2020 Best Online Colleges in Arkansas

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 2/18/2020
2020 Best Online Colleges in Arkansas Badge

The following list ranks the best online universities in Arkansas based on annual tuition and alumni salaries. First on the list, the University of Arkansas has the highest reported median salary and an affordable tuition rate. Ranked #5, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has the lowest tuition at $4,500 per year. University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers 40 different online bachelor's degrees in fields such as business, education and interdisciplinary studies.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 University of Arkansas $6,159 $87,100
# 2 #2 Harding University $21,344 $80,000
# 3 #3 Southern Arkansas University $6,420 $73,300
# 4 #4 Ouachita Baptist University $9,750 $73,700
# 5 #5 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences $4,500 $71,500
# 6 #6 Central Baptist College $13,350 $72,000
# 7 #7 University of Arkansas at Little Rock $8,400 $69,100
# 8 #8 John Brown University $12,750 $68,400
# 9 #9 University of Central Arkansas $8,550 $67,700
# 10 #10 Arkansas Tech University $6,960 $67,300
# 11 #11 University of Arkansas at Monticello $5,979 $61,200
# 12 #12 University of Arkansas-Fort Smith $5,130 $55,900
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges in Arkansas Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

#1 University of Arkansas

  • Annual Tuition: $6,159
  • Median Salary: $87,100
  • Locations: Fayetteville
  • Accreditation: HLC

Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas was an equal-opportunity institution from its very beginning, welcoming all races and genders. Today, it is a statewide university system that offers a broad range of degree and certificate programs, more than 45 of which are available either primarily online or 100% online. Most courses are administered via the Blackboard online learning system, and some are self-paced, meaning they can be completed without the traditional semester-based deadline. Online graduates are welcome to walk at the ceremony with their peers and will also have their names etched into the school’s famous Senior Walk, a four-mile sidewalk engraved with graduates’ names. Fields of study include business administration, agriculture, education, engineering, and nursing.

#2 Harding University

  • Annual Tuition: $21,344
  • Median Salary: $80,000
  • Locations: Searcy
  • Accreditation: HLC

Originally established in 1924, Harding University is named in memory of the preacher, teacher, and Christian educator, James A. Harding. Besides several individual courses offered in an online format, distance learning at Harding is concentrated in two departments: the Graduate School of Business and the Center for Distance Education in Bible and Ministry. The Graduate School of Business offers online master’s degree programs in business administration, teaching, marriage and family counseling/therapy, nursing, and information systems. Certificate programs are also offered in subjects such as data analytics and security. Through its Center for Distance Education in Bible and Ministry, the university offers online degree and certificate programs designed for ministers, elders, and church members interested in expanding their knowledge within the Christian academic tradition.

#3 Southern Arkansas University

  • Annual Tuition: $6,420
  • Median Salary: $73,300
  • Locations: Magnolia
  • Accreditation: HLC

Originally founded in 1909 as the Third District Agricultural School, Southern Arkansas University (SAU) today offers 80 degree programs, many of which are available online. The university has an especially varied selection of master’s degree programs, including a Master of Education in gifted and talented education and a Master of Science in agriculture. Many of these master’s programs can be completed in as little as 18 months. SAU also offers more than 350 individual online courses, so students may customize their own hybrid online and on-campus programs.

#4 Ouachita Baptist University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,750
  • Median Salary: $73,700
  • Locations: Arkadelphia
  • Accreditation: HLC

Founded in 1888, Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) is focused on Christian liberal arts education. It offers two 100% online degree programs—associate and bachelor’s programs in Christian studies—as well as an online bachelor’s degree completion program in interdisciplinary studies to help students make the most of college credit they’ve already earned. To help set first-time online students up for success, OBU offers an Orientation to Online Learning course through which students can earn one hour of credit. This course introduces students to other online students and teaches them how to manage their time, access tutoring and library resources, and navigate the online learning management system.

#5 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

  • Annual Tuition: $4,500
  • Median Salary: $71,500
  • Locations: Little Rock
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is the state’s only teaching hospital and the only health sciences university in Arkansas. Through the College of Health Professions, students who meet the general education requirements may enter degree completion programs to earn bachelor’s degrees in several medical specialties, including diagnostic medical sonography and nuclear medicine imaging sciences. Students who are able to attend some on-campus classes also have a multitude of online and hybrid course options available to them. Coursework is administered via the Blackboard system and offered synchronously or asynchronously throughout the year.

#6 Central Baptist College

  • Annual Tuition: $13,350
  • Median Salary: $72,000
  • Locations: Conway
  • Accreditation: HLC

Located in Conway, Arkansas, Central Baptist College (CBC) is owned and operated by the Baptist Missionary Association of Arkansas. To provide opportunities for working adults to earn college degrees, CBC offers a Professional Adult College Education (PACE) program. Online and hybrid courses in the PACE program are delivered using CBC’s Canvas learning management system and Zoom technology. Students can complete work and view classroom lectures from any location with an Internet connection. Online degree programs are available at the associate and bachelor’s levels and include subjects such as military technologies, church administration, leadership, and business administration.

#7 University of Arkansas at Little Rock

  • Annual Tuition: $8,400
  • Median Salary: $69,100
  • Locations: Little Rock
  • Accreditation: HLC

Founded in 1927, University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers many of its 203 programs 100% online, including undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. Additionally, many degree programs can also be completed with a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. UA Little Rock’s online courses are taught by the same faculty as on-campus courses, but they are generally asynchronous, meaning that students can complete the coursework anytime and anywhere with a stable internet connection. Fully online students enjoy discounted rates, because although they have full access to UA Little Rock’s academic resources, such as the Ottenheimer Library and Blackboard Student Support, they do not pay for access to non-academic resources, such as the fitness center. Fields of study include psychology, criminal justice, business, communication, education, and social work.

#8 John Brown University

  • Annual Tuition: $12,750
  • Median Salary: $68,400
  • Locations: Siloam Springs
  • Accreditation: HLC

Founded in 1919, John Brown University (JBU) is a private Christian institution that still subscribes to its longstanding value statement, “Christ Over All.” However, it has no denominational affiliation and admits students of any faith. For distance learners, JBU offers an online undergraduate program designed to help students who already have some college credit earn their undergraduate diplomas. Although some previous college credit is required for admission, students who do not yet meet the minimum requirement of transferrable credit are encouraged to contact the JBU admissions department to learn what steps they can take to become eligible. Bachelor's degrees are offered in fields such as business administration, liberal arts, and nursing. Master's degree options include education, cybersecurity, and outdoor program management.

#9 University of Central Arkansas

  • Annual Tuition: $8,550
  • Median Salary: $67,700
  • Locations: Conway
  • Accreditation: HLC

Founded in 1907, the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) offers flexible online programs at all levels, including certificates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Their certificate program may require some campus visits. Students can access their coursework and materials anytime, from anywhere with an internet connection, via the Blackboard system. Although online students learn asynchronously (at any time of day), the programs are not self-paced; each course has deadlines within eight-week term periods. UCA matches each online student with a program coordinator who is available via email and phone to provide support for all matters outside of courses.

#10 Arkansas Tech University

  • Annual Tuition: $6,960
  • Median Salary: $67,300
  • Locations: Russellville
  • Accreditation: HLC

Arkansas Tech University (ATU) opened in 1909 as a small school enabling rural youth to gain a high school diploma and learn better agricultural practices. Since then, it’s grown to offer a broad selection of on-campus and online degree and certificate programs. ATU’s College of eTech is run by staff who specialize in the university’s online learning programs, helping instructors develop online courses and assisting students with navigating the Blackboard online learning system and other resources. Associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs are offered through the College of eTech. Fields of study include education, criminal justice, business administration, and nursing. Various flexible options also make it possible for students to customize their education, such as enrolling in a certificate program and then applying that credit toward a full degree.

#11 University of Arkansas at Monticello

  • Annual Tuition: $5,979
  • Median Salary: $61,200
  • Locations: Monticello (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Arkansas at Monticello was established in 1909 as the Fourth District Agricultural School before becoming part of the University of Arkansas system in 1971. Hybrid online and on-campus programs are available to provide flexibility for students pursuing a degree. Five of the university’s graduate degree programs are available entirely online, including master's degrees in fine arts and physical education and coaching. An online Bachelor of Science in education studies is also offered entirely online. It is ideal for public school paraprofessionals; upon completion, they will have the ability to seek licensure through the UAM Teacher Residency Program. Students with an interest in sustainability will appreciate the university’s emphasis on environmental initiatives, including a focus on planting and protecting more than 1,400 trees on campus.

#12 University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

  • Annual Tuition: $5,130
  • Median Salary: $55,900
  • Locations: Fort Smith
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS) is a public institution that makes a number of individual courses available for online completion. They also offer several online degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. These can be completed 100% online as long as students follow the degree plans they set with their advisors. Courses are delivered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats through the Blackboard Learning Management System. For those who have served in the U.S. armed forces, UAFS offers priority registration and special resources, including a Veteran Resource Center and specialized student veteran advising.


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