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January 7, 2021

WGU Washington and NWIC Partner to Encourage More Grads from Tribal Communities to Earn University Degrees

Special benefits extended to NWIC grads and employees in first-of-its-kind partnership for WGU

KENT – Online, nonprofit WGU Washington and Northwest Indian College (NWIC) announced an agreement to offer graduates of NWIC pathways to in-demand, university degree programs. The partnership extends a generous transfer credit policy to NWIC alumni enrolling at WGU Washington – meaning more of their hard work at NWIC will be recognized, saving money and allowing them to graduate sooner. Additionally, those individuals, plus NWIC staff, will be eligible to apply for the WGU Washington—Northwest Indian College Scholarship, valued up to $3,000.

WGU Washington is the locally based affiliate of nationally recognized Western Governors University (WGU). The agreement with NWIC is the university’s first, formal partnership with an institution dedicated to serving reservation communities. 

“Our institutions are driven by similar missions: to strengthen communities and help individuals improve their lives through education,” said Dr. Tonya Drake, WGU Washington’s chancellor and regional vice president. “My family heritage is Cowichan, and I identify as First Nations. I am honored NWIC chose to partner with WGU Washington.”

Headquartered in Kent, WGU Washington is the state’s only legislatively endorsed online university. WGU Washington offers more than 60 bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, IT, teacher education and health professions, including nursing. Its innovative, competency-based education model allows students to study and learn whenever and wherever it is convenient and at a pace that fits their lifestyles.

Later this month, two, separate informational events will be held online to explain more about the partnership, as well as the resources WGU Washington will provide the NWIC graduates and staff.

Current NWIC students and graduates can learn more about WGU Washington’s degree programs, affordable tuition and innovative, flexible model:

NWIC faculty and staff can interact with WGU Washington representatives to learn more about the university’s unique faculty model, its impressive learning outcomes and competency-based education:

  • DATE: January 22, 2021
    TIME: 10 – 11 am, Pacific
    REGISTRATION: Faculty and staff will receive emails with registration instructions.

“WGU Washington, like NWIC, is committed to student success and empowering students to achieve their educational goals,” said Dr. Justin Guillory, president of NWIC. “It’s also set up so students don’t have to leave their communities and strive to pursue a university degree.  This partnership creates an opportunity for students to obtain quality, in-demand degrees without putting their lives—or their families’ lives—on hold. That’s vital as we continue to provide educational pathways for students to enhance their lives and our Tribal communities.”

Through education, Northwest Indian College (NWIC) promotes indigenous self-determination and knowledge. NWIC is the only regional tribal college in the U.S. and the only accredited tribal college in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) recently extended NWIC’s accreditation to include distance learning, so students can continue their education remotely. Located on the Lummi Indian reservation near Bellingham WA, NWIC also operates six, full-service sites at reservations in Washington and Idaho. The College’s student body is represented by over 130 tribes from across the country. 

WGU Washington is well-suited for busy, working adults and traditionally underserved student populations. The university provides students with individualized experiences and personalized guidance from dedicated faculty mentors and course instructors—from the time they enroll through graduation. WGU Washington is also committed to keeping tuition costs low. Students pay about half as much as their counterparts at similar institutions with tuition for most WGU Washington degree programs at approximately $7,000 per year. 

For more information about the university’s community college partnerships, visit

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