Western Governors University (WGU) is a non-profit online university that was founded by 19 US governors and is currently supported by at least 20 major corporations and foundations. The idea for this university came about during a bipartisan meeting of the Western Governors Association in 1995. It was pursued to address the problem of limited public funds for educational services in the face of the western states’ rapid population growth. It officially opened its academic doors in 1999.
WGU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) on a national scope. Most programs have specific accreditations from corresponding agencies such as the WGU Teachers College programs which are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and its nursing degree programs by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The good reviews it has been receiving has been confirmed by an award given by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) in recognition of the university’s achievements as the nation’s first competency-based online university and its success in making higher education more accessible to adult learners.
Financial assistance is provided through federal financial aid, student loans and scholarships. The admissions process generally involves application, submission of required documents and an interview with an enrollment counselor. Some programs have specific additional admissions requirements. Online programs begin the first of every month.