Human CapitalOttawa County

Locals enroll in Ohio’s Newest University – WGU Ohio

Competency-based university supports accelerated learning and career advancement


Nearly 10 Ottawa County residents are working toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree at Western Governors University Ohio, an accredited online university with an innovative learning approach and affordable tuition structure.

WGU was conceived by a group of governors in 1997 to offer students, particularly adult learners, the chance to go to college, while working and caring for their families. Last year, Ohio became the eighth state to partner with WGU to offer its programs in health and nursing, business, teaching and information technology.

WGU’s partnership with the state means that eligible Ohio residents may receive tuition support through the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, Ohio National and Reserve Scholarship, Ohio War Orphans Scholarship or the Ohio Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program.

WGU Ohio provides an alternative to long-standing, traditional norms for college classes with a flexible model that embraces modern lifestyles.

“Ohio’s rapidly changing workplace is prompting residents throughout the state to advance in their current employment or transition to new industries. We’re excited that so many are turning to WGU Ohio to gain the skills needed for in-demand careers,” said Rebecca Watts, chancellor of the WGU Ohio. “The time-and-space constraints of a traditional higher education model conflict with many peoples’ work, family and community responsibilities. Highly motivated adult learners want to accelerate through their programs of study while continuing to work and fulfill family responsibilities. We have heard countless success stories from WGU graduates who were able to complete their degree programs because they could fit their learning into the spaces of their lives.”

According to Watts, the average age of WGU Ohio students is 37 and more than three-quarters work full time. WGU’s competency-based model enables students to demonstrate what they are learning and progress through their programs without the constraints of having to learn in lock-step with other students.

The advantages of WGU, which currently serves more than 3,000 Ohio residents, include:

  • Students earn their degrees by demonstrating what they know and can do (competencies) instead of measuring seat time in a classroom.
  • Students accelerate through course material as quickly as they can demonstrate mastery of the competencies. Degree programs start on the first of every month, year-round.
  • Each student gets one-on-one support from faculty.
  • WGU collaborates with employers in the development and ongoing transformation of its curriculum, ensuring that what students learn is current and relevant.
  • WGU’s tuition is about $3,500 per six-month term for undergraduate programs and about $3,800 per term for graduate programs. The flat-rate tuition model means students may complete as many courses as they are able to each term at no additional cost. And, all learning materials are included in the flat fee, so there are no additional textbook costs for students.
  • Ohio welcomed WGU to add an affordable, innovative option to the state’s higher education offerings and to help address a significant workforce issue — the need for more working adults with college credentials.

More information on WGU is available at