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The 4 HBCUs in Arkansas: Which Is Right for You?

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What’s Covered:



Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are a collection of over 100 colleges and universities across the United States that significantly contribute to educational, social, and economic improvement in the Black community. Although these schools are primarily concentrated in the Southeast, they span across the entire country.

Arkansas has four HBCUs that produce an economic impact of $179 million, lifetime earnings of $1.7 billion, and 1,920 jobs in the state. Keep reading to learn about the four HBCUs in Arkansas to determine if these schools are a good fit for you!


The 4 HBCUs in Arkansas


1. Arkansas Baptist College


Location: Little Rock, AR

Acceptance Rate: 26%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 500


Located in Little Rock, Arkansas, Arkansas Baptist College is a four-year urban private college affiliated with the Baptist Church. The college was founded in 1884 as the Minister’s Institute, and it’s the only Baptist-affiliated HBCU west of the Mississippi River. The school offers majors in six departments:


  • Business Administration
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Fine Arts
  • Public Administration
  • Religious Studies
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences


Arkansas Baptist College values students who are mission-driven, service-motivated, and entrepreneurially-minded, and fiscally responsible. The college wants to become a leader in Christian-based higher education to help students become lifelong learners, engaged within their communities, and employed in industries that are changing the world.


2. Philander Smith College


Location: Little Rock, AR

Acceptance Rate: 21%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 799


Also located in Little Rock, Arkansas, Philander Smith College is a four-year college founded in 1877 as the first attempt to make education available to freedmen west of the Mississippi River. Philander Smith College is affiliated with The United Methodist Church. It is deeply committed to educating students to become advocates for social justice and inspiring them to change the world for the better. The school offers over 20 majors in six divisions:


  • Division of Arts & Humanities
  • Division of Business Administration
  • Division of Education
  • Division of General Education
  • Division of Natural & Physical Sciences
  • Division of Social Sciences


Philander Smith College also offers opportunities for students to continue their education after earning their undergraduate degree with the Philander Smith Management Institute (PSMI) BAA in Organizational Management. Students can also enroll in dual degree programs, study abroad, and perform undergraduate research during their undergraduate studies.


3. Shorter College


Location: North Little Rock, AR

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergraduate Enrollment: 400


Shorter College is a private two-year liberal arts college located in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The school was founded in 1886 by the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) and is still a faith-based school affiliated with this Christian denomination.


Shorter College is the only private, two-year HBCU in the nation and the fastest-growing college campus in Central Arkansas. The college offers six Associate of Arts degree programs that focus on providing students with a well-rounded education in the ​​languages, literature, philosophy, mathematics, social studies, the arts, and the abstract sciences:


  • Child Development
  • Christian Leadership
  • Criminal Justice
  • General Studies
  • Entrepreneurial Studies
  • Computer Science


Shorter College has an open enrollment policy, which means anyone with a high school diploma or GED completion can attend the school. Students will enjoy small classroom sizes and attentive full-time faculty during their program at Shorter College.


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4. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Location: Pine Bluff, AR

Acceptance Rate: 44%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,400


The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is the second oldest public land-grant institution in the state of Arkansas, founded in 1890. The university is committed to promoting academic programs that integrate quality instruction, research, and student learning experiences in a racially, culturally, and economically diverse student population. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers more than 30 undergraduate programs in the following schools:


  • School of Agricultural, Fisheries, and Human Sciences
  • School of Arts & Sciences
  • School of Business & Management
  • School of Education


The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff also offers internships and study abroad opportunities for students. During your time at the university, you can participate in the internationally renowned Vesper Choir, the nationally recognized debate team, the award-winning theatre program, or the school’s 90 other student organizations.


What are Your Chances of Acceptance?


Depending on the schools to which you wish to apply, your chances of being accepted at Arkansas’s four HBCUs will differ.


For example, small, private institutions with low acceptance rates and few undergraduates, such as Arkansas Baptist College and Philander Smith University, will be more difficult to get into than Shorter College, which has an open enrollment policy. Your chances are determined by the strength of your profile, which includes academic success, test scores, extracurriculars, and more.


CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator can calculate your odds of acceptance using your academic profile, and it can also share areas in which you can improve. In addition to sharing your chances of acceptance at certain schools and universities, our free changing engine will also share a list of schools that match your needs and profile.



Short Bio
Brittany Sawyer is a graduate of Grand Canyon University, where she majored in Marketing and minored in Professional Writing. She works as a freelance copywriter and lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and her golden retriever, Sedona. When Brittany isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, trying new coffee shops, and traveling.