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UAFS: Accessibility Leads to Excellence

2 min read

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith has come a long way since its founding in 1928 as an extension of the local high school. The institution, formerly known as Westark Community College, is in its 20th year of joining the University of Arkansas System as a four-year university.


UAFS students receive the lowest tuition rate of any four-year campus in Arkansas. This affordability, coupled with generous scholarships and grants, makes UAFS a popular choice for students and their families. More than 95% of UAFS students received scholarships or grant aid in the most recent academic year.

“Affordability is a critical factor in our student’s success,” said Chris Kelly, senior director of UAFS Marketing and Communication. “We don’t serve just one type of student; we help them all. Eager high school graduates, single dads, business women, first-generation students; no matter who you are, we want you to know you can succeed at UAFS.”


UAFS’s ties to its community ensure it delivers programming that serves the needs of Fort Smith and the greater River Valley.

Students visiting the university’s redesigned website, uafs.edu, find more than 70 academic options, including 18 associate degrees, 38 bachelor’s degrees, and opportunities for master’s degrees in health care administration and education.  

UAFS takes a stair-step approach to a student’s education so that credentials are stackable. Depending upon the program, students can earn a certificate and associate degree on their way to their bachelor’s or graduate degrees. This approach allows students to receive credentials throughout their college experience.

UAFS also offers an Adult Degree Completion Program for non-traditional students. Students can earn college credit through this program for their work experience, military education, training, or certificate programs.


Earning a degree is an investment, and students need assurance they will receive a quality education. UAFS has earned national accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and 12 program-level accreditations, including The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE); the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Center Spurs Economic Vitality

As UAFS nears its centennial year, it is expanding its support for the region through innovative programs, such as the launch of the Center for Economic Development.  

The Center is located in the Bakery District in downtown Fort Smith. It serves the area as a destination for workforce and personnel training, planning and advising through the Center for Business and Professional Development, Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center and the Family Enterprise Center.

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