Since its inception, Western Governors University has focused on advancing equity by increasing access to higher education. The Latinx community is one of the best-represented in WGU's student body. Almost 11% of WGU's full-time undergraduate students are Hispanic, as are 8.2% of full-time graduate students.
Luis Garcia-Campos was one of them. Here's what his journey to a WGU bachelor's degree looked like.
The Road to Continued Education
Garcia-Campos's path to his WGU education college degree started in 2001, when he immigrated to the United States from Venezuela. Getting a bachelor's degree was his primary goal, and he did everything in his power to work toward that.
Garcia-Campos's hard work and dedication paid off in 2014: He received his associate degree in nursing and found work as a registered nurse soon afterward.
But everything changed in 2017, when Garcia-Campos's husband was diagnosed with cancer. While his husband was going through radiation, Garcia-Campos asked a lot of questions about cancer and radiation, learning what he could to get a better understanding of what his spouse was going through. In that time, he met a radiation-oncology nurse who told him about how she started her career—and how she owes it all to her bachelor's degree in nursing from WGU.
Getting to Know WGU
That was the first time Garcia-Campos had ever heard of WGU, but it's a testament to how word-of-mouth has brought to WGU bachelor's degree programs many high-achieving Latinx students seeking a pathway to a better future.
"The affordability of WGU, the access provided by online instruction, and the opportunity to complete a degree program according to your own schedule because of competency-based education would make WGU attractive to Latino students," Raymund Paredes, former commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, told WGU. "They just need to learn about the school."
Once Garcia-Campos discovered WGU, he was hooked.
"After I checked out their website, I applied right away," he said.
Finding the Right Advisor
Garcia-Campos says that his experience at WGU was great and filled with a ton of opportunities, but he was anxious about earning his degree online.
"It was the first time that I took online courses, and I was very scared since I didn't know what to expect," he said. "I am really thankful to my advisor, Stephanie, for making my learning experience at WGU a very rewarding one."
WGU's dedicated advisors are an essential part of the learning experience—and Stephanie was always there for Garcia-Campos when he needed her.
"She knew from the beginning what my weaknesses were as an online student, and she helped me to overcome them," he said. "Whenever I needed her, she was there to help."
Triumph and Gratitude
Ultimately, Garcia-Campos' experience as a Latinx student at WGU was a resounding success. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in nursing in 2019.
"As an immigrant and a Latin man, I feel very grateful for the opportunity that WGU provided me to further my studies," he said. "On ceremony day, I proudly carried my Venezuelan flag around me and I learned that there were other Latinos graduating with me, and I thought that was very cool. Thanks to WGU, I have become the first of my mom's four kids to earn a bachelor's college degree."
That's an achievement that won't be forgotten—and the credit goes to Garcia-Campos for his hard work and dedication, and to WGU for providing opportunities to underserved communities around the world.