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WGU Advancement September 2021 Bulletin

Year in Review - Fiscal year 2021

At WGU Advancement we are so proud to partner with thousands of champions of higher education who believe in paying it forward for a better tomorrow. Together, our ambition and dedication to advancing equity for all learners gave us our most successful fiscal year yet despite a global pandemic that continued to impact daily life for so many in 2020 and 2021. 

Between July 2020 and June 2021, more than 3,500 donors united in our commitment to fund opportunity, innovation, and equity in higher education. We raised more than $15M in our quest to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity and received more than 12,000 gifts from dedicated donors like you. Wow! Your support in our mission is truly remarkable.

To review our shared success, please view our FY2021 annual report.

WGU's R&D for Growth and Equity Grant

Thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s confidence in WGU and our mission to create pathways to opportunity for all learners, they generously presented a $4.9 million grant to support WGU’s R&D for Growth and Equity initiative over the next five years.

Because of the Gates Foundation’s support, WGU will be able carry out projects aimed at closing existing equity gaps in postsecondary education so students in underserved populations, specifically Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students, can be better served at the University. WGU will not only be able to overcome internal gaps but will also be able to share learnings with other institutions so the entire postsecondary system can become more equitable.

Gates Foundation Logo

Donor Impact: Sentara Healthcare

military members

More than 780,000 military veterans reside in Virginia, 30% of whom live in the Hampton Roads community. The Service to Scholars Grant generously supported by Sentara Healthcare provides WGU and WGU Academy the opportunity to address the educational attainment and income level disparities affecting many veteran residents of Hampton Roads.

The program’s launch this fall will support a cohort of 15-20 veteran learners with the college readiness program through WGU Academy.  The veterans will then enroll in a bachelor’s degree program at WGU, where they will be awarded scholarship funds toward their tuition.  Participants will be able to enroll in any of WGU’s bachelor’s degree programs beginning in or after January 2022.

Learn more about the program’s importance by reading this opinion piece co-authored by Sherry Norquist MSN, RN-ACM of Sentara Healthcare, and Rebecca Watts, Ph.D of WGU.

Interested candidates can apply by following the link below.

Show Your Support in Style

Since launching the WGU Student Emergency Aid Fund last year, more than 5,200 WGU students have received emergency, non-tuition support during periods of crisis.

Through our partnership with the WGU Store, you can support even more WGU Night Owls during their time of need. Proceeds from the purchase of any Night Owls Unite branded item support the WGU Student Emergency Aid Fund. This year we are excited to share new Night Owls Unite designs and the addition of more apparel items and accessories – including several coolers and sweatshirts perfect for back-to-school season.


sweatshirt, tshirt, and three coolers featuring colorful logo that says Night Owls Unite

Season of Giving

Giving Tuesday logo with Navy Background

The Season of Giving is right around the corner! Mark your calendars to celebrate #GivingTuesday with your Night Owl family on November 30, 2021.

To help us spread the word as an official WGU Advancement Ambassador, please send us an email at

WGU Advancement News


WGU Receives $4.9M Grant to Help Close Educational Gaps for Underserved Populations

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Logo

The R&D for Growth & Equity grant provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is designed to help close the access and attainment gap for Black, Latinx and Indigenous learners across the country. The grant allows WGU to better understand the unique journeys that Black, Latinx, and Indigenous learners experience while enrolled at WGU. 


WGU Northeast Employees Give to Support Our Students

WGU logo

As a way to help reduce economic hardships for our students, many colleagues donate to need-based scholarships, like the WGU Employees Give Back Scholarship and the WGU Student Emergency Aid Fund. In fact, 74% of all charitable gifts received by WGU Advancement in 2020 came from WGU employees.

Follow the link below to read inspirational stories about WGU Northeast Night Owls giving back.


WGU Receives $4.8M Grant to Develop and Lead Character Education Curriculum

WGU logo

WGU received a $4.8 million grant from The Kern Family Foundation. With the grant, WGU can integrate character education into two graduate degree programs within WGU’s Teachers College and create the Character Education Profession Learning Program (CEPL), to be housed in the Center for Professional Learning at the Teachers College. 

WGU Advancement Bulletins

Catch up on what you missed by viewing previous Bulletins. 

June 2021

March 2021

December 2020

October 2020

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