WASHINGTON, D.C. – A study released today by Gallup Research found that graduates of Western Governors University (WGU) report significantly higher levels of career success and overall well-being than the national average. Graduates of the nonprofit, online, and competency-based university largely credit their personalized education experience, industry-relevant curriculum, and one-to-one faculty support as key contributors to their success.
Gallup’s survey, which included 2,400 WGU graduates (within 5 years of graduation), compared WGU graduate responses to national data gathered in the Gallup-Purdue Index. The study examined WGU alumni outcomes based on Gallup’s measures of work and life outcomes—including employee engagement, well-being, and emotional attachment to the university. The study provides insights into these outcomes and the graduates’ overall perspectives on their undergraduate experiences.
Key findings include:
- Nearly three-quarters of WGU graduates (72%) strongly agree their degree was worth the cost—nearly double the percentage of college graduates nationally.
- WGU graduates are far more likely to work in jobs closely related to their undergraduate studies—73% compared with the national average of just 42%.
- About eight in 10 (79%) WGU graduates are employed full-time for an employer – significantly higher than the employment rate of nontraditional graduates (those completing degrees at age 25 or older) nationally (63%), and other national comparison groups of college graduates.
- More than two-thirds (67%) of WGU graduates strongly agree they had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams—nearly double that of the graduates from the survey’s comparison groups.
- Compared with the national average, WGU graduates are nearly twice as likely to be thriving in all five elements of well-being identified by Gallup: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.
“Because we believe that education provides one of the surest paths to opportunity and a better life, the feedback we receive from this annual survey is very important to us,” said WGU President Scott Pulsipher. “Gallup’s research helps inform ongoing innovation and improvement at WGU to help our students thrive in their careers and in their overall well-being.”
Details of the study’s findings were discussed today at Gallup headquarters in Washington, D.C., by a panel moderated by Gallup’s Executive Director of Education Research Stephanie Marken. Panel members included Inside Higher Ed Editor Paul Fain, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) President Johnny Taylor, and WGU President Scott Pulsipher. A recording of the event is available here.
Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years and experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.