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Western Governors University Celebrates 30,000 Graduates

Online university awarding nearly 10,000 bachelor's and master's degrees per year

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As thousands of Americans start the new year with resolutions of returning to college to earn a bachelor's or master's degree, Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, kicks off 2014 celebrating a big milestone: 30,000 bachelor's and master's degrees awarded since the university's inception.

As an online, competency-based university committed to helping busy working adults achieve their goal of a college degree, WGU counts each graduation as a critical success and the heart of its mission. During 2013, 9,712 WGU Night Owls completed a degree—for most graduates, a dream long deferred because work, life, and family obligations stood in the way of finishing their bachelor's degree or advancing to a graduate program at a traditional university.

"30,000 degrees means 30,000 incredible success stories—30,000 examples of hard work, perseverance, and sacrifice paying off," said WGU Provost Dr. David Leasure. "We're extremely proud of every WGU graduate and pleased to have played a role in their educational and career journeys."

These diplomas open new doors for career and personal advancement for graduates, who earn their degrees as soon as they are able to prove their mastery of the knowledge and skills—WGU calls them "competencies"—employers are looking for. Because they progress independently through their programs with the support of a faculty mentor—rather than being constrained by traditional classroom and semester schedules—students graduate from WGU every day. The nearly 10,000 degrees earned throughout 2013 helped push WGU over the 30,000-graduate mark.

WGU was founded in 1997 by 11 U.S. governors with the mission to provide busy adults with access to innovative, technology-driven ways to earn degrees and build their careers. It offers more than 50 bachelor's and master's degrees in the fields of business, teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.

The university's unique competency-based approach to learning, combined with an emphasis on affordability and learning resources available online 24/7, helps the university continue to grow as more and more Americans find themselves in need for a degree to achieve their goals. As of December 31, 2013, WGU had 43,421 students enrolled in all 50 states and on U.S. military bases around the world.

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," NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN's "Schools of Thought," and in The New York Times.

WGU 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 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).

Western Governors 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, 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.

*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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SOURCE Western Governors University

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