College enrollment in the U.S. continues to soar as students of all backgrounds recognize the importance of earning postsecondary degrees for successful job entry and long-term professional success. The National Center for Education Statistics projects that the undergraduate student population will increase from 16.8 million in 2017 to 17.2 million by 2028. By earning college credentials, you stand to benefit from better career opportunities and higher pay.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, bachelor's degree-holders (regardless of field) earn $24,000 more in average annual salary than individuals with only high school diplomas. They also enjoy a substantially lower unemployment rate.
Top 10 Online Colleges in Arkansas
- Arkansas State University - Jonesboro, AR
- University of Arkansas - Fayetteville, AR
- Harding University - Searcy, AR
- University of Arkansas at Little Rock - Little Rock, AR
- University of Central Arkansas - Conway, AR
- John Brown University - Siloam Springs, AR
- Arkansas Tech University - Russellville, AR
- Ouachita Baptist University - Arkadelphia, AR
- Ecclesia College - Springdale, AR
- Williams Baptist College - Walnut Ridge, AR
In lieu of campus-based learning, a growing number of students are opting for distance education. Online academic programs routinely operate asynchronous classes, which allow for flexible degree plans. Many distance learners maintain full-time jobs while pursuing their degrees. Furthermore, colleges and universities attract online students by providing low tuition rates and funding opportunities for distance learners.
The plethora of degree options may seem overwhelming. It can be challenging to decide which school best suits your academic interests and career goals. This guide assists your search by providing information on the 10 best online colleges in Arkansas with regards to factors such as cost, financial aid availability, and student services. Each institution's profile details remote degree offerings and general admissions criteria.
In addition to affordable and quality colleges, Arkansas boasts an expanding economy. Ample job opportunities exist in key industries such as information technology, healthcare, aerospace and national defense, and distribution logistics. The Natural State also comes with a relatively low cost of living. Even in major cities like Little Rock and Fayetteville, living expenses fall well below the national average.
When a college or university piques your interest, do not hesitate to contact the relevant admissions counselors. These specialists can help you navigate enrollment and apply for scholarships.
2020 Best Online Colleges in Arkansas
Arkansas State University
|Jonesboro, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Based in Jonesboro, Arkansas State University enrolls 22,000 students, making it the second-largest institution of higher education in the state. The school offers over 35 online degree and certificate options through Blackboard Learn. Undergraduate candidates can pick from majors such as sociology, criminology, and nursing (RN to BSN). They can also enroll in an online bachelor of digital innovation program, concentrating their studies on either graphic communication or strategic communication.
Graduate programming covers fields such as media management and sport administration. A-State also delivers master's programs in education accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. These options include school counseling, educational leadership, and curriculum and instruction. Experienced professionals can pursue accelerated online education specialist credentials, choosing from six advanced tracks.
Candidates must submit a formal application and academic transcripts. Online students pay affordable tuition rates based on program, not residency status. A-State supports distance learners with personalized advising and free e-tutoring services.
University of Arkansas
|Fayetteville, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
The University of Arkansas is the largest postsecondary school in the state. Approximately 28,000 students attend UA, many of whom pursue their credentials entirely online through Blackboard-powered asynchronous classes. Learners in approved distance education programs benefit from in-state tuition. The university offers a variety of funding opportunities, including the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship specifically for online students.
The program catalog contains bachelor's degrees in accounting, supply chain management, and human resources and workforce development education. Students can tailor their degree plan to their specific career goals by enrolling in the interdisciplinary studies track. UA also offers online nursing degrees, with tracks for working LPNs and RNs.
For online graduate students, degree options include electrical engineering, agricultural and food law, and operations management. Candidates may enroll in an innovative master's program for educational equity, developing the skills to support underserved school districts. UA delivers four remote doctoral programs, including credentials for lifelong learning that prepare learners for careers as educational researchers and corporate trainers.
|Searcy, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Harding University serves over 5,900 students annually, making it the largest private college or university in Arkansas. The school provides comprehensive academic programming on campus through its Searcy location and online through flexible classes facilitated by the Canvas platform. To enroll as a first-year undergraduate, applicants submit an online form; high school transcripts; and ACT, CLT, or SAT scores. Graduate requirements differ by program, but generally include a minimum 3.0 GPA.
On top of individual online classes, Harding offers fully online bachelor's programs in leadership management and leadership marketing. The latter track helps students build foundational business knowledge, as well as specialized marketing skills centered on consumer behavior and promotional strategies. Distance learners may also earn a bachelor's degree in Bible and ministry.
Harding delivers a fully online master of business administration accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. MBA candidates can earn their credentials in as little as 18 months, or they can take up to seven years to complete the program.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
|Little Rock, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
Established as a junior college in 1927, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock now delivers comprehensive academic programming in many fields. Offerings include affordable online degrees and certificates facilitated by Blackboard. Distance learners benefit from reduced in-state tuition prices based on program. They can also access financial aid, including awards such as the Bernard Osher Foundation Scholarship for nontraditional students pursuing their first undergraduate degree.
Learners may take asynchronous online classes alongside traditional on-campus courses to create a hybrid learning experience. Alternatively, they can enroll in fully online bachelor's programs for applied communication, criminal justice, and professional and technical writing. UA Little Rock also provides a nursing completion track for active RNs. Additionally, the university delivers remote bachelor of business administration degrees that enable candidates to pick from concentrations such as accounting, human resource management, and management information systems.
Online graduate programs cover fields such as social work, information quality, and rural and urban school leadership. Doctoral candidates can earn a Ph.D. in computer and information sciences. This 75-hour program emphasizes multidisciplinary research centered on information quality assurance and dissemination systems.
University of Central Arkansas
|Conway, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
The University of Central Arkansas supports 11,500 students every year. Learners can earn fully online degrees through asynchronous coursework powered by Blackboard. Undergraduate options include general business, addiction studies, and nursing (RN to BSN).
Online students may also earn a bachelor's degree in insurance and risk management. This interdisciplinary program totals 120 credits and enables candidates to focus their studies on areas such as employee benefits, personal financial planning, and property and liability insurance.
UCA Online delivers master's programs for geographic information systems and health promotion. Experienced RNs can advance their careers by obtaining graduate credentials in clinical nurse leader and nurse educator with a clinical specialty track. The university also provides an online executive master of arts in sport management that operates accelerated eight-week classes, enabling candidates to earn their degree in 20 months.
Admissions criteria differ by program, but undergraduate candidates should expect to meet a minimum 2.0 GPA requirement. Graduate applicants usually need at least a 3.0 GPA. Distance learners enjoy affordable, flat-rate tuition and distinct scholarship opportunities.
John Brown University
|Siloam Springs, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 73%||
Located in Siloam Springs, John Brown University offers quality on-campus academic programs and online degree opportunities. The institution powers its distance education platform with Blackboard Learn. JBU's online undergraduate programs are degree completion tracks that require applicants to transfer at least 45 credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Regardless of their residency status, all distance learners benefit from the same affordable tuition rate. JBU facilitates tuition discounts through community partnerships.
Online bachelor's degrees include psychology and organizational leadership. Students can also earn a liberal arts degree, concentrating the curriculum on either communications or politics and ethics. The former track covers topics such as political communication and marketing principles, preparing candidates to work as digital journalists and freelance writers.
Additionally, JBU offers a remote bachelor of business administration program totaling 120 credits. BSBA candidates develop the communication skills and technical knowledge to create data-centered organization strategies for a globalized economy. Graduates may then pursue entry-level occupations or attend graduate business schools.
Arkansas Tech University
|Russellville, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
Arkansas Tech University serves approximately 10,000 students at its main campus in Russellville and satellite location in Ozark. The institution also delivers flexible online academic programming through Blackboard Learn.
Students may earn a two-year degree in general studies, completing core requirements before transferring into baccalaureate completion programs. ATU delivers five online bachelor's degrees, including an RN-to-BSN track. Undergraduate students can also enroll in remote associate programs for law enforcement and logistics management.
The graduate catalog contains remote master's degrees in health informatics, business administration, and homeland security. Learners can also earn a master of science in college student personnel. Spanning two years, this unique program offers the mentorship and field experience candidates need to work as student affairs generalists.
First-year students qualify for unconditional admission if they hold a minimum 2.0 GPA and earn either 19 on the ACT or 990 on the SAT. Graduate candidates need at least a 2.5 GPA. Financial aid opportunities include major-based awards for incoming freshmen and tuition waivers for graduate students who reside outside of Arkansas.
Ouachita Baptist University
|Arkadelphia, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Named for the river that runs down its eastern campus boundary, Ouachita Baptist University is a private liberal arts institution that provides distance education through the Moodle e-learning platform. Online courses use an accelerated eight-week format, enabling students to maintain a full-time job and still obtain their degree in less time than in a traditional program. In addition to one low tuition price, the university offers funding opportunities such as the Pryor Scholarship for Arkansas residents and the Abbott and Fenner award for out-of-state students.
OBU delivers online associate and bachelor's degrees in Christian studies. These programs feature core classes such as biblical preaching, Christian ethics, and advanced Christian ministry. Candidates develop the communication and program planning skills to support their churches as administrators and spiritual leaders.
Distance learners can also enroll in a bachelor of interdisciplinary studies program. This completionist track allows students to craft their own degree plan. Alternatively, candidates can choose from designated emphasis areas such as social sciences, kinesiology, professional writing, and business administration.
|Springdale, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 14%||
Based in Springdale, Ecclesia College delivers affordable online academics through Canvas. For students interested in transfer opportunities, EC offers an online associate program in general studies. Bachelor's candidates can pick from majors such as biblical studies and Christian leadership. They can also enroll in a remote leadership program, delving into ethical decision-making practices for the workplace.
Additional baccalaureate programs include business administration, which comes with concentrations in management and marketing. Lastly, EC offers an online bachelor of psychology and counseling. Students in this program take courses such as counseling theory, human sexuality, and urban social issues. They round out their studies by completing a counseling practicum and senior research project.
Prospective students must submit an online application; all school transcripts; and ACT, SAT, or CLT scores. The school offers an affordable tuition price that ignores residency status. All learners can apply for financial support, including work-learning awards and merit scholarships based on GPA.
Williams Baptist College
|Walnut Ridge, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
Established in 1941 as a two-year school, Williams Baptist University now offers comprehensive academics at its main campus in Walnut Ridge and online through asynchronous classes powered by Moodle.
Undergraduate students can enroll in a remote bachelor of science in criminal justice program. Totaling 120 credits, the degree plan contains classes such as principles of corrections, police administration, and comparative justice. Students also develop emergency management skills, enabling them to pursue homeland security careers.
For graduate learners, WBU delivers an online master of science in education. This program features eight-week classes, allowing students to maintain full-time work obligations or accelerate degree completion. Students cultivate the strategies to support diverse and equitable learning communities. They graduate ready to earn initial state certification to teach at the PreK-12 levels.
WBU prefers candidates who possess a minimum 2.6 GPA. Ideal students also score at least 20 on the ACT or 1030 on the SAT. The university provides a variety of financial aid, including performing arts scholarships and transfer awards based on GPA.