NASHVILLE – WGU Tennessee – the nonprofit, online university launched to support the state’s Drive to 55 Initiative – today celebrated six years of providing quality, affordable education to working adults across the state.
As part of this milestone, the university launched a substantial scholarship covering nearly 50 percent of average tuition for its undergraduate and graduate degree programs, officials say.
“WGU Tennessee has been operating in our state for six years, and we’ve seen tremendous results,” said Kimberly Estep, chancellor of WGU Tennessee. “It’s been our honor and privilege to serve Tennesseans who are returning to school to earn degrees, and the ‘WGU Tennessee 6th Anniversary Scholarship’ is another way to make higher education even more accessible and affordable.”
The university’s innovative approach, known as competency-based learning, is a big reason it has had such success – especially among working adults with busy schedules. The school measures competencies rather than time spent in a classroom, allowing students to move at a quicker pace and save even more money on its fully accredited degree programs.
The state-endorsed university, which now has graduates and students in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties, officially launched July 9, 2013, and has accomplished much on behalf of Tennessee and reached several milestones in its first six years, including:
- Currently serving more than 4,000 students
- Conferring more than 4,000 degrees
- Forming more than 55 partnerships with companies and institutions across the state, including partnerships with all 13 of Tennessee’s community colleges and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT)
- Awarding more than $2.5 million in scholarship funding to Tennesseans
- Proactively bolstering the education and career opportunities of Tennessee’s underserved populations, which compose 73 percent of its student body
In addition to these accomplishments, and as a result of WGU’s Responsible Borrowing Initiative (RBI) and new financial literacy services, WGU has reduced its students’ loan debt by 40 percent in about five years. The average debt at graduation for a WGU student is about $15,000 – less than half the national average – and it’s decreasing at a faster rate than the national average. The student loan default rate has also steadily decreased to only 4.1 percent, while the national average is 10.8 percent.
“We’re charging ahead for the next six years with a simple but clear purpose,” Estep said. “To provide excellent education to Tennesseans that kicks open doors for our graduates and stays in step with Tennessee’s increasingly varied workforce needs – and we’re going to continue to do it all at affordable rates.”
To learn more about the WGU Tennessee 6th Anniversary Scholarship, visit tennessee.wgu.edu/6th.