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December 6, 2023

Western Governors University Dedicates up to $400,000 in Scholarship Funds for Montana Residents

Scholarship Supports Gov. Gianforte’s Workforce, Education Priorities

HELENA, MT. DECEMBER 6, 2023– Western Governors University announced today a commitment of up to $400,000 in scholarship money for Montana residents to gain new skills and knowledge needed to meet the demands of today’s workforce. Called the WGU Montana Workforce Scholarship, the scholarship exists in recognition of the tremendous opportunity for workers and employers statewide and reflects Governor Gianforte’s priorities for a strong and prosperous Montana.

“We want every Montanan to reach his or her full potential,” Governor Greg Gianforte said. “With the WGU Montana Workforce Scholarship, more Montanans will have the opportunity to receive the workforce training and education they need to succeed, regardless of where they live.”

The WGU Montana Workforce Scholarship is the latest result from the partnership between the nonprofit, online university and Montana. In December 2021, WGU and the state signed a formal agreement to expand access to education for more Montanans and establish the university as a resource to help address skills gaps in critical, local industries – including nursing, teaching, and IT.

For more information on the WGU Montana Workforce Scholarship or to apply, visit wgu.edu/montanaworkforce.

New WGU students and WGU graduates in Montana are eligible to apply for the WGU Montana Workforce Scholarship. Each scholarship recipient will receive up to $4,000 toward tuition ($1,000 per six-month term, renewable up to four terms) in a WGU bachelor’s or master’s degree program – and as many as one hundred recipients will be selected.

In conjunction with the launch of the WGU Montana Workforce Scholarship, Gov. Gianforte personally presented scholarships to two, initial recipients: Brenna Richardson of Helena and Robert Krippes of Great Falls. An entrepreneur and advocate for veterans, Richardson currently works as a veteran service officer for the State of Montana Department of Military Affairs. She began her WGU degree program in July.

“I enrolled in WGU’s College of Business because a bachelor’s degree will open new doors of opportunity for me in my career,” said Richardson. “I have several years of experience, and I love the work that I do on behalf of our veterans. My experience at WGU will help me make an even greater impact in the workplace and in my community.”

Krippes currently manages a restaurant and works as an IT professional for a company that provides technology services to school districts in Montana. He started his degree program in WGU’s College of IT on October 1st.

“I chose WGU because its model is perfect for working adults like me,” said Krippes. “It’s flexible, and I can fit studying around my busy work schedule. And because it’s online, I don’t have to commute to a campus or move to a different city just for school.”

Richardson and Krippes join more than 3,300 WGU students and alumni who call Montana home. Among those currently enrolled, four out of five are classified as underserved, which includes rural, ethnic, low-income, and first-generation college students. Nearly 90 percent of WGU students in Montana are working while pursuing degrees, and the average age is 34 years.

WGU offers more than sixty bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, IT, teacher education, and health professions, including nursing. Students study and learn online – anytime and anywhere that is convenient for them, including in rural parts of Montana with sufficient broadband access. Also, the university’s innovative competency-based model allows students to gain in-demand knowledge and skills at a pace that fits their lifestyles, and many are able to graduate sooner and save money.

"WGU is happy to partner with Montana and support its workforce goals, because our approach to education addresses many of the needs of contemporary college students,” said Tonya Drake, Vice President of WGU’s Northwest Region. "WGU removes the barriers of time and space, and that’s vital for students who are working or living in remote locations. And our commitment to keeping tuition costs low and providing numerous scholarship opportunities helps students graduate with little or no debt.”

About Western Governors University (WGU):

Founded by 19 U.S. governors – including former Montana governor Marc Racicot – in 1997, Western Governors University is a non-profit, accredited online university offering more than sixty bachelor's and master's degree programs in the high-demand fields of business, IT, teacher education, and healthcare. WGU is recognized for its competency-based approach, which allows students to study at their own pace, making it possible for many to accelerate their studies and finish faster. Learn more at wgu.edu.

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Media Contact

Leslie Reed, Director, External Communications
385-428-9433

leslie.reed@wgu.edu
More Info: 866-225-5948

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