UA Board To Vote On Online University

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The University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees' annual meeting was held at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Thursday (March 20). During the two-day meeting the board will vote on two big topics: a new online university and guns on campus.

On Thursday, the board discussed a proposal to expand its focus on online education and establish a new, for-profit online university.

If the board approves the proposal it will then choose how to structure the strictly online campus. The proposal includes affordable tuition, and a variety of degree programs including both associate's and bachelor's degrees.

Ben Beaumont, Director of Communication for the University of Arkansas System, said degree programs will be chosen based on the needs of the workforce across the state.

"There are a number of adults in our state who have some college but did not finish," said Beaumont. "We believe we can attract those folks back to school through online education, and it can be a real economic development tool for the state."

If approved, the online university will join the existing 17 campuses and units in the system, according to Beaumont.

The trustees will meet again Friday (March 21) to discuss whether faculty and staff with concealed carry permits will be allowed to carry guns on campus.