28_Western Governors University

For showing public schools another way to do business.

Full college degrees in months! It sounds like an email scam, but it's a new philosophy in higher ed being driven by... the government? In 2012, the online, not-for-profit institution, founded by 19 U.S. governors, became the nation's leading provider of master's degrees (and the fourth largest of bachelor's) in math education. The low-cost, self-paced WGU focuses on skills that lead to better jobs in teaching, health care, IT, and business. "We measure learning, not time," says Bob Mendenhall, the school's chancellor. Students (average age: 37) pace themselves through material designed with input from corporate board members (such as AT&T) and with help from mentors. Starting in 2010, the governors of Indiana, Washington, and Texas each endorsed virtual branches integrated with (and financially independent of) their public universities—boosting WGU's enrollment to 40,000. And while public university tuition was rising by about 5% a year, WGU's has held steady at $6,000 since 2008. It keeps the fees so low through technological efficiencies, such as replacing in-person test centers with virtual ones. And it obsessively tracks metrics like this one: 95% of employers say WGU grads are as good as or better than those from anywhere else.

[Image: Anton Prado via Shutterstock]

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17 Comments

  • Gary Mefford

    WGU is one university where you can zip through the courses that you know, and then actually take the time to learn, the things you don't.  Add a staff  of student mentors who really care, course mentors who really want to help, and more resources than  one student could ever use, and only one answer prevails, Western Governors University. 

  • Shaureen Di Lorenzo

    I would check out an articular on the MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES 2013

    http://www.fastcompany.com/mos.... WGU'S WEBSITE IS WWW.WGU.EDU

    FOR SHOWING PUBLIC SCHOOLS ANOTHER WAY TO DO BUSINESS

    Full college degrees in months! It sounds like an email scam, but it's a new philosophy in higher ed being driven by... the government? In 2012, the online, not-for-profit institution, founded by 19 U.S. governors, became the nation's leading provider of master's degrees (and the fourth largest of bachelor's) in math education. The low-cost, self-paced WGU focuses on skills that lead to better jobs in teaching, health care, IT, and business. "We measure learning, not time," says Bob Mendenhall, the school's chancellor. Students (average age: 37) pace themselves through material designed with input from corporate board members (such as AT&T) and with help from mentors. Starting in 2010, the governors of Indiana, Washington, and Texas each endorsed virtual branches integrated with (and financially independent of) their public universities--boosting WGU's enrollment to 40,000. And while public university tuition was rising by about 5% a year, WGU's has held steady at $6,000 since 2008. It keeps the fees so low through technological efficiencies, such as replacing in-person test centers with virtual ones. And it obsessively tracks metrics like this one: 95% of employers say WGU grads are as good as or better than those from anywhere else.

  • Bene People

    I love WGU because unlike "tradition" schools I've attended, the social networking is growing.  I meet people with similar interests and similar goals and so far it has worked far better.  Thank you WGU!

  • Cromality

    I earned my associates degree in 2004 from a traditional college. I have completed three full terms at WGU. I have one more to complete; and I will have my Bachelors Degree in Sales Management by no later than December 2013. I can't say enough good about this University. The curriculum is current, relevant, and the learning objectives extremely resourceful. My Mentor is amazing and won't settle for failure. I am beyond impressed!!!

  • Keahi Selhorst

    It appears you are happy with the Sales Management program at WGU. Have you found the course work beneficial to your Sales/Sales Management career? Thinking about applying in either the Sales or Bus. Mgt. I've been in sales forever and I'd love to keep progressing in my field. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Would you mind sending a referral code for the application? Mahalo

  • Inception

    WGU is a great school, it is not for everyone if you are not self-motivated you will have a hard time their, but if you are focused you will thrive, it is a clear example of how much you put into it you will get out. I finished my Bachelors there in 7 months, and i start back in April for my masters, which i estimate will take me 6 months terms only cost 3035 every 6 months! this place is great, and it is NOT microwave education

  • Tfdunn

    Teresa Dunn

    I agree, I earned my Bachelors degree from WGU and I am now currently working on my Master's degree at WGU.  It is the best bang for your buck and the school is 100% legitimate.

  • Beverly Rhett

    I am currently enrolled in the MSN program at WGU.  While I watch colleagues pay tens of thousands of dollars to fight for classes and read outdated textbooks, I am blazing through my courses fully supported by dedicated mentors.  I cannot say enough about this program.  I spread the word every chance I get.  You'd be a fool to go elsewhere.

  • Future Teacher

    I tell everyone I can about WGU. I love that I can work hard and speed up the process. I've completed 9 hours in four weeks! Not because the work is easy. It isn't. But, because I can determine how hard I want to work and the speed at which I want to work! And, I love paying cash for college! You can't go anywhere else and get as great of an education for as low of a cost.

  • Robert Ball

    I will be graduating from WGU in the next few months with my BS/ITM. I have NOTHING but positive things to say about the staff, curriculum, & cost effectiveness. Having attended several "B&M" campuses in the past, the WGU program is in no way the same. I can progress at my own pace, as slowly or aggressively as I choose. I have been very aggressive, completing as many as 31-units in a term. I can NOT imagine being stifled by the snails pace of a B&M, or the exorbitant fees they charge. WGU = Quality education, at my pace!

  • HalaSaleh1

    I have the privilege of working on a project in collaboration with WGU staff, and I must say - innovation runs through the hallways over there! Go WGU, this is great news!

  • Desiree Alvarez

    I am currently going through the enrollment process, and I am so excited to start in March. 

  • Jeanie McCabe Howard

    I am also a WGU student, and a Human Resource professional.  Hopefully, when recruiters see WGU on a resume / job application they will recognize the power of this competency-based model and understand that it is NOT just another diploma mill.
     
    The course work is challenging and relevant.  The support I receive from the course mentors and my academic mentor is comprehensive and helpful.  (I still have a year to go to finish my Bachelor's Degree and am already inspired to go on to get my Master's.)

  • Laura Anastasio Moore

    HI Jeanie I read your review and I am interested in attending WGu -I am an employment recruiter working independently and wanted to finish my 4 year degree with a BS in HR. was wondering how the program was coming along for you and any words of advice or encouragement would be appreciated. As this is a pvt online school-was wondering what your feedback has been so far from the corporate world. thanks laura

  • Brad

    Two of my colleagues are WGU graduates and they are working with us on a team who are graduates from top universities in USA. I am very much impressed with both of my team mates who are WGU graduates and have considerable amount of knowledge in IT field and also top contributors to the team. I am impressed with their skills......

  • Gary Gray

    WGU rocks! I've earned 50 competency-based credits in two semesters (in addition to a full-time job). Try that anywhere else.

  • Rob Gibson

    Could not agree more. I'm a current WGU student and I evangelize the competency-based model.