WGU Tennessee celebrates six years

State-endorsed, online, nonprofit university launches scholarship in honor of sixth anniversary

NASHVILLE– WGU Tennessee – the nonprofit, online university launched to support the state’s Drive to 55 Initiative – today celebrated six years of providing quality, affordable education to working adults across the state.

As part of this milestone, the university launched a substantial scholarship covering nearly 50 percent of average tuition for its undergraduate and graduate degree programs, officials say.

“WGU Tennessee has been operating in our state for six years, and we’ve seen tremendous results,” said Kimberly Estep, chancellor of WGU Tennessee. “It’s been our honor and privilege to serve Tennesseans who are returning to school to earn degrees, and the ‘WGU Tennessee Sixth Anniversary Scholarship’ is another way to make higher education even more accessible and affordable.”

The university’s innovative approach, known as competency-based learning, is a big reason it has had such success – especially among working adults with busy schedules. The school measures competencies rather than time spent in a classroom, allowing students to move at a quicker pace and save even more money on its fully accredited degree programs.

The state-endorsed university, which now has graduates and students in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties, officially launched July 9, 2013, and has accomplished much on behalf of Tennessee and reached several milestones in its first six years, including:

·       Currently serving more than 4,000 students

·       Conferring more than 4,000 degrees

·       Forming more than 55 partnerships with companies and institutions across the state, including partnerships with all 13 of Tennessee’s community colleges and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT)

·       Awarding more than $2.5 million in scholarship funding to Tennesseans

·       Proactively bolstering the education and career opportunities of Tennessee’s underserved populations, which compose 73 percent of its student body

In addition to these accomplishments, and as a result of WGU’s Responsible Borrowing Initiative (RBI)and new financial literacy services, WGU has reduced its students’ loan debt by 40 percent in about five years. The average debt at graduation for a WGU student is about $15,000 – less than half the national average – and it’s decreasing at a faster rate than the national average. The student loan default rate has also steadily decreased to only 4.1 percent, while the national average is 10.8 percent.

“We’re charging ahead for the next six years with a simple but clear purpose,” Estep said. “To provide excellent education to Tennesseans that kicks open doors for our graduates and stays in step with Tennessee’s increasingly varied workforce needs – and we’re going to continue to do it all at affordable rates.”

To learn more about the WGU Tennessee Sixth Anniversary Scholarship, visit tennessee.wgu.edu/6th.

About WGU Tennessee

WGU Tennessee is an online, nonprofit, competency-based university established to expand Tennesseans’ access to higher education throughout the state. Formed through a partnership between the state of Tennessee and nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Tennessee is open to all qualified Tennessee residents. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the high-demand career fields of business, K–12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.

Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

In addition to WGU Tennessee, there are seven other WGU state-based, state-endorsed universities: WGU Indiana, established in June 2010; WGU Washington, established in April 2011; WGU Texas, established in August 2011; WGU Missouri, established in February 2013; WGU Nevada, established in June 2015; WGU North Carolina, established in October 2017; and WGU Ohio, established in February 2018.

For more information, visit the WGU Tennessee website, tennessee.wgu.edu, or call 855-948-8495.

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