Established in 1886 on the original campus for the Arkansas School for the Blind, Ouachita Baptist University is a comprehensive private, non-profit liberal arts institution offering baccalaureate education. Affiliated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, OBU follows the motto of “Vision, Integrity, Service.” Ouachita Baptist University serves a close-knit community of around 1,500 undergraduates across eight academic schools. OBU is nestled on a 160-acre suburban campus in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains within 65 miles southwest of Little Rock. OBU has produced several notable alumni, including former Governor Mike Huckabee, basketball player Linda Gamble, gospel singer Russ Taff, and Attorney General Winston Bryant.
According to the U.S. News, Ouachita Baptist is ranked the 170th best national liberal arts college and 119th top school for veterans. OBU has also been included in the publication’s list for the “A+ Schools for B Students” three straight years. Forbes magazine declared OBU the 70th best university in the South and 246th top private college nationwide. Victory Media has honored Ouachita Baptist University with the “Military Friendly School” distinction. In Washington Monthly magazine, OBU was lauded as the 153rd “Best Bang for the Buck” in the South. Ouachita Baptist University was also named to the President’s Community Service Honor Roll in 2009.
Ouachita Baptist University Accreditation Details
Since 1953, OBU has held continuous accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA). This regional accreditation is affirmed through the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Ouachita Baptist University is a member of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities (IABCU). At the programmatic level, business degrees are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Nutrition programs align with the standards for the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE). Education degrees also are given approval from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Ouachita Baptist University Application Requirements
Ouachita Baptist University has a selective acceptance rate of 70 percent, so applicants must be prepared to fulfill certain criteria. First-year students at OBU must present a certificate of graduation from a state-approved high school or score in the 50th percentile for the GED test. Completing a college-preparatory curriculum with a minimum high school GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale is required. Conditional admissions may be extended to those with a GPA from 2.0 to 2.7 and significant experience. Freshmen must show academic potential by earning at least a 20 on the ACT or 940 on the SAT for critical reading and math.
Making the journey to transfer to Ouachita Baptist is only successful for applicants enrolled at another regionally accredited college or university. Incoming transfers must be eligible to return to their previous institution with good standing. Having at least 24 credits with a minimum overall collegiate GPA of 2.0 is preferred. AP and CLEP credits can be used to fulfill this requirement if necessary. Transfers from non-English speaking countries must submit TOEFL scores of at least 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based). International students are also responsible for providing certification of finances and the $200 SEVIS fee.
Before the July 31st or December 20th deadlines, applicants to Ouachita Baptist University should submit the following materials online:
- Completed admission application form
- High school and/or college transcripts
- Official standardized test scores (ACT or SAT)
- Proof of English language proficiency
- One to two-page personal statement
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Tuition and Financial Aid
Regardless of state residency, full-time undergraduates at Ouachita Baptist University are billed $12,200 in tuition per semester. It’s estimated that fees will cost an additional $270 each semester. Those living on-campus must pay $3,690 for room and board. The total cost of attendance per semester is $16,160. This means that OBU students must afford $32,320 each academic year. Textbooks aren’t included, but they generally cost an extra $1,100 per term. Part-time students taking under 10 hours will pay $650 per credit.
Over 97% of beginning full-time students at OBU are awarded some financial aid. Around $32.4 million was granted in university financial aid packages for 2014. After filing the FAFSA form by January 1st, students could borrow funding with the Federal Direct Subsidized, Federal Direct Unsubsidized, or Direct PLUS loans. Free aid that won’t need to be repaid is available with the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. In-state residents could receive the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship or Go Opportunities Grant. VA educational benefits, employer tuition assistance, and Federal Work-Study (FWS) are also offered. Scholarships are abundant, including the Trustee Scholarship, Presidential Scholarship, Ouachita Scholars Scholarship, and Transfer Student Scholarship.
Building on a liberal arts core, Ouachita Baptist University offers 64 Bachelor’s degree programs for students to choose from. Some unique undergraduate majors include Biblical Languages, Christian Media, Leisure Studies, Mass Communications, Musical Theatre, Professional Chemistry, and Worship Arts. Certain programs are held at New Life Church (NLC) to provide hands-on ministry experience. OBU Online also offers flexible, eight-week sessions to earn a B.A. in Business Administration or B.A. in Christian Studies. With a low student-faculty ratio of 13:1, more than 58 percent of classes have less than 20 students.
Ouachita Baptist University students all participate in a Freshman Outdoor Orientation Trip (FOOT) to form lasting relationships. Every student must take two classes of religion and obtain seven credits of chapel with regular attendance. As a primarily residential campus, 94 percent of students live in the 13 on and off campus housing options. The Riley-Hickingbotham Library is easily accessible for researching in over 150,000 volumes. In the Ben M. Elrod Center for Family & Community, students can find service learning opportunities, such as Adopt a Special Friend, Elder Serve, and English Language Outreach.
For student growth outside the classroom, OBU has dozens of student-run clubs and activities to engage in. Social clubs like Beta Beta, Chi Delta, Rho Sigma, and Sigma Alpha Sigma are popular. Since 1886, there’s been a joint Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in partnership with nearby Henderson State University. Each year, the Campus Activities Board sponsors fun events like Movie Night, “Back 2 School” concerts, and Full Moon Frisbee. Tiger Traks takes place every spring for two days of money-raising competitions. Athletes at Ouachita Baptist University could also play for one of 16 varsity teams in the NCAA Division II Great American Conference.