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MEASURING IMPACT

Graduation and Retention Rates

About Graduation Rates

Every year, colleges and universities like WGU are required to submit data about our institution and our students to the federal Department of Education. This information is then posted on the federal web site, College Navigator where you can search for colleges and compare information. WGU is also required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008, to provide all students and prospective students with specific information about our institution, including the retention and graduate rates on this page.

At WGU, graduation is our goal. It’s the reason we exist: to help every student who enrolls achieve the degree that will turn dreams into realities; so we take graduation rates very seriously. You may have seen graduation rates reported for WGU, including a rate on the College Scorecard of under 20%. That’s because the College Scorecard uses Department of Education data that only counts first-time, full-time students.

In other words, the nontraditional students who make up more than 98% of WGU’s student body are not counted in the College Scorecard data. The vast majority of WGU students have previous college experience before coming to WGU. These students are not considered first-time students, so their success at WGU is not counted in the rate reported by the Department of Education through the College Scorecard.

To put it another way: The College Scorecard data excludes the very students WGU was designed to serve.

Graduate Career Success

While students come to WGU for widely different career reasons, when they graduate, they’re finding the opportunities they sought.

Advancement: According to a 2021 Harris Poll survey1 87% of WGU graduates reported they were employed in their degree field.

Employer Acceptance: When employers were asked how the WGU graduates they’d hired performed on the job, 98% said WGU graduates met or exceeded expectations. 97% said that their WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs, and 95% said that would hire another WGU graduate2.

Graduate Satisfaction: A 2021 Harris Poll revealed that 95% of WGU graduates have recommended WGU to others, compared with 80% of those who attended other schools. 95% of WGU grads said they would choose WGU again, compared with 89% of grads from other schools3.

Low Default Rates: Most WGU student borrowers are careful about their school loans and repay them in a timely fashion. WGU’s FY2018 cohort's official 3-year default rate of 3.0% is less than half the national average of 7.3%4, much lower than at many similar institutions, and has actually decreased in recent years, bucking the national trend.

1 2021 Harris Poll survey of 1,252 WGU graduates.
2 2021 Harris Poll survey of 300 employers of WGU graduates.
3 2021 Harris Poll of 1,252 WGU graduates and 2,342 national, non-WGU graduates.
4 The Institute for College Access & Success

Graduation and Transfer Rates

The overall graduation rate is also known as the “Student Right to Know” or IPEDS graduation rate. It tracks the progress of student who began their studies as full-time, first-time degree- or certificate-seeking students to see if they complete a degree or certificate within 150% of “normal time” for completing the program in which they are enrolled.

WGU also reports a transfer-out rate, which is the percentage of the full-time, first-time students who transferred to another institution.

Note that, as mentioned above, WGU has around 2% of the student population which are first-time, full-time students. The majority (98%) of our students began their studies at another college or university and are not tracked for this rate. For this reporting timeframe, 305 students or 2% were counted as “full-time, first-time”.

Graduation Rate by Race/Ethnicity

Race/Ethnicity

Cohort

Grad Number

Percent

American Indian or Alaskan Native

2

1

50%

Asian

21

18

85.71%

Black

26

13

50%

Hispanic/Latino

22

14

63.64%

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

2

2

100%

Race or Ethnicity Unknown

12

9

75%

Two or More

4

3

75%

White

216

134

62.04%

Total

305

194

63.61%

Race/Ethnicity

Cohort

Race/Ethnicity

Grad Number

Race/Ethnicity

Percent

American Indian or Alaskan Native

2

American Indian or Alaskan Native

1

American Indian or Alaskan Native

50%

Asian

21

Asian

18

Asian

85.71%

Black

26

Black

13

Black

50%

Hispanic/Latino

22

Hispanic/Latino

14

Hispanic/Latino

63.64%

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

2

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

2

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

100%

Race or Ethnicity Unknown

12

Race or Ethnicity Unknown

9

Race or Ethnicity Unknown

75%

Two or More

4

Two or More

3

Two or More

75%

White

216

White

134

White

62.04%

Total

305

Total

194

Total

63.61%

Graduation Rate by Gender

Status

Cohort

Number of Grads

Percent

Male

134

71

52.99%

Female

171

123

71.93%

Total

305

194

63.61%

Status

Cohort

Status

Number of Grads

Status

Percent

Male

134

Male

71

Male

52.99%

Female

171

Female

123

Female

71.93%

Total

305

Total

194

Total

63.61%

Graduation Rate by Financial Aid Status

Status

Cohort

Number of Grads

Percent

Received a Federal Pell Grant

67

32

47.76%

Received a Subsidized Stafford Loan who did not receive Pell

83

41

49.40%

Received neither a Pell Grant nor a Subsidized Stafford Loan

155

121

78.06%

Total

305

194

63.61%

Status

Cohort

Status

Number of Grads

Status

Percent

Received a Federal Pell Grant

67

Received a Federal Pell Grant

32

Received a Federal Pell Grant

47.76%

Received a Subsidized Stafford Loan who did not receive Pell

83

Received a Subsidized Stafford Loan who did not receive Pell

41

Received a Subsidized Stafford Loan who did not receive Pell

49.40%

Received neither a Pell Grant nor a Subsidized Stafford Loan

155

Received neither a Pell Grant nor a Subsidized Stafford Loan

121

Received neither a Pell Grant nor a Subsidized Stafford Loan

78.06%

Total

305

Total

194

Total

63.61%

Retention Rate

Retention rate measures the percentage of first-time students who return to WGU to continue their studies the following year.

Entering year-to-second-year retention rate for first-time (full-time) students: 79%
(Sept/2020– Aug/2021  to  Sept/2021 – Aug/2022)

Continuing Education

WGU completers who have continued their educational pursuits.

In accordance with the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended, WGU must make available information regarding the types of Graduate and Professional education pursuits in which graduates of WGU’s four-year degree programs have enrolled.

Sixteen percent of WGU’s four-year degree program graduates (160,339) between July 1, 1998, and April 30, 2022, went on to complete a Graduate or Professional program. Source data:  National Student Clearinghouse Subsequent Enrollment and Graduation Survey

Degree Earned

Total

Percent

Doctorate

6

.02%

Master's

25,753

99.6%

Juris Doctor

6

.02%

Post-Master's

76

.30%

Post-Bacc

15

.06%

Total

25,856

100%

Degree Earned

Total

Degree Earned

Percent

Doctorate

6

Doctorate

.02%

Master's

25,753

Master's

99.6%

Juris Doctor

6

Juris Doctor

.02%

Post-Master's

76

Post-Master's

.30%

Post-Bacc

15

Post-Bacc

.06%

Total

25,856

Total

100%

WGU Baccalaureate to Graduate Program

WGU’s four-year degree program graduates who continued with WGU and earned a graduate degree.

Degree Earned

Total

Percent

Post-Bacc

15

0.06%

Endorsement

64

0.25%

Master's

25,234

99.69%

Total

25,313

100%

Degree Earned

Total

Degree Earned

Percent

Post-Bacc

15

Post-Bacc

0.06%

Endorsement

64

Endorsement

0.25%

Master's

25,234

Master's

99.69%

Total

25,313

Total

100%

Updated 10/5/22