Western Governors University

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Western Governors University is an online-only university that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in a number of subjects including teaching, business, IT and medical. It is based in Salt Lake City, UT. The university was founded in 1997 by the governors of 19 states. Mike Leavittat, the then-governor of Utah, proposed the idea of the university at the Western Governors Association meeting in 1995 and within two years, the school began accepting and teaching students.

The Teachers College at Western Governors University was founded in 2001 after receiving an award from the United States Department of Education, and the first programs offered by the university were in Information Technology. By 2003, the school became accredited in four new regions, and in 2006, the College of Health Professions opened. The first offshoot of Western Governors University, WGU Indiana, was founded in 2010, and in 2011, thanks to a donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WGU Washington and WGU Texas were established. Over the next few years, several other offshoots of the university were founded, and by July of 2015, there are more than 60,000 students enrolled in WGU system.

Western Governors University Accreditation Details

Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The WGU Teachers College is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the nursing programs at the school are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The university's Health Informatics program has accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

Western Governors University Application Requirements

Western Governors University has both general application requirements and application requirements for each school, as well as graduate programs.

The general application requirements for undergraduate admission include:

• A complete application for admission
• A high school diploma or GED
• Official transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended
• Interview with a WGU Enrollment Counselor

The general application requirements for graduate admission include:

• A complete application for admission
• Official transcript to verify the receipt of a bachelor's degree
• Interview with a WGU Enrollment Counselor

WGU does not require any entrance exam for admission. This includes the ACT, SAT, GMAT and GRE. However, students who do not have college experience of any kind must pass the WGU Collegiate Readiness Assessment. This is an online test that measures a student's ability to succeed in college.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Western Governors University charges a flat rate tuition which covers all coursework, and the more courses a student completes in a term, the more affordable the degree becomes. Each term at WGU is six months long, and the student can choose to begin at the first of any month.

As of 2016, the term tuition ranges from $2,890 to $4,250 depending on the program, and both bachelor's and master's programs are covered within this range. There are also program specific fees such as science lab charges for the science education program and demonstration teaching fee for the Teachers College.

Financial aid is available through several methods including federal grants, student loans and scholarships. Students may also qualify for military tuition assistance and veterans assistance. There is also a payment plan available for students who pay tuition on their own.

Online Degrees Available

All of the degrees at Western Governors University are online degrees and come from four different schools. Here are some of the degrees offered:

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology

Students can earn a B.S. in Information Technology from WGU, and this degree will give students the IT skills and knowledge to boost any career in the computer industry. The program has been designed for those who are already established in IT and are looking for a bachelor's degree as well as those who have IT work experience but looking for a strong foundation of skills.

Students will have to earn 120 competency units, the WGU equivalent to credits, to complete this degree. Most pupils in this program have experience in IT, and if credit was earned at another institution, it may be transferable. Students who earn their B.S. in IT from WGU will also earn several IT certifications including CompTIA Linux+, CompTIA Network+ and CIW Web Design Specialist. A capstone project is necessary for program completion.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Another online degree that the university offers is the B.S. in Accounting. This degree will teach students skills such as auditing, tax accounting, cost accounting and financial skills. This program will also prepare students to enter into a master's program for accounting, which will give students enough coursework to sit for the CPA exam.

Some of the courses available include Business Law and Ethics, Leadership and Management, Accounting and Information Systems Management. Before a degree is earned, a student must complete a capstone project, the culmination of their studies in accounting.

What careers are available with a master's degree in accounting?

Master of Science in Special Education

WGU offers an online master's degree in special education, which will allow students to teach children with mild-to-moderate disabilities. This program is designed to enhance a persons established skills in the classroom, and it is the first online program in the nation to receive accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

This program is designed for people who already have a bachelor's degree and who are licensed in teaching. Some of the knowledge and skills that students will learn include research fundamentals, instructional design and other instruction in special education. To complete the degree, students must complete a work sample that will show off the skills and knowledge that they learned.

With a number of locations and programs including those in business, teaching, IT and health professions, Western Governors University is a viable option for those who are seeking an online education. Students can work at their own pace, and it is perfect for those who are working full-time and trying to enhance their current career path. With an affordable tuition, comfortable pace, and online format, earning a degree from Western Governors University may be perfect for you.