Facts about WGU

What Makes WGU Different from Other Online Colleges?

Founding and Mission

  • WGU was founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors to help expand access to quality higher education, especially for working adults.
  • The university is committed to a “competency-based” model that emphasizes student mastery of the skills and knowledge that are needed to succeed in the professional field of study.
  • WGU is a NONPROFIT, entirely online university in a field crowded with for-profit schools.


  • WGU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the same body that accredits such major public and private schools as University of Washington, University of Oregon, Brigham Young University, Gonzaga, University of Utah, and other colleges in seven northwestern states in the U.S.
  • The bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs at WGU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791).
  • WGU’s Health Information Management program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

Ability to Accelerate Because of the Competency-based Model

  • Passing or successfully completing assessments of various kinds determines a student’s progress, NOT time in a class.
  • Terms are a full six months in length and students can complete as much as they can during the term, without incurring additional cost, and complete a degree faster.
  • Each student’s prior education and work experience can help them accelerate because they can take the assessments as soon as they are ready.


  • Tuition at WGU is a flat rate every six months.
  • Because WGU is nonprofit, our tuition is about half what other reputable online schools charge.
  • Students who are able to accelerate can save even more.
  • WGU also offers hundreds of partial scholarships every year through several specialized scholarship programs.

Mentors for Every Student

  • Each WGU student is assigned a faculty member personally dedicated to them: a Program Mentor, whose job is to help guide and motivate the student the entire time they are in the program.
  • The Program Mentors provide instruction, guidance, and support through every aspect of the student’s progress through the degree program.


  • The ability to accelerate through our competency-based model is greater than at other online schools.
  • Most of the learning resources are also designed for strong independent learners who can access them at any time.
  • Students can begin on the first of any month and can graduate as soon as they are finished.

Challenging, but Success Focused

  • The programs are challenging. WGU students must complete assessments at a high level before being allowed to go on.
  • Students often don’t pass on the first attempt at every assessment, but can re-take assessments after further preparation.

Graduation Ceremony

  • WGU invites its recent graduates to “walk” in a commencement ceremony held several times a year.
  • Those not able to attend in person can participate via a live web simulcast.

Success of WGU Grads

  • WGU surveys its grads to determine their satisfaction and post-graduation status. The results show excellent success in achieving career improvements.
  • WGU commissions an annual survey of employers who have hired WGU graduates.
  • WGU places its Teachers College students in school districts around the country for their "student teaching." They can obtain a teaching license in almost any state and are able find positions teaching in hundreds of different school districts. (In many ways, the WGU Teachers College is the nation’s only NATIONAL teachers college; other schools focus on licensing their grads in one state only.)

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