The idea for Western Governors University was born in 1995 at bipartisan meeting of the Western Governors Association. The chair of it – Utah Governor Mike Leavitt – had the foresight to realize that technologies in the sphere of distance learning had the power to tackle one of the western states’ most pressing problems. It was about rapid population growth confronted by limited public funds for educational services. All this made the governors to create their own university. They agreed that this new university would make maximum use of technologies in distance learning and furthermore would be collaborative among the western member states. Finally the university would use competencies rather than seat time as the measure of its outcomes. The governors enlisted the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education and also the National Centre for Higher Education Management Systems. The main goal was to help design the newly envisioned university. Five themes remained central to the effort. First was responsiveness to employment and societal needs, and the second was a focus on competency –based education. The rest three themes were expanding accesses, cost – effectiveness and finally – development of a technology infrastructure. Western Governors University was chartered in 1996 and was incorporated as a private and non –profit institution in 1997.

Western Governors University

Western Governors University or just WGU is an online university with mission. Its mission has remained one of helping hardworking adults meet their educational goals and improve their career opportunity. The university was created mainly to expand access in higher education through online, competency – based degree programs. Serving more than 40 000 students from all 50 states, WGU was flourished into a national university and yet remains non – bureaucratic and innovative. Now it continues to receive praise because of its academic model to enhance its reputation with employers for the emphasis on graduating highly competent professionals. This university graduated its first student with Master of Arts in Learning and Technology. This happened in November, 2000. Since then WGU has grown dramatically and in our days graduates over 10 000 students every year. Degree programs are over 50. The university surveys its graduates to assess the impact of their degrees on their both careers and lives. Furthermore WGU surveys employers for their assessments of the university graduates and the impact that these graduates have in their workforces. Surveys and individual cases studies also allow the university to continually improve its degree programs. Tuition costs across the nation are going up significantly every year. One of the major part from the university’s mission as a nonprofit educational institution is to keep tuition low. Actually low enough that the university tuition is typically half what other reputable online universities and traditional colleges charge. The tuition is charging at a flat rate every 6 months. That’s why students pay only for the time they need to prove their competence. Those who can complete the program in less time, pay tuition only for the time it takes.