Colleges in Arkansas

Formerly part of the vast Missouri Territory, Arkansas was organized as a separate territory in 1819; it covered what would later become Oklahoma, in addition to the present-day state. One of Congress's first acts regarding the new territory was to set aside land in each county as part of a general school system. The next year, the first school in the region, Dwight Mission, was established by the Reverend Cephas Washburn for the purpose of educating the Cherokee Indians who then lived there. The territorial legislature provided for the construction of schools in 1829, and the state legislature provided for a public school system in 1843. After the Civil War, a new state constitution was adopted that set up a system of public schools for children between the ages of 5 and 21.

Governing bodies & History

Like every other state, Arkansas has a department of education governed by a board of nine members who are appointed by the governor with the approval of the senate. The board appoints two directors - one to serve as head of the general education division and one to serve as head of the vocational technical division. All appointments made by these directors are subject to the approval of the governor.

Historically, Arkansas has performed poorly compared with other states; it was ranked number 32 on the Morgan Quitno Smartest State Award. Teachers' salaries have been low, there has been a large number of small rural school districts and the budget for education has been small. Mike Beebe, who became governor in 2007, has made the improvement of education one of his top priorities, and has rewarded teachers for student achievement.


Until 1954, schools in Arkansas - as throughout much of the South - were racially segregated, with blacks and whites attending different schools. That year, the landmark case of Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the Supreme Court ruled that "separate but equal" schools were "inherently unequal," and steps were taken to desegregate the school system. In 1957, National Guard units and federal troops were called in to help enforce a court order to desegregate Central High School in Little Rock. Additional troops were needed because Governor Orval E. Faubus had sent the National Guard to block integration; this force was also put under the control of the federal government by President Eisenhower. By 1970, almost all Arkansas schools were integrated to some extent.

Arkansas colleges

There are thirteen colleges in Arkansas, of which the oldest is the College of the Ozarks, a Presbyterian institution in Clarksville in the western central part of the state founded in 1834.


Historically, Arkansas has ranked among the poorest states in the Union; in 1880, shortly after the Civil War, it was in the lower 30 (and there were only 39 states at that time). It was not until after World War II that the economy of the state really began to take off; today, it has been ranked by CNBC as the 20th best state in which to set up business, with the 11th best work force, the fifth lowest cost of living and the second lowest cost of doing business. In the two years since 2011, Arkansas has jumped up twelve spots in its business rankings. The world's number 1 corporation, Walmart, has its headquarters there, as do five other Fortune 500 companies.

Manufacturing accounts for about 60 percent of the value of goods produced in Arkansas. Food processing is the main manufacturing industry in the state. Since forests cover much of the state (Arkansas has three national forests, most of their territory in the western half), forestry also makes a major contribution to the economy.

Agricultural products make up about 35 percent of the state's goods. The three most valuable crops in Arkansas are soybeans, grown especially in the east; rice - the state contributes about a third of the national total; and cotton. The leading livestock product is broilers (chickens from nine to twelve weeks old), of which Arkansas produces more than any other state, followed by beef cattle, eggs, turkey, milk and hogs.

Only a fifth of all Arkansas-produced goods come from mining, of which petroleum is the most valuable, followed by bromine (a liquid similar to fluorine, chlorine and iodine), natural gas, stone, sand and gravel, and bauxite (the main source of aluminum). Arkansas is also a leading producer of vanadium, a metal used in making springs, axles and other car parts.

Employment opportunities

Besides Walmart, the five Fortune 500 that have their headquarters in Arkansas are - in order of the amount of revenue that they generate - Tyson Foods, Murphy Oil, Dillard's, Windstream and J. B. Hunt. Dillard's and Windstream have headquarters in Little Rock, Walmart in Bentonville, Tyson Foods in Springdale, Murphy Oil in El Dorado, and Hunt in Lowell. All these companies offer job opportunities for more people in Arkansas than any other employer.

Many Arkansawyers also work in the tourist industry. The state is home to four national historic sites, four national parks, thirty-three state parks and ten historic parks. Some current vacancies, listed on the state's employment website, include desk clerk at Village Creek, skilled tradesman and Petite Jean State Park, group travel manager for the Tourism Division and maintenance specialist at Crowley Ridge State Park. The list of these jobs is changing continually, so be sure and check back periodically. Other employment opportunities may be found by searching on Jobs Arkansas.

Found 105 Post-Secondary Schools In Arkansas

Title City State Type Enrollment
Arkansas Baptist College Little Rock AR 4-year private, not-for-profit 201
Arkansas - Oklahoma School of Real Estate - Ft Smith Fort Smith AR Less than 2-year private, for-profit No Data
Arkadelphia Beauty College Arkadelphia AR Less than 2-year private, for-profit 29
Academic World of Cosmetology Little Rock AR Less than 2-year private, for-profit No Data
A Healing Touch Inc School of Massage Therapy Fort Smith AR Less than 2-year private, for-profit No Data

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

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