Gov. Inslee Signs SSB 5195 into law, extending State Need Grant to WGU Washington students

OLYMPIA, Wash., May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Jay Inslee signed SSB 5195 into law today allowing WGU Washington students with financial need access to the State Need Grant Program. Previously, the state-endorsed, online university was unable to participate due to technicalities in the original language of the law, enacted long before online education was so pervasive.

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"This bill will give our students the same financial help that's available to other low-income Washingtonians who attend public universities, colleges, and commercial and trade schools in the state," said WGU Washington Chancellor Jean Floten. "Our students are mostly mid-career adults, trying to make ends meet while they work, raise families, and go to school. To some students, the State Need Grant will give them the help they need to pay the rent and feed their families, and not have to choose between the two. Our students are very grateful to the Washington Legislature and Governor Inslee. The bill will play an important role in educating future generations of Washingtonians who seek the flexibility online learning provides."

Current students and people considering returning to school from all over the state will benefit from this new law. That includes Tricia Elsner of Federal Way. She's a single mother of triplets, each with varying degrees of behavioral challenges; two of the 17-year-old boys have autism. Another is Jay Castro of Seattle. He's dealing with several, chronic health issues while working two jobs and going to school fulltime. For Tricia, Jay, and so many others, State Need Grant assistance would ease significant financial strain and help them on their path toward achieving their dreams of a college education.

WGU Washington's innovative model of higher education is producing graduates with the skills to meet the advanced demands of today's market. A recent Harris Interactive study shows that nearly 100 percent of employers who have hired a WGU graduate would not hesitate to hire another, 98 percent agree that WGU grads meet or exceed their expectations, and 98 percent consider WGU graduates equal to or better prepared than graduates of other universities.

Saturday, May 18, a record number of students – 543 – will graduate from WGU Washington in its second annual commencement ceremony at 3:00 pm at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. WGU Washington was created by the Washington State Legislature in 2011 and currently has 4,425 enrolled students from all over the state.

If you'd like more information about the bill's passage, or would like to speak with a student from your area or WGU Washington Chancellor Floten, please contact Jake Riddell at 206-512-0025, jake.riddell@wgu.edu, or Lee Keller at 206-799-3805, Lee@thekellergroup.com.

About WGU Washington

WGU Washington was established by the Washington State Legislature on April 22, 2011. WGU Washington is state-endorsed and offers degree programs that are accredited through Western Governors University.

WGU Washington offers more than 50 bachelor's and master's degree programs in Business, Information Technology, Teacher Education, and Health Professions, including Nursing. The university's online, competency-based learning model is designed to meet the needs of working adults by providing an affordable, flexible option for earning an accredited, respected college degree. It's non-profit and receives no money from the state.

Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE*).

The university has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations. They include institutions such as AT&T, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lilly Endowment, HCA, Hewlett-Packard, the Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle, SunGard Higher Education, and Zions Bank.

*Western Governors University offers nursing programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 5380, Washington DC 20036, 202-877-6791).

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Contact for media inquiries:
Jake Riddell – Public Relations Manager
(206) 512-0025
jake.riddell@wgu.edu

Contact for enrollment information
877.214.7004
washington.wgu.edu

SOURCE WGU Washington



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