Western Governors University, found online at WGU.edu, says that they are “an innovative and surprisingly affordable online university” that has reinvented the traditional concept of higher education.
How Does It Work?
According to their website, Western Governors University was designed in 1995 by 19 US governors whose driving goal was to provide something new and innovative in education, and they created a university that was focused on measuring the learning a student took out of the classroom – not on the amount of time spent in a classroom.
To do this, they created a non-profit university that focuses entirely on providing their students with access to high quality, online education that provides flexible and individualized pacing.
Students can take the classes they want when they need them – they don’t need to adhere to an arbitrary college schedule, which can make it difficult for students to get through their program quickly.
Focusing on this has resulted in their students being able to receive a traditional four year degree in an average of just three years, while still being appropriately prepared for their career.
This school provides degree programs in Teacher's College, College of Business, College of Information Technology, and the College of Health Professions.
Their website says that “WGU is regionally, NCATE, and CCNE* accredited. WGU is also a USDLA Best Practices in Distance Learning Award recipient.”
The two accreditation organizations which are listed provide accreditation specifically for their Teaching and Nursing programs.
For any other programs that students are considering, it will be important to make sure that this university is accredited in that industry in your region.
Cost & Price Plans
The WGU website says that they are committed to keeping tuition low, and that they actually cost half of what other online universities will cost.
In order to achieve these low tuition rates, they actually handle the cost of their program very differently than other schools do.
Instead of providing a cost per semester hour or per class the way other schools do, WGU has decided to provide tuition as a flat rate of $6,000 for each term.
During the term you are registered, you are welcome to take as many classes as you believe you can responsibly handle, and the more classes you take, the less the overall cost is and the faster you will be done with your program, which makes the program cost much less as well.
Generally speaking universities and colleges don’t have “Refund Policies,” but they do usually offer some form of a Withdrawal Schedule.
This schedule will indicate at what point in time you will need to fully withdraw from your classes in order to still be able to receive a full or partial refund of the tuition money that you have already paid.
Since Western Governors University does not charge by class, but rather by term, it is likely that students will need to drop out of every class during a single term in order to be eligible for a refund of tuition fees, but students will want to discuss these issues with their Admissions or Tuition department to be sure.
Customer Service Contact Info
Customers who would like to contact Customer Service with any questions, concerns, or complaints can do so by phone at 866-225-5948 or by clicking the link available on their website to have a college representative contact you directly.
This website says that WGU was named one of Fast Company’s Ranking of World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies, specifically for providing higher education that focused on “learning, not seat time.”
Their website also says that they have received awards from the USDLA for Best Practices in Distance Learning.
It seems as though this school does have a decent reputation, though it will be very important that students do their own due diligence regarding accreditation in their chosen area of study.
Competitors and Alternatives?
There are many different schools making the move to provide classes entirely online or at least in part, as this provides the most convenience for their students, so people looking for alternatives to WGU will have many different options.
If you have any experience with Western Governors University or their programs, please leave your reviews below.