Arkansas has one of the highest quality of life rankings and some of the lowest tuition rates in the country. According to U.S. News & World Report, the state also has high numbers of students graduating from college with low debt. The U.S. Census Bureau found that only 21% of Arkansas adults over the age of 25 have bachelor’s degrees. Consequently, Arkansas has introduced several initiatives to boost online learning in the state in order to provide more viable options for adults to finish their college degrees. The United States Distance Learning Commission’s Arkansas chapter aims to support students and educators in order to expand online learning in the state.
While there are only a few online colleges in Arkansas, the state maintains rigorous support and funding for online learning. The University of Arkansas’ eVersity and Arkansas Tech’s eTech offer accessible online courses and degrees through streamlined systems. These courses and programs are primarily designed for Arkansas students who have completed some college coursework, but have still not earned college degrees. Other notable online schools in Arkansas include Central Baptist College, which offers online degrees and courses focused on Christian education and ministry, and Ouachita Baptist University, which offers online degrees in Christian studies.
Online learning is a excellent choice for nontraditional students who would like to complete certificate, associate, bachelor’s, or master’s programs while continuing to work part-time or full-time. Online learning is usually cheaper than traditional models, because distance learners don’t usually pay for on-campus housing and other common college expenses.
Four reasons to find an online college in your state:
- Guaranteed in-state tuition saves you money
- Be a part of a university or college you know and love
- Get a degree from a school employers know and trust
- Be close enough to easily visit when desired
Ranking guidelines for the best online colleges in Arkansas:
We selected the online colleges and universities here based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.
Note: In ranking the best online colleges in Arkansas, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in Arkansas may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that to school rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who’s leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in Arkansas.
The Best Online Colleges in Arkansas
1. University of Arkansas Global Campus
The University of Arkansas, a land-grant and space-grant research institution, is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System. It has a long history beginning in 1871, which is evident with the presence of multiple historical sites on the campus grounds. The university has 10 academic colleges and provides more than 200 degree programs. The student body is over 25,000 students strong.
The University of Arkansas Global Campus provides online bachelor, master, doctoral and certificate programs. Some of their online bachelor’s degrees include human resources and nursing. Available master’s degrees include business administration, educational leadership and agriculture. Online doctoral degrees include educational leadership and nursing. Online certificate options include psychology and information systems.
Online student resources include an online career development center, library, scholarly article database, writing center and enhanced learning center.
The University of Arkansas is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, founded in 1927 is a space-grant research institution. The university has seven academic colleges, eight campuses and serves more than 12,000 students. It also offers almost 200 degree programs.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock features a study abroad program which counts China, Costa Rica, Argentina, France, England, Austria and Spain among its partner countries.
The university’s online programs include various bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in many areas of study. Some of the bachelor’s degrees obtainable online include interdisciplinary studies and speech, while online options for master’s degrees include education and criminal justice.
Resources available to the university’s online students consist of online library services that include live chat with a librarian, a research article database, a disability resource center and technical support.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3. Arkansas State University
Arkansas State University, founded in 1909, was originally an agricultural school. It was one of four created by a state resolution to train those interested in farming. Since then, this modest agricultural school has blossomed into a respected university with over 20,000 students, nearly 200 degree programs and 11 academic colleges.
Arkansas State University offers a variety of online degree programs featuring bachelor, master, doctoral and certificate programs. Some of the online bachelor’s degrees available include sociology and nursing. Master’s degree options include business and homeland security. Doctoral degree offerings include education and nursing. Available certifications include topics in education and healthcare. Arkansas State University also possesses a few degree and certificate programs available exclusively online.
Arkansas State University’s online students have access to an online library, research article database, 24/7 technical support and an online job board.
Arkansas State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. University of Central Arkansas
Best known for its stellar occupational therapy, physical therapy and education programs, the University of Central Arkansas first opened its doors in 1907. Almost 15,000 students attend the university today for its 80 academic majors in the business, natural sciences, education, arts, mathematics, liberal arts and behavioral sciences. The university’s honors college has earned national recognition for its excellent quality.
The University of Central Arkansas’ offers close to 30 online bachelor, master, doctoral, educational specialist and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degree offerings include nursing and business. Master’s degree offerings include economy and education. The two doctoral degrees available online are in nursing and educational leadership. Options for online certificates consist of multiple topics in education.
Online students have access to a variety of online resources, including academic advising, library, academic journal database, veterans’ services, career services, disability services and 24/7 technical support.
University of Central Arkansas is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. Arkansas Tech University
One of the best online colleges in Arkansas, ATU offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. In addition to the 120+ programs available through ATU’s campuses in Russellville and Ozark, the school offers online programs in education, nursing, and emergency management.
Freshman applicants should have a 2.0 GPA and a 19 on the ACT. Transfer applicants must have a 2.0 GPA, and those with fewer than 24 credits must submit high school transcripts and test scores. Candidates who do not meet these requirements may still receive conditional admission. Students from Massachusetts are currently ineligible for ATU’s online programs.
Arkansas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Additionally, the education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the RN-to-BSN program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), and the emergency management programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Emergency Management Education (CAEME).
6. Southern Arkansas University
Southern Arkansas University ascended from a humble agricultural school founded in 1909 to a university with over 3,500 students. The university favors a familial atmosphere with small class sizes and multiple family-oriented events throughout the year. It also has a 2 + 2 program for select areas of study and provides over 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
There are many non-degree and master’s programs available online at Southern Arkansas University. The university’s online offerings consist primarily of various topics in education, but the university provides master’s degrees in business and kinesiology.
Students also have access to a variety of online resources. Some of these include an online library with a scholarly article database, student support services, disability services, technical support and employment resource center.
Southern Arkansas University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7. Ouachita Baptist University
Founded in 1886, Ouachita Baptist is a liberal arts college located in Arkadelphia. The university serves over 1,500 students each year and hosts 60 academic programs. Ouachita offers two majors online, a BA in business administration and an AA and BA in Christian studies. Both bachelor’s degrees require 120 credits, including a one-credit orientation to online learning that covers topics such as Ouachita’s academic resources.
Online courses begin every eight weeks, and freshmen applicants only need to submit their transcripts and standardized test scores. Transfer applicants should submit all college transcripts.The school charges tuition per credit hour and payment plans are available. All distance education students pay the same rate regardless of residency. Approximately 97% of Ouachita students receive financial aid, making it one of the most affordable online schools in Arkansas.
Ouachita Baptist University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online business program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
8. University of Arkansas at Monticello
UAM maintains three campuses in Monticello, McGehee, and Crossett. Like most other online colleges in Arkansas, the school offers a bachelor’s degree and several master’s degrees. Options are available in education and fine arts. All graduate programs in the school of education are available online, including the master of educational leadership, the master of arts in teaching, and the master of physical education and coaching.
Prospective students can apply for fall, spring, or summer admission. Undergraduate applicants should submit all transcripts and entrance exam scores, while graduate applicants should submit college transcripts and GRE scores.
The University of Arkansas at Monticello is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
9. University of Arkansas – Fort Smith
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Located in the second-largest city in the state, UAFS is one of the 18 institutions in the University of Arkansas system. The school offers seven distance education programs in areas such as business administration, nursing, and organizational leadership. Unlike most online colleges in Arkansas, the school hosts online programs in dental hygiene and imaging sciences. In addition to fully online courses, UAFS also offers hybrid and web-enhanced classes.
Academic advisors are divided by major, so students can get information specific to their degree and future profession. Both freshmen and transfer applicants must submit transcripts and test scores, and transfer students must have a 2.0 GPA.
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online business program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the dental hygiene program is accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
10. John Brown University
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
John Brown University, a private, interdenominational, Christian liberal arts school provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. John Brown University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The school provides academics within a distinctly Christian community. The university has approximately 2,500 students.
John Brown University provides online bachelor’s degrees in subjects including liberal arts and accounting, as well as master’s degrees in ethics and business.
Online students have access to a listing of online resources, including an online library and online journal article database.
John Brown University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
11. Central Baptist College
CBC’s Professional Adult College Education (PACE) program assists working professionals and older students. Delivered through the WebStudy system, associate and bachelor’s programs are available in areas including business, general education, leadership, and psychology. CBC offers eight different bachelor of science degrees online, including a new program in church administration.
Online courses are asynchronous, and most follow in five-week terms. Applicants should submit all college transcripts, and students without prior college credit should submit high school transcripts and test scores. PACE students all pay the same per-credit tuition rate regardless of whether they study on-campus or online. CBC may grant credit for prior work, military, or life experience.
Central Baptist College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).