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Gallup Study Reveals Billion-Dollar Earnings Boost for Western Governors University (WGU) Graduates

WGU graduates out-earn their enrollment salaries by over $1 billion in 2022 alone, 77% strongly agree their education was worth the investment, according to Gallup survey

Apr 17, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY (April 17, 2023) — Western Governors University (WGU) — one of the largest nonprofit, competency-based, online higher education institutions in the United States — and Gallup today released the 2022 WGU Alumni Survey. The survey highlights satisfaction rates and economic gains of WGU graduates, their families, and their communities.  


According to Gallup's analysis of over 1,400 WGU alumni, WGU working learners — students who work full-time while enrolled — earned more than $1 billion collectively in 2022 than what they were earning at the time of their enrollment at WGU.  Since 2017, these premiums amount to nearly $2.6 billion, demonstrating the value of a WGU degree. And the value of a WGU education extend beyond financial gains — 77% of WGU alumni strongly agree that their education was worth the investment, more than double the percentage of bachelor's degree holders nationally who say the same. 


Overall, the survey shows that WGU's competency-based education model is equipping graduates with the skills they need to advance in their careers and significantly increase their earning potential.


“Since Gallup started studying alumni outcomes, we have consistently seen the value higher education contributes to people’s careers and lives.” Said Stephanie Marken, partner of Gallup’s education division. “Today, many students seeking higher education degrees are older, employed, or have caregiving responsibilities that can impair them from attaining credentials. Universities like WGU that can flex to each students needs can help these important groups earn qualifications that can dramatically improve their livelihoods.”


"WGU is committed to providing our students with an education that delivers tangible value, and these outcomes are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our graduates," said Scott Pulsipher, WGU President. "We are proud that our alumni receive the benefits of greater economic return, and more so that they report they are thriving in their lives as a result of achieving their degree, such that they may live a self-determined life and have a positive impact on their communities."


WGU is conferring degrees that translate to immediate, significant economic gains for graduates, their families, and their communities. The industries that many working learners are employed in while attending WGU, namely healthcare, information technology, and finance, are in high demand and offer higher-than-average salaries.


By the Numbers — Key Findings from 2022 WGU Alumni Survey conducted by Gallup:  

  • 88,000: bachelor’s degrees awarded to WGU students who would not (43,000) or may not (45,0000) have been able to earn that degree without the support system WGU provides.

  • $500 Million: additional income premiums generated for these 88,000 WGU graduates, their families, and their communities in 2022 alone.

  • $13,000: WGU working learners report immediate boosts to their salary — the median present-day salary among the WGU Class of 2021 being $85,000, an increase of over $13,000 from their earnings while enrolled. WGU working learners tend to earn continuous salary increases each year following graduation.  

  • $5,333: WGU working learners report a median salary increase of $5,333 per year after adjusting for the number of years they have been employed since graduation.  

  • $2.6 Billion: total income premiums generated by WGU graduates when scaled across all working learners who graduated from WGU between 2017 and 2021. 

  • $3.2 Billion: total dollars saved by WGU graduates through WGU's affordable, flat-rate tuition model. By offering students a model that charges less for tuition and allows them to accumulate credits at a higher rate than the national average, the average WGU graduate completes their degree at a cost of $17,108. This is nearly $23,000 less than the $40,081 it would have cost them to earn that degree at another university, a savings of 57%. 

  • 77%: of WGU alumni strongly agree that their education was worth the investment — more than double the percentage of bachelor's degree holders nationally who say the same. WGU alumni are also consistently about twice as likely to recommend their alma mater to others, feel their degree was worth the cost, and report that their university was supportive throughout their program.  

  • 65%: WGU faculty and staff continue to deliver support to students effectively, even amidst the challenges of a remote learning environment. About two-thirds of WGU alumni strongly agree they had access to the resources they needed to be successful (65%). Additionally, WGU alumni agree that the availability of student support services was excellent (62%).


WGU is providing hundreds of thousands of learners with the opportunity to overcome barriers to higher education and build successful careers. WGU's innovative education model with high recommendation rates, flexible learning options, and significant income premiums, WGU is a game-changer in higher education As a result, WGU is not only transforming the lives of its students but also contributing to the economic success of their families and communities. Visit the 2022 WGU Alumni Survey to learn more today.

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