Growing Number of Community College Partners Helps Foster Student Success

Like so many of its community and technical college partners, Western Governors University (WGU) values student success above all else. Since it launched in 1997, the online, nonprofit university has provided an affordable and flexible transfer option for individuals pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Today, WGU’s enrollment has grown to more than 121,000 students across the U.S. and on military bases worldwide—and more than 14,000 are community college graduates.

The university’s pioneering model helps make it a popular transfer destination for community college alumni. Its tuition is about $7,000 per year for most programs—roughly half of similar institutions. WGU’s degree programs are in demand and help address workforce needs in communities coast to coast. They are also competency-based, which means students have the option to apply knowledge gained outside of the university, accelerate toward graduation, and save money.

Perhaps most important, WGU maintains great relationships with community colleges throughout the U.S. and offers generous transfer privileges for community college graduates. In many cases, institutions establish formal partnerships with WGU. Right now, 96 colleges and 11 college systems have signed partner agreements with the university—and those numbers are expected to rise.

Partnership takes many forms and can include the development of guided pathways. Guided pathways provide a detailed and direct roadmap for students planning to earn an associate degree, then move on to a bachelor’s degree program. Students with A.A., A.S., and A.A.S. degrees usually qualify for upper division standing at WGU. That position allows for the transfer of up to 60 WGU credit equivalents (equal to 90 quarterly credit hours). Other transfer credit is considered based on students’ degree programs and previous experience.

To learn more about WGU’s collaboration with community and technical colleges on guided pathways, contact Andy Moore, Transfer Pathways Manager.

Guided pathways are among many innovations the university is pursuing to foster student success and become a more significant resource to its higher education partners. For example, WGU is creating stackable and transferable micro-credentials to allow individuals to enter the workforce more quickly while remaining on course for a degree. Also, WGU is a leader in the development of skills maps, tools to establish a universal language between educators and employers to ensure graduates are positioned to succeed in their careers.

To learn more about potential or existing partner agreements, as well as innovative ways the university is contributing to the higher education ecosystem, please visit WGU’s booth (#104) during the 2020 Innovations Conference in Seattle. Partnerships and guided pathways staff will be on hand to answer questions, share literature, and pass out WGU goodies.

Western Governors University is an Innovations 2020 sponsor and exhibitor.

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