News Brief - 5/23/17 National, nonprofit university headquartered in Salt Lake City receives recognition for excellence from Utah organization SALT LAKE CITY For the 9th year in a row, Western Governors University (WGU) has been awarded Utah’s Best of State medal for best online education. WGU’s President Scott Pulsipher received the medal at the Best of State Gala awards ceremony at the Salt Palace on May 17th. Presented annually, the Best of State awards were created to recognize outstanding organizations and businesses in Utah. Nominations are reviewed by more than 100 judges and are evaluated based on three areas: achievement in the field of endeavor, innovation, and contribution to improving the quality of life in Utah. WGU uses innovation in technology to make higher education more accessible and affordable; yearly tuition is about $6,000 per year and has not increased since 2008. In addition, WGU’s award-winning Responsible Borrowing Initiatives is giving students the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about how to pay for college. As a result, WGU students graduate with significantly less debt than the national averageabout $20,000 less for bachelor’s degrees. Overall, WGU has reduced student borrowing by $400 million. Founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors, including former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, WGU has grown into a nationally recognized online university with more than 81,000 students and 82,000 graduates in all 50 states. The university provides employment and higher education opportunities for thousands of Utah residents, with 1,500 employed, more than 6,500 graduated, and over 5,500 currently enrolled.