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WGU Tennessee Celebrates 10 Years and 10K Graduates in State

Now the third-largest private nonprofit university in Tennessee

Jul 17, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. July marks the 10th anniversary of WGU Tennessee. The online university’s competency-based learning has been key to its success and popularity among working adults, as well as its leadership in responsible borrowing and rural outreach.

On July 9, 2013, then Gov. Bill Haslam launched the Drive to 55 Initiative and signed legislation that established WGU Tennessee as an official state affiliate of Western Governors University. Since then, WGU Tennessee has grown to be the third-largest private, nonprofit university in the state.

“For the past 10 years, WGU Tennessee has strived to provide access to affordable higher education to thousands of working Tennesseans, helping more than 10,000 graduates achieve their dreams,” said Kimberly K. Estep, WGU Southeast Regional Vice President. “We continue to work every day to help Tennesseans attain their goals to improve their lives through attainment of postsecondary degrees that lead to career advancement and longevity.”

In the decade since its launch, WGU Tennessee has seen:

·         Growth from roughly 700 active students in 2013 to 4,629 in June 2023

·         10,061 degrees conferred

·         More than 2,000 nurses upskilled

·         More than 1,000 new teachers trained

·         $5.1 million in scholarships awarded to Tennesseans

·         Tennessee’s Responsible Borrowing Initiative (RBI) Act modeled after WGU’s RBI

·         Graduates from all 95 Tennessee counties

·         95% of graduates live in the same county after graduating

·         Partnerships with major employers such as HCA, FedEx, Knox County Schools, First Horizon National Corporation, and more

·         Partnerships with all 13 community colleges in the state

·         More than 200 faculty and staff employed throughout Tennessee

“We’re just one piece of the larger higher-education puzzle in Tennessee; but as we look back at our accomplishments from the previous decade, we should be proud of what we’ve already achieved,” Estep said. “Our early success has been a result, in large part, of the support we’ve received from our partner organizations, our advisory board, our students, and alumni. We can’t wait for what's to come in the next 10 years.”

WGU offers more than 80 online undergraduate and graduate programs in business, K-12 education, health, and information technology. To learn more about the university, please visit

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