University of Central Arkansas

University of Central Arkansas appears in these rankings:

The 30 Most Affordable Women's Colleges in America

15 Best Value Colleges and Universities in Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas is one of several colleges across the state that began life as a teaching school. Though established in 1907, it opened and operated as the Arkansas State Normal School for nearly 20 years before becoming the Arkansas State Teachers College. It wasn't until the 1960s that the school shifted its focus from education and teaching courses to programs in technology, business, engineering, humanities and other topics. In the 2010s, enrollment grew steadily at the school. UCA now has a total enrollment of more than 11,000 students, which makes it one of the largest schools in Arkansas.

UCA divides its campus into six separate colleges that offer courses on topics like fine arts and communications, business, natural sciences and mathematics, liberal arts and education. Those individual colleges now offer more than 80 majors for students. UCA made the news after U.S. News and World Report added the university to its list of colleges that have the best academic excellence. The university was the only school in Arkansas to make that list. The same organization also named UCA as one of the best public schools in the south for obtaining a graduate degree and as one of the best southern graduate schools in general. That recognition brought more attention to the university and led to its recent increase in student enrollment.

University of Central Arkansas Accreditation Details

Many colleges now have two different types of accreditation, including the University of Central Arkansas. The first is something called institutional accreditation, which some refer to as general accreditation. This comes from a major organization that ensures the college meets all the standards it has in place. The second type of accreditation is program accreditation and applies only to specific programs offered through departments on campus. UCA has both types. Its main accreditation comes from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It also has accreditation for its dietetic program through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Other program accreditation at UCA comes from:

American Occupational Therapy Association
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
National Association of Schools of Theatre
American Physical Therapy Association
Council for Interior Design Accreditation
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
American Psychological Association
National Association of Schools of Art and Design
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
National Association of Schools of Music

University of Central Arkansas Application Requirements

The University of Central Arkansas offers two different types of acceptance: conditional or unconditional acceptance. Unconditional acceptance is available to students who have a grade point average of 2.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale and scored a 21 on the ACT composite or a 1450 on the combined SAT. The university offers conditional acceptance to students who have a 2.5 grade point average, a score of 1210 on the combined SAT or a 17 on the ACT composite and a minimum score of 15 on an ACT subject test. Those who receive conditional acceptance will need to maintain a solid GPA and meet with advisers during their first year to ensure they can handle their courses.

All students applying for admission must meet some basic requirements, including the completion of the UCA online application. They must also request that the testing board submit the scores they received on either the ACT or SAT, and students may submit scores from both examinations. Those born after 1957 will also need to show proof that they received vaccinations to the university and an official high school transcript. While UCA charges a $25 application fee, the university offers waivers for those who cannot afford to pay. Students can also attend events on campus and apply during those events without paying the fee.

Tuition and Fees

As a state school, the University of Central Arkansas offers tuition rates far below those charged by private schools. The cost students pay depend on the number of credit hours they take each semester. A full time student who takes 10 credit hours of classes will pay around $2,600 per semester. While the university does offer online classes, those classes cost slightly more. An online student taking 10 credit hours of classes will pay closer to $2,900 per semester. Students may face additional fees for using the science labs on campus and the student activities center. Room and board fees may add $2,600 or more to the costs students pay every semester.

UCA works with students to bring down the amount they pay out of pocket. All incoming students can apply for financial aid, which requires that they submit the FAFSA online. Based on the amount of help students get from their parents, this form tells the school how much help students still need. Most students borrow subsidized government loans that do not accumulate any interest until the student quits school or graduates. UCA can also notify students about any scholarships or grants they qualify for and whether they can take part in a work-study program. The government may offer loans to the student's parents as well.

UCA Degrees

Though UCA offers a number of degrees, it has one of the top occupational therapy programs in the country. This accredited program serves as an introduction to occupational therapy that teaches students how to help their future patients and clients. Occupational therapy often involves professionals making life easier for patients. They teach their clients what to do at home, at work and even while driving to reduce their risk of future injuries. This UCA program has a fieldwork component that allows students to gain real life experience working with patients before they graduate.

UCA also offers a professional writing program for students. Unlike its creative writing program, which focuses on fiction, the professional track focuses on non-fiction writing. Students learn how to research topics and write their own work based on the information they find. They also discover the importance of writing content that others can scan, read and absorb quickly. The UCA Writing Center on campus offers students one on one help as they work with a tutor, and the Great Bear Writing Project gives them more experience too. This program takes place every summer and incorporates elements of writing and teaching. The University of Central Arkansas offers more than 80 other majors for incoming students.