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Western Governors University Celebrates its 20,000th Graduate

Number of graduates from online university growing by more than 50% per year

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nonprofit, online university Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, awarded its 20,000th degree this month, the latest milestone in the rapidly growing school's history. Since the university recognized its first graduate in December of 2000, WGU has grown to become a national university with more than 50 online bachelor's and master's degree programs serving more than 38,000 students in all 50 states.

WGU will celebrate its 24th semiannual commencement ceremony in Atlanta in February, but unlike at traditional universities, graduations at WGU can occur any day of the year—not just at the end of predefined semesters or on set timetables. That's because WGU's innovative, competency-based learning model allows students to progress through their courses as soon as they have learned the material and are able to prove that they have mastered it. Students learn independently with the one-on-one support of a mentor, so they graduate as soon as they have successfully completed all of the required coursework for their degree program.

WGU was founded by 19 U.S. governors in 1997 to provide a new, technology-driven way for working adults to have access to a quality higher education. The average age of WGU's students is 37, and 68% of the student body works full time. WGU is affordable—tuition for most programs is $6,000 per year, and it is charged at a flat rate, so students may complete as many courses as they are able in any term. Accredited online bachelor's and master's degree programs are available in the fields of business, information technology, teaching, and health professions, including nursing.

About Western Governors University

Featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN's "Schools of Thought," and in The New York Times, WGU is the only university in the U.S. offering accredited, competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. WGU's Teachers College is the first and only exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation for its teacher licensure programs from NCATE, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.  The WGU bachelor's and master's nursing degree programs have been accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and its B.S. in Health Informatics is accredited by CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education).

On June 11, 2010, WGU Indiana was created by Governor Mitch Daniels as Indiana's eighth state university. WGU Washington was established by the Washington State Legislature on April 22, 2011.  On August 3, 2011, the state of Texas created WGU Texas. WGU Indiana, WGU Washington, and WGU Texas are state-endorsed and offer degree programs that are accredited through Western Governors University.

The university has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations. They include institutions such as 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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Contact for media inquiries:
Joan Mitchell – Director of PR
[email protected]

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SOURCE Western Governors University

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