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Measuring Impact

Our Success Is Measured in Our Students' Success

Our mission is to change lives for the better by creating pathways to opportunity. As such, we measure our own success in the lives of those we endeavour to serve. Our measurements are focused on expanding access to underserved individuals, creating excellent learning experiences, and helping students graduate with less debt and higher earnings.

A Diverse Student Body of 139,116 Individuals

Current student population.

WGU has a diverse student body living in all 50 states—and on U.S. military bases around the world. Current student totals as of December 31st, 2022.

A Global Network of 305,044 Graduates

Alumni population.

WGU's alumni network is made up of accomplished professionals in all 50 states—and around the world. Current count of alumni as of December 31st, 2022.

Outstanding Performance in the National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE)

This survey is conducted annually and asks undergraduate students about the quality and characteristics of their higher education experience. The 2021 survey collected responses from 211,667 students from 342 institutions—337 in the U.S. and five in Canada. 

In a pandemic year that forced the WGU and its students to continue to adapt to new ways of doing things, those who participated in the survey expressed a high level of satisfaction with the university’s efforts to support them while providing a relevant and affordable education—in many areas, far outpacing the national average.

65% of WGU student rated the quality of their interactions with faculty a 7 on a 7-point scale. That's 41 percentage points higher than the national average.

47% of WGU students said their experience has contributed "very much" to their knowledge and skills—27 points higher than the national average.

"How would you evaluate your entire educational experience at this institution?" More than 70% of WGU students said it was "excellent"—36 percentage points higher than the national average.

79% of WGU students said they would definitely choose WGU if they were to start again. That 40 points higher than the national average!

WGU surveys every WGU student at graduation. Read their stories of inspiration and success.

Strong Salary Outcomes

WGU graduates are happy with their education:

  • 95% of WGU graduates reported that they would recommend WGU to others, compared with 80% nationally.
  • 84% of WGU graduates were satisfied with their overall experience, compared with 74% nationally.

Source: 2021 Harris Poll survey of 2,342 new college graduates nationwide compared with survey of 1,252 WGU graduates.

Impressive average salary increases:

  • WGU graduates reported an average increase on income of $18,200 within two years of graduation, compared with salary pre-enrollment.
  • Four years after graduation, the average increase was $25,900.

Source: 2021 Harris Poll survey of 1,252 WGU graduates.

High-Performing Alumni = Happy Employers

WGU graduates boast degrees that prepare them to succeed in their careers. The data below, from a 2021 survey of 300 employers of WGU graduates by Harris Poll, prove it:

Beyond expectations.
98% of employers said WGU graduates met or exceeded expectations.

Top candidates.
95% said they would hire another WGU graduate.

Prepared for the job.
97% said that their WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs.

WGU Graduates Hold Positions with Top Employers

We're Institutionally Accredited, the Highest Form of Accreditation

Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), a institutional accreditation body of colleges and universities in a seven-state region that includes WGU’s headquarters in Utah. NWCCU provides the accreditation of many other major institutions, including the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, the University of Utah, and Brigham Young University, to name a few.

WGU also has the distinction of being the only university to have received regional accreditation from four regional accrediting commissions at the same time. In part because of our founding by 19 state governors, who represent a wide geographic region of the United States, in 2002 WGU was simultaneously reviewed by a special committee—the Inter-Regional Accrediting Committee—comprising representatives from four regional accrediting commissions.

Best Value School Year After Year = Better ROI

"A repeat Best Value School Designee, every adult considering enrolling in an online degree program should take a close look at Western Governors University, one of the most innovative school's we've seen. Two things stand out, besides the very reasonable cost, and they are: competency-based learning and the overwhelmingly positive reviews this school receives from its students and graduates," University Research & Review writes in awarding WGU its exclusive Best Value School recognition. "This is a school for those who are focused on attaining a respected credential and are willing to dive in and go get it."

Recognized for Excellence in Distance Learning

The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) has recognized WGU 10 times for our leadership in distance learning. In addition, the university’s Take a Break program received the USDLA’s Non-Profit Innovation Award in 2019 for its unique ability to combine a high level of student service with assessment security and integrity.  USDLA has previously recognized four individual WGU leaders with its Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning Award. 

"WGU has raised the bar of excellence again, and we are truly honored by their contributions within our industry," said Dr. Reggie Smith III, CEO / Executive Director of USDLA. "Western Governors University continues to amaze us each year."

Awarded for Outstanding Performance

WGU received the 2018 CIQG Quality Award from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation/International Quality Group. The international organization recognized WGU for its "outstanding performance of higher education in meeting the CIQG International Quality Principles," noting that "the university, which uses a competency-based learning model with students working online, monitors its performance in key areas and works for continuous improvements and adjustments to improve the quality of students' educational experience."