The University of Montana is moving forward with a plan to add online courses intended for students who live far from its traditional campus amid shrinking enrollment numbers.

The Missoulian reports that two companies will be interviewed in April to create the online program. Provost Jon Harbor says expanding the university's digital programs is essential to its future.

The financial expectations for the program are unclear.

Faculty Senate Chair Matt Semanoff says professors want to maintain control over their courses but are excited about a chance to reach people who cannot pursue a college degree on campus.

Harbor says online students tend to be older and are looking to complete a degree or pursue one while continuing their work and life away from a physical college campus.

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