Best Value Colleges in Arkansas

Birthplace of former President Bill Clinton, Walmart founder Sam Walton, and singers Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell, Arkansas offers exciting opportunities for students who are interested in playing sports, taking part in outdoor activities, exploring cultural opportunities or simply enjoying the relaxed lifestyle. Many students are attracted to Arkansas because they enjoy the down-to-earth attitude, beautiful countryside and rich culture, and the state’s colleges boast vibrant student life and great academic programs.

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Rank 
School Name 
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
Total 4 Year Cost
 
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Total 4 Year Cost
 
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Graduation Rate
 
% of full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students who began their studies at the given school and graduate within 6 years. Source: IPEDS
Typical Years to Graduate
 
# of years it takes for at least 65 percent of graduates from a given school to receive their diplomas. Source: IPEDS
Average Loan Amount
 
Received by full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students, multiplied to represent amount over four years. Includes all Title IV loans and all institutionally- and privately-sponsored student loans. Source: IPEDS
% Grant Money Received
 
% of full-time, first-time undergrads who received local, state, federal, or institutional grant aid in the 2012-2013 academic year. Source: IPEDS
18.4%8.4%10.2%10.2%$374,000$374,000$400,000$400,000$93,100$93,10064%4$28,70019%
1University of Arkansas(In-State)
Annual ROI8.4%
Annual ROI8.4%
Annual ROI10.2%
Annual ROI10.2%
20 Year Net ROI$374,000
20 Year Net ROI$374,000
20 Year Net ROI$400,000
20 Year Net ROI$400,000
Total 4 Year Cost$93,100
Total 4 Year Cost$93,100
Grad Rate64%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$28,700
Grant Money Received19%
26.1%6.1%7.1%7.1%$323,000$323,000$349,000$349,000$144,000$144,00064%4$28,70019%
2University of Arkansas(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI6.1%
Annual ROI6.1%
Annual ROI7.1%
Annual ROI7.1%
20 Year Net ROI$323,000
20 Year Net ROI$323,000
20 Year Net ROI$349,000
20 Year Net ROI$349,000
Total 4 Year Cost$144,000
Total 4 Year Cost$144,000
Grad Rate64%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$28,700
Grant Money Received19%
36.0%5.9%8.7%8.5%$202,000$199,000$238,000$235,000$90,800$93,70030%6$22,10057%
3University of Arkansas at Little Rock(In-State)
Annual ROI6.0%
Annual ROI5.9%
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROI8.5%
20 Year Net ROI$202,000
20 Year Net ROI$199,000
20 Year Net ROI$238,000
20 Year Net ROI$235,000
Total 4 Year Cost$90,800
Total 4 Year Cost$93,700
Grad Rate30%
Time to Graduate6
Loan Amt$22,100
Grant Money Received57%
44.4%5.4%7.8%9.9%$201,000$225,000$269,000$293,000$145,000$121,00065%4$27,60034%
4John Brown University(Private)
Annual ROI4.4%
Annual ROI5.4%
Annual ROI7.8%
Annual ROI9.9%
20 Year Net ROI$201,000
20 Year Net ROI$225,000
20 Year Net ROI$269,000
20 Year Net ROI$293,000
Total 4 Year Cost$145,000
Total 4 Year Cost$121,000
Grad Rate65%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,600
Grant Money Received34%
56.9%6.4%9.5%8.8%$191,000$185,000$217,000$212,000$68,800$74,60026%5$15,60062%
5University of Arkansas-Fort Smith(In-State)
Annual ROI6.9%
Annual ROI6.4%
Annual ROI9.5%
Annual ROI8.8%
20 Year Net ROI$191,000
20 Year Net ROI$185,000
20 Year Net ROI$217,000
20 Year Net ROI$212,000
Total 4 Year Cost$68,800
Total 4 Year Cost$74,600
Grad Rate26%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$15,600
Grant Money Received62%
65.0%5.0%7.1%7.1%$185,000$185,000$223,000$223,000$112,000$112,00064%4$29,00025%
6Harding University(Private)
Annual ROI5.0%
Annual ROI5.0%
Annual ROI7.1%
Annual ROI7.1%
20 Year Net ROI$185,000
20 Year Net ROI$185,000
20 Year Net ROI$223,000
20 Year Net ROI$223,000
Total 4 Year Cost$112,000
Total 4 Year Cost$112,000
Grad Rate64%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$29,000
Grant Money Received25%
76.7%4.9%9.3%6.6%$183,000$155,000$209,000$181,000$69,000$96,90035%5$23,80055%
7Arkansas Tech University(In-State)
Annual ROI6.7%
Annual ROI4.9%
Annual ROI9.3%
Annual ROI6.6%
20 Year Net ROI$183,000
20 Year Net ROI$155,000
20 Year Net ROI$209,000
20 Year Net ROI$181,000
Total 4 Year Cost$69,000
Total 4 Year Cost$96,900
Grad Rate35%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$23,800
Grant Money Received55%
86.1%5.9%8.5%8.2%$182,000$179,000$211,000$208,000$80,400$83,80042%5$30,40048%
8University of Central Arkansas(In-State)
Annual ROI6.1%
Annual ROI5.9%
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI8.2%
20 Year Net ROI$182,000
20 Year Net ROI$179,000
20 Year Net ROI$211,000
20 Year Net ROI$208,000
Total 4 Year Cost$80,400
Total 4 Year Cost$83,800
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$30,400
Grant Money Received48%
95.8%4.7%8.8%6.8%$180,000$158,000$217,000$195,000$85,200$107,00045%5$22,70046%
9Arkansas State University-Main Campus(In-State)
Annual ROI5.8%
Annual ROI4.7%
Annual ROI8.8%
Annual ROI6.8%
20 Year Net ROI$180,000
20 Year Net ROI$158,000
20 Year Net ROI$217,000
20 Year Net ROI$195,000
Total 4 Year Cost$85,200
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Grad Rate45%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,700
Grant Money Received46%
105.3%4.9%7.0%6.6%$167,000$161,000$193,000$187,000$93,100$98,80026%5$15,60062%
10University of Arkansas-Fort Smith(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROI4.9%
Annual ROI7.0%
Annual ROI6.6%
20 Year Net ROI$167,000
20 Year Net ROI$161,000
20 Year Net ROI$193,000
20 Year Net ROI$187,000
Total 4 Year Cost$93,100
Total 4 Year Cost$98,800
Grad Rate26%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$15,600
Grant Money Received62%
115.3%3.9%7.2%5.2%$162,000$134,000$189,000$161,000$89,200$117,00035%5$23,80055%
11Arkansas Tech University(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROI3.9%
Annual ROI7.2%
Annual ROI5.2%
20 Year Net ROI$162,000
20 Year Net ROI$134,000
20 Year Net ROI$189,000
20 Year Net ROI$161,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,200
Total 4 Year Cost$117,000
Grad Rate35%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$23,800
Grant Money Received55%
124.0%3.9%5.7%5.5%$160,000$157,000$196,000$193,000$133,000$136,00030%6$22,10057%
12University of Arkansas at Little Rock(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI4.0%
Annual ROI3.9%
Annual ROI5.7%
Annual ROI5.5%
20 Year Net ROI$160,000
20 Year Net ROI$157,000
20 Year Net ROI$196,000
20 Year Net ROI$193,000
Total 4 Year Cost$133,000
Total 4 Year Cost$136,000
Grad Rate30%
Time to Graduate6
Loan Amt$22,100
Grant Money Received57%
134.7%4.6%6.5%6.2%$158,000$155,000$188,000$184,000$104,000$108,00042%5$30,40048%
13University of Central Arkansas(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI4.7%
Annual ROI4.6%
Annual ROI6.5%
Annual ROI6.2%
20 Year Net ROI$158,000
20 Year Net ROI$155,000
20 Year Net ROI$188,000
20 Year Net ROI$184,000
Total 4 Year Cost$104,000
Total 4 Year Cost$108,000
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$30,400
Grant Money Received48%
144.6%3.6%6.7%5.3%$157,000$135,000$193,000$171,000$109,000$130,00045%5$22,70046%
14Arkansas State University-Main Campus(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI4.6%
Annual ROI3.6%
Annual ROI6.7%
Annual ROI5.3%
20 Year Net ROI$157,000
20 Year Net ROI$135,000
20 Year Net ROI$193,000
20 Year Net ROI$171,000
Total 4 Year Cost$109,000
Total 4 Year Cost$130,000
Grad Rate45%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,700
Grant Money Received46%
153.7%3.6%7.0%6.8%$149,000$146,000$213,000$209,000$137,000$141,00070%4$25,80030%
15Ouachita Baptist University(Private)
Annual ROI3.7%
Annual ROI3.6%
Annual ROI7.0%
Annual ROI6.8%
20 Year Net ROI$149,000
20 Year Net ROI$146,000
20 Year Net ROI$213,000
20 Year Net ROI$209,000
Total 4 Year Cost$137,000
Total 4 Year Cost$141,000
Grad Rate70%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$25,800
Grant Money Received30%

* N/A indicates school does not have an on campus living option.

Earning a degree in Arkansas is a financially sound decision. The state’s most popular schools offer valuable educations and high ROIs over a 20-year period. Home of the Razorbacks, the University of Arkansas’s main campus in Fayetteville offers low student-to-teacher ratios. The U of A combines a students-first philosophy with rigorous academics to help students make the most of their opportunities. Most students graduate in four years from this public college.

Another of the best value colleges of Arkansas is Harding University, a private not-for-profit school located in Searcy. A Christian school, Harding is home to a variety of social clubs and honor societies that encourage student involvement. Duck Dynasty star Willie Roberston and his daughter-in-law Korie both attended Harding. Another private school, John Brown also offers a good return on investment.

When it comes to college return on investment in Arkansas, though, the state’s public colleges dominate. For example, Southern Arkansas University alumni enjoy a low overall cost of attendance.


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