arkansas at Little Rock Little Rock, AR 98.59 $5,768 9 56% 15:121%no yes yes
5 Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AR 98.32 $5,016 8 70% 19:141%yes yes yes
6 University of Central Arkansas Conway, AR 97.41 $5,918 10 49% 17:142%no yes yes
7 Henderson State University Arkadelphia, AR 96.99 $5,970 3 64% 15:129%no yes yes
8 University of Arkansas at Monticello Monticello, AR 96.81 $4,230 5 46% 14:122%yes yes yes
9 Ecclesia College Springdale, AR 96.26 $14,250 4 98% 11:117%yes no yes
10 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR 89.77 $7,485 5 N/A 7:1N/Ano no yes
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2-Year Best College Rankings

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Arkansas Northeastern College Blytheville, AR 100.00 $2,016 6 30% 13:1N/Ayes yes yes
2 Arkansas State University-Mountain Home Mountain Home, AR 99.32 $2,136 13 21% 17:1N/Ayes yes yes
3 North Arkansas College Harrison, AR 99.03 $2,160 6 28% 15:1N/Ayes yes yes
4 Pulaski Technical College North Little Rock, AR 98.74 $2,850 17 24% 21:1N/Ano yes yes
5 South Arkansas Community College El Dorado, AR 98.31 $2,184 12 5% 13:1N/Ayes yes yes
6 College of the Ouachitas Malvern, AR 98.21 $2,640 12 23% 15:1N/Ayes yes yes
7 Southeast Arkansas College Pine Bluff, AR 97.89 $2,520 4 12% 16:1N/Ayes yes yes
8 Arkansas State University-Beebe Beebe, AR 97.89 $2,232 6 21% 17:1N/Ayes yes yes
9 Ozarka College Melbourne, AR 97.64 $2,016 11 30% 14:1N/Ayes no yes
10 University of Arkansas Community College-Hope Hope, AR 97.41 $1,965 6 17% 17:1N/Ayes yes yes
11 National Park Community College Hot Springs, AR 97.03 $2,970 10 21% 20:1N/Ayes yes yes
12 Southern Arkansas University Tech Camden, AR 96.79 $3,240 14 18% 26:1N/Ayes yes yes
13 Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas De Queen, AR 96.75 $2,145 4 12% 17:1N/Ayes yes yes
14 NorthWest Arkansas Community College Bentonville, AR 95.23 $3,675 10 3% 18:1N/Ayes yes yes
15 Arkansas State University-Newport Newport, AR 92.81 $2,160 5 9% 17:1N/Ayes no yes

Paying In-State or Out-of-State Tuition

To qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid in Arkansas, a student must have been a resident of the state for six months prior to enrollment. The so-called Bona Fide Arkansas domiciliary status means the student has permanent living status in the state. Arkansas at UA Little Rock Students can appeal online to change their status.

According to the NCES, in-state Arkansas students pay $1,000 to $10,000 less per year on average, depending on the institution and degree:

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In-state tuition, public four-year: $7,577

Out-of-state tuition public four-year: $18,306

In-state tuition public two-year :$3,105

Out-of-state tuition public two-year: $4,638

Source:NCES, 2017

Should online college students in Arkansas expect to pay in-state or out-of-state tuition?

Both in-state and out-of-state students residing anywhere in the U.S. pay in-state tuition for online degrees at A-State, the online school at Arkansas State University. Students enrolling in online colleges in Arkansas at eVersity are considered U.S. Residents. All students pay a flat fee of $165 per credit hour.

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) helps Arkansas students pursue out-of-state college degrees—and pay in-state rates—at one of the 1,900 participating Academic Common Market (ACM) schools in 15 states. Alternately, students residing in one of the ACM states can pay in-state tuition at Arkansas State University, Arkansas Tech University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Quick summary on tuition:
  • 1.Students need at least six months of uninterrupted residency in Arkansas to gain residency for campus-based colleges and universities.

  • 2.Students living outside of Arkansas who are U.S. residents can pay in-state tuition for most online colleges in the state. Arkansas residents may also attend ACM-member institutions and pay in-state rates.

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How do I get financial aid in Arkansas?

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education is a great place to start the application process. There are links to the FASFA | Free Application for Federal Student Aid website and listings for scholarships and grants. The application for financial aid in Arkansas begins with completing registration and required forms at the FASFA. A school code search at the site identifies schools and deadlines for applying for aid to up to ten schools. Each school may modify the applications requirements and deadlines for reporting test scores and FASFA documentation. For example, students seeking residency status at Arkansas State must provide state tax returns, in-state employment verification, and a permanent Arkansas driver’s license.

Financial aid in Arkansas is money awarded to a student based on educational costs and individual need. Eligible students may receive student loans, scholarships, grants, and employment (work studies). Some grants and scholarships are based on financial aid, merit, or scholastic accomplishment. Businesses, social and civic groups, and religious organizations may offer private sources of grants and scholarships. Each type of aid has qualification requirements and institutions set requirements on maintaining financial aid based on enrollment. Each school and source of financial aid should be consulted through the financial aid office to determine requirements.

Here are items to consider:

  • Satisfactory academic progress:

    Federal regulations on Title IV loans and grants require students to make satisfactory academic progress in part-time, fulltime, undergraduate, and graduate college programs. Federal Student Aid Regulations require that students make good enough grades and complete enough classes, credits or hours to keep moving toward successful completion of their degree or certificate in an acceptable time period. Contact your school for their requirements.

  • GPA:

    Each school establishes the minimum grade point average to satisfy academic progress and qualifications for ongoing financial aid. For example, the University of Arkansas-Monticello requires student to maintain cumulative GPA of 2.00, and a 2.0 for the most recent term to receive financial aid.

  • Time commitments:

    To maintain academic standing and qualify for financial aid, students must enroll in the minimum course load required for each institution. Federal regulations say a student must be enrolled at least at half time to receive Direct Loans. The University of Arkansas-Little Rock financial aid eligibility requires six hours for undergraduates, five hours for graduate studies, and five hours for law students.

  • Max credit loads:

    At the University of Arkansas , students must enroll in a minimum of 12 hours a semester—up to 18 hours. Students wishing to pursue more hours a semester must gain university approval. Federal aid only covers 180 bachelor’s credits, 60 teacher certificate credits, 104 master’s degree credits, and 133 credits toward a doctoral degree.

  • Suspensions:

    All Federal Student Aid eligibility is suspended if a student fails to make satisfactory academic progress. To restore or appeal suspended status, students at Arkansas State University should contact the Financial Aid & Scholarships office to explain mitigating factors causing their failure to make progress.

  • Withdrawals:

    Students who withdraw from their college or university are placed on Financial Aid Suspension. They may be required to repay a portion of their financial aid.

Scholarships & Grants for College in Arkansas

The state and federal government, private companies, nonprofit organizations, individual colleges and universities offer scholarship or grant money to students. They may be awarded based on financial need, academic accomplishment, career aspirations, college major, or religious affiliation. Because of the diversity of programs, students should search for special programs from their cities or counties and at the state and federal level. Major employers in health care, law enforcement, technology, and education may offer their own scholarships.

What are the available scholarships and grants in Arkansas?

Here are links to some key scholarships and grants available in Arkansas:

Academic Challenge Scholarship

Funded in part by the state lottery, this $2,000 scholarship is open to all students entering college for the first time or after a period out of college. Applicants must have earned an ACT score of 19 (or equivalent). The deadline is each June.

Arkansas Future Grant (ArFuture)

Open to students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs at Arkansas certificate and Associate degree programs, ArFuture fully covers tuition and fees. Students studying for high-demand occupations in the region can also receive the grant. First come, first served.

Army Green to Gold

Green to Gold is open to soldiers who want to complete a baccalaureate or graduate degree and earn an officer’s commission. Participants receive room and board or tuition support along with a monthly stipend for up to 10 months of the school year for two, three, or four years.

Single Parent Scholarship

Low income, single parents in Arkansas (or in Bowie County, TX) may be eligible for aid if they’re pursuing a degree or certification in the state. Check your county for specific requirements.

How do I apply for Arkansas scholarships and grants?

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) offers a comprehensive A–Z guide to scholarship and grant requirements across the state. Its listings include the type of scholarship, eligibility requirements, application deadlines and award amounts. The ADHE website is the starting point for creating an account for the YOUniversal System for all State of Arkansas applications for financial aid programs.

Fund My Future provides free, online scholarship searches, and provides information regarding federal aid, scholarships, grants, and Arkansas state aid, along with financial aid checklists for high school juniors and seniors.

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Finding the Best Arkansas Online College for You

What are college-bound students in Arkansas looking for? We polled a cross-section of students to find out their most common priorities and they weren’t all about money or academic prowess. We’ve provided answers to the top three questions that they had:

Can I use previous college credits or work/life experience towards my online degree?

Nearly all colleges and universities in Arkansas have policies for transferring credits or courses from other institutions. The Arkansas Course Transfer System (ACTS) states that, “Students are guaranteed the transfer of applicable credits and equitable treatment in the application of credits for admissions and degree requirements.” The ACTS offers an online tool where students can search by entering their previous school and target school to see which courses are guaranteed for transfer.

Credit for life experience/employment varies by institution and is not granted everywhere. Contact schools directly if requesting transfer credits for employment, volunteerism or military service. Colleges may also offer students the opportunity to test to receive academic credits. Schools where you can apply for credit for life experience include Southeast Arkansas College, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, East Arkansas Community College, and South Arkansas Community College.

If I live in Arkansas, do I need to pick an online college in in the state?

Any student in Arkansas has the freedom to choose an online college in any state. Some online institutions offer the same tuition rate no matter where the student resides.

How do I choose an online college in Arkansas?

To do a comparative search of online colleges in Arkansas, first determine the factors that are most important, such as tuition, accreditation, affordability, academic reputation, and class size. Look at technical support, financial aid programs, types of degrees, and length of the certificate or degree programs. Next order your list by “must-have” features to help narrow your search. Career minded students should ask professionals if they can recommend a specific degree that qualifies graduates for work in the field.