Western Governors University
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Western Governors University (WGU) is a private, nonprofit, online university offering remote degrees in four high-demand fields. Students can choose from online programs in business, information technology, education, or healthcare. WGU is known for being the largest online school and the largest university in the country, with more than 200,000 students enrolled online. Students at WGU earn their degree through competency-based education, where they take a competency test to pass their class and move through their program. Students who already have experience or knowledge in their field can benefit from this model, which allows them to skip classes they already know the material for and save money on their degree.
Average Financial Aid: $5,369
Accreditation: Western Governors University is accredited by 6 agencies
Rankings by Salary Score and Affordability
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Salary Score for Online Degrees at Western Governors University
|General Sales, Merchandising and Related Marketing Operations||$21,070||$81,520||100|
|Business Administration, Management and Operations||Not Reported||$58,705||97|
|Computer and Information Sciences, General||Not Reported||$74,868||90|
|Medical Illustration and Informatics||Not Reported||$61,154||87|
|Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing||$9,599||$74,342||80|
|Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Subject Areas||$16,193||$40,144||73|
|Accounting and Related Services||$15,637||$50,280||62|
|Education, General||Not Reported||$36,162||57|
|Special Education and Teaching||$18,708||$39,431||55|
|Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Levels and Methods||Not Reported||$34,615||38|
|Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management||$11,942||$99,943||88|
|Health and Medical Administrative Services||$12,907||$89,288||88|
|Curriculum and Instruction||$9,201||$54,990||80|
|Educational Administration and Supervision||$12,180||$63,693||74|
|Management Information Systems and Services||$13,355||$87,608||68|
|Accounting and Related Services||$12,288||$62,106||65|
|Teaching English or French as a Second or Foreign Language||$7,999||$53,771||62|
|Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Subject Areas||$10,059||$51,475||60|
|Special Education and Teaching||$10,413||$51,672||55|
|Educational/Instructional Media Design||$9,200||$56,253||55|
|Business Administration, Management and Operations||$13,235||$72,423||54|
|Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing||$12,634||$87,245||29|
|Education, General||Not Reported||$45,124||27|
FAQs About Western Governors University
Is Western Governors University Legitimate?
WGU is a legitimate, accredited college. It has accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. NWCCU evaluates colleges and universities in states throughout the Northwest and regularly reviews their faculty and staff, facilities, and degree programs to make sure they meet academic standards.
Accreditation is one of the best ways to tell the difference between a legitimate online university and a diploma mill. Legitimate colleges are evaluated by accreditors approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Diploma mills are scam schools that sell degrees or certificates without offering much class work. They may have fake accreditation from an organization not authorized to evaluate colleges.
At OnlineU, we only display accredited universities on our website to help students find legitimate online colleges that provide a quality education.
Today, there are many accredited colleges offering respected online degrees, often in high-demand fields where employers need trained professionals.
What Is WGU Known For?
WGU is largely known for three things: (1) competency-based education, (2) affordable flat-rate tuition, and (3) degrees in high-demand fields.
WGU is the first college to engage in large-scale, competency-based education (CBE). In CBE programs, students learn at their own pace and pass competency tests to move onto the next class. Students who already have knowledge in a specific subject area from previous education or work experience can test out of the class and spend their tuition dollars and time on new material. This is especially important for working adults — or those with prior college experience but no degree — who don't need to spend extra time and money learning something they already know.
While most colleges charge tuition per credit, WGU charges a flat tuition rate per semester, and students can take as many or as few classes in that time period. Most programs at WGU cost between $3,000 to $5,000 per semester. Students who want to fast-track their degree can squeeze more classes in for the same cost, making WGU a more affordable college for these students.
Degrees in High-demand Fields
All of WGU's degrees are focused in four high-demand fields: healthcare, business, information technology, and education. These programs are developed in collaboration with industry professionals to make sure students are gaining the most up-to-date skills necessary for the field. WGU caters to working adults; those employed in their industry while pursuing their degree can put those skills to work right away.
What Are the Career Outcomes and Top Employers for WGU?
WGU only offers online degrees in healthcare, information technology, education, and business. As a result, career outcomes for alumni tend to focus in those areas as well. The most popular occupation for recent graduates with an online bachelor's degree is as a registered nurse. Many graduates also become software engineers, computer support specialists, cyber analysts, and network administrators. Graduates with an online master's degree often become registered nurses, healthcare administrators, teachers, and managers.
Some of the largest employers overall for WGU graduates are focused in healthcare, tech, and public administration. Top healthcare employers include Kaiser Permanente, Hospital Corporation of America, Intermountain Healthcare, and Providence Health and Services. The largest tech employers for WGU are Amazon, Microsoft, and AT&T. Many graduates also work for the Air Force, Army, or Department of Veterans Affairs after graduation.
How Difficult Is It To Get Into WGU?
Western Governors University has a 100% acceptance rate, according to federal data from College Scorecard. In other words, all students who apply are accepted. However, students will need to live in the U.S.; speak fluent English; and have a high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent to get into a bachelor's program. Some programs have minimum GPAs and other requirements for admission as well. If they don't already qualify, students can also complete relevant preparatory coursework at WGU Academy before enrolling in a WGU degree program.
What Are the Admission Requirements for WGU?
Applicants must have at least a high school diploma or GED to apply and must live in the U.S. Some programs have more specific requirements. To apply, students need to submit some basic information, including where they previously went to school.
WGU will also need access to your transcripts. They offer a free transcript service, which partners with many other universities, to gather transcripts for students with no additional fees. If a student's former school is not a partner, they will need to request that their official transcripts are sent to WGU. This can take a few weeks, so it's best to do this ahead of time. Transcripts need to be received by the first day of the month that a student plans to start classes.
Next, students will create a WGU student account and apply for financial aid. Aside from the WGU financial aid application, it's best to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well. This application goes to the federal and state governments and can help students access free grant aid, scholarships, and optional student loans if they qualify.
Finally, students will do a 20-30 minute intake interview with their enrollment counselor, make their first tuition payment, and complete an orientation.
Degree: Special Education
Degree: Special education and elementary education (Dual Licensure) Time it took: 140 credits in 4 1/2 years while working full time is doable (including one break semester) Mentors: They are a nuisance and unnecessary. In the beginning I had to check in every week, being told I can’t miss the call. After a while there were Email check- ins instead of calls. After showing continuous progress I complained that I was a responsible adult and that I didn’t need looking after. She backed off after that... Read More
Degree: Healthcare Administration
I enrolled at WGU with high hopes of bridging over to my Bachelor's degree. I went through 3 program mentors. Two of them were useless babysitters who half the time never showed up to the meeting and when they did, it was nothing more than a babysitter check-in. While taking my Foundations in Healthcare Data Management class in my second semester, I ran into some issues. I failed the final once and used what little the results showed to study in the areas I lacked. Took the exam a second time and... Read More
I chose WGU because I needed a degree quickly after I got some bad medical news and was told I'd be medically retired soon. I work in cyber for the military so I have gotten training and have a handful of certifications. WGU was largely based around CISSP with a class about CEH and one about CHFI. They've recently updated the curriculum. I loved how WGU works. My mentor was hands off after I finished 4 courses in a month, but was always on-call when I was ready to start my next course. The mentors... Read More
The mentors are the absolute worst, and are the reason many people drop out of this school. They behave like babysitters who constantly harass students and add no value. 99% of the time they will not be able to help you with any questions or issues either. They are like an annoying and overbearing parent. Which is strange because most of the students are adults with busy lives and can organize their own schedules and do what they need to do. It's unfortunate.
I love that WGU is online, as I’m a self learner and learn easily. Love the courses too. I don’t mind the highly proctored exams though the first experience with this was terrible. My biggest issue with WGU is their mentors. They don’t help you progress, they hinder your progress. They can refuse that you to take courses in the order you prefer, they also nag you constantly, and treat your cell phone as if WGU is paying for it. No respect for personal space. They will rarely contact you via school... Read More
It works for working and not being able to go to scheduled classes, but be prepared for push back every time you want to do more than the bare minimum classes each semester. Every semester I've tried to get more than 12 hours, and every time they say 'start with 12, and add more after' I'm 38 years old, I think I know how my brain works for education. The degree counselor is younger than me, but telling me how my work ethic works like they've ever met me in person. And I've been through 3 different... Read More
Degree: Computer and Information Science
I started back in 2013 and I stopped for at least 6 years, when I started back I chose the Network Operations Bachelor degree, in the middle I got blocked by a network lab that uses a cloud lab. The lab gets deleted or becomes unresponsive after certain days and you have to start from the beginning, I got frustrated with the class and change the Major to Cyber security. I got through all the classes and in the final class I got stuck with the SSCP certification, the most stupid certification ever.... Read More
Degree: Business Administration
I’m 25% done earning my bachelors degree in Business Management and I’m happy with the school so far. You have to remember that this is an online school with an independent learning model, meaning you basically teach yourself. They give you all the resources you need to be successful but it is 100% your responsibility to use them effectively. I have weekly phone calls with my academic advisor who helps keep me on track and lets me know how I’m doing. It is true that trying to get an appointment with... Read More
Degree: Elementary Education
I received my BA in Elementary Education from WGU in 2022, and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately re-enrolled to pursue my MA in Elementary Education, which I am currently working on. It seems that reviews here are mostly either 5 star or 1 star reviews. Keep in mind that most satisfied people never leave reviews. People, in general, are more likely to vent about a negative experience online than they are to write about a positive one. That said, I think the fact that so many here are leaving... Read More
The exams are horrible, times are the biggest downfall you can be right in the middle of an exam and they want you to sit still like a statue while taking this exam and these exams can be up to 2 1/2 hours long and it’s very stressful you can’t understand what they’re saying because they don’t speak English. It’s frustrating and if they would get rid of the proctor exams or at least have a proctor exam without a WebCam, it would be great I mean if you’re so worried about People cheating they don’t... Read More