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The Smarter Choice® University

Feb 17, 2021

The principal mission of Western Governors University is to improve quality and expand access to post-secondary educational opportunities by providing a means for individuals to learn independent of time or place and to earn competency-based degrees and other credentials that are credible to both academic institutions and employers.

Your Best Decision® Program—A Credible Online University

Many students are wary of online education, wondering if their virtually obtained degree will carry the same weight as a brick-and-mortar experience. WGU eliminates these concerns with credibility. Our name and degree programs are backed by:


You can depend on the strength of a WGU education. Our degrees are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the accrediting body that sanctions other major universities in the region, including the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, the University of Idaho, and the University of Utah. Many of our degree programs also carry industry-specific accreditations necessary to earn a teacher's license, nursing license, or IT security clearance. Learn more.


WGU's excellence in education has been recognized by several organizations, collecting awards that include:

  • 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2008: Recognized nine times by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) for our leadership in distance learning
  • 2010 McGraw Prize in Education awarded to Dr. Robert Mendenhall, President of WGU
  • Secondary teacher-prep programs in top 1% nationwide for quality, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality in 2017, which also named the WGU Teachers College the nation’s #1 best value in 2015 and placed WGU on its Honor Roll in 2014, among other recognitions
  • Named to Fast Company's list of "The World's Most Innovative Companies"
  • Best Value School Award by University Research & Review
  • Top Military-Friendly College and Universities 10 consecutive years by Military Advanced Education & Transition magazine

Our accolades recommend WGU alumni to high-profile companies. TIME Magazine reported WGU graduates find success in several Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T and Microsoft. In a 2019 Harris Poll survey, employers revealed an overwhelming trend of satisfaction. Of those surveyed:


WGU is well-established as a top online university. Best College ranked us amongst the top 10 online colleges in the country, citing our competency-based degree programs and affordable tuition as unique and accessible. Our commitment to excellence has drawn the attention of the nation's highest leaders:

When it comes to education quality, name recognition, and affordability, WGU's superior reputation has you covered.


Cost is a primary concern for many people considering higher education. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that 75 percent of students believe college is too expensive for the American budget. As a non-profit university, we alleviate the burden by providing affordable, flat-rate tuition and degree programs based on individual competency, not credit hours. 

Financial assistance is also available to students in need. Our regional accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, allowing students to secure federal aid, grants, military assistance, and scholarships.

According to the 2019 Gallup Alumni Survey, 42% of WGU undergraduate alumni completed their degrees without taking out student loans. Thanks to our level of affordability, the three-year loan default rate fell in 2016 to 4.2 percent, a significant decrease from the national average of 10.1 percent. The bottom line is clear at WGU: We provide education, not long-term debt.


Graduate success is a primary goal at WGU. As our university grows, our students' achievement grows with it. WGU has partnered with six state governments to establish state-based universities committed to providing accessibility in higher education. Each state WGU is led by a chancellor and allows many students to qualify for state financial aid. Locations include:


Modern education has reached an era of change the United States, with leaders in government, academia, and industry calling for reforms related not only to cost, but to the way student learning is evaluated. Business leaders are among the many prominent figures hoping for change. In his book "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses," Microsoft founder Bill Gates highlights WGU's leadership role in this new phase of higher education:

As a top online university, we are dedicated to further developing our leadership role as the country moves forward.


Student satisfaction is a top priority at WGU. In fact, 97 percent of our students say they have recommended WGU to friend1. We are committed to providing well-rounded and challenging courses that will prepare graduates to succeed in the workplace. Take a moment to review what current and past students have said about their online education experiences. Their stories will help you make an informed decision about your future.

1 2019 Harris Poll of 1,247 WGU graduates and 1,437 national, non-WGU graduates.

Our "Why Go Anywhere Else?®" Offerings

Don't just take our word for it. Check out the WGU Facebook page and ask our actual students why WGU is the best online university for them! When you understand our "Why Go Anywhere Else?®" offerings, you'll see why WGU is an ideal fit to pursue higher education and learning.

Four colleges, one university.

All of our degree programs are carefully chosen with employment and success in mind. Our special model of online-learning is designed for the working adult, and our commitment to keep costs down means better ROI for our graduates.

Recommended Articles

Take a look at other articles from WGU. Our articles feature information on a wide variety of subjects, written with the help of subject matter experts and researchers who are well-versed in their industries. This allows us to provide articles with interesting, relevant, and accurate information.