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Arkansas is the 32nd most populated state in the union with just over 3 million residents as of the latest census. However, Arkansas is home to nearly 100 colleges and universities despite the population numbers. Schools in the state range in location from the lowlands of the Mississippi River to the foothills of the Ozark National Forest. Top ranked public universities such as the University of Arkansas, University of Central Arkansas, and Arkansas State University often make our list of best schools in the South. Cities with the most colleges tend to be the more populous cities in Arkansas such as Fayetteville and Little Rock. Meanwhile smaller towns in the state still have robust universities and colleges such as Pine Bluff, Fort Smith, and Monticello. Consider visiting the list of schools below to find top ranked public colleges in Arkansas near you.

2021 Best Public Colleges in Arkansas

The University of Arkansas offers degree programs in everything from history to drama, engineering to geosciences, and accounting to animal science or landscape architecture. Many students take courses abroad during their college careers, completing their degrees under the auspices of University of Arkansas. Students at the graduate and undergraduate levels participate in research, development and inventions.

There is a prestigious faculty at University of Arkansas, and past faculty members in the School of Law were Bill and Hillary Clinton. Alumni of the University include top executives of national and international companies, and award-winning writers, scientists, and more. A particularly notable alumnus of the University was J. William Fulbright, a Rhodes Scholar who later became president of the University and a U.S. Senator. He founded the Fulbright Grant Program, one of the greatest international exchange programs for faculty and students in the world.

 

History

The University of Arkansas was founded in 1871 as a land-grant university and state university. The community of Fayetteville raised the funding for the university's campus as part of a competition inspired by the Organic Act of 1871 to support agricultural and industrial education.

Academics

The academic calendar for the University of Arkansas follows the semester format, with fall, spring and summer semesters.

Colleges and Schools

  • Honors College
  • Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences
  • Fay Jones School of Architecture
  • J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
  • Sam M. Walton College of Business
  • College of Education and Health Professions
  • College of Engineering
  • Global Campus
  • Graduate School
  • School of Law

Student Life

The University of Arkansas boasts 300 registered student clubs and organizations for those looking to get involved with groups that focus on special interests, religion, culture, academics, professional careers, and more. There are also many local chapters of sororities and fraternities available for involvement. The intramural sports program offers activities and tournaments for students who seek active involvement beyond the classroom. The Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) building offers many opportunities for exercise and fitness, including racquetball, basketball, swimming, and rock climbing, among others.

There are more than one dozen residence halls that offer on-campus living at the University of Arkansas, and there are many opportunities for off-campus living as well. The eateries on campus offer plenty of selection and dining options.

Other venues and activities on campus that offer recreation and entertainment include music and theatre performances, art exhibits, poetry readings, guest lectures, and outdoor movies.

Student services include counseling, healthcare and wellness services, and academic guidance and support.

 

Traditions

The school colors for the University of Arkansas are red and white. Since 1909, the school mascot has been a razorback hog, when the athletic coach referred to his teams as "...a wild band of razorback hogs." The athletic teams have been nicknamed the Arkansas "Razorbacks" ever since.

Beginning in the 1920s, the Arkansas Hog Call, or school yell, was heard at school games. It sounds like "Wooo, Pig, Sooie."

The logo of the Arkansas "Razorbacks" is known officially as the "Profile Hog," but is called the "Helmet Hog" by fans, because it is emblazoned on the team football helmets.

Athletics

The University of Arkansas "Razorbacks" athletic teams compete in many intercollegiate sports, including:

Men's Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Wrestling 

Women's Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball

Satellite Campuses

The University of Arkansas has one, primary campus in Fayetteville, AK.

Community Life

Fayetteville, Arkansas is located in a "metroplex" area that is home to many large corporations, including Tyson Foods and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Recent reports have named Fayetteville one of the "Best Performing Cities" for its economic performance, and "One of America's Most Livable Cities." It is considered one of the least stressful metro areas in the nation, and an excellent place to live, study and retire.

Enrollment

27,778

Student to Faculty Ratio

18:1

Arkansas State University is a public university that has many majors available for students to choose from. The school is located in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in a predominantly urban area. Approximately 13,000 students are enrolled annually at Arkansas State University. A list of some of the more popular programs offered are:

  • Education
  • Liberal Arts And Sciences
  • Health And Clinical Professions
  • Business And Marketing Studies
The admissions process will include the submission of an application, school records, and standardized test scores, which are then evaluated by admissions officials. An ACT or SAT exam may be required prior to applying, with scores within the range of 1260 - 1555 on the SAT and within the range of 20 - 26 for the ACT exam is common among students accepted to Arkansas State University. This school accepts roughly 60% of applicants. Of those accepted, about 51% registered for enrollment. More information on admissions can be found at astate.edu/admissions. Tuition & fees at Arkansas State University are different for in-state and out-of-state residents. In-state tuition costs approximately $7,600 per year, while out-of-state tuition costing $13,000 for the year. Financial aid may be provided to students that meet the necessary requirements in the form of loans, grants, scholarships and work study programs. The mascot for Arkansas State University is the "Red Wolves", and they participate in intercollegiate athletics through the NCAA. Available sports offered:
  • Baseball (NCAA Division I-A)
  • Basketball (NCAA Division I-A)
  • Track & Field (NCAA Division I-A)
Contact information, admission forms, areas of study, and more may be accessed on school's website at www.astate.edu or http://degree.astate.edu/.

Enrollment

13,709

Student to Faculty Ratio

18:1

Southern Arkansas University Main Campus is a public institution located in Magnolia, AR and provides a large number of educational opportunities for students. SAU has a yearly student enrollment of approximately three thousand.

Areas of study offered at Southern Arkansas University Main Campus include but are not limited to:

  • Business And Marketing Studies
  • Health And Clinical Professions
  • Education
  • Liberal Arts And Sciences
  • Biological And Biomedical Sciences

To be considered for admissions, applicants may be required to complete an application, write a personal statement, and submit school records, which are then studied by admissions officials. Either the SAT or ACT exam must be taken in order to apply to SAU. Scores within the range of 18 - 25 on the ACT or 870 - 1160 on the SAT are needed to increase your chances for acceptance. Roughly 70% of all applicant were admitted at Southern Arkansas University Main Campus, with 39% of those admitted choosing to enroll. More information on admissions can be found here.

The tuition at Southern Arkansas University Main Campus varies based on the state of residence of the student. In-state residents pay close to $7,500 per year and out-of-state residents are charged $11,000 per year. Housing may be available for students who wish to live on-campus at an estimated cost of $2,600 each year. SAU may provide financial aid for students that qualify as scholarships, grants, and loans.

Southern Arkansas University Main Campus offers several athletic programs overseen by the NCAA. Athletic programs offered include:

  • Baseball (NCAA Division II)
  • Basketball (NCAA Division II)
  • Football (NCAA Division II)

Students may visit the SAU website to get a complete list of academic programs offered, financial aid details, and more that is available at this school.

Enrollment

4,472

Student to Faculty Ratio

17:1

University of Central Arkansas provides a variety of degree programs for students to guide them in their growth and development. The school is located in Conway, Arkansas and publically funded. University of Central Arkansas has an annual student enrollment of over 11,000.

Students can choose from several areas of study, including:

  • Liberal Arts And Sciences
  • Health And Clinical Professions
  • Psychology
  • Biological And Biomedical Sciences
  • Education

Students applying for admission are asked to submit an application, transcripts, records, test scores and any requested personal statements, which will then be reviewed by the school. Most students accepted to University of Central Arkansas score in-between 20 to 26 on the ACT exam. 91% of students that apply are accepted to UCA, of which 54 percent choose to attend.

Tuition & fees at UCA vary for in-state and nonresidents. In-state tuition costs approximately $7,900 per year and out-of-state tuition costing $14,000 annually. Housing may be available for students who wish to live on-campus for around a cost of $3,200 for the year. Financial aid may be provided to students that meet the necessary requirements in the form of loans, grants, scholarships and work study programs.

The University of Central Arkansas "Bears" have a number of intercollegiate athletic programs through participation in the NCAA. Athletic programs that are available may include:

  • Baseball (NCAA Division I-AA)
  • Basketball (NCAA Division I-AA)
  • Track & Field (NCAA Division I-AA)

For a complete list of programs offered, enrollment information, financial aid details, and more, please take a look at the school's website at http://www.uca.edu.

Enrollment

11,177

Student to Faculty Ratio

15:1

Henderson State University is a public college that has a large selection of programs available for students to choose from. The school is located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in a predominantly rural area. Enrollment at Henderson State University is nearly three thousand yearly. Here is a list of some of the popular programs Henderson State University offers:

  • Education
  • Business And Marketing Studies
  • Liberal Arts And Sciences
  • Psychology
Students applying for admission are generally required to submit an application, school records, standardized test scores and any requested application essays, which will then be reviewed by admissions staff. An ACT or SAT exam may be required prior to applying, with scores between 1255 to 1619 on the SAT and in a range of 18 to 24 for the ACT exam is common among students admitted to Henderson State University. An estimated 60% of all students that applied were admitted at Henderson State University, with 41% of those admitted choosing to enroll. More information on admissions can be found at hsu.edu. The cost of undergraduate tuition varies for in-state and out-of-state residents. In-state residents pay nearly $6,000, while out-of-state residents pay $11,000 per year. Students attending this school may qualify for aid which is usually grants and loans. The Henderson State University Reddies participate in a number of intercollegiate athletic programs, with competitions managed and overseen by the NCAA. Athletic programs available include:
  • Baseball (NCAA Division II)
  • Basketball (NCAA Division II)
  • Football (NCAA Division II)
  • Golf (NCAA Division II)

Enrollment

3,961

Student to Faculty Ratio

14:1

About
Arkansas Tech University, located in Russellville, Arkansas, was founded in 1909 by the Arkansas General Assembly. Originally known as the Second District Agricultural School and offered the equivalent of a high school education. By the early 1920's the school began offering post-secondary education and degrees, followed by the phasing out high school programs by 1931 and a name change to Arkansas Polytechnic College. In 1976 the school once again changed its name, this time to the current, to reflect its four year offerings and expanded role. In 2003 the school took over operations of Arkansas Valley Technical Institute, operating it as a satellite campus that offers associate degrees. The school has been investing heavily in the upgrading of its facilities and programs, having added over 30 new areas of study since 1993.

Academics
Arkansas Tech University offers a large number of programs that allow students to pursue the one that best suits his or her needs and goals. These programs result in associate, bachelor or master degrees. Associate degrees are primarily geared toward technical and career training, through transfer to a four year program is possible. Bachelor's degree programs take four years to complete, and are offered in a variety of fields. Minor degrees may be taken alongside a bachelor's degree, and offer the opportunity to study a second interest in an unrelated field, or to augment one's major. Master degree programs or more limited  number and require at least a bachelor's degree to be considered for admission.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid
Students wishing to enroll at Arkansas Tech University must supply a completed application, transcripts, standardized test scores, and proof of immunization. Students should have a minimum ACT score of 16, SAT score of 1060, or a composite COMPASS scores of 47 and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Students who meet these requirements will be considered for admission by a review board, and once completed, will notify the students of their decision. If admitted, the student will receive the information necessary to begin their academic life at the school.

Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, and work study programs. Students in need of financial assistance must obtain a federal PIN and submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will utilize the student's financial and tax information (or the student's family's if underage or a dependent) to determine financial need, program eligibility, and monetary awards. Financial aid must be reapplied for prior to the start of each academic year before the school's posted financial aid deadline. Students may be asked to provide additional financial documentation prior to the disbursement of funds to ensure the accuracy of the FAFSA.

Enrollment

12,101

Student to Faculty Ratio

18:1

University of Arkansas - Fort Smith provides a variety of program options for students to assist them in their growth and development. The school is located in Fort Smith, AR and publically funded. Enrollment at UAFS exceeds 7,800 per year. Students may select from several areas of study, including but not limited to:

  • Precision Production
  • Business And Marketing Studies
  • Liberal Arts And Sciences
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Education
  • Mechanic And Repair Technology
The admissions process begins with the submission of an application, transcripts, records, and standardized test scores, which are then evaluated by the admissions committee. Very common test scores among applicants admitted to UAFS are in the range of 19 - 24 for the ACT exam, or 1390 - 1760 for the SAT exam. 56% of students that apply are admitted to this school, of which 61 percent choose to attend. For complete information on school admissions, simply reach out to the school or complete the form on our page today. Tuition & fees at UAFS are different for in-state and out-of-state residents. In-state tuition costs nearly $4,700 per year, while out-of-state tuition costing $10,000 per year. Housing is available on-campus for students. The annual cost of housing is around $4,700. This school may offer financial aid for students who are eligible by way of scholarships, grants, and loans. UAFS offers several athletic programs overseen by the NCAA. Sports available may include the following:
  • Baseball (NCAA Division II)
  • Basketball (NCAA Division II)
  • Golf (NCAA Division II)
  • Tennis (NCAA Division II)
  • Track and Field, X-Country (NCAA Division II)
Students who would like to see more about University of Arkansas - Fort Smith may check out their website at www.uafs.edu.

Enrollment

6,557

Student to Faculty Ratio

17:1

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a public historically black institution located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Most historically black colleges and universities (also known as HBCUs) were founded after the civil war to provide newly freed African Americans with educational opportunities. As a land grant institution this school is among larger public institutions in the state of Arkansas. Enrollment at UAPB is nearly 3,400 yearly.

A list of some of the more popular programs offered are:

  • Business And Marketing Studies
  • Security And Protective Services
  • Liberal Arts And Sciences
  • Family And Consumer Sciences
  • Engineering Technology

To be considered for admissions, students may be required to fill out an application, write a personal statement, and submit high school records and test scores, which are then studied by the admissions office. A SAT or ACT exam may be required prior to applying, with scores in a range of 1130 - 1490 on the SAT and between 15 - 20 for the ACT exam is typical among students accepted to this school. Only 29% of applicants are admitted to the school due to the large number of applicants and the intense competition for the limited enrollment spots.

Tuition & fees at UAPB are different for in-state and out-of-state residents. In-state tuition costs nearly $5,900 per year, while out-of-state tuition costing $12,000 per year. Student housing is available on-campus for students. The annual cost of housing is approximately $4,000. This school may help with costs by offering financial aid for students that are eligible by way of grants and loans.

UAPB offers a variety of athletic programs overseen by the NCAA. Available sports offered:

  • Baseball (NCAA Division I-AA)
  • Basketball (NCAA Division I-AA)
  • Track & Field (NCAA Division I-AA)
  • Football (NCAA Division I-AA)
  • Golf (NCAA Division I-AA)

Students may visit the UAPB website to get a complete list of areas of study, admissions information, and more that is available at this school.

Enrollment

2,579

Student to Faculty Ratio

15:1

Arkansas Public School Majors and Online Degree Programs

With many college degrees to choose from, students looking to enroll in a public university in Arkansas will find a program for nearly every discipline. Undergraduate programs offered by state colleges include systems engineering, math, dance, counseling psychology, communications, and robotics. Likewise, the graduate degree programs extend learning from lower level classes to provide a higher level of learning and mastery over specific areas of study. Online graduate degree programs at Arkansas state colleges may include computer science, statistics, law, nuclear engineering, and forensic science.

Top Ten Largest Employers in Arkansas:

  • Wal-Mart
  • Infosys Limited
  • UST Global
  • University of Arkansas (UA)
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
  • IBM
  • Hewlett Packard (HP)
  • Tyson Foods
  • AT&T
  • JB Hunt Transportation

-2

The 3 schools listed below are part of the -2 system. By following the links below, you can view each school's profile in detail.

Institution Name Number Students Information Virtual Tour
Central Baptist College in Conway, AR10,000 to 19,999info
Hendrix College in Arkadelphia, AR1,000 to 4,999info
Southern Arkansas University Tech in Magnolia, AR1,000 to 4,999info

University of Arkansas System

The 3 schools listed below are part of the University of Arkansas System. By following the links below, you can view each school's profile in detail.

Institution Name Number Students Information Virtual Tour
Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, AR1,000 to 4,999info
Arkansas State University - Beebe in Pine Bluff, AR1,000 to 4,999info
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in Fayetteville, ARMore Than 20,000info

Other Public 4-Year State Universities & Colleges

Below is a list of other 4-year state universities and colleges in Arkansas.

Institution Name Number Students Information Virtual Tour
Academy of Art University in Fort Smith, AR1,000 to 4,999info
Arkansas Tech University in Jonesboro, AR10,000 to 19,999info

Notes: Tuition & fee amounts are for both Arkansas in-state residents and out of state students, unless noted otherwise. The tuition information displayed is an estimate, which we calculated based on historical data and should be solely used for informational purposes only. Please contact the respective school for information about the current school year.

Source: IPEDS Survey 2012-2020: Data obtained from the US Dept. of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Data may vary depending on school and academic year.

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