Why This Matters


    According to College Navigator, Arkansas has 12 public colleges, 13 private non-profit schools, and one private for-profit institution.


    In-state students in Arkansas can expect to pay $9,070 on average per year to attend college at a public undergraduate institution, according to College Board.


    For the 2019-20 school year, the average financial aid package for a full-time undergraduate student was $14,940 in the U.S.

Our Research

We reviewed accredited institutions throughout the state of Arkansas and created a list of the best colleges. Our review included everything from large universities and medium-size organizations to small, non-profit colleges. We based our rankings on the cost of tuition, the types of programs offered, how the coursework is offered, and the credits needed to graduate.

All of the colleges that made our list are accredited, which means they stand up to the highest educational standards. Most of these colleges are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which provides accreditation to 19 states.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 78 hours to write this article
  • 66 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 89 education programs we compared

The Top 25 Colleges in Arkansas

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What You Should Know About Graduating From College in Arkansas

When choosing a future occupation, it’s important to consider the fastest growing industries in the state where you’re studying. As of October 2020, the top five industries in Arkansas were trade, transportation and utilities, goods-producing services, government, education and health services, and professional and business services.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree will have the best luck finding a job in one of the top growing occupations in Arkansas. This includes software and application developers, operations research analysts, market research analysts and marketing specialists, film and video editors, and actuaries.

Before applying for a job in Arkansas, it helps to know who the top employers are within the state. The following employers are some that made it into the top 50 — Walmart Inc., the University of Arkansas Finance and Administration Departments, Sam’s West Inc., Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Ok Foods, and Cooper Tire Distribution Center.

What’s Next?

If you’re planning on attending college in Arkansas, you can get help paying for your education with federal and state financial aid. Here’s a list of resources that detail some of the grants, scholarships, and loan opportunities for undergraduate students:

  • Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education offers information on available state and federal aid programs. They also provide information on how to transfer financial aid from one school to another and how to put financial aid on hold.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal Student Aid is provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Types of aid include work-study, loans, scholarships, and grants. Learn more about eligibility at FAFSA4caster, or apply online at FAFSA.
  • CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop is sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s a searchable database that lets students search for financial assistance by type of aid, application deadline, monetary award, and qualifications. You can filter by degree type and the state where you plan to go to college.