RALEIGH — North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest announced today a new partnership that establishes WGU North Carolina, nc.wgu.edu, an online, competency-based university aimed at expanding access to higher education for North Carolinians. Created through an agreement between the state and nonprofit, nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU North Carolina offers accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four high-demand fields critical to North Carolina’s economy: business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.
“Affordable access to accredited higher education is key to our state's future and essential to bringing more highly skilled jobs to North Carolina,” Forest said. “WGU North Carolina complements our existing higher education institutions and will provide another pathway for many of our working adults who want to further their education.”
Forest and North Carolina leaders in business and education joined WGU President Scott D. Pulsipher at the North Carolina State Capitol today to announce the partnership.
WGU North Carolina will be led by Catherine Truitt. Truitt joins WGU North Carolina after serving as Associate Vice President of University and P–12 Partnerships at UNC General Administration. Truitt previously served as Senior Education Advisor to Governor Pat McCrory. In addition, WGU North Carolina will be supported by an Advisory Board that will include senior business, community, and higher education leaders from across the state.
The establishment of WGU North Carolina was authorized by the North Carolina General Assembly and the Governor in October of 2015. The state appropriated $2 million and the University raised $5 million from committed contributions by Strada Education Network, Golden LEAF Foundation, and Dell Loy Hansen, a private donor. After startup, WGU North Carolina will be self-sustaining on tuition and will require no ongoing state funding.
WGU North Carolina uses an innovative learning model called competency-based education, which measures learning rather than seat time. Designed to meet the needs of busy working adults, competency-based education allows students to study and learn on their own schedule, moving quickly through what they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. They have 24/7 access to learning resources and consistent, one-to-one faculty support, advancing as soon as they demonstrate mastery of course materials by writing papers, making presentations, and passing exams.
For working adults with academic and work experience, WGU’s learning model makes it possible to complete a degree faster—the average time to complete a bachelor’s degree is less than three years. Tuition, which has not increased since 2008, is charged at a flat rate of about $3,000 per six-month term, regardless of the number of courses taken. Students may begin their terms on the first day of any month.
William D. Hansen, President and CEO, Strada Education Network:
“Strada Education Network supports the launch of WGU North Carolina to help more North Carolinians benefit from an innovative, competency-based approach that provides a more flexible and affordable path to a college degree and the enhanced opportunities that college graduates enjoy.”
Dan Gerlach, President, Golden LEAF Foundation:
“WGU has a proven track record of helping adults obtain an education credential in key areas of need, opening the doors to better job opportunities. We’re excited about WGU North Carolina’s potential for our rural citizens.”
Gregg Sinders, North Carolina State Director, TeamCFA:
“WGU North Carolina’s competency-based approach to higher education provides the opportunity for North Carolinians to learn more and earn more. I am particularly excited about WGU North Carolina being part of the solution in providing high-quality teachers for our young scholars.”
WGU North Carolina is now accepting applications for enrollment. For more information, go to nc.wgu.edu.