Updated on May 23, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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Western Governors University (WGU) is a private online academic institution based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Founded in 1997, the school uses a remote competency-based learning model. This allows students to move through courses as quickly as they want, mastering the material at rate that fits their personal goals.

Overview of Western Governors University (WGU)

As a student-centric institution, Western Governors University (WGU) goes beyond convention to identify, develop, and implement programs, systems, and technologies that pave the path to opportunity for students. The university believes every individual is inherently capable and that education is the surest path to opportunity. As a result, the school works hard to expand access to qualify learning for all.

The student population is approximately 150,100+. Of those, roughly 107,900 are pursuing undergraduate degrees. To facilitate learning, the university employs about 2,956 full-time and 1,103 part-time faculty members, all of whom are responsible for instructional pursuits. The resulting student-to-faculty ratio is 42:1, which is significantly higher than the national average. However, it is worth reiterating that courses are provided 100% online, with those enrolled able to reach out to professors virtually.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting Suburb: Large
Campus Housing No
Student Faculty Ratio 42:1
Graduation Rate 64%
Year Founded 1997

Student Enrollment

Total Students150,116


Undergraduate Student

Male 41,022
Female 66,930

Graduate Student

Male 16,022
Female 26,142

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Western Governors University Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male NA
Female NA


Male NA
Female NA

Acceptance RateNA

Male NA
Female NA

Enrollment NA

Male NA
Female NA
Application Fee $65
High School GPA NA
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts NA
College Prep Courses NA
Recommendations NA
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) NA
Application Deadline Rolling
Common Application Accepted No

WGU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Western Governors University offers flat-rate tuition, which is charged every six months. During this six month period, students can take as many courses as they are able to at no extra cost. Those enrolled are simply required to pay for the term and can then dedicate as much time to learning as they want. This system encourages students to finish coursework faster in order to make the most of their investment each term.

The average yearly bachelor’s degree tuition at Western Governors University is $7,452. This is 57% the national average. The average yearly master’s degree tuition is also relatively low, at $7,842. These rates are based on averages, however, and prospective students should be aware that actual costs will vary depending on the programs selected. The undergraduate teachers college program costs $3,575 per six-month term, while the bachelor’s in nursing and health information management costs $3,998 per six-month period.

Students must also anticipate the cost of books and supplies. Fortunately, Western Governors University provides most materials in electronic format. Those enrolled must pay a $200 E-books and resources fee. An additional $350 health professions college fee may also be required. Notably, no housing and meal plan options are available as this is an online institution. This means that students will need to account for these and other personal expenses separately.

Scholarships are also available for new Western Governors University students and returning graduates. Through the generosity of numerous corporations and foundations, as well as their own funding, the institution is able to maintain a robust financial aid program. The university also offers federal student aid. To qualify, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application each year. This is used to generate aid packages in addition to any merit-based scholarships and grants awarded.

During the 2020-2021 academic year, 73% of students entering postsecondary education for the first time at the university received some form of financial assistance. Notably, however, only 47% were awarded grants and scholarships. Approximately 67% of those enrolled required some amount of financial assistance from federal student loans.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $10,336
Average Total Aid $4,316
Students Receiving Financial Aid 73%
Room & Board $6,000

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $7,452
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $7,452
  • Books and Supplies - $200
  • Room & Board - $6,000
  • Other - $1,000


Western Governors University has a unique approach to learning. It offers competency-based education options intended to help students accelerate their degrees and enter the workforce faster. The result is a student-centered, radically affordable, high-quality, and practical academic experience.

Students can choose from online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the following subject areas:

  • Business
  • Teaching
  • Health
  • Information Technology (IT)

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Western Governors University had a first-year undergraduate retention rate of 63% for full-time students in fall 2021. This is below the national average of 68%, but still indicates that the majority of students enrolled at the university were pleased enough with their academic and extracurricular experiences to return for a second year.

Graduation rates for Western Governors University are comparable. Of full-time, first-time students who began their studies in 2015, 64% graduated within 150% of normal time. While this measures success after six years of instruction, most students strive to graduate within four years. About 55% of students beginning their studies full-time in 2015 and pursuing bachelor’s degrees were able to graduate within this timeframe. The transfer-out rate was also 3%.

Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), which is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Student Population Total

Student Population 150,116

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Health Professions and Related Programs 11,924 Total Graduates / 45%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 10,730 Graduates
Health/Health Care Administration/Management 878 Graduates
Health Information/Medical Records Administration/Administrator 292 Graduates
Health Services/Allied Health/Health Sciences, General 24 Graduates
All Business Majors 6,620 Total Graduates / 25%
Business Administration and Management, General 3,061 Graduates
Accounting 1,183 Graduates
Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, General 926 Graduates
Management Information Systems, General 776 Graduates
All Education Majors 4,178 Total Graduates / 16%
Elementary Education and Teaching 1,815 Graduates
Learning Sciences 1,189 Graduates
Special Education and Teaching, General 836 Graduates
Mathematics Teacher Education 163 Graduates
All Computer and Information Sciences Majors 3,890 Total Graduates / 15%
Computer and Information Systems Security/Auditing/Information Assurance 1,078 Graduates
Information Technology 681 Graduates
Computer Programming/Programmer, General 625 Graduates
System, Networking, and LAN/WAN Management/Manager 313 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 0%

Outcome & Salary

Western Governors University is dedicated to tracking and promoting success. The institution’s alumni network is made up of accomplished professionals in all 50 states and around the world. Many graduates hold positions with top employers throughout the nation including Microsoft, Johns Hopkins University, American Express, Facebook, Duke University, ABM, National Weather Service, and AT&T.

Based on data collected during a poll of 300 employers of Western Governors University graduates in 2021, 97% of employers said they felt the institution’s alumni were prepared for their jobs. Additionally, 98% of employers said Western Governors University graduates met or exceeded their expectations. Overall, 95% said they would hire another graduate from the school in the future.

It’s also important to note that Western Governors University reports an increase in income post-graduation. Within two years of graduation, alumni tend to make an additional $18,200. Within four years of graduation, alumni make an additional $25,900. According to Payscale, the average salary for Western Governors University graduates is $76,000.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $59,900
College Grads Average Salary $76,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $94,900
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $760,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,709,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $41,344
10 Year Projected ROI $718,656
20 Year Projected ROI $1,667,656
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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