Despite national decline in college enrollment, online university continues to grow
SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Even as the number of enrolled college students nationwide dropped for the first time since 2006, enrollment at online Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, reached a new high in September—more than 40,000 students nationwide. The only U.S. university offering accredited competency-based degree programs at scale, nonprofit WGU offers more than 50 bachelor's and master's degrees in business, information technology, K-12 teacher education, and health professions, including nursing.
WGU's innovative approach to education allows working adults to return to school and earn their degrees without sacrificing work and family responsibilities. The latest milestone in student enrollment at WGU shows that, despite a half-million student drop in enrollment in the U.S. last year, more Americans than ever are finding value in a degree from WGU.
"While the need for a college credential is greater than ever before, finding an affordable way to earn a respected degree can be a challenge, particularly for working adults," said WGU's Chief Marketing Officer Patrick Partridge. "WGU offers students quality and flexibility as well as affordability, which are the reasons our enrollment numbers continue to buck the national trend."
WGU was created in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education. The university's competency-based degree programs allow students to advance through their courses as soon as they're able to demonstrate mastery of the subject material, rather than sitting through a predefined number of classroom hours. The result is an average time to graduation of roughly three years for a bachelor's degree. The affordable flat-rate tuition of approximately $3,000 per six-month term, regardless of the number of courses completed, means the ability to accelerate saves students money as well as time.
At its semiannual commencement in July, WGU celebrated a new graduating class of more than 4,000, bringing the number of Americans who have received a WGU degree to more than 26,000. A recent Harris Interactive study conducted for WGU found an average salary increase of $9,000 for individuals who graduated from WGU from 2010-2012, as compared to their salary at enrollment. And last month, WGU announced that the university will not increase tuition for the sixth straight year.
About Western Governors University
Named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies 2013, WGU has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN's "Schools of Thought," and in The New York Times. Now with approximately 40,000 students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and on U.S. military bases around the world, WGU is the only university in the U.S. offering accredited, competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs at scale. 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 the 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).
On June 11, 2010, WGU Indiana was created by Governor Mitch Daniels as Indiana's eighth state university. WGU Washington was established by the Washington State Legislature on April 22, 2011. On August 3, 2011, the state of Texas created WGU Texas. On February 15, 2013, Governor Jay Nixon announced the establishment of WGU Missouri, and on July 9, 2013, Governor Bill Haslam announced the establishment of WGU Tennessee. These state-based universities are state-endorsed and offer degree programs that are accredited through Western Governors University.
The university has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations. They include institutions such as 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).
SOURCE Western Governors University