THE WGU IMPACT
Built for Life
We're an online university dedicated to making higher education accessible for as many people as possible. Everything we do at Western Governors University is aimed at increasing accessibility and opportunity for each student, regardless of their background, motivations, or life situation. That focus helps produce success for our over 250,000 graduates. Our curriculum focused on today's workforce needs is why WGU grads have a 98% employer satisfaction rate, and why our students see an average salary increase of over $18,000 just two years after graduating.*
*2021 Harris Poll
Bob Benson, Regional Director, West Region
Bob Benson joined Western Governors University (WGU) in 2020 where he has served as the Regional Director supporting overall operational strategy and oversight for the West Region. Prior to joining WGU, Bob held various positions within the National University System including Vice President of International Affairs and Vice President of Extended Learning at National University as well as President of Spectrum Pacific Learning. He currently serves on the Urban Corps of San Diego Board of Directors and the LEAD San Diego Alumni Council. Mr. Benson was appointed by the City of Carlsbad mayor and city council to the Carlsbad Library Board of Trustees where he served for nine years. He is a graduate of the City of Carlsbad Citizens’ Academy and the LEAD San Diego Program where he was awarded the LEAD San Diego Herbert G. Klein Visionary Award for making significant leadership contributions to the San Diego community. He served in Bolivia as a Peace Corps Volunteer and as a member of the Butler University Board of Directors. Mr. Benson was also selected as a “Power to Be” in the December 2008 issue of San Diego Magazine.
Mr. Benson earned Bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Political Science from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. He also holds a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of California, San Diego and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University. Bob and his wife, Sarah, have two sons, Palmer and Reece.
Richard Benbow, Regional Vice President, West Region
Richard Benbow is the Regional Vice President (West) of Western Governors University, America’s first and largest competency-based university. In this role, Mr. Benbow combines his passion for innovation and information technology with his desire to serve others to provide access to affordable, high-quality education for underserved adult learners throughout the region. He leads a team that executes strategy and operations to optimize student success utilizing the WGU platform and developing partnerships and relationships which drive value for employers and students.
Mr. Benbow earned his MBA degree at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business and an MA in Emerging Communication Technology Policy; Strategy from the University of Southern California. He completed a BS in Business Management and International Business from Howard University in Washington D.C.
His previous executive positions include Chief Officer, Government and Community Relations - UCLA; Senior Director, External and Government Affairs, West Region – Time Warner Cable; and SeniorManager, Los Angeles Franchise Administration, and Constituent Affairs department.
Frequently Asked Questions at WGU
- Tuition and Financial Aid
- Learning at WGU
- Online Learning at WGU
- Admissions & Enrollment
Scholarships are available for new WGU students and returning graduates. This video shows more about scholarship opportunities and how they can help you pay for school. Get information on:
- How to apply
- Eligibility requirements
- Examples of scholarships
- What happens after you apply
- Other financial aid options
WGU's tuition is a flat rate that is charged every six months. You can take as many courses as you are able in that six-month term—with no extra cost. You simply pay for the term and do as much work as you can or want to during that time. This means that finishing faster helps you save money—a major benefit you won't find at most other schools.
WGU offers flexible pacing, meaning you can move through courses at a pace that meets your learning style and knowledge level. Students can go as fast as they can but not as slowly. Students are required to complete a minimum number of competency units per term to meet on-time progress. However, if you choose to study at 3 am daily, that we can accommodate.
Your personal progress will be determined by the extent of your transfer units, your time commitment, and your determination to proceed at a faster rate. Traditionally, without an associate’s degree or equivalent, it will take 2 to 2.5 years. Master's degree programs are designed to be completed within 2 years. However, we work on a competency-based model, which gives you credit for passing assessments and proving you can perform a task or understand a course of study proficiently.
WGU offers competency-based education. Competency-based learning means our online degrees are based on real-world competencies as opposed to seat time or credit hours. Our focus is on ensuring you possess the skills and knowledge you need to be successful, not whether you’ve attended class or not. If you already have knowledge in an area a course covers, you’ll be able to draw upon this experience to complete assessments faster, ultimately saving you both time and money.
WGU students and alumni have access to career services which include professional development, career exploration, and career planning. WGU also has partner employers who share full-time, part-time, and paid internship opportunities.
At WGU we use competency-based education, which measures how well you know the material instead of time you spend in a class. You do assignments and coursework whenever your schedule allows, and when you feel ready you take an assessment that demonstrates your mastery of the material. If you pass, you move on to the next course!
We may be biased, but we believe WGU is truly the best online college. Our unique education model, affordable tuition, and complete flexibility mean that students are truly in charge of their own education.
An online degree helps you learn skills and earn credentials that will boost your résumé and prepare you for a meaningful career. Either a bachelor's or master's degree will be key in helping you be prepared for a new job, promotion, or salary increase. The specific jobs you can be qualified for with an online degree will depend on the specific degree you pursue.
An accredited online college offers the same valuable and respected degrees that an on-campus college offers. The main difference is that online colleges offer you flexibility in your program. For example, you don't have to go to campus and sit in a classroom. You can move faster through courses. You are largely independent in your education. These are benefits that help many students pursue degrees who may not be able to attend an on-campus college.
It depends on the type of degree and online school you choose. Some online bachelor's degree programs will take 4+ years, and some online master's degrees will take 2+ years. However, WGU is designed to help students accelerate their online degrees. Our unique education model allows students to move through courses as quickly as they can master the material. This means that on average students finish bachelor's degree programs in three years or less, and master's degree programs in 18 months or less.
Typically online universities are able to offer less expensive tuition compared to brick and mortar universities. This is often because there are less building maintenance requirements, staffing needs, living expenses for students, etc. At WGU for example, tuition for an undergraduate program is approximately $3,500 for a six-month term. This is much lower than most online and traditional degree programs.
WGU has a generous transfer policy. Our transcripts department can accept official copies of transcripts from your previous educational institutions for a course-by-course evaluation that compares the context of your courses to those in our programs, to tell you what is comparable and transferable.
It depends on the program you are interested in pursuing. Some programs will have additional requirements however, the general admissions process is as follows:
- Complete the enrollment application
- Contact Enrollment at 866-225-5948 to go over the program and admissions process specific to your desired degree program
- Submit official transcripts
- If desired, complete FAFSA form for financial aid
The enrollment process can take approximately 4-6 weeks. Start dates are the first of each month once enrollment has been completed.
Every school sets its own guidelines however, accreditation plays a big part in recognition and acceptance. WGU is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the highest form of accreditation. WGU graduates go on to continue their education at many colleges and universities. When WGU alumni self-report acceptance into graduate or doctorate programs, we add the university to a list so you can see where WGU graduates are continuing to pursue higher education.