Western Governors University Announces Investment in WGU Washington

Aug 29, 2011, 17:26 ET from WGU Washington

Online university allocates part of grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help expand the reach of competency-based higher education in the state

SEATTLE, Aug. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- WGU Washington, washington.wgu.edu, is one of three state subsidiaries that will be supported by a $4.5 million grant to Western Governors University from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  The overall grant is aimed at leveraging Western Governors University's state subsidiaries in Indiana, Washington, and Texas to expand the reach of affordable, competency-based higher education.  The investment in Washington will help support development and outreach for WGU's new subsidiary, WGU Washington.

WGU Washington was established by the State Legislature as the state's only all-online competency-based university. Created to expand access to higher education for Washington residents, nonprofit WGU Washington offers busy working adults an affordable, flexible option for earning an accredited college degree. The university's four colleges, Business, Information Technology, Teachers College, and Health Professions (including Nursing), offer more than 50 accredited bachelor's and master's degrees, many with industry-specific certifications. Established through a partnership with Western Governors University, WGU Washington is open to all qualified Washington residents.

Designed to meet the needs of working adults, WGU Washington uses a competency-based learning model, which allows students to advance by demonstrating their knowledge and abilities, rather than accumulating credit hours. Students can take advantage of prior education and experience to move quickly through course material they already know, allowing them to focus on new learning. In addition, students may enroll at the beginning of any month and terms are six months long with no limit on the number of courses a student may complete per term. Tuition is affordable, less than $6,000 per year for most programs. For more information, go to washington.wgu.edu.

"College students have changed, and it's time higher education made some changes to keep up with them," said Hilary Pennington, director of Postsecondary Success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "The foundation is pleased to support Western Governors University because they have a strong track record of providing a high-quality, affordable, and flexible college experience that meets the needs of today's students.  In these tough economic times, it is more important than ever to support students who are juggling jobs and families while trying to make a better life for themselves."

About WGU Washington
WGU Washington was established by the State Legislature in partnership with nationally recognized and accredited Western Governors University to expand access to higher education for Washington residents. The nonprofit university, which receives no funds from the state, offers 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.

Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is regionally accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and nationally accredited through the Distance Education and Training Commission (DETC). 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 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AT&T, Dell, HCA, Hewlett-Packard, the Lilly Endowment, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle, Qwest, SunGard Higher Education, and Zions Bank. For more information, visit the WGU Washington website, http://washington.wgu.edu/.

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Joan Mitchell – Director of PR



SOURCE WGU Washington