WGU September Enrollment Up 50 Percent Over Last Year, 8/20/12

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News Brief - 8/20/12

WGU September Enrollment Up 50% Over Last Year

Working adults head back to school in record numbers at online university

SALT LAKE CITY — 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 percent 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.”