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February 11, 2020

WGU Named #1 by Military Friendly®

University tops list as best online school for servicemembers, veterans, and families

SALT LAKE CITY  – Created to increase access to high-quality higher education that meets students where they are, Western Governors University (WGU) has topped the 2020–2021 Military Friendly® Schools list in the online/vocational category.

Learn about how WGU serves military students at To see WGU’s Military Friendly listing, visit

Currently, WGU serves nearly 15,000 active-duty or veteran students and 900 military spouses or dependents. This is WGU’s 10th consecutive year receiving a Military Friendly Schools designation.

Competency-based, affordable, portable, and relevant to today’s workforce, WGU offers active-duty military personnel, their spouses and children, and veterans the opportunity to further their careers with higher education in a way that fits their unique and often unpredictable circumstances—or, as one two-time graduate puts it, “Western Governors University was just what I needed.”

“I am truly thankful for what this school has allowed me to accomplish,” said Dion Brown of Las Vegas, Nevada, who enrolled in WGU’s B.S. Business Administration – Information Technology program in 2016 while deployed at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force. He completed that degree and a subsequent M.S. Management and Leadership while on active duty.

Like many WGU students, Brown’s path to higher education wasn’t traditional—attempting college shortly after finishing high school but quitting after three semesters. Years later, while serving in Operation Resolute Support, he “found a fire within myself” to go back and earn his bachelor’s degree—after all, “if I could overcome all the challenges that come with being in a hostile land, away from friends and family, I could go back to school.” He just needed a school that could accommodate his deployment.

Dion Brown

He recalled a conversation he had a few years earlier with his father—himself a WGU graduate—about how the competency-based model enabled him to complete courses as quickly as he could learn the material, and to do it all on his own schedule.

“I was pleased to find that the curriculum I was engaged in at WGU was directly relevant to my profession,” Brown said. “As I advanced in rank and my professional military education, the management techniques and theories I was studying at WGU helped me immensely.”

Brown has since transitioned out of the military and is working as an air defense analyst for an IT, intelligence, and data consulting company.

Now in its 19th year, the Military Friendly Schools list has come to set the standard for higher education institutions to provide the best opportunities for veterans and their spouses. This prestigious list provides a comprehensive guide for veterans and their families using data sources from federal agencies, veteran students, and proprietary survey information from participating organizations. More than 1,000 schools participated in the 2020–2021 survey, with 625 schools earning the designation.

Founded to increase access to high-quality education and designed to provide personalized learning experiences as the world’s most student-centric university, WGU specializes in serving nontraditional students, students from historically underserved populations, and students for whom traditional higher education may not be an option.

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Leslie Reed, Director, External Communications
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