WGU Texas Receives Grant Funding to Expand Competency-Based Model with Community College Partners

Feb 11, 2013, 15:11 ET from WGU Texas

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides funding to build competency-based IT online degree programs at community colleges

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- WGU Texas is among the WGU institutions receiving funding from a recent grant of $1,190,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Funded over a three-year period, the project will expand student access to high quality learning opportunities through competency-based education programs. WGU Texas will partner with community colleges in Texas to build competency-based associate's degree programs in the field of information technology. The grant also supports WGU projects in Florida, Indiana, and Washington with a total of nine partner community colleges in four states.

This program is mission-driven, directly supporting the work of the Gates Foundation and the university to improve post-secondary access and success for young adult students, including first-generation college students and other under-served groups, by catalyzing competency-based learning.

Community college students stand to directly benefit as a result of the grant. These IT degree programs will provide incumbent workers a viable option in adding skills and expertise while remaining employed full-time, providing pathways to an affordable, accredited post-secondary degree. By adapting and adopting the WGU model, the largest version of competency-based learning in education, to replace traditional seat-time based IT programs in the participating community colleges, students will be able to accelerate, complete at higher rates, and lower the overall cost of their education.

In Texas, Lone Star College System (LSCS) and Austin Community College (ACC) will build two IT-focused associate's degree programs.

"This project is a great opportunity to work with two leading community colleges in Texas to bring more competency-based options to working Texans," said WGU Texas Chancellor Mark David Milliron. "In addition, Dr. Richard Carpenter (Chancellor, LSCS) and Dr. Richard Rhodes (President/CEO, ACC) will be effective voices to champion this innovation across the state."

WGU Texas will demonstrate how to develop robust and functional competencies, as well as to curate curriculum and administer appropriate assessments mapped to these competencies via workshops, trainings, and seminars with LSCS and ACC.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was an early funder of WGU and continues to support the WGU state institutions: WGU Texas, WGU Indiana, and WGU Washington.

About WGU Texas

WGU Texas is a competency-based, online university created to expand access to quality higher education for Texas residents. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the high-demand career fields of business, health professions (including nursing), information technology, and K-12 teacher education.

Established through a partnership with nationally recognized and accredited Western Governors University, WGU Texas is open to all qualified Texas residents. Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is regionally accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) in addition to programmatic accreditation.

For more information, please visit the WGU Texas website: http://texas.wgu.edu.

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