For those exploring colleges in Arkansas, the state has more than 40 universities and colleges to choose from, many of which offer online education options to appeal to a more diverse group of aspiring college students. Enrollment in nursing education programs in the state are up, and more Arkansas schools are adding online programs to address local job shortages in highly-educated industries like healthcare. For students interested in learning what online college in Arkansas is all about, get answers to commonly asked questions about online tuition costs and transferring credits and find which top-quality colleges and universities in Arkansas are offering online education for students who need more flexible learning options.
Colleges in Arkansas possess many special features that make them stand out—from highly-touted football teams to adventure programs in the state’s beautiful recreation areas. But online students who aren’t as concerned about an on-campus experience and want to find an online college in Arkansas that offers the best combination of flexibility, student support and graduation success should check out the ratings below.
Online curriculum and courses are continually evolving, the best way to find whether a school offers your degree online, either partially- or fully-online, is to look for Arkansas colleges with an online program directory on their website. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education provides a list of all of the institutions in the state and their individual directories, along with an interactive map of Arkansas featuring the state's colleges and universities.
Many schools, such as Arkansas Tech University have become known for offering a wide range of programs where students can earn an associate degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree, or even a doctoral degree fully online. This kind of school can be an excellent choice for students who might not yet know which career path to take.
Nearly all Arkansas universities and colleges have policies in place for transferring courses or credits from other schools, and online students generally follow the same policies as on-campus students. The Arkansas Course Transfer System has made an online tool available that students can use to see if credits will transfer from their previous schools to their target schools.
When it comes to work and life experience credit, policies vary between college systems in Arkansas—some schools do not offer this type of credit validation. Arkansas students should get in touch with the admissions office at prospective schools directly to find out specifics, and prepare to be evaluated or tested to confirm knowledge. Credit for portions of military service may also be available for Arkansas students.
As the percentage of Arkansas residents who earn college degrees increases, it’s also interesting to get a glimpse at the average pay that Arkansas professionals earn based on jobs at different degree levels. Do college grads make more in Arkansas? On average, yes:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Arkansas residents working in jobs requiring a master's degree have the potential to make $30,000 more per year on average than residents who work in jobs requiring only a high school diploma. Also, those who work in positions that require a doctoral degree, on average, make $76,000 more per year than their peers in roles requiring no formal education.
Earning a college degree may be the first step to landing not only some of the most lucrative careers in Arkansas, but also some of the most needed. Jobs in social work, criminal justice and emergency medicine are among the most in-demand careers in Arkansas, many of which require a college degree. Colleges are also adding online healthcare degree programs to address a nursing shortage in the state.
Accreditation is an immensely important factor to consider when choosing an online college in Arkansas. In order to hold colleges and universities accountable for providing students with a high-quality education, accrediting bodies have been established to assess and uphold specific academic standards.
The regional accrediting body for Arkansas colleges and universities is the Higher Learning Commission. The HLC evaluates schools based on the VISTA system, which requires colleges to show Value, Innovation, Student Success, Thought Leadership and Advocacy.
In addition to holding regional accreditation, some online universities in Arkansas also opt to earn national and subject-specific accreditations. For instance, the University of Central Arkansas has received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) for its business college, which offers online degree programs at the bachelor's and master's levels.
Though the Governor has called for a state-wide tuition freeze at some four-year colleges in Arkansas, many students still worry about the cost of earning an online degree. Some states charge online students differently based on the state they live in, but generally, colleges and universities in Arkasnas most often charge the same rate for all online students, no matter where they live in the U.S.
Reciprocity Programs - The Southern Regional Education Board makes it possible for non-resident students who live in any of the 15 states that are part of the Academic Common Market to pay the Arkansas in-state rate of tuition at several Arkansas schools, including Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas and Arkansas Tech University.
Military Discounts - Some online colleges in Arkansas have also set up discounted tuition rates for military service members and veterans, such as at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
County-Based Discounts – Lower tuition rates may be available for students who are residents of particular counties within Arkansas—for example, Cleburne County residents are charged slightly less per credit hour at Arkansas State University Beebe.
Here are more answers additional commonly asked questions about paying for online colleges in Arkansas.
In Arkansas, students must have resided in the state for half a year prior to enrolling in college to qualify for in-state university tuition. A University of Arkansas student who possesses permanent living status is said to have earned Bona Fide Arkansas domiciliary status. Residency requirements do not apply to online students who are permitted to pay Arkansas in-state tuition costs as described above.
Online tuition rates vary at Arkansas colleges and universities, but Arkansas is a generally an affordable place to earn an online degree for students located anywhere in the U.S.
Public university tuition rates for an online education in Arkansas are more affordable than in other places. Here are some comparisons of online costs per credit in Arkansas versus schools in neighboring states for 2018-2019:
Along with filing for federal financial aid (FAFSA) and taking out federal loans, Arkansas students can take full advantage of a variety of state and local scholarships and grants. Here are some scholarships and grants available to students studying at online schools in Arkansas.
Arkansas Future Grant (ArFuture): This grant is available to students who are enrolled in math, engineering, technology, or science associate degree or certificate programs. The grant covers fees and tuition in full.
Academic Challenge Scholarship: This scholarship is partially funded by the Arkansas lottery. The $2,000 scholarship is available to any student entering college for the first time or going back to school after an extended break.
Single Parent Scholarship: This scholarship is available to low-income single parents pursuing a certification or a degree in Arkansas.
For a complete listing of scholarship resources see the button to the right.
Last year more than 16,000 people across Arkansas took part in adult education programs, offering many non-traditional students a clearer path to a college education. Adult education programs and workforce development are designed to help prepare busy adults for online college through a variety of academic and technical training systems—here are some examples of how these programs can help Arkansas students with their college endeavors:
Academic Prep for College – Aspiring students in Arkansas can utilize adult education GED programs to earn their high school diploma, English as a Second Language programs to become academically ready to attend college.
Technical Skill Prep for College – Arkansas adult education provides the WAGE system to train aspiring students on technical skills, like using Microsoft Office, to better prepare adult learners for college and careers.
Student Internships and Apprenticeships – The Arkansas Student Apprenticeships program to give students the opportunity to get hands-on experience in their career field prior to graduation.
College Transfer Assistance – The Arkansas Department of Higher Education ACTS program guides college students through the process of transferring to a four-year college.
To learn more about adult education program options near you, the Arkansas Adult Learning Resource Center provides a map directory search by county.