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Bob Collins

Bob Collins

Vice President, Financial Aid | Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Bob Collins serves as Vice President of Financial Aid at Western Governors University.

Areas of Expertise: 

Student Financial Aid, Financial Literacy, Responsible Borrowing, Student Debt, Leadership, and Higher Education


University of Phoenix: M.A., Public Administration  2012

University of Colorado Denver: B.A., Business Administration and Management  1983

Niagara University: General, Business Administration and Management  1980

Social:   TwitterLinkedIn




Bob Collins joined Western Governors University in October 2012 as Vice President of Financial Aid. In this role, he is committed to expanding access to affordable higher education, and in 2016 WGU received national recognition from AAUA and WCET for its Responsible Borrowing Initiatives programs which encourage students to borrow only what they need resulting in a student loan default rate of 4.1 percent, half the national average.

Before coming to WGU, Collins had more than 35 years of experience in student aid administration. He has been a member of several technical review panels for the National Center for Education Statistics, participated on numerous negotiated rulemaking committees, and actively engaged in the Distance Education Demonstration Program with the U.S. Department of Education.

Collins is a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Forward 50 committee as a national thought leader on higher education public policy. He has published several topical articles on LinkedIn and has been quoted by Yahoo, Education Dive, Good Call, Huffington Post and U.S. News and World Report, among other media outlets.




National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Forward 50

Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

Selected media appearances and articles.

How to Pay for College Using Overlooked Strategies

U.S. News & World Report, 2020-09-21

Nearly one-third of families of college students did not complete the FAFSA for 2019-2020, potentially missing out on funding. In addition to completing the FAFSA this year, there are a few overlooked ways to pay for college and some new options created in response to the pandemic that families should consider.

Team Players in Teaching

Inside Higher Ed, 2019-04-24

Bob Collins, WGU’s vice president of financial aid, has been a consultant for the institution since before it enrolled its first student in 1997. He sees the unbundled faculty model as “a critical factor in our students’ success for completion and graduation.” Rather than feeling burdened by pressure to teach to the test, instructors focus on leading students to specific and discrete objectives.

It's Sunday evening, where are online colleges' student services?

Education Dive, 2019-04-17

With college enrollment mostly flat and the number of adult learners taking online classes expected to increase, it doesn't take a business major to determine that more colleges and universities will be targeting this largely untapped student segment.

Several have already made moves to that effect, including the University of Massachusetts System, which last month announced plans for a national online college focused on these so-called "nontraditional" students.

Moving Forward (as Last) on Federal Rule Changes

Inside Higher Ed, 2019-04-09

A tumultuous three months of back-and-forth between U.S. Department of Education officials and representatives across higher education culminated last week in proposals that clarify and update existing rules around digital learning and innovation.

Advocates for online learning and other emerging education models found plenty to celebrate as the process wrapped up. The final proposed rules include language that mitigates ambiguity around phrases like “distance education” and “regular and substantive interaction,” which have long puzzled institutions developing programs for an increasingly diverse set of learners.

How to Find Legit Online Colleges (and How to Avoid the Scams)

Student Loan Hero, 2019-03-20

When Ryan Yousefi decided to go back to school to get his degree, he knew it had to be online. He came across a news segment that featured Western Governors University (WGU), an online-only school.

“I took my time and made sure WGU was accredited,” Yousefi said.

WGU's 3-Year Student Loan Default Rate Drops to 4.1%, Less than Half the National Rate of 10.8%

PR Newswire, 2018-09-27

Western Governors University's (WGU) official student loan default rate dropped again for the FY 2015 cohort, from 4.6 to 4.1 percent, which is less than half the national average and decreasing at a faster rate than the national average. The U.S. Department of Education released official cohort default rates (CDR) for all Title IV-eligible institutions on Tuesday. The downward trend at WGU is the result of access to affordable, high-quality degree programs combined with student financial literacy initiatives.

Advance Your Career with an Affordable Degree from WGU

Reward Expert, 2018-02-02

“We just celebrated our 20th anniversary,” Bob Collins said. “That’s a pretty remarkable milestone. While we had a slow start, because what we were doing was so different, once we started demonstrating that the competency-based education model offers a quality education that is actually more affordable, we gained traction. While we were the pioneers of competency-based education, I think there are probably 600 other colleges exploring it today.”

5 Overlooked Ways to Pay for College

U.S. News & World Report, 2017-12-18

"Start saving as early as you can for your education. No matter how small the amount, every cent counts. A 529 savings account offers tax advantages, so it is one of the best ways to save for college," says Bob Collins, vice president of financial aid at Western Governors University in Utah.

5 Tricks to Help Foot the College Bill

Education and Career News, 2018-06-15

Bob Collins is a financial aid executive and member of the Higher Education Committee of 50 or “Forward50,” offers advice for all students preparing to pay for their college education.

Making college affordable in Tennessee

The Tennessean, 2017-09-01

As the cost of college continues to increase, all of us in higher education have an obligation to work toward making it more affordable.

Fortunately, in recent years, higher education leaders in Tennessee have been at the forefront of policy and innovation designed to make college more accessible and affordable.

An "all you can learn" education for $6,000 a year

LinkedIn, 2016-06-15

While student loan numbers are shockingly high, the first step to slowing their growth or even reducing them is to address the cost of college. At Western Governors University (WGU), we serve nontraditional students—most are 25 or older, have full-time jobs, and are responsible for supporting a family. WGU is online and competency-based, which allows these busy adults to earn their degrees on a schedule that fits their lives. As a nonprofit, WGU is focused on keeping college affordable; tuition is charged at a flat rate (“all you can learn”) of about $6,000 per year, less than the average for state institutions ($9,400). WGU is self-sustaining on tuition, with no ongoing state funding, and our tuition hasn’t increased since 2008.


WCET Outstanding Work (WOW Award)
WGU's Responsible Borrowing Initiatives (RBI) program recognized for “implementing exceptionally creative, technology-based solutions to contemporary challenges in higher education.”

AAUA Exemplary Models Award
WGU's Responsible Borrowing Initiatives (RBI) program recognized for providing “an excellent solution to a common problem in higher education.”