Truly a university without boundaries, Western Governors University is a non-profit online university founded and supported by 19 U.S. governors. At no other time in the history of higher education have the governors of several states joined together to create a university.It Started with an IdeaThe idea for WGU was born in 1995 at a bipartisan meeting of the Western Governors Association (hence our "western" name). Going into the meeting, the chair of the association—Utah governor Mike Leavitt—had the foresight to realize that distance learning technologies had the power to tackle one of the western states’ most pressing problems: rapid population growth confronted by limited public funds for educational services.The governors decided then and there to create their own university. They agreed that this new university would make maximum use of distance learning technologies, would be collaborative among the western member states, and would use competencies rather than seat time as the measure of its outcomes.Designing an Online UniversityTo do this, the governors enlisted the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) to help design the newly envisioned university. Five themes remained central to the effort: Responsiveness to employment and societal needs. A focus on competency-based education. Expanding access. Cost-effectiveness. Development of a technology infrastructure.WGU was chartered in 1996, was incorporated as a private, non-profit university in 1997, and began accepting students in 1999.An Online University with a MissionWGU is very mission driven. Created to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs, WGU’s mission has remained one of helping hardworking adults meet their educational goals and improve their career opportunities.To fulfill the mission, the founding governors also insisted that WGU be affordable, flexible, and student-focused. Hence, WGU strives to serve as many students as possible—including minorities, first-generation college students, those with modest incomes, and others whose lives or geographic locations do not allow them to attend traditional, campus-based colleges.WGU has flourished into a national university, serving over 23,000 students from all 50 states, yet remains non-bureaucratic and innovative. It continues to receive praise for its academic model and to enhance its reputation with employers for the emphasis on graduating highly competent professionals.Additional InformationThe Myths about Online LearningEven though online learning is growing dramatically and becoming more and more accepted among employers and academia, there are still opinions—really, myths—about online education that linger in some people’s minds.
WGU was built from the ground up with adult learners like you in mind. Our 19 founding governors designed WGU so that you won’t have to choose between work, family, and school. Nor will you have to forgo your dreams of a degree and career advancement because of cost.You’re in control of your education. In general, there are no class schedules to "fit in", no high-priced tuition to strain your wallet. You’ll get a first-rate education online with superior programs, low tuition, and unmatched personal attention and support. With programs starting the first of every month, your future can start right now.WGU is different—even from other online universities.
Western Governors University—the nation’s only competency-based, accredited, online university—is a great place to work. The university looks for leaders with a strong commitment to our mission of expanding access to higher education. We also actively engage in recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and student body that includes members of historically underrepresented groups.
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