Going back to school for adults is getting easier with more options that cater to adult students. Western Governors University is offering advanced degrees by using a mentor-guided model that helps adults earn college degrees.
Emily Lyman is a Mentor in the Teachers College and she explains what makes the program successful.
Private and nonprofit, Western Governors University is a leader and pioneer in online higher education. WGU was founded in 1997 by the 19 U.S. governors to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs. Now serving more than 25,000 students in all 50 states, WGU receives no state financial support; the university is self-funded through student tuition. WGU also receives financial support for special projects from more than 20 leading corporations and foundations, targeted grants from the federal government, and scholarship donations.
WGU’s mission is to improve quality and expand access to post-secondary educational opportunities by providing a means for individuals to learn independent of time and place and to earn competency-based degrees and other credentials that are credible to both academic institutions and employers.
WGU uses a mentor-guided, competency-based model that requires students to demonstrate their knowledge rather than spending time in course work. The academic progress of each student is measured using challenging assessments, which are often actual industry certifications. Students with applicable work experience and prior education can choose to accelerate their programs by devoting extra time to their studies. Rather than semesters that begin on specified dates, the WGU model operates in six-month terms that can begin at the first of any month.
Degrees and Programs
WGU has four online colleges: the Teachers College, the College of Business, the College of Information Technology, and the College of Health Professions. The university offers 50 degree programs; a complete list and descriptions of the programs can be found on the WGU Web site, www.wgu.edu.
WGU is nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council, and regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The Teachers College is the first and only exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).WGU has also been recognized by the U.S. Distance Learning Association with its 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning. A recent survey of employers of WGU graduates indicates that 95% of employers rate WGU graduates as equal to or above other employees who graduated from other colleges or universities.
WGU tuition is comparable to that of a state college or university and significantly lower than most other online universities. It is charged at a flat rate per six-month term, and is $5,890 per year (some master’s degree programs and health professions programs are slightly higher). Tuition has increased by less than $200 (per year) over the past five years. WGU is self-sustaining on tuition, and does not rely on state or national support to fund its operations.
· Founded in 1997 by the 19 U.S. governors to expand access to higher education.
· WGU uses a mentor-guided, competency-based model.
· WGU has four online colleges: the Teachers College, the College of Business, the College of Information Technology, and the College of Health Professions (including Nursing).
· Nationally and regionally accredited.
· WGU tuition is comparable to that of a state college or university and significantly lower than most other online universities—most programs are less than $6,000 per year.
· WGU has more than 25,000 bachelor’s, post-baccalaureate, and master’s degree students.
· The average age is 36 (student ages range from 16 to 83 years old).
· 65% of WGU students work full time (15% work part time; 20% are not employed).
· 82% of our students are classified as underserved in one or more of four categories:
Ethnic minority: 21%
Low income: 38%
First-generation college student: 42%
University Performance Measures
· Average time to graduation for bachelor’s degrees: 30 months
· Growth in total number of graduates:
o June 08 – 3,200
o June 09 – 4,700
o June 10 – 7,000
o June 11 – 11,000
· Current one-year retention rate: 76%
· Employer satisfaction (based on 2010 survey conducted by Campbell Rinker):
· 95% agree that WGU graduates meet or exceed their expectations; 56% say WGU graduates exceed their expectations.
· 94% say they are likely to hire another WGU graduate; 50% indicate that they are extremely likely to hire another WGU graduate.
· 93% rate the job performance of WGU graduates as good or excellent.
· 97% rate WGU graduates as equal to or better than graduates of traditional schools.
· Western Governors University’s headquarters is in Salt Lake City.
· Nearly 2,000 Utah residents are students at WGU.
· Commencement is held semi-annually in Salt Lake City. The next commencement is July 23, 2011 at the Energy Solutions Arena.
For more information, visit www.wgu.edu/utah or call 1-866-225-5948.