Just a few years ago online degrees were scoffed at. The world has changed as Internet education is not only respected but ubiquitous today. In fact, with the latest Covid-19 crisis many campuses have closed, leaving online learning as the only option for the current academic year. I recently discovered Western Governor’s University (WGU), which is a 100 percent online college. Founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors (thus the name) and based in Salt Lake City, they offer a wide array of both Bachelor's and Master’s degree programs. WGU is a leading innovator within the growing niche of online college degree programs.
More than 119,000 students are enrolled in WGU programs ranging from nursing and healthcare, to IT, to business degree programs. WGU enrollment is growing at a 17 percent annual rate due to two game-changing features. First, as a non-profit college, it has an unconventional flat-rate tuition arrangement which ranges from $3,300 (Bachelor’s) to $3,700 (Master’s) for each six-month term (unlimited classes). Second, their competency based learning method allows students to finish courses as quickly as they are able (once a student proves competency they can immediately advance to the next course). This system allows many students to finish their degrees in half the time of traditional college programs.
WGU has received full regional accreditation and is a respected non-profit university. I have long believed that college costs entirely too much and takes too many years to complete. I love the flat-rate pricing and 'progress as fast as you can approach.' While the WGU curriculum design seems to focus on the working professional, I would equally consider it a terrific option for a young person directly out of high school. Too many students today are needlessly accumulating massive amounts of debt. I love these innovations in education and hope this is just the beginning.
Full disclosure - my own son Jim brought WGU to my attention as he is making plans to complete a Master's degree with them. If you are interested in connecting with him to get his feedback on his experience, e mail me and I will pass along your question.
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