Business Schools in Arkansas
While usually classified as a southern state, Arkansas is actually one of those “gateway” states that seem to demarcate many regions. Arkansas, of course, has the deep South to its east and south, but also the start of the West with Texas to its immediate west and the Midwest and Plains states to the north. A relatively small state that sometimes seems to “fly under the radar,” it quickly rose to prominence in the 1990s with the candidacy and then double term of former president Bill Clinton. Its economy is considered very business-friendly, having been ranked by CNBC as having the second-lowest cost of doing business in the United States; several large corporations are headquartered here, including retailing giant Walmart. The state produces a variety of agricultural, mining, and manufacturing outputs.
Arkansas is one of the smaller states in the union, ranking 33rd in population with just over 3 million people. Given its size, it has a pretty good number of business school options: National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) statistics show 22 public and non-profit schools that grant undergraduate and graduate business degrees in the state. A good percentage of these are accredited, too: 12 at the undergraduate level and 11 at the graduate level. We always strongly recommend choosing an accredited college in whatever state you choose to go to school. This will ensure that the program you select has clear objectives and has proven that it produces quality outcomes while adhering to national and international standards. Accredited schools also typically offer a richer educational experience via interaction with actual businesses.
All of the schools in this article have been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and/or International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). They are all public or non-profit and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
In this article, you will find all the essential data you need to help you choose the Arkansas business school that best suits your unique needs, based on a variety of key factors, including tuition, financial aid, entrance exam scores, acceptance rates, and more. The three sections that follow describe undergraduate programs, graduate schools, and the job prospects for business school graduates in Arkansas.
Undergraduate Business Schools in Arkansas
As befits a state with a low cost of living, undergraduate business programs in Arkansas are quite inexpensive. The overall average tuition for our 12 schools is just a little over $12,000, among the lowest in the nation. Two schools (Ouachita Baptist University and John Brown University) are well above the average in the $25,000 range, while eight of the remaining 12 are below $10,000. Average financial aid is also quite generous at nearly $9,500.
We were able to obtain acceptance rate data for all but one of our schools, and they are quite reasonable. The lowest acceptance rate, 42%, is at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, but it is a bit of an outlier: The others are all over 60%, and the overall average is 70%. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Central Arkansas are at the top here at 90%.
Unfortunately, graduation rates for undergraduate business degrees in Arkansas are among the lowest in the nation. The overall average is just 46%, and eight of the 12 schools are under 50%. The best combination of acceptance rate and graduation rate is at John Brown University, with an acceptance rate of 77% and a graduation rate of 65%.
The table below shows you all the important data you need about undergraduate business schools in Arkansas, including annual in-state tuition costs, average aid per student, acceptance rates, SAT and ACT score ranges of accepted students, and graduation rates. Click any column header to sort the table based on its contents.
|School||City||Tuition||Aid||Median SAT||Median ACT||Accept. Rate||Grad. Rate|
|Arkansas State University||State University||$8,200||$8,495||933-1205||21-26||70%||44%|
|Arkansas Tech University||Russellville||$6,624||$6,260||64%||37%|
|Henderson State University||Arkadelphia||$8,340||$8,320||1018-1030||19-25||66%||33%|
|John Brown University||Siloam Springs||$25,324||$15,663||1015-1245||23-29||77%||65%|
|Ouachita Baptist University||Arkadelphia||$24,940||$16,422||950-1200||21-28||67%||70%|
|Philander Smith College||Little Rock||$12,714||$10,087||40%|
|Southern Arkansas University||Magnolia||$8,196||$9,021||830-1080||18-24||69%||35%|
|University of Arkansas||Fayetteville||$8,820||$6,868||1010-1220||23-29||63%||65%|
|University of Arkansas at Little Rock||Little Rock||$8,061||$6,935||890-1100||19-25||90%||28%|
|University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff||Pine Bluff||$6,898||$9,101||838-1065||16-21||42%||23%|
|University of Central Arkansas||Conway||$8,224||$7,315||870-1060||20-27||90%||42%|
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Graduate Business Schools in Arkansas
We have data on 11 accredited schools for graduate business study in Arkansas. These schools are a little more expensive than the undergraduate schools, but still very affordable. The overall average is just $18,400, with two schools in the $30,000 range and the rest all near or below $20,000.
Four schools offer accredited online MBA programs in Arkansas and may be good fits for those who want to keep working while they further their educations. Arkansas State University offers an online MBA with an optional internship or independent study; the program is ranked in the top 10 among courses of this type by US News and World Report. Southern Arkansas University offers an online MBA with specializations in agri-business and supply chain management. Programs are also offered by the University of Arkansas and University of Central Arkansas. Most online programs offer the same basic curriculum and courses as their offline equivalents and some allow students to mix in-person and online resources.
The table below shows graduate business school tuition costs, average accepted applicant GMAT scores, percentage of faculty with a doctorate degree, and student-to-faculty ratios. Click any column header to sort the table based on its contents.
|Arkansas State University||State University||$12,076||545||83%||1.43|
|Arkansas Tech University||Russellville||$29,184||86%||0.57|
|Henderson State University||Arkadelphia||$9,870||63%||1.77|
|John Brown University||Siloam Springs||$20,160|
|Southern Arkansas University||Magnolia||$18,996||442||63%||3.27|
|University of Arkansas||Fayetteville||$29,186||589||79%||0.86|
|University of Arkansas at Little Rock||Little Rock||$13,727||84%||1.62|
|University of Central Arkansas||Conway||$9,129||467||86%||0.84|
Job Outlook for Business School Graduates in Arkansas
Over the decade spanning 2016 to 2026, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data predicts total growth of at least 5% in 32 of 37 business and management occupations across the US.5 The highest growth will be for market analysts and marketing specialists, at 22.8% over 10 years, with financial managers coming in second at 18.7%.5
The Arkansas economy has generally followed that of the nation; unemployment briefly fell relative to the average from 2015 to 2017, but currently sits at 3.8%, just a tick below the US average of 4% at the time of writing.6 About 81,500 people were employed in the business and management sector in Arkansas in 2016.6 The largest subgroup was general and operations managers at 20,630, more than double the size of any other.6
According to BLS data, Arkansas ranked 49th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for overall average annual wage across all occupations in 2016 at $44,334, well below the national average of $57,617.6 Business and management occupations had a weighted average annual salary of around $78,330 that year, well above the state as a whole.6 As in most states, chief executives were the highest-paid category, though with one of the lower figures at $130,000.6 Most management positions fell between $70,000 and $110,000.6 The lowest-paid of the groups was tax preparers at $33,720.6
|Accountants and Auditors||13-2011||6,660||$32||$66,260||8.0%|
|Administrative Services Managers||11-3011||1,850||$45||$92,860||9.1%|
|Advertising and Promotions Managers||11-2011||140||$70||$145,680||5.8%|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||11-9041||710||$56||$116,720||7.4%|
|Business Operations Specialists||13-1199||6,070||$29||$60,450||10.1%|
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||11-3111||110||$53||$110,000||0.187|
|Compensation, and Benefits Specialists||13-1141||620||$26||$53,600||5.6%|
|General and Operations Managers||11-1021||20,630||$41||$85,390||7.1%|
|Human Resources Managers||11-3121||920||$48||$100,220||-7.8%|
|Human Resources Specialists||13-1071||3,430||$27||$56,420||6.9%|
|Information Systems Managers||11-3021||2,080||$54||$111,410||12.0%|
|Labor Relations Specialists||13-1075||300||$21||$44,130||8.5%|
|Market Analysts and Marketing Specialists||13-1161||4,510||$33||$69,640||10.0%|
|Meeting and Event Planners||13-1121||570||$21||$43,830||8.4%|
|Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||11-2031||350||$48||$100,510||10.8%|
|Tax Examiners and Revenue Agents||13-2081||520||$26||$53,450||13.9%|
|Training and Development Managers||11-3131||260||$48||$100,630||-0.6%|
|Training and Development Specialists||13-1151||2,850||$26||$54,790||10.8%|
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1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/
2. AACSB, Best Business Schools:https://bestbizschools.aacsb.edu/aacsb-accredited
3. ACBSP, Business Schools:https://www.acbsp.org/page/accreditation
4. IACBE, Business Schools: http://iacbe.org/accreditation/
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook, Business and Financial Occupations: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Employment and Wage Estimates Arkansas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ar.htm
7. US News & World Report, 2018 Best Business Schools: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools