joshua simonds
Joshua Simonds during spring commencement. 

For the second straight year, the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the most affordable university in Arkansas.


UAFS continues to hold the designation after changes were made in tuition and fees at universities across the state for the 2018-19 school year, according to data released by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.


Next year in-state undergraduate students will pay just $166.30 per credit hour at UAFS, excluding additional mandatory fees. A full-time student can expect to pay $7,127.50 for a year of schooling at UAFS. On average UAFS is more than $1,300 cheaper than other public four-year universities, according to ADHE data.


For UAFS graduate Josh Simonds of Sallisaw, Okla., the university’s affordability played a major role in his choice of university.


“I had a relative who went to a big Division I school, and he quickly racked up debt and had to take a long break before coming back,” he said. “So I knew I didn’t want a big university that would put me in so much debt that I wouldn’t be able to finish my education.”


A first-generation college student, Simonds graduated this spring with a bachelor’s degree in media communication. But just as importantly, he graduated with no student loan debt, thanks to a combination of scholarships, federal aid and working while going to school. In the fall he will attend graduate school at William Woods University in Fulton, Mo.


“Not having that debt means that I can do just about whatever I want,” Simonds said. “My future is really mine to do with what I please. I can travel and move and not have to worry about the immediacy of finding a well-paying job to pay off that debt.”


Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor, said the university is “proud to be the most affordable university in the state.”


“As an institution serving a large portion of first-generation and Pell-eligible students, UAFS recognizes the importance of an affordable, accessible education that will help our students achieve social mobility,” Beran said. “Not only are we committed to remaining one of the most affordable universities in the state, we are looking at innovative opportunities and programs to keep costs low for our students moving forward.”


For more information about educational opportunities at UAFS, visit or call 479-788-7000. To view the ADHE data on tuition and fees, visit


Article by John Post, Director of Public Information
Date Posted: 
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
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