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Best Online Univerity Article - WGU Graduate

Western Governors University is changing the face of online education. Founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors, WGU has provided accredited degrees to more than 40,000 students. Our online programs are available in all 50 states, allowing you the freedom to pursue your education from any location. More than any other virtual school, WGU provides you with the high-tech tools necessary to take control of your education and succeed in the workplace. What makes WGU the best online university for you?

A Credible Online University

WGU Logo - Best Online University ArticleMany students are wary of online education, wondering if their virtually obtained degree will carry the same weight as a brick-and-mortar experience. WGU eliminates these concerns with credibility. Our name and degree programs are backed by:


You can depend on the strength of a WGU education. Our degrees are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the accrediting body that sanctions other major universities in the region, including the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, the University of Idaho, and the University of Utah. Many of our degree programs also carry industry-specific accreditations necessary to earn a teacher's license, nursing license, or IT security clearance. Learn more.


WGU's excellence in education has been recognized by several organizations, collecting awards that include:

  • 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013 International Distance Learning Awards by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
  • 2010 McGraw Prize in Education awarded to Dr. Robert Mendenhall, President of WGU
  • The National Council for Teacher Quality's (NCTQ) Honor Roll—the only online university to earn this distinction.
  • Named to Fast Company's list of "The World's Most Innovative Companies,"
  • Best Value School Award by University Research & Review
  • Top Military-Friendly College and Universities six consecutive years by Military Advanced Education magazine

Our accolades recommend WGU alumni to high-profile companies. TIME Magazine reported WGU graduates find success in several Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T and Microsoft. In a 2013 Harris Interactive survey, employers revealed an overwhelming trend of satisfaction. Of those surveyed:

  • 96 percent said that WGU graduates exceed their expectations.
  • 97 percent rated WGU graduates' job performance as good as or better than the job performance of graduates from other colleges and universities; 57 percent rated it better.
  • 98 percent indicated that they would be willing to hire another WGU graduate.
  • 100 percent said that the WGU graduates they hired were prepared for their jobs; 88 percent said they were very well or extremely well prepared.


WGU is well-established as a top online university. Best College ranked us amongst the top 10 online colleges in the country, citing our competency-based degree programs and affordable tuition as unique and accessible. Our commitment to excellence has drawn the attention of the nation's highest leaders:

"Western Governors University (WGU) is one of the innovators implementing promising practices that offer breakthroughs on cost, quality, or both." –President Barack Obama

When it comes to education quality, name recognition, and affordability, WGU's superior reputation has you covered.


Cost is a primary concern for many people considering higher education. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that 75 percent of students believe college is too expensive for the American budget. As a non-profit university, we alleviate the burden by providing affordable, flat-rate tuition and degree programs based on individual competency, not credit hours. While the average cost of college is $23,000 per year, basic tuition for most WGU programs is just $5,780 for two six-month terms.

Financial assistance is also available to students in need. Our regional accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, allowing students to secure federal aid, grants, military assistance, and scholarships. In 2013, 76 percent of WGU students received some type of financial aid, covering a portion or all of their tuition and fees. Thanks to our level of affordability, the three-year loan default rate fell to 7.7 percent, a significant decrease from the national average of 14.7 percent. The bottom line is clear at WGU: We provide education, not long-term debt.


Graduate success is a primary goal at WGU. As our university grows, our students' achievement grows with it. WGU has partnered with five state governments to establish state-based universities committed to providing accessibility in higher education. Each state WGU is led by a chancellor and allows many students to qualify for state financial aid. Locations include:

Indiana. Established in 2010, WGU Indiana is the state's eighth university. Under the supervision of former Governor Mitch Daniels—now the president of Purdue University—enrollment has grown to 3,200 students, 1,000 of whom have already earned their degrees. WGU Indiana is now the state's fifth-largest MBA provider.

Texas. Established in 2011 under Governor Rick Perry, enrollment has grown to 3,600 students since 2012, boasting more than 1,850 graduates in the state.

Washington. Founded by the state legislature in 2011, WGU Washington is the fourth-largest transfer institution in the state, with more than 4,500 enrollees and 1,400 graduates.

Missouri. Established by Governor Jay Nixon, WGU Missouri's enrollment has increased by 150 percent since its inception in February 2013. Our local presence has also created more than 60 jobs in the community.

Tennessee. Established in July 2013 under Governor Bill Haslam, WGU Tennessee is the latest addition to WGU's state-based universities. Located in Nashville, WGU has partnered with neighboring community colleges and local businesses to foster relationships and build new opportunities for aspiring graduates.

State-wide growth is only the beginning for WGU. More than 25,000 students earned their degrees in 2013 alone, a 52 percent increase since 2008. As a top online university, our presence will continue to cultivate new opportunities for students throughout the U.S.


Modern education has reached an era of change the United States, with leaders in government, academia, and industry calling for reforms related not only to cost, but to the way student learning is evaluated. Business leaders are among the many prominent figures hoping for change. In his book "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses," Microsoft founder Bill Gates highlights WGU's leadership role in this new phase of higher education:

"I'm impressed by the results in places like Western Governors University. Its low-cost online programs rely on competency-based progression, not class time or credit hours. It uses external assessments to evaluate student proficiency."

As a top online university, we are dedicated to further developing our leadership role as the country moves forward.


Student satisfaction is a top priority at WGU. In fact, 98 percent of our students say they would recommend WGU to friend. We are committed to providing well-rounded and challenging courses that will prepare graduates to succeed in the workplace. Take a moment to review what current and past students have said about their online education experiences. Their stories will help you make an informed decision about your future.

Why Go Anywhere Else?

Don't just take our word for it. Check out the WGU Facebook page and ask our actual students why WGU is the best online university for them!

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