Number of graduates from online university growing by more than 50% per year SALT LAKE CITY — Nonprofit, online university Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, awarded its 20,000th degree this month, the latest milestone in the rapidly growing school’s history. Since the university recognized its first graduate in December of 2000, WGU has grown to become a national university with more than 50 online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs serving more than 38,000 students in all 50 states. WGU will celebrate its 24th semiannual commencement ceremony in Atlanta in February, but unlike at traditional universities, graduations at WGU can occur any day of the year—not just at the end of predefined semesters or on set timetables. That’s because WGU’s innovative, competency-based learning model allows students to progress through their courses as soon as they have learned the material and are able to prove that they have mastered it. Students learn independently with the one-on-one support of a mentor, so they graduate as soon as they have successfully completed all of the required coursework for their degree program. WGU was founded by 19 U.S. governors in 1997 to provide a new, technology-driven way for working adults to have access to a quality higher education. The average age of WGU’s students is 37, and 68% of the student body works full time. WGU is affordable—tuition for most programs is $6,000 per year, and it is charged at a flat rate, so students may complete as many courses as they are able in any term. Accredited online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are available in the fields of business, information technology, teaching, and health professions, including nursing.