A spokesperson from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville says the number of students taking online classes has doubled over the last four years.
Online universities like the University of Phoenix rake in billions in federal grant money, and the president of the University of Arkansas System says the state can do the same thing; but do it better.
"We're a rural state. People are not necessarily located close to an academic institution," University of Arkansas system President Dr. Don Bobbitt says. "This would be a way to deliver focused training and focused education into those parts of the state that are more problematic in terms of higher ed."
Dr. Bobbitt testified before a legislative committee Thursday afternoon.
Bobbitt was hired to head Arkansas' university system just last summer, and said expanding online course offerings would be a top priority.
Bobbitt told lawmakers online learning would compliment, not compete, with traditional schools and universities.
And by using analytics to track student progress, Bobbitt says they can identify problem areas immediately and be more responsive to students' needs.
"When we're in a traditional classroom setting, I never know the situation exists until we give an exam, we analyze the exam, and by then when we go back to help the student, it may be too late," he says. "So in some ways, the speed of electronic communication, they actually help us teach students better."
The University of Arkansas currently offers nearly 400 courses online, and that number is growing.