Arkansas is offering increased online learning opportunities for K-12 students, including one fully-online school, one supplemental program, and a digital learning requirement for graduation. The state boasts Arkansas Virtual Academy, a charter school that serviced 1,334 students during the 2013-14 school year, as well as Virtual Arkansas, through which 3,734 students in 149 schools took supplemental courses. Virtual Arkansas added two new campuses for the 2014-15 school year, while new legislation seeks to open up the online component for Arkansas K-12 students even further.
|SCHOOL NAME||GRADE LEVELS||CITY||SCHEDULE||TYPE||PHONE NUMBER|
|Arkansas Virtual Academy||K - 8||Little Rock||Both Live/On-Demand||Public||(866) 339-4952|
|Arkansas Virtual High School||9 - 12||Enola||On-Demand/Asynchronous||Public||(501) 849-3548|
Arkansas colleges provide numerous online programs in addition to campus-based education. Both the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University systems—the state’s two largest—provide Web-based programs for students in several fields of study. Arkansas State University has received high rankings for its online engineering program, as well as its business and education graduate programs. More than 40 smaller universities and community colleges also offer online courses in various subject areas including business, arts and design, education, engineering, nursing, health and sciences, hospitality, culinary arts, law and criminal justice and social sciences. In addition, many private and religious colleges offer distance learning on some level, whether for single courses or fully-online degrees.
Career, technical and vocational online schools in Arkansas offer training or degrees that prepare students for specific careers or trades. These courses are also available to those who have finished other degrees, but want to change their career path. Programs involve subject theories and extensive hands-on training to develop skills. Coursework may be completed in two years or less, with some schools offering 6-month programs for certain fields. Examples of some of the top trade school disciplines in Arkansas are business, criminal justice, electronics, HVAC, paralegal, private investigation, web design/management and welding.
There are numerous technical institutes in Arkansas, although most are private, for-profit colleges. Below is a list of the largest public and private colleges that offer certificates.
Community colleges make up the majority of higher education in Arkansas. These institutions offer two-year associate degrees and may or may not be career-specific. Upon completion of a two-year degree, students can choose to enter the working world or transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Some of the community colleges offer technical courses and grant certificates as well.
Best Online Schools in Arkansas for 2015-2016
|Score||Student/teacher ratio||Financial aid||Cost||more|
Online students at Ecclesia College gain more than just a degree and Christian education; they learn how to become more self-reliant learners who value personal development and independence. Students can earn one of two associate degrees, eight bachelor's degrees or two graduate degrees. Classes are six weeks long (with 5-week summer classes), taught by the same professors who teach on-campus classes. Online students must log in and interact with professors and peers five days of the week, asking questions, viewing lectures and making observations about what they are learning. Service learning is a requirement each semester, including local or international volunteer work and outreach services.
|2||Arkansas Tech University||96.59||20:1||95%|
Asynchronous classes at Arkansas Tech University allow students to fit their degree within their schedule. Using the Blackboard course management system, students can log in to watch lectures, find assignments and take exams when it's convenient for them so long as they meet instructor deadlines. ATU offers several unique online opportunities, including a bachelor's in emergency management and administration and a master's in college student personnel. Online instructors receive comprehensive training in online teaching, ensuring that the degree programs mirror those that are available on the traditional campus.
|3||John Brown University||95.3||15:1||99%|
A Christ-centered, online education from John Brown University helps graduates develop spiritually, intellectually and professionally while allowing students to maintain personal obligations. A comprehensive online orientation is available on JBU's website, so students can access resources and information at any time. While students can log into classes when it fits their schedule, students are expected to check email messages, discussion boards and course readings at least three times each week. Degrees are available in leadership and ethics, liberal arts, accounting and more and degree completion options are available at both the bachelor's and master's level.
|4||University of Central Arkansas||95.28||17:1||95%|
The online degree programs at the University of Central Arkansas require no face-to-face interaction or campus visits, making them a convenient and flexible option to earning a degree. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard course management system, where students submit assignments and view lectures. Classes are typically 8 weeks long and are not designed to be self-paced; there are specific deadlines that students must meet each term. UCA is committed to putting students first, providing direct access to a program coordinator to ensure every students' needs are met.
|5||University of Arkansas||95.13||19:1||81%|
Whether students seek licensure programs, a bachelor's degree, doctoral programs or a graduate certificate, the University of Arkansas has a variety of online options for students who cannot attend a traditional college setting. Many of these programs are 100 percent online, taught asynchronously so students can access lectures and course materials when it fits their schedule. Most classes run on a traditional 15-week schedule, with shorter sessions available in the summer. In some cases, students can earn credit for professional development experiences through workshops and institutes sponsored by UA. Online, self-paced correspondence courses are also available for students who want to expand their horizons while not necessarily working toward a degree.
|6||Arkansas State University-Main Campus||90.66||18:1||95%|
Arkansas State University's online distance learning programs include a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary, a unique program that allows students to tailor their degree program to meet their own personal and professional goals. In addition, six other bachelor's degrees, seven master's degrees and a handful of professional certifications and post-grad degrees are also available online. Students work with a teaching assistant and instructors, providing personalized attention from enrollment to graduation. A supervised internship provides real-world experience and exposure in preparation for graduation and the workforce beyond.
|7||University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences||87.85||7:1||N/A|
In an effort to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Nursing offers a completely online accelerated RN to BSN and an option for a MNSc. The program is 84 credit hours offered in courses that are just over 7 weeks long. There are five program start times throughout the year and students graduate in as little as 12 months. The program is rounded out with a capstone project where students demonstrate the breadth of knowledge they gained throughout the program.
There are a total of 11 public universities in Arkansas. The state’s largest university system is the University of Arkansas, also known as U of A, which has six branches located in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, Monticello and Pine Bluff. Its main branch at Fayetteville serves more than 20,000 undergraduate students and offers 200 fields of study at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree levels. The second largest university system is Arkansas State University. Its main campus at Jonesboro has approximately 10,000 undergraduate students and offers 150 fields of study in over 40 degree programs.
|SCHOOL NAME||TYPE||ADDRESS||CITY||SEE PROGRAMS|
|Arkansas Tech University||Public||Administration Bldg 200; 1509 N Boulder Ave||Russellville||+|
|Southern Arkansas University Main Campus||Public||100 E. University||Magnolia||+|
|John Brown University||Private not-for-profit||2000 W University St||Siloam Springs||+|
|University of Central Arkansas||Public||201 Donaghey Ave||Conway||+|
|University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences||Public||4301 W Markham||Little Rock||+|
|University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff||Public||1200 N University Mail Slot 4789||Pine Bluff||+|
|Ecclesia College||Private not-for-profit||9653 Nations Dr||Springdale||+|
|Henderson State University||Public||1100 Henderson Street||Arkadelphia||+|
|Arkansas State University-Main Campus||Public||2105 E. Aggie Road||Jonesboro||+|
University of Arkansas Online
At the University of Arkansas Global Campus, a range of certificates, bachelor’s, master’s, professional specialist and doctorate degrees are available online. Distance learners can choose bachelor’s degree programs in fields such as nursing, education and business administration. Graduate programs include studies in engineering, special education, business administration, bioenergy and sustainable technology, information systems and social work. The University of Arkansas Global Campus also provides an extensive array of online courses for academic credit or continuing education (CEU) credits in programs offered by the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, College of Education and Health Professions, College of Engineering, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, Sam M. Walton College of Business and School of Law.
Courses at the University of Arkansas Global Campus may be available totally or partially online, and students earn the same academic credit as their counterparts taking classes on campus. The school also offers a unique package of online correspondence courses that allow students to set their own pace rather than forcing them to follow rigid, structured itineraries.
For more information on degree and individual course options at the University of Arkansas Global Campus, visit http://online.uark.edu/.
Arkansas State University
The second-largest school in the state, Arkansas State University has an extensive distance learning program. Its online programs focus on degree and Arkansas-specific certification programs for K-12 educators and administrators, making it easier for working teachers to enhance their knowledge and skills. ASU offers online professional certifications for Arkansas special education director (by grade levels), Arkansas curriculum director and principals. For those who wish to complete an undergraduate degree online, ASU provides its Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (BSIS).
At the graduate and post-graduate degree levels, online students can earn a master’s in public administration, as well as master’s degrees in instructional specialist, curriculum and instruction, and education leadership, to name a few. Post-graduate online degrees include an EdS in Education in tracks geared to developing superintendents, principals, special education teachers, curriculum directors and gifted and talented directors.
Arkansas State University has flexible payment options and financial aid available to qualified students. For more information about Arkansas State University Online, visit http://degree.astate.edu.
John Brown University
John Brown University is the largest private, nonprofit university in Arkansas that doesn’t focus on religious studies. Its distance learning program offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as individual courses. Graduate students can enroll in business courses or counseling classes that have been approved by the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy.
John Brown University provides a range of tools for prospective students to determine if online study is right for them. These include sample classes, common expectations, previews and demos designed to inform potential students about the nature of online education before they commit to a course or degree program.
For more information, visit John Brown University’s distance-learning website at http://www.jbu.edu/online/.
Best for Future Service Members
Arkansas boasts many universities that not only offer a wide range of degree options, but also enable students to give back to their community. Service-oriented students can find many ROTC programs associated with online schools in Arkansas. We’ve listed all of the four-year degree granting, nonprofit colleges that provide at least two of the following ROTC programs: Army, Navy and Air Force.
|Tuition||City||ROTC - Army||ROTC - Navy||ROTC - Air Force|
|University of Arkansas-Fort Smith||$3,120||Fort Smith||Yes||No||Yes|
|University of Arkansas||$6,142||Fayetteville||Yes||No||Yes|
Best for Personal Attention
Online schools in Arkansas serve up a great education in the southern state, whether students are seeking a wide range of degree options or a targeted training program. Many students hope to find a quality college education from a great school without feeling like just another number. These four-year, nonprofit Arkansas colleges offer a unique blend of high student enrollment and small classes, with fewer than 20 students per faculty member, on average.
|University of Arkansas-Fort Smith||19 to 1||8,924||$3,120||Public||Fort Smith|
|Arkansas State University-Main Campus||19 to 1||11,965||$5,430||Public||Jonesboro|
|University of Arkansas||19 to 1||21,201||$6,142||Public||Fayetteville|
|Arkansas Baptist College||18 to 1||1,571||$6,960||Private not-for-profit||Little Rock|
|Henderson State University||17 to 1||3,826||$4,704||Public||Arkadelphia|
|University of Arkansas at Monticello||17 to 1||4,675||$3,960||Public||Monticello|
|Harding University||17 to 1||4,705||$14,790||Private not-for-profit||Searcy|
|Arkansas Tech University||17 to 1||11,562||$4,488||Public||Russellville|
|University of Arkansas at Little Rock||17 to 1||12,182||$5,348||Public||Little Rock|
|Williams Baptist College||16 to 1||712||$12,300||Private not-for-profit||Walnut Ridge|
|Central Baptist College||16 to 1||996||$11,250||Private not-for-profit||Conway|
|Southern Arkansas University Main Campus||16 to 1||3,315||$5,880||Public||Magnolia|
|University of Central Arkansas||16 to 1||10,827||$5,498||Public||Conway|
|University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff||15 to 1||3,395||$4,110||Public||Pine Bluff|
|John Brown University||14 to 1||2,211||$20,796||Private not-for-profit||Siloam Springs|
|Philander Smith College||13 to 1||817||$11,804||Private not-for-profit||Little Rock|
|Ouachita Baptist University||13 to 1||1,686||$20,960||Private not-for-profit||Arkadelphia|
|Lyon College||12 to 1||634||$23,370||Private not-for-profit||Batesville|
|Hendrix College||12 to 1||1,450||$35,750||Private not-for-profit||Conway|
|Ecclesia College||11 to 1||213||$14,250||Private not-for-profit||Springdale|
|University of the Ozarks||11 to 1||649||$22,650||Private not-for-profit||Clarksville|
|Crowley’s Ridge College||10 to 1||240||$9,300||Private not-for-profit||Paragould|
|University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences||9 to 1||1,137||$6,656||Public||Little Rock|
Best for Women in Technology
If you’re seeking the field of the future, look no further than technology. At these Arkansas colleges, women are making a big impact. The technology departments at many online schools in Arkansas offer programs and services to recruit and retain women. Women-only residence halls, specialized mentorship programs and support groups deliver a friendly environment for female students pursuing these traditionally male-dominated degrees. Women can more easily find their future in technology at these Arkansas colleges.
|TUITION + FEES||CITY||WOMEN IN TECH DEGREES AWARDED||TOTAL ENROLLMENT||TYPE|
|University of Arkansas||$7,554||Fayetteville||144||18,343||Public|
|University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences||N/A||Little Rock||70||2,115||Public|
|Arkansas State University-Main Campus||$7,180||Jonesboro||60||8,453||Public|
|University of Arkansas at Little Rock||$6,854||Little Rock||49||6,942||Public|
|University of Central Arkansas||$7,333||Conway||24||8,785||Public|
|Arkansas Tech University||$5,286||Russellville||24||7,226||Public|
|University of Arkansas-Fort Smith||$4,462||Fort Smith||15||5,243||Public|
|Southern Arkansas University Main Campus||$7,146||Magnolia||15||2,628||Public|
|Harding University||$15,240||Searcy||10||4,663||Private Not for Profit|
|University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff||$5,724||Pine Bluff||6||2,842||Public|
Best Schools Fighting for Families
Arkansas is home to numerous outstanding social work programs, designed for those pursuing a career in family service. These programs offer the essential background and knowledge for students to assist people in clinical settings, hospitals or schools. With future growth expected in the field of social work, the specialized concentrations of these top-ranking programs make them some of the best programs in the country.
|CITY||SOCIAL DEGREES AWARDED||WOMEN||MEN||TUITION & FEES||TOTAL ENROLLMENT|
|Arkansas State University-Main Campus||Jonesboro||139||112||27||$7,180||8,453|
|University of Arkansas at Little Rock||Little Rock||129||103||26||$6,854||6,942|
|University of Arkansas||Fayetteville||115||83||32||$7,554||18,343|
|University of Central Arkansas||Conway||59||37||22||$7,333||8,785|
|Henderson State University||Arkadelphia||52||41||11||$7,280||3,108|
|University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff||Pine Bluff||33||31||2||$5,724||2,842|
|Arkansas Tech University||Russellville||23||16||7||$5,286||7,226|
|Southern Arkansas University Main Campus||Magnolia||17||17||0||$7,146||2,628|
|Philander Smith College||Little Rock||16||13||3||$12,464||680|
|University of Arkansas at Monticello||Monticello||13||13||0||$5,560||2,698|
|Central Baptist College||Conway||7||5||2||$12,530||706|
|University of the Ozarks||Clarksville||6||3||3||$23,250||595|