Accredited and Nationally Recognized
Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, one of the major accrediting commissions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Regional accreditation is considered the highest form of accreditation given to institutions. The Northwest Commission is also responsible for the accreditation of other major institutions such as the University of Washington, University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, University of Utah, University of Idaho, and Brigham Young University, to name just a few.
The WGU Teachers College is the first exclusively online university to receive accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The NCATE accrediting team extensively reviewed the entire WGU Teachers College curriculum to ensure that "candidates have the knowledge and skills to be effective in helping all students learn." NCATE is the premier specialized accrediting body for teacher preparation and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. It accredits colleges of education that produce over two-thirds of the nation’s new teacher graduates annually. Read more about the NCATE accreditation.
The bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs at WGU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791).
WGU’s Health Informatics program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
USDLA Recognized Institution
WGU was presented International Distance Learning Awards by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) in 2008 and 2011:
- 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 - 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning, awarded in recognition for WGU's achievements as the nation's first competency-based online university and its success in expanding access to higher education for adults seeking bachelor's and master's degrees.
- 2008 - Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning, awarded to Dr. Janet Schnitz, the former executive director of the WGU Teachers College.
- 2010 - Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning, awarded to Dr. Robert Mendenhall.
- 2011 - Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning, awarded to Dr. Phillip Schmidt, Associate Provost, WGU Teachers College.
These awards are in recognition of WGU’s achievements as an online university and our success in expanding access to higher education for adults seeking bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Read more about the USDLA awards.
McGraw Prize in Education
Awarded to Dr. Robert Mendenhall, President of WGU, for his outstanding work in post secondary Education. Read more about the McGraw Prize.
WGU Makes the NCTQ Honor Roll
In its 2014 review of 2,400 teacher education programs nationwide, "Teacher Prep Review 2014," the National Council on Teacher Quality recognized WGU as the #1 program in the country for secondary teacher programs, proving once again that WGU’s competency-based model is a highly effective way to learn. Additionally, WGU’s degree programs for elementary education ranked 16th in the nation—one of only 26 elementary programs to be recognized for high quality. WGU was one of only 10 institutions named to the top lists for both elementary and secondary teacher education. Read more about the NCTQ Honor Roll.
Our Unique Story of Higher Education Accreditation
WGU has the distinction of being the only university to receive regional accreditation from four regional accrediting commissions at the same time. In part because of our founding by the governors of 19 U.S. states, which encompass a wide geographic region, WGU was simultaneously reviewed by a special committeethe Inter-Regional Accrediting Committeecomprised of representatives from four regional accrediting commissions. In February 2003, the committee awarded WGU accreditation in all four regions, a unique and unprecedented recognition. The Northwest Commission is considered WGU’s “home” accrediting body because the university’s main offices are located in Utah, which falls under the review of the commission. WGU still continues to be an institution with a broad focus and a mission to expand access to higher education. The university serves students in all 50 states and military installations abroad.
What Accreditation Means to You
Accreditation status can give you an indication of a university’s general quality and reputation. According to Peterson’s, a premier educational resource, by attending a regionally accredited university:
- You are assured of a basic level of quality in education and services.
- Credits are more likely to be transferable to other accredited institutions.
- Your degree is more likely to be recognized and respected by other colleges and employers.
Questions & Answers
Click a question, see the answer to the right.
Should I care about accreditation?
Absolutely. Accreditation by a regional commission that’s recognized by the U.S. Department of Education is important. It’s your proof that outside evaluators have carefully reviewed an institution’s programs and policies. Many businesses, school districts, and other organizations prefer to hire graduates of programs that are regionally accredited. Regional accreditation also allows you to transfer more easily to other universities and assures employers that you've earned a credible, respected degree.
Why is WGU’s regional accreditation important?
Regional accreditation means that WGU’s competency-based programs meet the same educational standards for performance, integrity, and quality as those found at other more traditional universities, from large state schools to Ivy League universities. A team of evaluators representing four associations made on-site visits to WGU over a period of two years to review WGU’s operations. Based on the reviews and the visiting team’s report to the accrediting commissions, WGU was granted regional accreditation.