Western Governor's University (WGU)

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PocketChangePension
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Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by PocketChangePension » Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:47 pm

http://www.wgu.edu

Has anyone ever heard of it? Has anyone gone there or do you know someone who has? I've never heard of it, but a friend recently mentioned it. She also told me her other friend got her teaching degree there and was able to take her teaching license exams in Florida and get hired without issue. There are some articles written about it by major news networks and TIME Magazine. There are also some bad reviews scattered around the web. I've read tons of reports of a degree from here being accepted for entrance into Master's programs at much more well known schools.

I want to seriously consider this school since the price can't really be beat ($3,035 per 6 months), the competency based testing is great, and the fact that you can finish a degree in a much shorter amount of time but still have the flexibility to fit it into your schedule while working full time is the icing on the cake.

They claim to be accredited both regionally and nationally. I'm looking to do the B.S. Accounting track, and if that works, the M.S. Accounting afterwards.

Thoughts? Hiring Managers - would you hire someone with an online degree, more specifically from this school? Why or why not?

Thanks,
Kevin

JimmyD
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by JimmyD » Sun May 31, 2015 7:52 am

I'm going to resurrect this thread in hopes that it catches someone's eye who can shed any light as to whether WGU would be a worthwhile investment for someone looking to pursue a reasonably priced MBA program.

Any thoughts or experiences on Western Governors University? Between the cost of their degree programs, flexibility, and regional accreditation, they're at the top of my list for potential schools to consider, however I'd love to hear from a fellow Boglehead who has any direct experience with them.

orlandoman
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by orlandoman » Sun May 31, 2015 12:42 pm

I am a former Director of Admissions & College Relations for a 1,200 student college. Although, I do not have any direct interaction with WGU, I make the followimg commemts:

- Western Governors University (WGU) is a private, nonprofit, online American university based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The university was founded by 19 U.S. governors in 1997 after the idea was formulated at a 1995 meeting of the Western Governors Association. The university uses a competency-based learning model, with students working online. Its accreditation is through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

- In 2014, US News, in its academic rankings of teacher education programs in conjunction with the National Council on Teacher Quality, ranked WGU #1 in the nation for secondary teacher education among both online and traditional universities.

- I would have no concerns about recommending anyone I know to seriously consider WGU.
"Not everything you read on the Internet is true", Abraham Lincoln

PocketChangePension
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by PocketChangePension » Sun May 31, 2015 1:01 pm

orlandoman wrote:I am a former Director of Admissions & College Relations for a 1,200 student college. Although, I do not have any direct interaction with WGU, I make the followimg commemts:

- Western Governors University (WGU) is a private, nonprofit, online American university based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The university was founded by 19 U.S. governors in 1997 after the idea was formulated at a 1995 meeting of the Western Governors Association. The university uses a competency-based learning model, with students working online. Its accreditation is through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

- In 2014, US News, in its academic rankings of teacher education programs in conjunction with the National Council on Teacher Quality, ranked WGU #1 in the nation for secondary teacher education among both online and traditional universities.

- I would have no concerns about recommending anyone I know to seriously consider WGU.
Thanks for your reply. That definitely helps me. I'm 99% sure I'm gonna do it next year (saving the money so I can pay in full instead of having loans), but I still need to decide on a specific program. I'm torn between IT and Accounting.

mlipps
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by mlipps » Sun May 31, 2015 1:15 pm

For teachers, its a great option. A friend from high school went there and is now employed as a third grade teacher her first year after graduating.

However, their business program is not AACSB accredited, which ultimately made my husband decide to get his MBA elsewhere.

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mickeyd
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by mickeyd » Sun May 31, 2015 1:24 pm

I recently read about another online university (Everest?) that went belly up and all students were left high/dry with no way to transfer credits or graduate. They just became creditors in the bankrupt company that ran the place.

This is always a real possibility with the many online diploma mills that have popped up in the last 10 years or so.
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JimmyD
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by JimmyD » Sun May 31, 2015 1:30 pm

mlipps wrote:For teachers, its a great option. A friend from high school went there and is now employed as a third grade teacher her first year after graduating.

However, their business program is not AACSB accredited, which ultimately made my husband decide to get his MBA elsewhere.
Thanks for your comment. May I ask which program your husband ultimately chose? Is there a particular reason while he felt that AACSB accreditation was mandatory?

In my research, it doesn't appear that a degree from a program that is AACSB accredited is a requirement, but then again, I'm not looking to join the c-suite of a Fortune 500 company either. AACSB-accredited programs are much, much more expensive to the point that they're cost prohibitive for me.

PocketChangePension
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by PocketChangePension » Sun May 31, 2015 1:30 pm

mickeyd wrote:I recently read about another online university (Everest?) that went belly up and all students were left high/dry with no way to transfer credits or graduate. They just became creditors in the bankrupt company that ran the place.

This is always a real possibility with the many online diploma mills that have popped up in the last 10 years or so.
Reading a lot of online reviews, this place is far from a diploma mill. The students say it's not easy by any means and you really do need to know the material and actually study/do the work in order to pass. You don't just pay for your semester, scrape by, and graduate. Sure it's a possibility there will be bankruptcy, but it's a solid program overall from what I've seen.

orlandoman
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by orlandoman » Sun May 31, 2015 1:46 pm

PocketChangePension wrote:
mickeyd wrote:I recently read about another online university (Everest?) that went belly up and all students were left high/dry with no way to transfer credits or graduate. They just became creditors in the bankrupt company that ran the place.

This is always a real possibility with the many online diploma mills that have popped up in the last 10 years or so.
Reading a lot of online reviews, this place is far from a diploma mill. The students say it's not easy by any means and you really do need to know the material and actually study/do the work in order to pass. You don't just pay for your semester, scrape by, and graduate. Sure it's a possibility there will be bankruptcy, but it's a solid program overall from what I've seen.
Very familiar with Everest ... it was never regionally accredited, no comparison with WGU..
"Not everything you read on the Internet is true", Abraham Lincoln

donaldfair71
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by donaldfair71 » Sun May 31, 2015 4:53 pm

We just interviewed someone at my high school (I am a Department Chair in the building) who completed their teacher certificate through this university. It stood out because it was the first I had seen it as an alma mater.

The candidate was a career changer, leaving Law and hoping to teach Social Studies in our district. I didn't think twice about her qualifications/education in education in regards to her schooling. She has her teaching license in Virginia (where I am), so the state did the vetting necessary for her credentials.

mlipps
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by mlipps » Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:48 am

jimday1982 wrote:
mlipps wrote:For teachers, its a great option. A friend from high school went there and is now employed as a third grade teacher her first year after graduating.

However, their business program is not AACSB accredited, which ultimately made my husband decide to get his MBA elsewhere.
Thanks for your comment. May I ask which program your husband ultimately chose? Is there a particular reason while he felt that AACSB accreditation was mandatory?

In my research, it doesn't appear that a degree from a program that is AACSB accredited is a requirement, but then again, I'm not looking to join the c-suite of a Fortune 500 company either. AACSB-accredited programs are much, much more expensive to the point that they're cost prohibitive for me.
My husband ended up going to the Weekend MBA program at Purdue. It was $60k for the full program. He got a scholarship of $15k from the school and his employer paid for $15k. After taking the Lifetime Learning Credit on our taxes for 3 years, we paid about $25k net out of pocket. Not too bad.

AACSB accredited is the most important measure of legitimacy for business programs. My husband isn't looking for a C Suite position either, but we felt that the absence of that was a big enough red flag that it was not worth the cost savings.

kDictavissent
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by kDictavissent » Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:53 am

jimday1982 wrote:I'm going to resurrect this thread in hopes that it catches someone's eye who can shed any light as to whether WGU would be a worthwhile investment for someone looking to pursue a reasonably priced MBA program.

Any thoughts or experiences on Western Governors University? Between the cost of their degree programs, flexibility, and regional accreditation, they're at the top of my list for potential schools to consider, however I'd love to hear from a fellow Boglehead who has any direct experience with them.
I have worked in higher ed administration for nearly twenty years, at two top-15 national universities.

I am the biggest skeptic you will find of for-profit colleges and, to a lesser extent, online education. While I have no personal experience with WGU, I am certainly familiar with it and remember it as one of the first, and most benevolently-founded, of the online institutions, as another in the thread has noted.

Generally, when folks ask me about online or flexible learning options, often swayed by the endless marketing of the UPhoenix's and their kin, WGU is one school I recommend folks research. I also usually recommend any online/distance program offered by public state universities; these are right in their wheelhouse, at land-grant and non-land-grant school. I am more wary of what mid-tier and low-tier private non-profit universities are doing in their online programs, and the value-add there. A private for-profit institution is not a door I would ever darken, with the potential edge-case exception of a very, very niche program (e.g., the 8-week learn-to-code academies popping up in tech incubators... and those aren't universities or colleges in any sense.)

Check out US News' rankings on part-time MBA programs. I did mine at an AACSB accredited school and have been pleased with what I learned; I also really valued the team-based learning and atmosphere.

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N1CKV
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by N1CKV » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:34 pm

I don't see any claims of accreditation for any of their business programs.

I graduated from an AACSB accredited program at a state regional college, not all schools with accreditation are terribly expensive. Attending a school with a program that has no accreditation (or respected accreditation) is completely pointless.
I have met a lot of people that claim to love money, but they also seem to be the same people that are in the biggest hurry to get rid of it.

flyingbison
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by flyingbison » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:37 pm

PocketChangePension wrote:http://www.wgu.edu

They claim to be accredited both regionally and nationally. I'm looking to do the B.S. Accounting track, and if that works, the M.S. Accounting afterwards.
Will you be able to do an accounting internship through this program? Do you already have relevant work experience in the field?

ShenziNation

Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by ShenziNation » Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:10 pm

I have a few co-workers, ex-military, who are attending/ have attended WGU for their IT degrees. I've seen their course material, seems ok, but nothing what I had at a B&M university.

Regarding accounting, make sure your state board accepts that college/university's accounting degree. For example, in Florida "The Board accepts degrees from schools accredited by the following associations: Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Association of Independent Schools and Colleges who are regulated by the Commission of Independent Education, and Canadian, Mexican, Irish, and Australian academic accounting programs approved by the provincial educational bodies or the equivalent educational accreditation body for that country."
http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/cpa/faq-exam.html

I have a friend who completed her B.S. in accounting at a local institution only to find out that when she applied to take the CPA exams that her college was not accredited. Please check with your state's accountancy board about WGU's accreditation.

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SpecialK22
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Re: Western Governor's University (WGU)

Post by SpecialK22 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:43 pm

A couple of years ago I looked seriously into attending WGU, but opted against it for two major reasons:

1.) I was using the Post-9/11 GI Bill and living in a high cost of living area. The tax-free housing rate was around three times as much if I had at least one class which had an in-classroom component. WGU is 100% distance learning.

2.) To get tuition reimbursement, my employer at the time required the school to be AACSB and/or ABET accredited. However, that stipulation was only for tuition reimbursement, not for hiring. Because of how their policy worked, tuition reimbursement essentially became a cash bonus when combined with the GI Bill covering all costs.

Ultimately, I went with a for-profit because they matched up with the above requirements, and they had the most flexible scheduling between blended and online courses while working a full time job.

I do really like the concept behind WGU. A low cost education using a competency based approach rather than traditional curriculum. If I was paying out of pocket, I likely would have done WGU.

A possible downside to WGU is the lack of program accreditation for their accounting programs. They are institutionally accredited by a regional accreditor, which is acceptable by most states accountancy boards. Nevertheless, there are a few that require program accreditation such as AACSB or ACBSP, at least the last time I looked a few years back.

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