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Western Governors University Enrollment Tops 25,000
May 17, 2011 (04:05 PM EDT)

Nonprofit, online university, now with more than 10,000 graduates, has grown by more than 350% over the past five years

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Western Governors University,, the nonprofit online university created in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors, has achieved two key milestones this month: nationwide enrollment of more than 25,000 students and a cumulative total of 10,000 graduates. Since 2005, WGU has added nearly 20,000 students to its four colleges: Business, Information Technology, Teachers College, and Health Professions. In addition, the university has awarded more than 3,500 bachelor's and master's degrees in the past year alone.

Established to expand access to quality college degree programs, Western Governors University is designed to meet the needs of adult learners—the average age of WGU students is 36 years old. The university uses a mentor-guided, competency-based learning model that allows students to advance by demonstrating their knowledge rather than logging time in class. This model, which uses technology to teach and allows students to take advantage of their experience and prior education, offers working adults a flexible and affordable way to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree. The average time to complete an online bachelor's degree at WGU is just 2 and 1/2 years.

In June of 2010, the state of Indiana partnered with Western Governors University to establish WGU Indiana, a state-endorsed subsidiary. In the 11 months since its launch, WGU Indiana has grown from fewer than 300 students to nearly 1,300 students. Last month, the state of Washington followed suit by creating WGU Washington, a state-recognized and endorsed university. The first WGU Washington students will matriculate on July 1, 2011.

"This astonishing growth, from our first student in 1999 to more than 25,000 today, demonstrates that WGU is meeting a critical need in higher education," said WGU President Robert W. Mendenhall. "There are a number of online universities offering college opportunities to working adults, but WGU is different in three important ways. First, the university is nonprofit and self-sustaining on tuition of less than $6,000 per year, no matter how many courses you take. Second, WGU is the only accredited competency-based university in the country. This model, which uses technology to teach and establishes one-on-one mentoring and advising relationships between students and faculty, offers maximum flexibility and the potential for motivated adult learners to accelerate. And third, our programs are recognized for their quality and relevance by employers who hire our graduates as well as organizations dedicated to improving higher education."

For more information about WGU, go to, or call 1.866.225.5948.

About Western Governors University

"[WGU is] the best relatively cheap university you've never heard of."– TIME magazine

Featured on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, WGU is the only university in the U.S. offering competency-based degree programs and the only nonprofit, fully online university with students in all 50 states. WGU offers 50 degree programs in Business, Education, Information Technology, and Health Professions, including Nursing. Since its inception in 1997, WGU has grown into a national institution, serving more than 25,000 students. WGU is self-sustaining on tuition, and does not rely on state or national support to fund its operations.  

On June 11, 2010, WGU Indiana, referred to by Governor Mitch Daniels as Indiana's eighth state university, was formed through a partnership with the state. WGU Washington was established by the Washington State Legislature on April 22, 2011.  Subsidiaries of Western Governors University, WGU Indiana and WGU Washington are state-endorsed and offer degree programs that are accredited through Western Governors University.

WGU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). WGU nursing 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). WGU's Teachers College is the first and only exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure from NCATE, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

In 2011, WGU received its second 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance learning from the United States Distance Learning Association, (USDLA). In addition, WGU President Robert W. Mendenhall was recognized for his achievements in higher education when he received the 2010 McGraw Prize in Education.

The university has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations. They include institutions such as AT&T, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dell, Lilly Endowment, HCA, Hewlett-Packard, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle, Qwest, SunGard Higher Education, and Zions Bank. More information is available at or by calling 866.225.5948.

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SOURCE Western Governors University