You may have heard the Office of the Inspector General has audited WGU.

Here is what you need to know

Watch WGU's President Scott Pulsipher's Response to OIG's Audit

WGU strongly disagrees with the Inspector General’s audit report, which challenges our innovative, results-proven faculty model. We want you to know that:

  • WGU has complied with the higher education laws and Department of Education guidance since our founding 20 years ago.
  • Students, graduates, and employers of our graduates can rest assured that WGU’s accreditation and financial aid eligibility are intact.
  • We stand by our faculty model and the outcomes we are delivering for our 96,000 students and 105,000 graduates.
  • Our accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has approved our faculty model and reaffirmed our accreditation in February 2017. Accreditors are responsible for determining whether a university is eligible for federal financial aid.

Questions & Answers

Select a question below to expand the answer.

What is the “OIG”?

Every federal agency has an Office of the Inspector General (OIG), whose purpose is to provide independent oversight of the activities of the agency to ensure that it, and its employees, are acting in accordance with the requirements of law. The Department of Education Inspector General submits audit findings, reports and recommendations to the Secretary of Education for her information and consideration, and also makes reports separately to the Congress.

Why was WGU audited?

The Department of Education OIG has placed special emphasis on reviewing online and competency-based programs. As one of the largest institutions offering online courses, and the largest competency-based institution, such an audit is to be expected.

What does the OIG audit say?

The audit report is primarily based on the OIG’s interpretation of a provision of the Higher Education Act enacted in 1992 defining requirements for interaction between faculty and students in distance learning programs. Simply put, the OIG used its own narrow definition of “faculty” to find that WGU faculty did not provide the required “regular and substantive interaction” with WGU’s students. Obviously, WGU vehemently disagrees with the OIG’s interpretation. Contrary to the OIG’s conclusion, WGU students benefit from interactions with WGU faculty that are exceptionally “regular and substantive,” resulting in a remarkable level of student success and satisfaction.

An integral part of WGU’s successful competency-based learning model is our unique faculty model. WGU’s over 2,500 faculty serve in specialized roles: curriculum developers, course instructors, program faculty (also known as student mentors), and evaluators. This disaggregated faculty model allows our faculty to support each student’s learning, focusing on each student’s needs to ensure that every student can progress and succeed. WGU’s unique faculty model has been widely praised for its effectiveness and expressly approved by our accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

How will the OIG audit report affect financial aid for WGU students?

The OIG Report has no direct effect on student financial aid. The OIG’s recommendations are entirely subject to the discretion of the Department of Education and the Secretary. All federal student loans and grants remain intact.

Will the OIG audit report impact WGU courses or students’ ability to graduate?

The findings and recommendations in the OIG audit report only relate to the federal student aid programs. They do not have anything to do with programs, courses, or students’ ability to graduate.

Will WGU credits transfer to other colleges and universities?

Nothing in the OIG Report has anything to do with the transferability of credits earned at WGU.

Will my WGU degree still be credible and recognized?

Yes. WGU is an accredited institution. As recently as February 2017, WGU’s institutional accreditor, the Northwest Commission on College and Universities, reaffirmed our accreditation for another 7 years. Be sure to watch this video to learn more.

What happens next?

It’s important to keep in mind that the OIG only makes recommendations to Federal Student Aid, the unit within the U.S. Department of Education that administers federal grants and loans. The Inspector General has no decision authority; she cannot directly affect an institution’s participation in the federal student aid programs. Federal Student Aid will review the OIG’s recommendations and, upon the completion of its review, will issue a letter in which it will indicate whether it agrees or disagrees with the OIG’s findings. There is no fixed timetable for this review. Ultimately, it is the Secretary of Education who determines whether to accept or reject OIG recommendations.

WGU will continue to work closely with the Department of Education to resolve this particular issue.

What can I do to help?

Call or write to your legislators and urge them to pass legislation that supports innovation in higher education such as that provided by WGU.

Still have more questions about the Inspector General's Report?


What WGU students have to say about their interactions with faculty

“One thing that helped me a lot to earn my degree was my mentor, Virginia Wallace. We developed a really good relationship over those three years.”

– Julius Giron
B.S. Business Management, 2013

“Honestly, if it wasn’t for my mentor, I wouldn’t have been as successful as I was. She encouraged me and helped see me through the program.”

– Bryon Denton
M.S. Nursing – Education

“What sets WGU apart is that you feel like you’re the only student because you’re getting one-on-one attention. Even though there are thousands of students, you never feel that way. You feel like you’re the most important student that WGU has.”

– Andrea Petty
B.S. Business Management, 2015


Independent Gallup survey of WGU graduates

A 2017 Gallup-Purdue Index, which compared 2,452 WGU graduate responses against national data, found that WGU grads are more engaged at work and reported better overall well-being than the national average.

Download the 2017 Gallup Report ›

WGU Performance in 2017 National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE)

WGU students report engagement with faculty and overall satisfaction significantly higher than national average.

Read more about the NSSE findings ›


Accreditation and Recognition

WGU is regionally accredited by NWCCU with additional program accreditation by NCATE and CCNE*. WGU is also a USDLA Best Practices in Distance Learning Award recipient.

*The bachelor's and master's degree programs at WGU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791).

Read More ›


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