Working adults head back to school in record numbers at online university
SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bucking the trend in online university enrollments, Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, will enroll approximately 3,000 new students in September alone, an increase of more than 50% over the same month last year. This dramatic increase is in sharp contrast to most other online universities, where new enrollments have declined by 20 to 40 percent for the past two years. WGU, a nonprofit, fully online university that enrolls new students every month, currently has more than 34,000 students nationwide.
Nationally recognized for its innovative competency-based learning model, WGU was established 15 years ago by 19 U.S. governors who wanted to expand access to quality higher education, particularly for working adults. The university offers more than 50 accredited bachelor's and master's degree programs in the high-demand fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. WGU serves students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as military personnel and families stationed overseas and is the number one provider of master's degree programs for math teachers in the country.
WGU's competency-based learning model measures learning rather than time, allowing students to earn their degrees by demonstrating their mastery of subject matter rather than spending time in class to accumulate credit hours. This approach makes it possible for students to take advantage of prior education and work experience to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. Faculty members serve as mentors, working with students individually to help them work through course materials, plan their studies, and ensure their success.
"WGU's consistent strong growth, which has averaged more than 33 percent over the past five years, demonstrates the need for high-quality college opportunities for adult learners," said Patrick Partridge, WGU's Chief Marketing Officer. "The university was designed to meet the needs of adults with job and family responsibilities, and because we are nonprofit, we are able to keep tuition affordable—it is approximately $6,000 per year, and hasn't increased in four years."
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, WGU is the only university in the U.S. offering accredited, competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs. WGU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). WGU's Teachers College is the first and only 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 have been 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. WGU Indiana, WGU Washington, and WGU Texas 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.
SOURCE Western Governors University