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Student Support

Proactive Academic Support, No Matter the Obstacle

At WGU, supporting student success one by one is paramount. The WGU community of care proactively assists and supports students with many different challenges that pose a threat to their academic success, ranging from health struggles to financial concerns.

Environmental Barriers Program

As a facet of this community of care, the Environmental Barriers (EVB) Program, developed from a pilot in 2017, proactively supports students facing barriers to their academic success due to natural disasters or other major events. Standardized in 2019, the EVB Program team collaborates across the WGU student support network to help minimize the environmental barriers to student success due to tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and other major events, including public safety events and pandemics.

Through the COVID-19 response task force, WGU distributed over $10 million in emergency aid to students experiencing financial and health hardships due to the pandemic. The university also added the Bright Futures scholarship to the existing scholarship portfolio, providing support to learners in need of higher education as part of their pandemic recovery plan.


By the Numbers

2022 EVB Program Student Support


Students supported in 2022


Major events responded to in 2022


The average retention rate for students affected

A One-to-One Model for Quicker Response

We’re proud to serve WGU students one by one, proactively connecting with those affected by environmental barriers such as natural disasters and offering academic support. Each WGU student is assigned a mentor upon enrollment. Our EVB team leverages these existing relationships and provides mentors with the tools and processes to reach students, assess their situations, and assist them in overcoming unexpected obstacles to their academic progress.

How We Help Students Overcome Environmental Barriers

WGU proactively tracks potential disasters and other environmental barriers and strives to connect with students facing roadblocks to their academic success.

Here’s how it works:

  • Proactive monitoring. The EVB event management team reviews weather events twice daily for potential impact to students living in the event area.
  • Tracking. A severity and impact matrix is used to ensure appropriate outreach is provided for those events creating a significant barrier to student success. Some disasters, for instance, might result in loss of power and internet access or may result in a student’s temporary or permanent displacement from their home.
  • Identification and outreach. Geo-mapping in the event area helps generate a list of students most likely impacted by the local event. A dual-vetting review process is used by the EVB team to ensure the severity and impact decisions are peer-reviewed prior to sending out EVB alerts and notifications, including outreach to potentially impacted students.

Real Student Impact

"As I write this, I've had to evacuate from my residence, mourn the death of friends who I know did not survive the Camp Fire and process the reality my home is gone. I only managed to get out with some basic possessions, my pets and the tools I use in my profession... I've relocated to my studio where I will likely need to make a new home out of it…So, the sentiments are appreciated. I will more than likely be utilizing the resources available.” —Affected WGU Student

Student Support


Many WGU students receive scholarships and grants that make earning their degrees even more affordable. In 2022 alone, WGU awarded more than $20 million in scholarships to our students.

Military Benefits

All WGU degree programs are approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs for education benefits under the GI Bill®. Options are available for veterans and active-duty service members, dependents, etc.

Federal Aid

WGU is approved to offer qualifying students federal financial aid in the form of Pell Grants and student loans. You can fill out your FAFSA to see if you qualify for this federal aid.

Creating a Community of Care

We actively reach students, assess their situations, and assist them in the event of environmental barriers to their learning. View the webinar to learn more about our Environmental Barriers Program and how we maintain an active Community of Care for our individual students in an online environment.