The 10 Best College Towns In Arkansas For 2021


Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our fourth time ranking the best college towns in Arkansas.
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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and Arkansas is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in Arkansas are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in Arkansas for 2021.

The 10 Best College Towns In Arkansas For 2021

  1. Arkadelphia, AR
  2. Fort Smith, AR
  3. Monticello, AR
  4. Fayetteville, AR
  5. Searcy, AR
  6. Conway, AR
  7. Russellville, AR
  8. Siloam Springs, AR
  9. Springdale, AR
  10. Magnolia, AR

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Arkadelphia, Fort Smith and Monticello - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Arkadelphia ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Read on to find out more or for more on Arkansas check out:

The 10 Best College Towns In Arkansas For 2021

Arkadelphia, AR
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 10,611
% Undergrad Pop.: 46.1% (best)
Median Rent: $585 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 241.9% (best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Arkadelphia: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University, ABC Beauty College Inc

Fort Smith, AR
Overall SnackAbility
3
/10

Population: 87,639
% Undergrad Pop.: 6.0% (12th best)
Median Rent: $666 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 497.0% (9th best)
Crime Rank: 14th best
More on Fort Smith: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, Arthur's Beauty College Inc-Fort Smith, Academy of Salon and Spa

Monticello, AR
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 9,580
% Undergrad Pop.: 22.3% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $657 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 780.1% (13th best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Monticello: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: University of Arkansas at Monticello, Margaret's Hair Academy Inc

Fayetteville, AR
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 83,736
% Undergrad Pop.: 14.9% (6th best)
Median Rent: $770 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 425.7% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 11th best
More on Fayetteville: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: University of Arkansas, Paul Mitchell the School-Arkansas, Blue Cliff College-Fayetteville

Searcy, AR
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 23,853
% Undergrad Pop.: 16.7% (4th best)
Median Rent: $700 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 572.6% (11th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Searcy: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Colleges: Harding University, Searcy Beauty College

Conway, AR
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 65,069
% Undergrad Pop.: 13.8% (7th best)
Median Rent: $788 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 396.0% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Conway: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, Central Baptist College

Russellville, AR
Overall SnackAbility
3
/10

Population: 29,244
% Undergrad Pop.: 16.0% (5th best)
Median Rent: $657 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 793.4% (14th best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on Russellville: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Arkansas Tech University, Arkansas Beauty College

Siloam Springs, AR
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 16,567
% Undergrad Pop.: 8.5% (9th best)
Median Rent: $714 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 407.4% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Siloam Springs: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: John Brown University, Career Academy of Hair Design-Siloam Springs

Springdale, AR
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 78,690
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.0% (16th best)
Median Rent: $762 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 469.7% (8th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Springdale: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Northwest Technical Institute, Career Academy of Hair Design, Ecclesia College

Magnolia, AR
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 11,573
% Undergrad Pop.: 24.0% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $688 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 974.3% (15th best)
Crime Rank: 13th best
More on Magnolia: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Southern Arkansas University Main Campus

How'd we figure out the best college towns in Arkansas?

To crunch our data on Arkansas's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 16 places in Arkansas with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In Arkansas For 2021".

And it looks like Arkadelphia placed Summa Cum Laude.

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in Arkansas, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

16 Best College Towns In Arkansas

Rank City Population
1 Arkadelphia, AR 10611
2 Fort Smith, AR 87639
3 Monticello, AR 9580
4 Fayetteville, AR 83736
5 Searcy, AR 23853
6 Conway, AR 65069
7 Russellville, AR 29244
8 Siloam Springs, AR 16567
9 Springdale, AR 78690
10 Magnolia, AR 11573
11 Little Rock, AR 198135
12 Jonesboro, AR 74710
13 Batesville, AR 10642
14 Clarksville, AR 9512
15 Pine Bluff, AR 43840
16 Paragould, AR 28296

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?