News Brief - 5/19/17
University Research & Review recognizes nonprofit, competency-based university for affordability, innovative model, and “overwhelmingly positive reviews” from students
ST. LOUIS For the fourth consecutive year, nonprofit, online university WGU Missouri and its parent university Western Governors University (WGU) have been recognized by University Research & Review (URR) as a “Best Value School.”*
The “Best Value School” award is presented annually to colleges and universities that offer students a high-quality education at an affordable price. The “Best Value School” list is widely utilized by students of all ages who are looking to obtain degrees from institutions known for academic excellence and reasonable tuition costs.
“WGU’s competency-based model and innovative approach to education enable students to accelerate their studies while getting the one-on-one faculty support they need, providing real value to adult learners,” said L. Joseph Schmoke, URR founder and chair.
Many of the positive comments from students and alumni evaluated by URR for the “Best Value School” award cite the support students receive while earning their degrees. According to the 2016 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), students of WGU and its state affiliates, such as WGU Missouri ranked the university higher than the national average on a number of key satisfaction indicators, including:
- Quality of interactions with faculty (12 percentage points higher)
- Quality of academic support (10 percentage points higher)
- The degree to which they feel challenged to do their best work: (15 percentage points higher)
- The acquisition of job-related knowledge and skills (11 percentage points higher)
- Interest in attending the same institution again (11 percentage points higher)
In addition, WGU regularly surveys its students and graduates to gauge satisfaction and drive continued improvement. In an internal survey conducted last year, 96% of students from WGU and its state affiliates expressed satisfaction with their experience. In another survey conducted by Gallup last year, 93% of students said WGU was the perfect fit for them, and 91% said their education was worth the cost.
WGU pioneered competency-based education, which focuses on measuring learning rather than time. Instead of logging hours in classes with set times, students can study and learn on schedules that fit their lives, applying prior learning and experience to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. Faculty work with students individually, providing personalized instruction, guidance, and support. For many students, this means they can accelerate their time to a degree and graduate sooner, saving both time and money. Tuition at WGU and its state affiliates has not increased since 2008, and is charged at an affordable flat rate of $3,000 per six-month term for most programs, regardless of the number of courses taken.
*The organization being designated a “Best Value School” has met certain criteria based on URR Findings, including affordability, assessment by current and former students, unique qualities, debt levels upon graduation, time required to graduate, and job prospects, among other characteristics. Your experiences may vary. The Findings are proprietary to URR and have not been influenced by the subject school or its representatives. For more details, visit bestvaluecolleges.org.