Updated: August 1, 2017
From the wild beauty of the Ozarks, to the flowing serenity of the Buffalo National River, to the haunting stillness of the White River, it’s easy to see why Arkansas is called The Natural State. You can spend a long time exploring the natural beauty of the state. And it has history too, from its early years inhabited by Native Americans, evidenced by the state’s looming ancient burial grounds, to the territorial and Civil War years, and to its recent history as home to President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There’s a lot you don’t want to miss here.
Which makes recommending a college or university in Arkansas pretty easy. The state has so much to commend itself, and many of the schools operate at a very high level. Luckily, if you’re working and trying to finish a degree, or for some other reason you don’t want to bother with living on-campus or commuting to class, then online degrees at these schools can make your dream of a degree possible. Online learning is revolutionizing higher education, and it’s opening up access to many more people. Of course, we don’t want you to miss out on The Natural State’s natural beauty, so don’t use online classes as an excuse to stay indoors all the time.
What are the best online colleges in Arkansas?
If you’re someone who could benefit from an online degree program – or even just taking some online classes – then this is the list for you. We’ve compiled a ranking of the best online programs in Arkansas by rating each school based on three characteristics: excellence, student satisfaction, and return on investment. Each of these criteria is based on data from IPEDS, U.S. News & World Report, Payscale, individual college websites, and student ranking websites.
John Brown University
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $19,943
John Brown University was founded by the youngest college president, evangelist and publisher in the United States in 1919 at the age of 22. Today, John Brown University is in Siloam Springs, Arkansas on 200 acres. They focus on teaching from a Christian perspective following their motto: “Head-Heart-Hand” philosophy.
John Brown University has a rolling enrollment. Classes five times a year. Classes are 8 weeks long. Nearly 58% of the classes have less than 20 students. The student faculty ratio is 14-to-1. They have over 300 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. Online undergraduate majors include:
- Liberal Arts
- Management Accounting
- Organizational Leadership
John Brown University is top-ranked regional university that is well known for their MBA program that is regularly awarded “Best Online MBA Program” by U.S. News & World Report.
University of Arkansas
College Choice Score: 97.48
Average Net Price: $14,693
The University of Arkansas is a top tier research university founded in 1871 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The UA faculty designed the online programs at Fayetteville campus. Because of their efforts, the University of Arkansas has gained the “Best Online Programs” award for their Bachelor program, their Graduate Education program and their Graduate Engineering program.
The University of Arkansas uses Blackboard learning management system for students to pursue their coursework. Even though the classes are online, there might be times when you must go to a testing center to take a test. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 19-to-1. Nearly 48% of the classes have less than 20 students. Top online Undergraduate programs include:
- Interdisciplinary Studies
- General Business
- Human Resource and Workforce Development
When you choose to get a University of Arkansas degree, you become part of the Razorback community. You have access to the same faculty, resources and commencement. Just like your onsite peers, your name will be etched in the senior walk at graduation.
Arkansas State University-Main Campus
College Choice Score: 94.66
Average Net Price: $11,896
Arkansas State University (“A-State” or “ASU”) was founded to teach agriculture, horticulture and textile manufacturing in 1909 in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Shortly thereafter, the school expanded into a university that became the flagship campus of the Arkansas State University system. Today, it is a cutting-edge research institution that is called a Best College by the U.S. News & World Report.
Arkansas State University offers over 10 online undergraduate programs to over 400 students with a rolling application deadline. They don’t stop there. They have over 20 additional graduate and certificate programs as well. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 17-to-1. Nearly 50% of the classes have less than 20 students. The top online bachelor programs include:
- Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Health Professions
- Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting & Related Protective Services
Arkansas State University is ranked #10 as a Best Online MBA program, #20 as a Top Public Schools, and is one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by the U.S. News & World Report.
University of Central Arkansas
College Choice Score: 88.18
Average Net Price: $12,798
The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) is one of the largest Arkansas universities. UCA was founded in 1907 in Conway, Arkansas, about 30 miles north of Little Rock with a population of over 57,000. The online program at University of Central Arkansas offers the same high standards as the onsite classroom program. UCA is known for their Graduate Nursing program, MBA program and Graduate Education programs.
University of Central Arkansas uses Blackboard as the online classroom environment for their students. A typical class is 8-weeks long. The online bachelor level programs include:
- Addiction Studies
- Professional Studies: Health and Safety
- Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
- General Business
- Insurance & Risk Management
University of Central Arkansas is one of most affordable four-year universities by Best Value Schools.com. Most students take graduate level degrees through the University of Central Arkansas. At the Bachelor level, students supplement their onsite instruction with online classes.
Arkansas Tech University
College Choice Score: 87.38
Average Net Price: $9,684
Arkansas Tech University (ATU) was founded in 1909 in Russellville, Arkansas, as an agricultural school. Today, Arkansas Tech has been ranked #1 by CollegeNET for providing students with upward social mobility and has one of the top graduation rates in Arkansas. Their online program is called eTech.
On campus, ATU offers over 140 programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Online, ATU offers 10 undergraduate programs. ATU uses Blackboard as their course management system.. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 19-to-1. Nearly 42% of the classes have less than 20 students. The average online class size is 21 students. Online undergraduate programs include:
- Emergency Management & Administration
- Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
- Interdisciplinary Studies
Arkansas Tech University has been awarded with the “Tree Campus USA” award by the Arbor Day Foundations for their effective measures in engaging staff in students in forest conservation and forest management.
Henderson State University
College Choice Score: 87.08
Average Net Price: $10,792
Henderson State University was founded in 1890 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The university is named after Charles Christopher Henderson, a trustee and prominent Arkadelphia businessman. It is the second oldest public institution in Arkansas and is regularly recognized as one of the most affordable small colleges and a top college by U.S. News and World Report.
Henderson State University offers 10 graduate programs online. Henderson uses Blackboard as the online course platform as well as a supplement to onsite courses. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 15-to-1. Nearly 60% of the classes have less than 20 students. Master-level online classes include:
- Educational Leadership
- Teacher Education
- Family Services
Henderson State University School of Business is accredited by the AACSB. Henderson is also known for their teacher-mentor program and their educational programs. Accreditations and reputations like this draw a diverse student body that includes students from more than 28 states and 25 foreign countries.
Ouachita Baptist University
College Choice Score: 86.33
Average Net Price: $19,102
Ouachita Baptist University was founded in 1886 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas by the Ouachita Baptist Church. Today, it is affiliated with the Arkansas Baptist State Conventions. The University serves over 1,500 undergraduates at its 200-acre campus 65 miles from Little Rock. Both on campus and online students are required by Ouachita Baptist University to participate in an in person or online student orientation.
Ouachita Baptist University offers over 40 on campus undergraduate majors and two online majors. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 13-to-1. Nearly 64% of the classes have less than 20 students. The online undergraduate programs include:
- Business Administration
- Christian Studies
It is the #1 regional college in the South for 4 consecutive years and ranked as a A+ Schools for B Students by the U.S. News & World Report. Ouachita is also one of the participants in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s National Genomics Research Initiative.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
College Choice Score: 77.67
Average Net Price: $11,177
University of Arkansas at Little Rock was founded in 1927 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Today, the university is a metropolitan research university serving over 11,000 on campus and online students. The university is known to have one of the top 25 Rehabilitation Counseling programs in the US (U.S. News & World Report) and their computer department is one of the top 50 innovative (Computer Science Degree Hub).
University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers over 10 majors available for undergraduate students. U of A uses Blackboard for classes, BOSS software for university records and Google Apps for email and student files. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 15-to-1. Nearly 67% of the classes have less than 20 students. The online undergraduate degrees include:
- Criminal Justice
- Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
For the past six years, University of Arkansas at Little Rock has been designated a Military-friendly campus by Victory Media. U of A is also an Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative Partner enabling military students to complete a Bachelor Degree.
Central Baptist College
College Choice Score: 75.84
Average Net Price: $15,602
Central Baptist College’s (CBC) history goes back to 1892 in Conway, Arkansas. The college was first founded by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and then later supported by the Arkansas Missionary Baptist Association in 1952. The college supports over 880 undergraduate students on its urban campus. However, most of the online programing is through the PACE (Professional Adult College Education) program.
Central Baptist College uses WebStudy software to post the students educational classes. Online classes are typically 5-weeks long but others might be longer depending on the program. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 10-to-1. Nearly 80% of the classes have less than 20 students. Undergraduate majors include:
- Church Administration
- Organizational Management
Central Baptist College has built a great program for both the traditional and nontraditional students. If you are looking for a program that will enable you to complete a bachelor degree quickly, direct connections with faculty and the charms of an intimate college environment, Central Baptist is for you.