New York state's 64-campus university system is undertaking a major virtual expansion, adding new online degree programs and enhancing academic and technical support for students taking classes via computer.

In what it's calling "Open SUNY," the State University of New York goes live Tuesday with eight new online degree programs at six campuses and plans to add more in September. SUNY currently offers more than 12,000 courses and 150 degree programs online. Students will be able to complete degrees online or through a combination of virtual and brick-and-mortar classes.

Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced plans for the expansion a year ago. The goal is to enroll 100,000 new online students over the next five years.

"Our reach is already pretty big — 465,000 students is huge," Zimpher said in a telephone interview. But, she said, "it's important to look at underserved and undereducated citizens."