Outside competition has state colleges, universities beefing up online programs

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) Geography for many attending a state college or university in Arkansas is more than just a course. It sometimes determines one's educational future.

For years, state colleges and universities have offered online classes, as well as some completely online degree programs, mostly at the masters level in education. But despite their convenience, the location of the school is still a major impediment for many when considering a higher education because of finances, employment schedules or family obligations, among other things.

However, competition for those students from out-of-state institutions with online programs, many of them for-profits such as University of Phoenix, has caused state higher education officials to reevaluate their online offerings, Arkansas Department of Higher Education Director Shane Broadway said during legislative budget hearings last month.

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