The flagship of the Arkansas State University system, and the state’s second-largest university, Arkansas State University began as an agricultural and mechanical high school in 1909, part of an ambitious plan by the legislature to expand technical education to Arkansas’s rural youth with four training schools. That could have been the beginning of just a small regional college, but instead A-State expanded by leaps and bounds throughout the 20th century, entering the 21st as a comprehensive public research institutions offering degrees at all levels, from bachelor’s to doctorate. Arkansas State is ranked one of the best public regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report, and at its speed of growth, A-State is prime for national standing.
Academic ProgramsAs a major, public research university, Arkansas State defines its mission well beyond Jonesboro, AR, proclaiming its dedication to preparing the next generation of leaders for Arkansas, the Mississippi Delta, and the South. A-State does this by making the effort to find a middle way between the anonymous, overwhelming nature of the huge research university, and the overly insulated, overly safe small college. Arkansas State maintains a low student:faculty ratio and small classes, but provides students at both the undergraduate and graduate level access to the resources and research opportunities a large research institutions can offer. A-State cultivates partnerships in both the public and private spheres, providing students with opportunities for internships and employment.
Arkansas State is made up of 11 colleges, giving students access to a full range of possibilities and making A-State a comprehensive university, from the humanities to professional studies. The Honors College has grown more than 50% in recent years, as higher admissions standards and successful recruiting of Arkansas’s most promising high school students has dramatically raised A-State’s profile. Exciting new programs, like Arkansas State’s partnership with the New York Institute of Technology establishing a medical school at A-State, have brought the university much-deserved national recognition, while ASU has also developed the largest online program in Arkansas, reaching out to the state’s working adults and career-changing professionals.
Student LifeArkansas State’s student body numbers 14,000 traditional students, and more than 21,000 when online and extension students are taken into account; less than 3000 are conventional on-campus residential students. More than a quarter of ASU’s student body is made up of students from a minority background, and just under 1000 international students add to A-State’s global engagement. As in many modern colleges, women outnumber men, though 60% women is uncommonly large. The student body in recent years has ranked as ASU’s most accomplished, with a freshman retention rate quite higher than the national average, and a steadily growing graduating class every year.
While the traditional on-campus residential class is relatively small, Arkansas State is a busy university, with all the student-led clubs and organizations that a large public research university can provide. More than 15% of the student body belongs to a fraternity or sorority, and Greek Life is deeply embedded in entertainment and social activities. The NCAA Division I Red Wolves are particularly successful, with numerous conference and national championships, especially in football, and game days are exceptionally enthusiastic. Intramural sports include more than two dozen activities, keeping A-State’s students active and healthy.