WGU Indiana Celebrates 2 Years as First of Its Kind, 6/11/12

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News Brief - 6/11/12

WGU Indiana Celebrates 2 Years as First of Its Kind

Indiana online university pioneered state-endorsed model at WGU

SALT LAKE CITY — Two years after the launch of WGU Indiana as the first online university formed in partnership between a state and national nonprofit Western Governors University, two more states have successfully established this innovative model. The result: More than 7,800 of WGU’s 33,000 students nationwide now attend one of WGU’s state-based universities.

WGU Indiana celebrates its second anniversary today, and in those two years, enrollment among Hoosiers has increased tenfold to more than 2,600 students. When Governor Mitch Daniels announced the creation of WGU Indiana as a partnership between the state and WGU on June 11, 2010, just over 250 Indiana residents were enrolled in one of WGU’s 50 bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in business, information technology, K-12 teacher education, or health professions, including nursing.

Following on the success of the Indiana model, two additional states — Washington in April 2011 and Texas in August 2011 — followed suit. Today, WGU Washington has more than 2,900 enrolled students, and WGU Texas has surpassed 2,300. Nationwide, WGU has more than 33,000 enrolled students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In its 15 years of operation, WGU has awarded more than 15,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“Our state-based universities carry on the vision of our founding governors — to expand affordable access to higher education for the states,” said WGU President Dr. Robert W. Mendenhall. “Congratulations to the State of Indiana and our Hoosier students and graduates for leading the way.”

When Governor Daniels announced the creation of WGU Indiana in 2010, he called it Indiana’s “eighth state university” and said his aim was to “fill the clearest and most challenging gap remaining in our family of higher education opportunities — helping thousands of adult Hoosiers attain the college degrees they’ve wanted and needed, on a schedule they can manage, at a cost they can afford.”

Tuition at WGU and its state institutions is roughly $6,000 per year for most programs — a flat rate charged regardless of how many courses a student completes. The competency-based model means that students who bring knowledge and skills from previous education and employment are often able to accelerate through their programs, saving time and money.

“It seems like only yesterday that seven students walked across the stage as the first graduates of WGU Indiana,” said WGU Indiana Chancellor Allison Barber. “In the past two years, we’ve helped Hoosier adults not only advance in their workplaces, but also boost their self-esteem and achieve their dreams. Our high-achieving students believe as we do that college completion counts and the benefits of earning a college degree are enormous for graduates, their employers and the community.”