Western Governors University (WGU)

Western Governors University is a private, non-profit, online university based in Utah. The university uses an online competency-based education (CBE) model, providing advanced education for working professionals. Degrees awarded by WGU are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

The university was founded by 19 U.S. governors in 1997 after the idea was formulated at a 1995 meeting of the Western Governors Association to expand education offerings to the internet.

WGU is characterized by its flexible learning architecture and multi-dimensional delivery, which allows us to better personalize learning, adapt to changing workforce needs, and provide relevant pathways for an individual’s first and next opportunity.

In August 1999, WGU launched its first degree programs including an associate in arts in general education, three technology-focused associates in applied arts degrees, and one master of arts degree in learning and technology.

In 2001, the United States Department of Education awarded $10 million to found the Teachers College, and the first programs were offered in Information Technology.

In 2003, the university became the first school to be accredited in four different regions by the Interregional Accrediting Committee. In 2006, the fourth college, the College of Health Professions, was founded, and the school's Teachers College became the first online teacher-preparation program to receive NCATE accreditation.

In 2010, the first state-established offshoot, WGU Indiana, was founded by Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana, and the school reached 20,000 students for the first time. It was Indiana's eighth state university.

In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided $4.5 million for WGU Indiana and the creation of WGU Texas and WGU Washington.

On January 8, 2013, Bill Haslam, governor of Tennessee, announced the creation of WGU Tennessee. On January 28, 2013, Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri, in his annual State of the State address, announced the founding of WGU Missouri, creating the fifth state-based subsidiary of WGU. On June 16, 2015, Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada launched WGU Nevada, the sixth state-based WGU. The subsidiaries of WGU share the same academic model, faculty, services, accreditation, tuition, and curricula as WGU and were established to give official state endorsement and increased name recognition to WGU in those states, as well as to qualify students of those affiliates for state-based aid. WGU does not maintain physical campuses for these institutions.

As of December 31, 2020, the university had 129,169 currently enrolled students and more than 214,194 people had graduated from the institution.

The university operates primarily online, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in various fields, including:

  • business
  • education
  • information technology
  • health & nursing

The university utilizes a flat-rate tuition model, which means learners pay a set amount per six-month term rather than per credit hour, allowing them to take as many courses as they can complete within the term without incurring additional costs. WGU offers various scholarships, grants, and financial aid options to help make higher education more accessible and affordable for learners from underserved or disadvantaged backgrounds.

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