The 10 Best College Towns In Arkansas For 2019


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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 2019:

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

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, Fayetteville 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:

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 2019".

And it looks like Arkadelphia placed Summa Cum Laude.

Arkadelphia, AR
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 10,664
% Undergrad Pop.: 45.9% (1st best)
Median Rent: $568 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 370.0% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Arkadelphia: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Arkadelphia is a city in Clark County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,714. The city is the county seat of Clark County. It is situated at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. Two universities, Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University, are located there. Arkadelphia was incorporated in 1857.

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

Fayetteville, AR
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 81,889
% Undergrad Pop.: 15.3% (6th best)
Median Rent: $747 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 520.0% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 11th best
More on Fayetteville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas and county seat of Washington County. The city is centrally located within the county and has been home of the University of Arkansas since the institution's founding in 1871. Fayetteville is on the outskirts of the Boston Mountains, deep within the Ozarks. Known as Washington until 1829, the city was named after Fayetteville, Tennessee, from which many of the settlers had come. It was incorporated on November 3, 1836 and was rechartered in 1867. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 105th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 73,580 at the 2010 Census. At 1,400 feet of elevation, it is also one of the highest major US cities between the western Great Plains and the Appalachian Mountains.

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

Monticello, AR
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 9,660
% Undergrad Pop.: 22.1% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $661 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1120.0% (15th best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Monticello: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Monticello is a city in and the county seat of Drew County, Arkansas, in the United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 9,467.

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

Fort Smith, AR
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 87,537
% Undergrad Pop.: 6.0% (12th best)
Median Rent: $641 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 560.0% (9th best)
Crime Rank: 14th best
More on Fort Smith: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fort Smith is the second-largest city in Arkansas and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 86,209. With an estimated population of 87,443 In 2012, it is the principal city of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area, a region of 298,592 residents that encompasses the Arkansas counties of Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian, and the Oklahoma counties of Le Flore and Sequoyah.

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

Searcy, AR
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 23,819
% Undergrad Pop.: 16.7% (4th best)
Median Rent: $698 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 540.0% (8th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Searcy: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Searcy is the largest city and county seat of White County, Arkansas, United States. According to 2014 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 23,768. It is the principal city of the Searcy, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of White County. The city takes its name from Richard Searcy, a judge for the Superior Court of the Arkansas Territory. A college town, Searcy is the home of Harding University.

Colleges: Harding University, Searcy Beauty College

Conway, AR
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 64,481
% Undergrad Pop.: 13.9% (7th best)
Median Rent: $773 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 450.0% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Conway: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Conway is a city in the American state of Arkansas and the county seat of Faulkner County, located in the state's most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area, Central Arkansas. Although sometimes considered a suburb of Little Rock, Conway is unique in that the majority of its residents do not commute out of the city to work. The city also serves as a regional shopping, educational, work, healthcare, sports, and cultural hub for Faulkner County and surrounding areas. Conway's growth can be attributed to its jobs in technology and higher education with its largest employers being Acxiom, the University of Central Arkansas, Hewlett Packard, Hendrix College, Insight Enterprises, and many technology start up companies. Conway is home to three post-secondary educational institutions, earning it the nickname "The City of Colleges".

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

Russellville, AR
Overall SnackAbility
3
/10

Population: 29,147
% Undergrad Pop.: 16.0% (5th best)
Median Rent: $662 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 930.0% (14th best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on Russellville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Russellville is the county seat and largest city in Pope County, Arkansas, United States, with a population of 27,920, according to the 2010 Census. It is home to Arkansas Tech University and Arkansas Nuclear One, Arkansas' only nuclear power plant. Russellville borders Lake Dardanelle and the Arkansas River.

Colleges: Arkansas Tech University, Arkansas Beauty College

Siloam Springs, AR
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 16,311
% Undergrad Pop.: 8.6% (9th best)
Median Rent: $713 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 420.0% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Siloam Springs: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Siloam Springs is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The city shares a border on the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line with the city of West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma, which is within the Cherokee Nation territory. The town was founded in 1882 and was characterized by the purported healing powers of the spring water feeding Sager Creek and trading with nearby Native American tribes. John Brown University was founded in 1919 as a private, interdenominational, Christian liberal arts college in the city. Today, Siloam Springs is known for its efforts to preserve and revitalize the city's historic downtown and as a promoter of the arts via Sager Creek Arts Center and the JBU art gallery. The community is located on the western edge of the growing Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area and has had a population increase of 47% to 15,039 between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

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

Springdale, AR
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 77,252
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.0% (16th best)
Median Rent: $727 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 510.0% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Springdale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Springdale is the fourth-largest city in Arkansas. It is located in both Washington and Benton counties in Northwest Arkansas. Located on the Springfield Plateau deep in the Ozark Mountains, Springdale has long been an important industrial city for the region. In addition to several trucking companies, the city is home to the world headquarters of Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat producing company. Originally named Shiloh, the city changed its name to Springdale when applying for a post office in 1872. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 109th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 69,797 at the 2010 Census.

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

Magnolia, AR
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 11,570
% Undergrad Pop.: 24.0% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $691 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 880.0% (13th best)
Crime Rank: 13th best
More on Magnolia: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Magnolia is a city in Columbia County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 11,577. The city is the county seat of Columbia County.

Colleges: Southern Arkansas University Main Campus

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 10664
2 Fayetteville, AR 81889
3 Monticello, AR 9660
4 Fort Smith, AR 87537
5 Searcy, AR 23819
6 Conway, AR 64481
7 Russellville, AR 29147
8 Siloam Springs, AR 16311
9 Springdale, AR 77252
10 Magnolia, AR 11570
11 Little Rock, AR 197780
12 Jonesboro, AR 73581
13 Clarksville, AR 9448
14 Batesville, AR 10568
15 Paragould, AR 27815
16 Pine Bluff, AR 44509

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?