Skip to Content

Part of Western Governors University

WGU Advocate Creating pathways to opportunity.

WGU is a nationwide, accredited, nonprofit online university serving a student body of 70% underserved learners. WGU was founded by 19 U.S. governors in 1995 to provide pathways to education for all, and focuses on competency-based skill attainment through: workforce partnerships, equitable access, and increasing the ROI of education.

Our shared commitment.

Two IT professionals look at a laptop together.

Expand access to higher education.

WGU serves students who may not otherwise attend or succeed in college. “We won't rest” until it is accessible for all. 

A closeup of a hand in a latex glove holding the hand of someone lying in bed.

Align education with the workforce.

WGU pioneered a skill-based degree that combines learning with business needs. Our partners are key to building the workforce.

Image of a graduation cap sitting atop a pile of cash.

Increase the ROI of higher education.

The average WGU graduate spends far less on school, yet earns more than graduates from typical U.S universities.

Workforce relevance.

Even among college graduates, WGU degree holders have strong salary and unemployment outcomes. The graph below compares salaries for WGU bachelor’s degree graduates, the average U.S college graduate and non-degree holders.

Average Salary by Education (USD)*

*Data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020) and a WGU Institutional Research Graduate Survey (2019)

Career success.

The average WGU graduate increases their pre-enrollment salary by $11,800 within two years of graduation. This change increases to $20,300 after 4 years. This is significantly higher than the national average of $8,200 after 4 years.

Average WGU & U.S Graduate Salary Increase (USD)*

*Data from a 2019 Harris Poll survey of 1,437 new college graduates nationwide compared with a 2019 survey of 1,247 WGU graduates.


WGU’s unique competency-based model has created a workforce that delivers results in their industries. According to a QLIT Employer Satisfaction Survey of direct supervisors, 97% of employers are satisfied with WGU graduates, compared to an average of 84% of employers of graduates from typical  U.S Universities

Percent Employer Satisfaction by University.*

*Data from a 2019 QLIT Employer Satisfaction Survey & a 2019 Harris Poll Survey of 300 WGU Graduate Employers

Explore employment outcomes for WGU grads.

Learn more about Student ROI.

Our policy priorities.

1. Access to lifelong learning.

2. Affordable learning opportunities.

3. Relevant, attainable programs connected to work.

4. Recognition for learning—regardless of where they (L)earned It.

5. Modernized, common-sense approaches to licensure & regulations.

From its founding, WGU has been and continues to be driven to design solutions to answer the critically important question: What do students need? Our mission at WGU is to improve quality, access, and outcomes in education and create pathways to opportunity. We now have an obligation to share with state policymakers our best public policy recommendations to address the nation’s education and workforce development issues. The WGU State Policy Playbook shares the five central public policy lessons learned through our history of serving students, in that today’s students need: 

  1. Access to lifelong learning

  2. Affordable learning opportunities

  3. Relevant, attainable programs connected to work

  4. Recognition for learning—regardless of where they (L) earned it

  5. Modernized, common-sense approaches to licensure & regulations

Healthcare manager typing on computer

Policy playbooks.

The Public Policy Playbooks are data-driven guides for WGU’s policy positions. They focus on student outcomes in higher education and are designed to assist policymakers as they create and enact exemplary public policy.

Policy briefs.

Policy briefs are short research-based summaries, options and recommendations for a public policy issue.  They present clear and concise rationale for WGU’s positions on relevant topics and are tailored for policymakers to receive the most information possible with their limited time.

Increasing access to WGU, state by state.

Our unique, competency-based model delivers bachelor’s degrees at 1/5th the cost of the average U.S bachelor’s degree, yet, WGU bachelor degree holders also average high starting and lifetime salaries

The map below details average employment, salary and financial aid status for WGU students and graduates in each state.

Grant-aid available.

No aid available.

Data from WGU Institutional Research (2020), WGU Student Services (2020), & the College Board (2020).