The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of College Planning & Management magazine.

WGU Marks Key Enrollment Milestone: 50,000 Students in 15 Years

SALT LAKE CITY — Just 15 years after Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, admitted its first student, the nonprofit, competency-based university has passed a key milestone: 50,000 enrolled students nationwide. Founded by 19 U.S. governors to expand affordable access to quality higher education, WGU offers accredited, online bachelor's and master's degree programs in business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. WGU's programs are designed to meet the needs of busy adults who need to complete a bachelor's or master's degree to advance their careers, and today, more than 40,000 students have graduated from WGU.

Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, who led the group of governors who founded WGU in the late 1990s, says, “From one student to 50,000 in 15 years has to be one of the great miracles of higher education in this century, and maybe beyond. It is so unusual for an innovation to catch on, to take root, and to be implemented in a way that is considered high quality. It simply needs to be acknowledged and recognized as one of the great achievements of this century in higher education.”

WGU is the leader and pioneer in competency-based education, which measures learning rather than time. Students work at their own pace with one-to-one faculty support, completing courses and earning their degrees by demonstrating their mastery of subject matter rather than spending time in class. Competency-based learning is ideal for busy adults because it allows them to study on a schedule that fits their lives and to apply prior learning and experience to accelerate their progress to a degree. Because students can move quickly through material they already know and focus on what they still need to learn, they can save both time and money—the average time to a bachelor's degree is just two and a half years.

A nonprofit, WGU is very affordable, about $6,000 per year for most degrees. Tuition is charged at a flat rate, regardless of the number of courses taken, and has not increased since 2008. The university's commitment to keeping tuition low allows students to graduate with less debt or no debt at all.

WGU has been recognized by the White House as “what works in post-secondary education.” In addition, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) ranked WGU's secondary mathematics education program number one in in the U.S. WGU leads the nation in the production of math and science teachers and is a member of 10Kin10, a nonprofit organization focused on increasing the number of STEM educators across the country.

About Western Governors University
WGU is the pioneer and leader in competency-based education. Today, the online university is among the 25 largest nonprofit or public universities in the U.S. Regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, WGU has been named one of Fast Company's 50 Most Innovative Companies and featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times

WGU has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations, including AT&T, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lilly Endowment, HCA, Hewlett-Packard, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle, SunGard Higher Education, and Zions Bank. More information is available at www.wgu.edu or by calling 866/225-5948.

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