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Equitable Access

Expanding Access for the 21st-Century Learner

Work, family obligations, military deployments, lack of college readiness, mental and emotional barriers—these are just a few of the things that keep today’s would-be students from going for the credential that could benefit their careers, their lives, and their families. Helping students overcome barriers like these is exactly why WGU was created.

Equitable Access: Making College Work for Everyone

WGU was designed and built to serve the underserved. Seventy percent of our students are from one or more historically underserved populations. Providing equitable access to these students is the first step toward closing the opportunity gap and ensuring our collective resilience. These populations include students from communities of color, low-income families, rural locations, and/or families in which previous generations did not attend college. 


Increasing Attainment: Graduation Data

Access without attainment does not deliver on the promise of higher education. To measure whether we’re expanding access, we must measure growth in credentials earned. 

Since WGU enrolled its first student 20 years ago, the university has been data-driven and student-obsessed. We track student progress, retention, completion and satisfaction, and we even poll employers of our graduates to get feedback on graduate preparedness and performance. These metrics help us identify needed innovations and improvements and inform new efforts.

2020 WGU graduate demographics graph

“I kept the promise I made to my parents and myself at 16 … and that promise was to graduate from college. When it looked like that might not be a possibility, I came across WGU—a university that would cost me a fraction of what it costs at other colleges and allow me to keep my job, care for a sick spouse, homeschool my child, be a track and cross-country mom, and graduate in half the time. Talk about a wild ride!”

–MIRANDA JOSEPH, B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies (K–8)

Make an Impact

If you’re interested in learning more about WGU’s work to expand access to educational opportunities, check out the Equitable Access Initiative, which aims to help remove barriers that might otherwise keep people—especially those from historically underserved populations—from accessing higher education.

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