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Governor Sandoval Announces New Online, Competency-Based University for Nevada

News Brief - 6/16/15

Partnership with nationally recognized Western Governors University establishes WGU Nevada

LAS VEGAS — Governor Brian Sandoval has issued a proclamation and signed a memorandum of understanding establishing WGU Nevada, nevada.wgu.edu, an online, competency-based university aimed at expanding access to higher education for Nevadans. Formed by a partnership between the state and nonprofit, nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Nevada offers accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four high-demand sectors critical to building Nevada’s economy: business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.

WGU Nevada is being established through a $2 million grant from USA Funds. Subsequently, the university will be self-sustaining on tuition. Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison, WGU President Dr. Robert W. Mendenhall, and USA Funds Director of State Engagement and Relations Anna Gatlin made the announcement today at the Switch InNEVation Center in Las Vegas.

“Affordable access to accredited education is the key to our future and essential to bringing more jobs to Nevada,” Sandoval said. “WGU Nevada will make it possible for more Nevadans to earn the degrees they need to advance their careers and provide better for their families.”

“USA Funds supports the launch of WGU Nevada to help thousands of Nevadans benefit from an innovative, competency-based approach that provides a more flexible and affordable path to a college degree and the enhanced opportunities that college graduates enjoy,” said William D. Hansen, USA Funds president and CEO. “We’re delighted to partner with the state of Nevada and WGU, in keeping with our focus on Completion With a Purpose, to increase student success in college and career.”

WGU Nevada will be led by Dr. Spencer D. Stewart. Stewart joins WGU Nevada after nearly 15 years of service at Nevada State College, where he has been instrumental in the college’s establishment and growth. In addition, WGU Nevada will be supported by an Advisory Board that includes senior business, community, and higher education leaders from across the state.

WGU Nevada uses an innovative learning model called competency-based education, which measures student learning rather than time spent in class. Designed to meet the needs of busy working adults, competency-based education allows students to study and learn on their own schedule and at their own pace, moving quickly through what they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. They have 24/7 access to learning resources and consistent, one-to-one faculty support, advancing as soon as they demonstrate mastery of course materials by writing papers, making presentations, and passing exams.

For working adults with prior academic and work experience, WGU’s learning model makes it possible to complete a degree faster—the average time to complete a bachelor’s degree is less than 3 years. Tuition, which has not increased since 2008, is charged at a flat rate of about $3,000 per 6-month term, regardless of the number of courses taken. Students may begin their terms on the first day of any month.

WGU Nevada is now accepting applications for enrollment. For more information, go to http://nevada.wgu.edu/.

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