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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 80,000 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:

  • 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2008: Recognized seven times by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) for our leadership in distance learning.
  • 2010 McGraw Prize in Education awarded to Dr. Robert Mendenhall, President of WGU
  • Secondary teacher-prep programs in top 1% nationwide for quality, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality in 2017, which also named the WGU Teachers College the nation’s #1 best value in 2015 and placed WGU on its Honor Roll in 2014, among other recognitions.
  • 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 10 consecutive years by Military Advanced Education & Transition 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 2016 Harris Interactive survey, employers revealed an overwhelming trend of satisfaction. Of those surveyed:

  • 99 percent said that WGU graduates meet or exceed their expectations.
  • 93 percent rated WGU graduates’ job performance as very good or excellent.
  • 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.


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." – Former 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.

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 six 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.

Texas. Established in 2011 under Governor Rick Perry.

Washington. Founded by the state legislature in 2011.

Missouri. Established by Governor Jay Nixon.

Tennessee. Established in July 2013 under Governor Bill Haslam.

Nevada. Established in 2015 under Governor Brian Sandoval.

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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