WGU Enrollment Reaches 30,000, 12/6/11

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News Brief - 12/6/11

Western Governors University Enrollment Reaches 30,000 Students

Online university’s enrollment increases by 20% in just 7 months

SALT LAKE CITY — Just 12 years after enrolling its first student, Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, is celebrating another significant enrollment milestone—30,000 students. The nonprofit, online university serves students in all 50 states as well as military service people and their families overseas, offering accredited degree programs in Business, Teacher Education, Information Technology, and Health Professions, including Nursing.

The innovation and quality of WGU and its competency-based learning model is not just resulting in rapidly growing enrollment. The university is also earning recognition from higher education policy leaders across the country. On December 5, WGU President Robert Mendenhall was one of a select group of college presidents invited to the White House to participate in a roundtable discussion about making college affordable with President Obama.

In a recent address to the Federal Student Aid Conference, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “The century-old practice of awarding degrees based on seat time in the classroom rather than on demonstrated competence is now at odds with a world in which the Internet offers perpetual opportunities for learning and gaining skills at your own pace. That is the theory of Western Governors University…WGU is an affordable, online, nonprofit institution that measures the success of its students, most of them working adults, not by credit hours, but by demonstrated mastery of the subject, whether it’s in information technology, nursing, the field of business, or preparation to teach.”

WGU was established in 1997 by a bi-partisan group of 19 U.S. governors to expand access to high-quality, affordable college degree programs. The university uses a competency-based learning model that enables students to earn their degrees by demonstrating their mastery of subject matter rather than spending time in class to accumulate credit hours. In addition, WGU uses technology to deliver instruction and content, changing the faculty role from that of an instructor to that of a mentor who works one-on-one with students to provide individualized guidance and support.

Designed to meet the needs of adult learners, WGU’s learning model allows students to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. As a result, the average time to complete a bachelor’s degree at WGU is 30 months. The university is self-sustaining on tuition of less than $6,000 per 12-month year for most programs, and students can complete as many courses per term as they are able, allowing them to accelerate and save tuition costs.

“The mission of WGU has not changed since the university was established—our goal is to improve quality and expand access to college degree programs that are respected by both employers and academic institutions,” said WGU President Dr. Robert W. Mendenhall. “Our continued growth and the success of our students are proving that it is possible to use technology to improve and reduce the cost of higher education without sacrificing quality.”

For more information about WGU, go to www.wgu.edu, or call 1.800.225.5948.