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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.
|School Type||Private not-for-profit|
|Campus Setting||Suburb: Large|
|Student Faculty Ratio||42:1|
Top Rankings For Western Governors University
Western Governors University Acceptance Rate and Admissions
|High School GPA||NA|
|High School Rank||NA|
|High School Transcripts||NA|
|College Prep Courses||NA|
|TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)||NA|
|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|
|Average Total Aid||$4,316|
|Students Receiving Financial Aid||73%|
|Room & Board||$6,000|
- 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:
- 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
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|
|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.
|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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