The University of Arkansas System eVersity, the state's first online-only university, began accepting applications and launched its redesigned website on Tuesday.
"The UA Board of Trustees shared our vision of finding a way to reach the more than 350,000 Arkansans who started college and for whatever reasons never had a chance to complete their degree," Donald Bobbitt, president of the UA System, said in a news release. "Creating an accessible and affordable way to reach those students to strengthen our state’s workforce and overall economy has been our driving force since we started this process."
The UA System Board of Trustees adopted a resolution in 2012 acknowledging the role online education can play in expanding the reach of education and eVersity leaders began rethinking the traditional approach to high-quality education to fit the busy lives of working learners.
"The needs of the student population that we intend to serve are really significantly different," Bobbitt said in a previous article with Arkansas Business. "There’s no need for us to run a calendar based on an agricultural calendar that was set 150 years ago when everyone needed to plant in the summer."
The personalized approach eVersity is designed to help students achieve success with a simplified application process and allows its staff to go out and procure prior transcripts needed to create a degree plan free of charge.
The program is not designed for students who are 18-22 years old, and Bobbitt previously told Arkansas Business that he firmly believes that the traditional college student still benefits from the traditional, face-to-face college experience.
"We have worked very hard to remove the barriers that have kept many students from going back to finish the degree they started before life got in the way of their educational goals," said Michael Moore, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs for the UA System and chief operating and academic officer for eVersity. "We believe every student is unique, and it is our goal to get to know each student and tailor support and learning strategies to meet their individual needs."