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Students Give WGU High Marks in National Survey of Student Engagement

Online, competency-based university rated higher than national average for faculty support and academic rigor

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), students from Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, rated the online university higher than other institutions across the country. The survey, which polled more than 350,000 students from 613 colleges and universities—both bricks and mortar and online—nationwide, asked them to rate their experiences at their respective institutions. In a number of important areas, students rated WGU significantly higher than the national average:

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  • Quality of interactions with faculty—9 percent higher
  • Challenging coursework—14 percent higher
  • Hours spent studying each week—14 percent higher
  • Quality of academic support—9 percent higher
  • Acquisition of job-related knowledge and skills—9 percent higher
  • Would attend the same institution again—28 percent higher
  • Overall rating of entire educational experience—19 percent higher

"These ratings demonstrate that WGU offers its students a high-quality learning experience and relevant, credible degree programs," said WGU's Vice President for Institutional Research Jason Levin. "While students are studying online and learning at their own pace, they rate the quality of their interactions with faculty higher than students at many traditional institutions. This is because WGU faculty members, called mentors, work with students individually, guiding their learning and providing coaching and support tailored to the each student's needs."

WGU offers more than 50 bachelor's and master's degree programs in business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. The university uses an innovative learning approach called competency-based education, which allows students to study and learn at a pace that fits their lives and learning styles. Ideal for busy adults, competency-based education focuses on student learning rather than time spent in class. Students work through course materials on their schedules, with one-on-one faculty support, moving quickly through what they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. This makes it possible for many students to accelerate and finish their degrees faster—the average time to a bachelor's degree at WGU is about three years.

About Western Governors University 
Recognized by President Obama as an innovative university that "awards credits based on learning, not seat time," Western Governors University is the only university in the U.S. offering accredited, competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs at scale. Named one of  Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies for 2013," WGU has been 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's tuition is affordable, about $3,000 per six-month term for most programs, with no increase since 2008. It is charged at a flat rate, regardless of the number of courses taken. New terms begin on the first day of every month.

Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. WGU's Teachers College is the first 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 are 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).

The university has partnered with five states to establish state-based universities aimed at adding affordable capacity to state higher education systems. WGU Indiana, WGU Missouri, WGU Tennessee, WGU Texas, and WGU Washington are key elements in their states' strategies for increasing the percentage of adults with bachelor's or master's degrees. These state-endorsed universities offer degree programs that are accredited through WGU.

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.

*Western Governors University offers nursing programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 5380, Washington DC 20036, 202-877-6791).

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