POPULATION (2021): 3.026 million
CAPITAL: Little Rock
LARGEST PUBLIC UNIVERSITY IN ARKANSAS: University of Arkansas
LARGEST PRIVATE UNIVERSITY IN ARKANSAS: Harding University
Arkansas is located just north of Louisiana in the southern part of the country. The Ozark region has received more attention in the last decade thanks to the show that shares the name, but the region has long been a destination for nature seekers and hikers from across the world. No surprise the nickname of Arkansas is The Natural State.
The climate is moderate, and even in the middle of the college school year students can enjoy the outdoors. European and African cultures both have a heavy influence on the food, music, and art of the state, with some of the most notable creators being John Grisham, Johnny Cash, Maya Angelou, and Charlie Rich.
Like most southern states, Arkansas residents love their college sports, and even if you don’t wind up going to the University of Arkansas, wearing a Razorbacks shirt to a social gathering certainly won’t hurt when it comes to making friends.
Universities in Arkansas – 4-Year Colleges
Arkansas’ largest city, Little Rock, only has 200,000 people, and with that in mind, you may want to look elsewhere if you’re looking for a big-city college experience. For those wanting a college-town feel, however, the options are aplenty! Here’s a look at public and private 4-year universities in Arkansas.
Public Universities in Arkansas
The major system in the state is The University of Arkansas, which has 4-year campuses in these cities (listed by enrollment, high to low):
- Fayetteville (Main Campus)
- Little Rock
- Fort Smith
- Pulaski (Tech)
- Pine Bluff
The second-largest public university system in Arkansas is Arkansas State University, whose main campus is located in Jonesboro, and satellite campuses can be found in these cities:
- Mountain Home
There are also several other public universities throughout the state of Arkansas. Arkansas Tech enrolls more than 10,000 students, as does the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. Southern Arkansas University (Magnolia), Henderson (Arkadelphia), and North Arkansas (Harrison) also offer 4-year degrees in Arkansas.
Private Universities in Arkansas
There are fewer private 4-year universities in Arkansas, compared to public schools, but there are still a lot of options given the state’s relatively low population. The largest private school, by enrollment, is Harding University, a religious-affiliated school in Searcy with more than 4,500 students.
John Brown University in Siloam Springs is the only other private school with more than 2,000 students, though other small religious-affiliated private universities are spread across the state.
Community Colleges in Arkansas
The major community college system in the state is the same system as the 4-year universities, as The University of Arkansas has a few campuses set up as community colleges. Here is a list of those schools, as well as other community colleges in Arkansas that offer students an affordable option while they decide if they want to pursue a 4-year degree.
- U of A Community College at Morrilton
- U of A Community College at Batesville
- U of A Community College at Hope
- U of A Community College at Rich Mountain
- East Arkansas Community College
- Ozarka College
- Phillips Community College
- South Arkansas Community College
- Cossatot Community College
Prominent Online Colleges in Arkansas
The University of Arkansas has recently bolstered its online offerings, receiving recognition from U.S. News for its best bachelor’s online programs of 2022. They also offer 2-year online programs through their community college outlets. Arkansas Tech and Arkansas State both offer several online courses, too.
Universities in Little Rock
Both the capital city and largest city in the state, here is a look at the colleges in the big town of Little Rock:
- Arkansas Baptist
- Arkansas State – Little Rock
- Baptist Health College
- Eastern College of Health Vocations
- Philander Smith
- Remington College
- Strayer University
- University of Arkansas – Little Rock
- Arkansas University of Medical Sciences
Get to Know Arkansas
Somewhat of a literal diamond in the rough (Arkansas is home to one of the largest diamond mines in the country), it’s often overlooked as a place to visit in the south on a grand scale, but residents will tell you there isn’t a place more beautiful in their region of the country.
Many of the state’s national parks are based in nature exploration, but there are also several parks with a lot of U.S. history. Some not as good as others, of course, but if you enjoy learning, there is a lot of fun to be had in the Arkansas wilderness.
Watersports are also a big part of weekend plans for many college-aged students, and there are as many lakes and waterways as there are hiking trails in The Nature State. As far as food, most have heard of Southern BBQ and Arkansas is full of it. There is also a nice mix of Cajun culture as well as Mexican-American influences.
It’s also a very affordable place, which can be a huge sell (or lack of) for college students!