Top Online Colleges in Arkansas

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Arkansas is home to a range of public universities, two-year colleges, and private independent and for-profit institutions. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education oversees the state's institutions of higher education and works to maximize the success of the schools and the students they serve. In its words, the agency "manages the state's scholarship and financial aid programs; recommends higher education and institutional budgets to the legislature, assures academic program quality and viability; provides professional development for faculty and staff; provides educational support to business and industry; provides institutional accountability; and promotes the importance of postsecondary education in enhancing both personal and community quality of life."

Online colleges and distance learning opportunities help serve part of the state's mission by providing affordable and flexible access to higher education, including college courses, degree-completion programs, graduate degrees, and professional development. Online college degree programs are offered by many of the state's colleges and universities, including the state's major public university systems, the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas State University systems, and the University of Central Arkansas, which is the third-largest college system in the state. Here's a look at what these schools offer both on-campus and online in greater detail:

University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas has been at the center of higher education in Arkansas for nearly 150 years. Located in Fayetteville, it is the flagship of the University of Arkansas and has nearly 23,000 students enrolled at the undergraduate and graduate levels. There are about 200 academic programs in which to study. Its education, engineering, and law schools have been singled out by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the country, and the school itself is ranked among the top national universities. The school's Global Campus offers several undergraduate degree-completion programs, 18 graduate degree programs, and licensure and certificate programs online. Students also can find online college courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as independent study online courses available to all learners, not just students of the university.

Arkansas State University

More than 13,000 students attend Arkansas State University, or ASU, which is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the top universities in the South. The school was founded in 1909 in Jonesboro as an agricultural high school. Since then, it's expanded to become a comprehensive university, with 11 colleges offering 43 degree programs and 146 fields of study at the doctoral, specialist, master's, bachelor's, and associate degree levels. The school still offers agricultural studies, as well as programs in journalism, speech communication, management, and nursing, to name a few. For those interested in distance education, students will also find more than 200 online classes, as well as online degree completion and graduate degrees in education, offered through ASU.

University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas, or UCA, was founded in 1907 in Conway, which is about 30 miles north of Little Rock. The school mascot is a bear, and the exclamation "Go Bears!" is often heard on campus. The public school's solid academic programs help rank it one of the top schools in the South, as it's included on U.S. News & World Report's rankings of the best colleges in the country. Students can choose from more than 100 undergraduate courses, 33 master's degree programs, and four doctoral programs. Several graduate programs are also offered online, with master's, graduate certificates, post-master's certificates, and doctoral degrees available in subjects like education, nursing, and counseling. Select courses are also offered online.

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