ST. LOUIS – A study released by Gallup Research found that graduates of WGU Missouri and parent university Western Governors University 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 alumni who graduated within the last five years, 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 the following:
- 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, which is 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.
Details of the study’s findings were discussed last month 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. A direct link to the report outlining WGU’s findings can be found here.