SALT LAKE CITY — Students at online, nonprofit Western Governors University (WGU) continue to rate the competency-based university significantly higher than the national average for quality interactions with faculty as well as overall satisfaction, according to the 2017 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).
The annual survey, which polled more than 517,000 students from 725 public and private institutions in the U.S. and Canada, asks students to rate their schools on a variety of criteria. Students gave WGU significantly higher ratings than the national average in a number of areas:
- Quality of interactions with faculty – 23 percentage points higher
- Academic support – 23 percentage points higher
- Overall rating of entire educational experience – 20 percentage points higher
- Would attend the same institution again – 26 percentage points higher
- Challenged by coursework – 14 percentage points higher
- Educational experience contributed to their knowledge, skills, and personal development – 10 percentage points higher
“These results demonstrate that WGU continues to provide a high-quality, personalized learning experience and relevant, credible degree programs,” said Jason Levin, WGU’s Vice President of Institutional Research. “While students study online on schedules that fit their lives, it’s worth noting that they rate the quality of their interactions with faculty markedly higher than the national average for all universities, both online and bricks-and-mortar. This can be attributed to our innovative faculty model, which allows regular, individualized support that addresses the unique learning needs of each student.”
Nonprofit and fully online, WGU offers more than 60 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. WGU’s learning model, competency-based education, is ideal for busy adults, allowing them to study and learn on a schedule that fits their lives. Students work through course materials with consistent, one-on-one faculty support, advancing as soon as they demonstrate, through assessments, that they have mastered the subject matter. Because they are not tied to traditional semesters and course schedules, many students are able to accelerate and finish their degrees faster—the average time to a bachelor’s degree at WGU is less than three years.