Straighterline partner Western Governors University is transforming how working adults get their degree. Find out why there’s a buzz about competency based education!

Beth Dumbauld

Considering they just celebrated their student #50,000, we thought it would be a great time to tell you more about one of our favorite partners, Western Governors University.

Innovative, award-winning and truly affordable, Western Governors University (WGU) offers online, accredited, competency-based degree programs for working adults looking to advance their career in an educational setting that fits with their busy lives.

StraighterLine + WGU… An Award Winning Partnership

We know WGU well as the two institutions have worked together closely since 2010.  Over the years WGU has been a popular destination for StraighterLine students, while StraighterLine is a place WGU refers students who need prerequisites or other courses prior to admission to WGU because of the similarity of the two institutions’ learning models.  It’s been a recipe for success for students… fewer than 10% of students coming to WGU from StraighterLine have dropped out before earning their degree.

More recently, WGU and StraighterLine were recognized (along with adaptive courseware provider Acrobatiq) as finalists in a $20 million challenge by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to pioneer next generation digital courseware, designed to personalize instruction and help students successfully complete required general education undergraduate courses.

Competency-Based Learning

What makes WGU (and StraighterLine) different? The competency-based education model that WGU pioneered (and that StraighterLine uses as well) measures student success by learning, not seat time, class attendance, or credit hours. A student earns a degree by demonstrating skills and knowledge in required subject areas through a series of carefully designed courses. The advantage to this approach is straightforward—students are rewarded for hard work and prior experience. They’re not required to spend a lot of time on subjects they’ve already mastered, allowing them to focus on the areas where they need to develop competency.

Employers Love WGU

  • 100% said that their WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs; 88% said that they were very well or extremely prepared.
  • 99% said that WGU graduates meet or exceed expectations; 96% said WGU graduates exceed expectations.

40,000 Degrees in 15 Years & 50,000 Current Students

Just 15 years after Western Governors University (WGU) admitted its first student, the nonprofit, competency-based education university has passed a key milestone: 50,000 currently enrolled students nationwide. WGU has awarded 40,000 degrees and grown to be one of the nation’s largest nonprofit universities.

Recognized by White House

In 2014, WGU was named to the White House’s list of the most effective postsecondary job training programs in the nation. In a report released by Vice President Joe Biden’s office, “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity,” WGU was praised for its use of competency-based education as well as outperforming the national average time to graduation and delivering superior post-graduation outcomes.

“WGU students experienced an average increase in income of $9,000 in the first one to three years after graduation, and an average increase of $18,600 within six years of graduation, significantly higher than the national average. With an average cost of $18,000 for a bachelor’s degree, the return on investment of a WGU degree is 2-3 years.”

-  Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity

State Partnerships

WGU has done such a remarkable job that Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Washington have each entered into innovative partnerships with WGU to have WGU provide that state’s “public online option.”  WGU Indiana, WGU Missouri, WGU Tennessee, WGU Texas and WGU Washington are testaments to how WGU is transforming higher education.

Real Savings on a WGU Degree for StraighterLine Students

With a specific course-to-course articulation agreement, students starting with StraighterLine know exactly how their credits will fit into WGU’s degree pathways.


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