2022 best colleges in Arkansas

Students will find a memorial of each graduated student since the late 1800s at the University of Arkansas’s Senior Walk, but that’s not the school’s only asset. U of A ranks among the top schools in regard to the number of graduates working at Fortune 500 companies. For sports fans, Arkansas State University is home to the Red Wolves, which compete in the Division I Sun Belt Conference. While options for liberal arts schools are limited, Lyon College offers solid academic programs and a pet-friendly campus, including pet-inclusive facilities and on-campus pet training programs.

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Net cost: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

Earnings: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

Payback: The amount of time in years it takes to pay off the median net cost by the median earnings. For this calculation, the median earning of high school graduates (in the school’s home state) are deducted from the median earnings.

Earningsplus: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state.

Rankings: The ranking order is based on the economic score. The economic score is calculated using a school’s payback and earningsplus performance.

Net cost
Payback
Earnings
EarningsPlus
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Arkansas | #127 in National Universities

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Economic score: 2.04

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $16,381

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $51,702

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $9,019

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 78%
Graduation rate: 65%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#2 in Arkansas

John Brown University

Siloam Springs, Arkansas

Economic score: 2.58

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $21,963

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $51,785

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $9,102

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 59%
Graduation rate: 69%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#3 in Arkansas | #243 in National Universities

Harding University

Searcy, Arkansas

Economic score: 3.02

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $19,375

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $47,520

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $4,837

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 56%
Graduation rate: 66%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#4 in Arkansas | #88 in Liberal Arts

Hendrix College

Conway, Arkansas

Economic score: 3.22

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $19,295

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $45,626

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $2,943

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 71%
Graduation rate: 66%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#5 in Arkansas

Arkansas Tech University

Russellville, Arkansas

Economic score: 3.40

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $10,772

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $38,580

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $4,103

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 98%
Graduation rate: 48%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#6 in Arkansas

Ouachita Baptist University

Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Economic score: 3.47

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $19,815

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.7 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $44,927

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $2,244

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 62%
Graduation rate: 64%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#7 in Arkansas | #103 in Liberal Arts

Lyon College

Batesville, Arkansas

Economic score: 3.72

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $15,447

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $43,343

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $660

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 51%
Graduation rate: 51%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#8 in Arkansas

University of the Ozarks

Clarksville, Arkansas

Economic score: 3.75

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $12,924

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $39,347

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $3,336

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 56%
Graduation rate: 53%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#9 in Arkansas | #330 in National Universities

Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Economic score: 4.44

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $13,406

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $37,755

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $4,928

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 68%
Graduation rate: 52%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

Henderson State University

Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Economic score: 3.13

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $10,270

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $39,020

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $3,663

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 75%
Graduation rate: 36%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

University of Central Arkansas

Conway, Arkansas

Economic score: 3.53

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $15,376

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $42,472

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $211

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 94%
Graduation rate: 44%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Economic score: 3.59

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $9,637

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $37,613

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $5,070

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: N/A
Graduation rate: 37%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

Southern Arkansas University Main Campus

Magnolia, Arkansas

Economic score: 4.22

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $14,270

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $39,191

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $3,492

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 69%
Graduation rate: 41%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Little Rock, Arkansas

Economic score: 4.31

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $14,906

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $40,077

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $2,606

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 57%
Graduation rate: 40%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

Central Baptist College

Conway, Arkansas

Economic score: 4.53

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,619

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4.3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $40,099

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $2,584

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 50%
Graduation rate: 36%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

Philander Smith College

Little Rock, Arkansas

Economic score: 6.60

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $14,141

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 5.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $35,583

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $7,100

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: N/A
Graduation rate: 32%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

Williams Baptist University

Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

Economic score: 8.05

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $18,444

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 6.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $36,232

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $6,451

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 70%
Graduation rate: 41%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

Ecclesia College

Springdale, Arkansas

Economic score: 8.07

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $18,838

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 6.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $36,421

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $6,262

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 77%
Graduation rate: 22%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Economic score: 8.10

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $12,320

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 6.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $31,984

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $10,699

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 60%
Graduation rate: 36%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

Crowley's Ridge College

Paragould, Arkansas

Economic score: 19.83

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $13,796

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 13 year

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $27,898

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $14,785

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: N/A
Graduation rate: 35%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

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