Western Governors University Takes USDLA Best Practice Award for Fifth Time Online, competency-based university recognized as 21st Century Best Practice in Distance Learning by United States Distance Learning Association

SALT LAKE CITY, May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --For the fourth consecutive year and fifth time since 2008, Western Governors University (WGU,) www.wgu.edu, has been honored with the 21st Century Best Practices in Distance Learning for 2014 Award from the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). The online university with more than 45,000 students and 33,000 graduates in all 50 states has been recognized for leading the way in higher education for nontraditional students.

"As a premier organization for the entire distance learning profession, we are honoring Western Governors University as a leader in the industry," said Dr. John D. Flores, Executive Director of USDLA, Program Professor at Nova Southeastern University.

The pioneer and leader in competency-based education, WGU offers affordable, online bachelor's and master's degree programs in business, information technology, K-12 teacher education, and health professions, including nursing. WGU's innovative learning model makes it possible for busy adults to earn accredited degrees without sacrificing work and family obligations. Students study and learn online, with one-to-one faculty support, moving at a pace that is personalized to their individual needs. Rather than logging into class, students have 24/7 access to online learning resources, allowing them to fit their studies into their lives. Because students advance as soon as they demonstrate mastery of course materials, they can accelerate their time to completion—the average time to complete a bachelor's degree at WGU is 34 months.

The USDLA also recognized WGU for providing guidance and support to other institutions as they implement competency-based learning programs. In 2012, with the support of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WGU began working with community colleges in several states to help them find ways to develop competency-based programs inside existing academic institutions and structures. In addition, WGU conducts regular onsite seminars for institutions interested in developing competency-based programs.

"Each year, these recognized leaders raise the bar and exceed best practice expectations for the industry as a whole and we are truly honored by their contributions within all distance learning constituencies," Flores said.

About Western Governors University
Recognized by President Obama as an innovative university that "awards credits based on learning, not seat time," Western Governors University is the only university in the U.S. offering accredited, competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs at scale. Named one of  Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies for 2013," WGU has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN's "Schools of Thought," and in The New York Times.

WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. WGU's Teachers College is the first exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation for its teacher licensure programs from NCATE, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The WGU bachelor's and master's nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE*), and its B.S. in Health Informatics is accredited by CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education).

Western Governors University has partnered with five states to establish state-based universities aimed at adding affordable capacity to state higher education systems. WGU Indiana, WGU Missouri, WGU Tennessee, WGU Texas, and WGU Washington are key elements in their states' strategies for increasing the percentage of adults with bachelor's or master's degrees. These state-endorsed universities offer degree programs that are accredited through WGU.

The university has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations, including AT&T, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lilly Endowment, HCA, Hewlett-Packard, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle, SunGard Higher Education, and Zions Bank. More information is available at www.wgu.edu or by calling 866.225.5948.

*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).

About United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit association formed in 1987 and is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The association reaches 20,000 people globally with sponsors and members operating in and influencing 46% of the $913 billion dollar U.S. education and training market. USDLA promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training and serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. Distance learning and training constituencies served include pre-k-12 education, higher and continuing education, home schooling as well as business, corporate, military, government and telehealth markets. The USDLA trademarked logo is the recognized worldwide symbol of dedicated professionals committed to the distance learning industry. http://www.usdla.org

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Contact for media inquiries:   
Joan Mitchell – VP of Public Relations
801-428-5463    
jmitchell@wgu.edu

Contact for enrollment information:
866-225-5948 
www.wgu.edu  

SOURCE Western Governors University



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