February 7th, 2012
10:10 AM ET

Students go at own pace at school without boundaries

By Sonya Hamasaki, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - After spending 20 years in a midlevel job at a Southern California credit union, Dawn Moore wanted a promotion. But to move up in the company, Moore needed a bachelor's degree. So what stopped her from going back to school? A full-time job, a family and a tight budget.

"I needed a university that was accredited, would work with my schedule, and I could do from home," said Moore, 55. "I just felt at my age and with everything I had going on in my life, I didn't feel like walking to a campus, sitting in a classroom and doing the traditional brick and mortar."

But then she discovered Western Governors University.

The university was started by a group of governors from the West who wanted to make education accessible to adult students with busy lives. It's an online, nonprofit, fully accredited university, a distinction not granted to all online campuses. It's a school without boundaries - there aren't any teachers, curriculums are personalized, and students can go at their own pace.

This type of flexibility draws adults who are strapped for time. The average student is 36, and 70% of them have full-time jobs.

"What makes us most unique is that we're competency-based; we actually measure 'learning' rather than 'time,’ " said Robert W. Mendenhall, president of Western Governors University. "So for each degree, we define what we expect graduates to know, and be able to do. When they demonstrate it, they graduate - independent of how many classes they've taken."

Another deal breaker? Costs. At traditional universities, tuition and fees can run up to more than $30,000 a year. At Western Governors, students pay a flat rate of $3,000 per term, which amounts to $6,000 per year. Rather than paying hundreds of dollars per unit (like in most other schools), students take as many courses as they can handle for a flat rate. This arrangement allows those on the fast track to speed through their classes, saving precious dollars and cents.

Michael Norwood is an Army reservist whose job as a drill sergeant meant traveling at least twice a month. "If I ended up pulling a 12- to 15-hour shift, I could head back to my room and get in a couple (of) hours before I had to call it a night and do it all over again," he said.

Norwood pursued his bachelor's degree in business management while hopscotching the country training Army recruits. "The school helps individuals who are in combat, too, who are actually in the field and away from civilization,” he said. “They have a chance to do their studies and not be penalized for missing a class."

After receiving his diploma, Norwood jumped right back in to classes at Western Governors - this time to pursue an MBA.

Western Governors offers degrees in four areas: business, information technology, teacher education and health care. Students pair up with a mentor, who helps with classes and advises them on when to increase or decrease their loads - depending on what’s going on in their lives.

For Moore, illness interrupted her studies three months after enrolling.

"I found out I had colon cancer," she said. "Western Governors let me do my classes as I was recovering. It wasn't a pressurized situation. I don't feel a traditional school would really let you take a break."

Moore, whose cancer is in remission, said she focused on using her studies to push through recovery.

And two years later? Moore graduated with a bachelor's degree in business management – and she got her promotion.

soundoff (296 Responses)
  1. ICU RN

    I'm a student at WGU, and hope to have my BSN by the end of March. I am thrilled with the school, and am enjoying how I'm in control of my education. I don't have to suffer through the student who wants to make every class topic about them, I don't have to wait for the struggling student to catch up before the entire goes to the next chapter, I go at my speed. If the school offered a NP, I'd sign up in a second.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:57 am |
  2. BlueCrabRN

    I tried WGU and I agree that their program is no joke. My only problem with the program is that there are a lot of time-wasting "tasks" involved alongside the tasks that actually teach you something. Working full-time and raising a family, I just don't have that much time to waste. Give me a test, assign me a paper, but don't require me to spend hours doing busywork just to prove I'm putting in time. Secondly, the $3500 buys you six months. If you finish one course or five, you pay the same price. I got five in, but it was painful. It could get very pricey if you're not motivated and disciplined.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  3. John Doe

    Until any level of education above 6th grade gives real life education and not just a bunch of useless junk, there is no point in getting a degree. Most people do not need math above the basic 4. No matter how much english you force a person to take, it they do not get it by 6th grade they will not get it by 12th grade. (many posts in here are perfect examples of this.) Since when has European history helped stop any current wars. From 7th grade up you should be learning specific trade skills.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Rich

      We need to go back to an apprenticeship system.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Possible

      I just saw on the news here yesterday that the local school district has proposed removing some art and language courses and implementing more vocational courses to prepare for jobs right out of high school. Although, I don't agree with removing anymore courses, I do fully support providing vocational training to students that do not plan on attending college.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Teri

      I completely agree. I have two college degrees and have taken countless worthless classes. I took a full year of American Literature and a full year of World Literature. None of those were relevant to an engineering degree. Neither were psychology, sociology, economics, or any of the biological sciences that I had to take. Almost all 4-year degrees could be completed in 2 years if they got rid of the useless courses and the high schools actually taught the basics. The absolute and most ridiculous class I had to take (and this was a required course, not an elective) was a course on how to market to the masses. Engineers do not market to the masses. We spent a full semester looking through catalogs and print ads and discussing the layout and chosen colors/fonts. In hindsight, I guess it wasn't a total waste. I can put together a mean poster for a 3rd grade science project.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Dr Ema Kay

      John, on the one hand yes I agree in some cases for some people there is no need to go to college and they should be taking voactional courses to learn thier trade. On the other hand....I would hate to be operated on or treated by a doctor who has not been to college nor have my drugs dispensed by someone who has not been to a college nor defended by a lawyer who has not learned his law in an established college. Also, college courses teach advanced analytical thinking – something which is not gained by a vocational course. Every class is set up to exercise this skill. It is a valuable skill which should definately be taught to people in various industries – people who have not been to college for the most part are very lacking in thier analytical thinking skills – I know this for sure – I work with them. In addition, with the way that the current public education system is being bankrupted and stripped of its most knowledgable teachers who can make so much more money doing something else. I don't think that even those who choose to learn vocational skills are being educated at the level at which they need in order to safely and effectively perform the job in the public sector. This, sadly, will become even more true in the future as the federal and state governments decrease the amount of funding being alotted for education.

      February 10, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Jane Doe

      Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That's why you should learn about "European wars", and American wars, AFrican wars, wars in the Pacific theater, Korean wars etc etc. You need to learn, Mr. Doe

      February 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  4. Carlton

    Thank you CNN, for this long advertisement of an online university. I'll be waiting for you next article on DeVry University, tomorrow.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  5. The_Mick

    "At traditional universities, tuition and fees can run up to more than $30,000 a year. At Western Governors, students pay a flat rate of $3,000 per term, which amounts to $6,000 per year." +++++ This is misleading information. State colleges average less than $10,000 year. The benefit, an important one for working people, is convenience. But having taken online "enrichment" classes after getting two college degrees in actual college classrooms, the lack of a teacher means you will have serious weaknesses in areas where you have no expert to answer questions and explain certain concepts to you in more than one way. We teachers know that learning occurs from reading, hearing, hands-on and seeing (both visualization and observation) and the more ways that are used the better the learning that occurs.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Vanessa Loftis

      Hello, I currently attend WGU, and we have course mentors that are able to assist us one on one. I had an exam last term, and 2 days before I took it, my course mentor called me out of the blue and helped me with anything I had issues with. I can't tell you how many times I had one on one contact with many of my classes like the integrated science course and literature. This school is amazing, and if you saw some of our tasks we have to complete, you would be shocked. It isn't a school where you can fly on by, you actually have to work at it. We do have teachers, we just attend the courses that we are currently in. We don't have to wait for the next available class, or worry if there isn't enough space in the class. The classes are readily available to us as we progress to the next stage.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  6. Rich

    The best part that everyone is ignoring: WGU's IT programs require you complete around 12 certification exams. So, yeah. Well done trolls.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Surething

      It's a sad thing to see how trolls and some people can't comprehend that people actually have motivation to learn on their own. I guess we all have to be lonely, narrow-minded and emotionally unstable for all of us to be on the same page.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  7. moosh

    i'm curious what it takes to get accredited. apparently just a webiste.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Research

      Just research Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Courseware Evaluation (IACE) Program. If you look maybe at their websites you may find out how they choose to give out accreditation. WGU is more than just a "website".

      February 8, 2012 at 10:13 am |
      • Research

        Oh and also research National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

        February 8, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  8. Herr Doktor

    This is a nice commercial for WGU. How much did you get paid for this, CNN?

    February 8, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Kthnxbi

      $100 Billion Trillion Dollars. Idiot...

      February 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • PeteDude

      I doubt anyone got paid except the reporter, and WGU's PR people.

      On slow news days in college blogs, the press tends to carry WGU stories. Not that it's a bad thing, though– it gets people exposed to another option.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  9. Socrates

    What's missing from on-line degrees is the chance to interact with a professor and a classroom of other developing minds. Traditionally, the purpose of a liberal arts education was to teach young people critical thinking skills, not just wrote content. Liberal arts graduates would then use those skills as leaders in government and business. Unfortunately, neither government nor business values actual thinking anymore, so diploma mills like Western Governors University are allowed to thrive.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Herr Doktor

      *rote

      February 8, 2012 at 9:54 am |
      • Socrates

        Danke schoen, Herr Doktor.

        February 8, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Surething

      Nearly all take-home work done today is done through sponsored websites. These websites are complete with: voice-over tutorial videos, practice problems with all work provided, and grading systems (adjusted in difficulty/mistakes allowed by the professor/teacher). Most of the learning done my classmates is done at home or through each other via some sort of technological connection (email, text messaging, etc.). Critical thinking is learned through practice and the lessons taught (with a teacher or a online tutorial, it's all the same). And judging by the social culture experienced at the colleges I've visited/attended, it's my opinion that the rest of our "growth" as a person can be learned just about anywhere else in life (military/work/personal relationships). So far, I've learned from the younger kids that Susie really "gets around".

      February 8, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Vanessa Loftis

      Actually, if you actually think that all we do is write papers and take test, you are totally mistaken. The education I get out of WGU is amazing. I have attended many traditional colleges, and they were so much easier then what I am doing now. The humanities course I am in now makes you think and then apply the knowledge to your chosen profession. I am an elementary teaching major, and I currently have to take a piece of literature, find a theme that correlates to my profession, and then find 2 different disciplines (painting, song, movie, etc) with a similar theme, and compare and contrast them in a 30 slide power point presentation. We have large projects, and I am not talking about 1 or 2, some tasks has as many as 10. This school is no joke, and I have learned a tremendous amount of information.
      This school is perfect for people like myself, who want to go back to school, but can't afford the daycare to put our children in. We have the support of course mentors, that are able to do live video chats, attend lectures, and talk via phone on a one on one basis. You don't even get that at a traditional school. I love WGU, and wouldn't change it for the world.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Rich

      I'm fairly sure you have no idea what you're talking about. WGU isn't a liberal arts school, has strict entrance requirements for an online school, and has real world metrics for graduation.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Dol

      Actually Socrates,

      If your critical thinking skills are as well developed as you seem to think they are you might conclude that everyone has a different style of learning. Additionally, Liberal Arts degrees were not developed to teach critical thinking skills; life and maturity does that. LA degrees simply expose a person to a wide range of general subject.

      Perhaps if you took a class at WGU you might learn tolerance to other styles of learning and teaching. More importantly, you might learn that WGU offers more than just ROTE content. You may not get in, though, because you haven't yet mastered remedial spelling.

      You do know that Socrates is not just a text term for the price of socks, don't you?

      Go WGU!!!!!!

      February 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  10. TheRoc

    Does anyone else see irony in an online university without people teaching the courses that offers degrees/certification programs for teachers?

    February 8, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • FutureTeacher

      Wgu is NCATE accredited which is a difficult accreditation to obtain. Only 24 Universities in California including Stanford share that accreditation. As a student of WGU you still must pass all state content exams and do 8 to 16 weeks of student teaching prior to graduation. Students are well prepared for teaching before entering a classroom. This school is awesome and is a great option for busy working adults. It is great not having to listen to boring lectures from teachers and instead just focus on demonstrating the content that I learned through rigorous coursework.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:55 am |
      • TheRoc

        Welcome back teaching staff. We are all very excited about the new school year. There have been a few changes since last year. These changes may affect some of you. Spurred by cost-saving demands from the school board, and following days of critical thinking, our new principal, HAL 3000, has made the decision to shift to online, distance learning for the students. This is the wave of the future! Oh, and teachers, the district will be mailing out your final paychecks by the end of the week.

        February 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
      • @theroc

        It is another option that works well for working adults. This structure may not work for everyone but it is highly effective. Do I think our children and adolescence are better suited being self taught via online? No, not necessarily. The point for a student is to learn and if there are other options out there that must be explored. If anything the way the districts are budget strapped it would probably save some teaching jobs by having distance learning available. You have to realize that everyone is different and is capable of learning by a different style.

        February 8, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  11. Are you too stupid to teach yourself?

    First, I am a scientist and have two degrees under my belt.

    Look at the pages and pages of whiny morons, totally amazed by the concept that someone could actually teach something to themselves. Through most of college I felt like I was teaching myself 99% of the material anyway. I only went to my biochemistry classes for about the first week until I realized that the professor was just putting everything from the book up on the projector screen. After that, I just went back for the mid-term and final and had the 4th highest grade out of 153 students.

    The point is that this is a great idea. College is a modern money making scheme in which most must take out the equivalent of a mortgage to learn information that is free. What you are really paying for is the little piece of paper at the end.

    Don’t believe me, look up the Chinese guy that had no education and taught himself calculus with some old discarded text books. Sorry whiney college grads on here but this program is legit.

    If your not smart enough to teach yourself information than your probably not college material. Its not for everyone, maybe a trade skill is better for some of you.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • durundal

      actually I would somewhat disagree with you – college you pay for the access to other students, and the name recognition with employers. Ask anyone with a bachelors or advanced if you think im kidding

      February 8, 2012 at 9:36 am |
      • Are you too stupid to teach yourself?

        Access to other students? You can go out to any college bar on the weekend if you want. Its called the internet man, you can talk to as many people as you want, for free, just like this.

        February 8, 2012 at 9:44 am |
      • moosh

        it's about being too stupid to teach yourself, but rather about efficiency. do we teach carpenters by saying "here's some wood, build a house" and just say "no, you did it wrong. try again"? isn't it more efficient for someone to show the carpenter how to build a house and pass on all the time saving methods the journeyman has acquired over the years?

        February 8, 2012 at 10:00 am |
      • @moosh

        Without the proper knowledge of the programs at WGU it is easy to blast out uneducated responses. Prior to graduation you must have weeks of preclinical and 8 weeks of student teaching. You will not get a degree from WGU without working "hands on" in the field you choose.

        February 8, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • TheRoc

      Mad Scientist,

      You forgot to add: "Buuaahhahaha!"

      Sincerely,
      The Village Idiot

      February 8, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Biologist

      You're, not your

      February 8, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • moosh

      you're logic is flawed. because there was once a chinese guy that taught himself calculus, everyone should be able to do it? that means because einstein failed math and still became a world famous scientist, the path to genius is failing math? just because one or a few can do something, that doesn't mean it's the best solution for society as a whole.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Eric Long

      I've known at least two of my colleagues that have graduated from Western Gov U, and they loved it. They are both very bright individuals, and could have been accepted at any of the local universities with no issues at all. They chose WGU because you can go at your own pace, plus you can knock out some IT certs too along the way.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • FutureTeacher

      You are exactly right! With video lectures on youtube and countless resources online it is extremely easy to learn mathematics. It is time society starts thinking outside the box. If you need someone holding your hand and slowly pacing you through coursework then you should by all means go sit in a classroom. I much prefer skipping all the wasted time sitting in a classroom and study myself!

      February 8, 2012 at 10:07 am |
      • Emma

        Math is not really a strength for me and when I took math in a traditional college classroom I really struggled, I only just scraped through but felt like I had learned nothing. At WGU I was really concerned about how I was going to pass math classes through self study but I was very pleasantly surprised with the learning resources for my classes. I loved the way it was totally self paced so I did not have to ask questions in front of the class or ask the teacher to say or explain the concept again and again. I actually learned stuff!! Amazing! It was hard work and took many hours of study, but at least I could study on my schedule and I took the test when I knew I was ready, not when my class was 'over' as it would be in a traditional school. Now my math and science classes are complete I am getting through my classes at a quick pace, which will save me money in the long run.
        Lots of people do not respect online schools, I understand some are truly diploma mills and/or just give students a crappy and very expensive 'education', but WGU really is different; it has a great concept that actually prepares students for their chosen field.

        February 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  12. GLADOS

    I miss Chell...

    February 8, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  13. Norris

    No wonder a bachelor's degree isn't worth the paper its printed on anymore.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  14. CreepyAnon

    I will definitely check this place out. At some point.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • durundal

      I admit, Im interested....and skeptical. I just dont see how this can hold up to going to a traditional school if there are no teachers or oversight on the student – heck whats the keep them from cheating on the 'assessment exams'. I just dont see how they can guaruntee the quality of the degree from afar. If that is so, how are we not cluttering up the market with asymmetric info if now everyone can get a degree, but only 40% of them actually know what they should and have the skills. Makes for more of a burden on the businesses, and the cheapening of 'traditional' education (I always joked that it will only be a matter of time before it will take a masters in making fries to work at mcdonalds)

      February 8, 2012 at 9:35 am |
      • Lenell

        All the tests/exams are proctored. You either take the test at a authorized proctored site (ie Prometric/Pearson VUE) or you can do it at home from a company that specializes at proctoring exams at home (I think Sentinel is the company). If you decide to do the home route (only some tests are available to take at home, not all), they issue you a webcame and it has to be angled at a particular way so that they can see your monitor/desk/keyboard/mouse to ensure you don't have any open windows, not using the keyboard when it's just a multiple choice exam, etc. If they detect the slightest thing that is off, they will pause your exam and tell you to call a 800 number and the agent on the line will tell you what the issue is based from the supervisor that is hosting your exam.

        February 8, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  15. Kevin

    Eye think dis is great!...I gaught an online digree and look what it did four me!...Nothing like having meye friends do meye my work. Maybe I'll bee luky enuf to be a teacher and educate your kids wit mere digree.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  16. Sue

    Do they have a program for an MD degree? I heard those guys make a ton of money.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Kthnxbi

      And yet you get paid nothing for being a troll...

      February 9, 2012 at 2:46 am |
  17. Brian

    HI! I don't know anything. I will just keep my mouth shut.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  18. Ian

    This is posted as an "article" but should be identified as what it probably is: a press release (promotional piece) fed to a reporter by a public relations firm on behalf of the firm's paying client (the "university"). I would venture to guess that the same public relations firm also lined-up the flurry of satisfied-customer-sound-bites that dominate the above comments, as well as the overly perturbed "rebuttal" that I anticipate will follow from this comment. Come clean Sonya - who really wrote this?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:01 am |
    • Dol

      Thank you for pointing out that everyone who learns at WGU are "Stepford Students". Because of you, I will now quit an affordable and extraordinarily challenging BSN program. Whew!!!! You sure saved me.

      You are now on the Troll list.

      February 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  19. dynoross

    Sounds like another resource for resourceful people to further educate themselves i'd rather have a degree than no degree it's that simple

    February 8, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  20. CNN is lame

    Since I went to college it was hell of waste of money: Introduction to Math, Reading, Science, etc.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:45 am |
  21. RJ

    I would like to point out that the Western Governors HIM program is CAHIIM accredited, not an easy accreditation to obtain. In order to sit for certifications from AHIMA, one has to attend a CAHIIM accredited program. In my state, there is only one of these programs that is accredited by CAHIIM for the RHIT certification exam, at a cost of $20,000 a year! Some of us have to enroll in distance education programs and thank the Good Lord they are out there. For many of us in the healthcare field, we need these certifications, particularly with the government mandates for Medicare and Medicaid and, specifically, the mandates for use of EHRs for higher reimbursements. Western Governors is a great option for us. I am 55 years old and now have to get these certifications to stay in my field, it would cost me $80,000. Not a great return on investment there. So Western Governors works. In my field, it does not matter where you graduated from, it only matters what certifications you hold! I could go to Yale which is right down the highway, but I would not get a job if I did not hold the AHIMA certifications.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • MiGrant

      You're an inspiration RJ!
      Thanks for your post, and good luck to you!

      February 8, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • Eric Long

      Spot on RJ, I am thinking about starting at WGU myself. I've heard nothing but good things about it.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  22. ryoko

    sweet, going to check this out

    February 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  23. BADGUY

    I think the Federal government should build on-line degree programs for engineering, accounting and all the sciences. These courses should be offered for free. On line training IS the wave of the future and makes advanced education available to all, not just the very Rich!

    February 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • af090391

      My parents grew up in poverty, and now I'm going to LSU for a chemical engineering degree because I received a Full tuition scholarship. Wealth may play a role, but drive and ethics, especially from the parents, are a lot more important for getting a kid adequately through school.

      February 7, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
      • Ova Dehill

        @af090391, kudos. I agree that people can overcome poverty to get a quality education. I've done it myself as well.

        February 7, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Serg

      Getting accreditation for online degrees in engineering is going to be hard, if not impossible. ABET (The accreditation board for engineering) has very specific requirements, including a certain amount of lab courses which can't be done online. I know many universities do offer online master degrees though.
      It's because of those requirements that most for-trade colleges (e.g. Devry) offer Engineering Technology degrees rather than Engineering degrees.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • woodrow

      I don't want to pay for your freebies. Go find another fool besides the taxpaying workers.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:04 am |
    • TIm

      Unfortunately, the more strict science classes are a bit difficult to do online, I imagine. I am currently working on a BS in biochemistry. Biochemistry requires labs, so not all majors can work with an online course. But I like your idea.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  24. Tom Atkins

    I've been researching online schools, at least 90% of all universities offer at least some online courses now, WGU seems like the best of the primariy online schools, also being non-profit is definately a plus. WGU seems very popular among IT people without degrees.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  25. Conceptualcomicrelief

    I took a free online course on DaDa Art. Lesson #1 was go to your toilet and write your name on the bowl.
    Then they e-mailed me saying: " We don't exist, neither do you ." It was an enriching experience, I think.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Not a Comedian Either

      Hey! Conceptualcomicrelief – – You are so NOT FUNNY!! HAHA!

      February 8, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  26. Faffeshu

    I'm an RN with an Associates Degree in Nursing who will be utilizing WGU for my combined BSN/MSN. My ADN was a 2 1/2 year degree from a community college, with which I have earned an average salary of approximately $95,000 for the last few years (it could have been more, but I give away a lot of my 'call' shifts – I work in the Operating Room). All of you with 4 year degrees and a mound of debt, I salute you. I wanted to go to a 'real' university, but it was not feasible for me at that time. So, although I lack the connections and experiences of university life, I have a stable income (above average for a family, actually) in a stable field with a projected future need. At this point in my life and career, neither I nor my employer require the status of a 'name' university. We require usable results. And WGU offers targeted, focused studies with proven, measurable, accredited results that translate into the real world in which I work. So get over yourselves.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • FutureTeacher

      Very well said. That sums things up very nicely.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • WGU student #2

      High five!

      February 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • asda

      you would be better off hitting the crack and hookin

      February 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • HHRochNY

      I'm an Associate degree RN pursuing my BSN at a state university. I researched online options and they seemed great, too. Cost was about the same as a SUNY school. For an RN-BSN its a great option.
      But, holy cow, where the heck are you to be making 95k? And not working crazy shifts? In upstate NY, totally unheard of. Good luck with school!

      February 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  27. Someone in Columbus

    Folks – I have attended both established Universities and on-line ones. The experiences are varied. Some of the for-profit ones are jokes, to be sure, and some ARE accredited by respected regional agencies. To be fair to WGU – it appears to be primarily designed to eductae teachers and some health and IT folks. It does not claim to be a full liberal arts college.

    Unfortunately, I have to agree that where you get your degree from matters as much as what it is in.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Tigerdawg

      It may matter to get an easier start to your career, but performance trumps all once you have experience.

      February 8, 2012 at 6:18 am |
  28. beernpizzalover

    With the posting of this advertisement for a diploma mill, I hereby officially remove CNN.com from my online list of website bookmarks!

    February 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Lawrence

      Poor Baby, we will not miss you. Who forced you to read the article. Only problem I see is it is cost too much.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Truth1111

      Whats the matter? Are you a teacher in an old fashioned classroom where kids cough all over eachother, boys are there to look up girls skirts and down their tops, bullys beat others, girls get pregnant? The days of physical classrooms are numbered. Deal with it... Online is the way of the future..

      February 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
      • Ova Dehill

        Did you go to elementary school in LA to become that bitter? Online classes can be good for some people and for certain majors, but they still have many limitations. There's also something amazing that happens when you get the right teacher, that just isn't there in any online class – at least not in any of the ones I've taken.

        February 7, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  29. Jack Tarkam

    Education spans a spectrum from the very high end (Harvard, Cambridge, MIT, Stanford) down to this. This may have some marginal value to some, but I wouldn't put it in the same category as a respected degree from a traditional university. Good education is all about quality people, and you need people for that.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Ova Dehill

      There's also a wide range of opportunities that open up for people based on what school they go to. I'm sure you're going to make much better contacts going to MIT or CalTech than WGU. Schools like WGU though, don't seem to exist to directly compete with those schools. They're just making higher education more easily/realistically attainable for people who would otherwise not be as likely to get a degree at all.

      February 7, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  30. OvernOut

    I just nominated the phrase "brick and mortar" for banishment by the Unicorn Hunters of Lake Superior State University. I was surprised that the phrase was not already on the Banished Words list. The statement "doing the brick and mortar" made by the person in this article should provide ample evidence for the banishment of this phrase. :)

    February 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Unemployed

      Banish it. The guy laying the bricks is out of work and has already been banished.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  31. Whutever

    In general, it's not the content of the degree that is nearly as important as the perception of that degree. Fair or not, I'm guessing when an employer sees "Western Governors University" on your resume, this is not going to lead you to the promised land. If you're already an established employee that the company already likes and respects, and all that is holding you back is the technicality of having letters after your name....this sounds like a good option (as it was for the woman in the story). Otherwise....not so much.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • BRBSanDiego

      I would not be too keen about hiring anyone who attended one of these "wanna-be universities". Most of these working adult schools are a total waste of time and money. It is basically a 'pay your money, get your degree" joke of an education. Most of them were initially designed to lure rich foreign "students" to the USA at great cost to their wealthy parents – kind of an extended baby sitting service. The foreign student scam has dried up considerably, so now they are targeting loser American "students" with their expensive, worthless degrees. These schools are right up there with Caribbean medical schools for people who can't get into US medical schools. Joke is on you when you try to get a real job.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
      • ThanksMountainMan

        Interesting, I know 2 people from Caribbean medical schools and both just got jobs that make between 275 – 325k annually. I think this means your point is meaningless and nonsense.

        February 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Emma

      Not really! At least not for the teaching, nursing, and IT. These kind of jobs require certifications and licences, employeers look at that. It is not like getting a liberal arts degree and needing it to be from the best school to set you apart from the rest. Hospitals will hire RNs, schools will hire state licenced teachers, companies will hire tech people (if they have certifications and can pass technical interview), in the end the NAME of the school does not matter too much...simple as that. To me it is more like a trade school, teaching a skill set that is needed for a specfic job with certifications....not just a general education with no real job path.
      Also- Any MBA students please expand on the certification that must be passed to get degree, I know it is a national thing....not too sure though, not my major.

      February 17, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  32. Nathan F

    I teach economics at a traditional 4 year college. This type of setup will be better for working adults and only for some majors. The truth is there are a lot of 18 year olds that the true skill they learn in college is how to show up consistently when no one is forcing you.
    However, the night classes I teach are all working adults and I feel like we are ripping them off because they don't need to learn how to show up and I'm confident they could do whatever they are told on their own.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Claudia

      I am an undergrad student at a respected and traditional "brick and mortar" school and I totally agree with you.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • riley

      Agree. I received my MBA from a non online school and spent over $50k and two years of evenings from 6pm -10 pm in school. While the degree on my resume has certainly moved my career along, I could have learned most online.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  33. jj

    Hilarious story, great job CNN!

    February 7, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  34. jake

    The accreditation agency that accredited WGU is a joke. It is NWAC that accredits on-line schools. Check out Wiki

    February 7, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Another WGU student

      So you are saying U of Washington, Gonzaga and Utah are also a joke? Yup you bet it accredits the online university of Western Governors. You should stop making yourself look like the real joke.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • joseph

      Like ill really trust wiki. Because everything on the internet is true.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Just Me

      To find out if a school has decent accreditation, call Columbia University or any other decent University and see if they will take transfer students with credits from school in question, or if they will recognize those credits. Their yes or no answer will sum it up for you in a nut shell.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
      • riley

        I doubt the accept credit from most decent state universities that are just fine for the average person who wants a decent career. Most people do not need a degree from a Columbia U type of school in order to have a good career in fields such as IT, Healthcare and accounting,

        February 7, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
      • Katie

        Yes. Most schools do accept credits or degrees from WGU. Many students have gotten graduate degrees from other schools after graduating with their B.S. at WGU.
        http://alumni.wgu.edu/s/1110/noRtCol.aspx?sid=1110&gid=1&pgid=321#Acceptance

        February 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
      • Vanessa

        I served 10 years in the military, and everytime I went to another duty station, I had to get my credits re-evaluated. I had to take the same classes over and over again going to state colleges. With WGU, they accept transfer credit, and allow you to test out of courses for FREE. Last time I checked, if I wanted to test out of a class at a traditional school, I had to pay $40 and sometimes more. This school is amazing and wouldn't do it anyother way.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  35. Anne

    I guess I don't understand why so many students take out student loans and then whine about having to pay them back. I worked during h.s. so I could pay my first year of college without any loans or scholarships or any money from my family. Then I worked my way through a major state university and earned a degree in engineering and computer science. I graduated debt free and immediately had a good full-time job. Okay so maybe the economy is not so good at the moment, but they are still hiring people with engineering degrees. Students who major in something easy and for which there is no demand, or get a degree from a mediocre school, and then wonder why they are in debt and can't find a job, it's the result of their own choices, not the economy. So no bailouts, thank you.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Rendarth

      Yeah. I'm calling BS on your story. With no help from any outside source, you managed to pay not only for your cost of living, but also for tuition at a flagship state university? Not a chance.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
      • riley

        Did you get a lot of scholarships? I don't see how if not. Average cost of tuition, room and board for one year would far exceed two years of part time min wage jobs.

        February 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • jake

      Way to go Anne. They will cry the rest of their life because they did not challenge themselves and just expected a million bucks for a BBA from Barnyard State.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • A College Graduate

      So what do you say to all those "stupid" students who earned those worthless liberal arts degrees? We should have gone against our passions/interests in order to become economically viable? God forbid that I had chose a career pathway that I had interest in. I guess I'll have to compromise a fulfilling life and become a CNA so that way I can pay off my USURIOUS student loans. Picking your field is not the problem; the value of higher education is. (Oh, guess it didn't totally pay off considering I ended two sentences with prepositions. But who's checking, am I right?)

      February 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • Chemgirl82

        Um Anne's right, you don't go to college to "pursue your passions", you go to college with a career end goal in mind. A lot of the social studies and humanities can be studied on your own time at the public library. For instance I love to paint and even went to my states Governor School of the Arts for it, but knew better than to study it at school. I majored in chemistry, got my BS almost debt free (about 10 K in loans) and got into a top 20 PhD program. Stop whining, not all majors are created equal.

        February 7, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
      • Ova Dehill

        According to Aristotle, Thales of Miletus, the first Ionian scientist, was content being a poor philosopher. When people reproached him for his poverty, saying that his lack of wealth proved that philosophy was of no use.. He used the knowledge of nature that he gained by pursuing his passions (which were not passions for wealth and a life of luxury) to predict a great harvest of olives.. He bought out all of the olive presses in the area for a really low price while everyone just thought he was an idiot.. Harvest time came, olives were plentiful – and everyone had to pay Thales whatever price he set for the presses. Needless to say, Thales was able to make a lot of money that season. My simple point is, don't ever let anyone discourage you from pursuing your own dreams because other people think you're foolish for not valuing the same things they do.

        February 8, 2012 at 12:21 am |
      • Teri

        The thing with art degrees is that you either have talent or you don't. And, no amount of schooling is going to give you talent. Anybody in an artistic field – from photography to sculpting and painting to dance and drama – who goes to college is simply wasting their time and money. Either you have an eye and feel for it, or you don't. It's not really anything you can learn in college. High school art and drama classes are there to weed out those who have talent and those who don't. If you have talent, all you need is a mentor, practice, and an opportunity – none of which you learn spending 4 years in college.

        February 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Jason Glugla

      You do not say when it was that you graduated, so I am giving the benefit of the doubt that this is true. There is absolutely no way that you can work your way to a debt free graduation with college and living costs what they are today. I will correct that, maybe if you are working a job with a 100k or greater salary you could. Unfortunately the United States has become the land of Wal Mart jobs.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
      • riley

        Agree. I graduated with a BSBA in Business15 years ago (yikes) and even then tuition and room and board at a in state school was 12k per year. Minimum wage at the time was $4.25/hr!! I would have had to work 55 hours a week, assuming no taxes of any kind withheld. I did work 20-30 hours a week and graduated with 25k in debit for a degree in accounting. I was completely on my own at age 17. No help at all...no food nothing from parents. Would I have preferred my parents had saved and paid for it? Sure. But, at least the loans were there. Much better than making minimum wage forever. I now make 100k, so my 25k investment was definitely worth it.

        February 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
      • Teri

        That's funny. I graduated 8 years ago with zero debt and didn't even have any grants or scholarships to help with the costs – full fare the whole way. Oh, and I had a mortgage and was raising a kid by myself while working full-time, too. It can be done, but you have to work when you are not in class instead of partying. And, you have to live off campus where it's actually cheaper than living on campus. Living on campus and being a part of the "dining plan" is a huge rip-off.

        February 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • dubious

      stripping or hooking or selling dope. which of these did you do to "work your way thru college"?

      February 8, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • WTG Anne

      You said it, Anne! Why should the government bail out everything that chose to sip wheat grass and pontificate about art on the campus lawn while the rest of us were looking at a viable career for the rest of our lives, and paying out of pocket for our education? Sorry, you made your bed, now lay in it. This is why adolescents see no reason to be responsible, because adults are telling them that if you screw up, the government will throw a reset button your way.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  36. dabble53

    If it's accredited the same as other universities, then one must assume the degree hints at equal ability.
    If not, then the accreditation really doesn't mean much for ANY university.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • jake

      You can create your own accreditation agency and accredit yourself. The word accredited does not mean squat without knowing the organization taht accredited it.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
      • Kthnxbi

        Ahh so true. However WGU IS accredited by a real agency. Therefore your comment is irrelevant to this conversation. Go back to HuffPo.

        February 9, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • Rendarth

      Do some research...it's accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Which is a very real and recognized (including by the federal government) organization.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
      • jake

        You do research. This agency is a joke. Accredits grade schools, on-line schools, but no post-secondary colleges.

        February 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Rosalind

      Jake, Western Governor's University holds national and regional accreditation. It is possible, and 100% legal for colleges to hold both kinds of accreditation. Regional accreditation is preferred over national accreditation, and WGU became regionally accredited by NWCCU in 2003. Other schools that are accredited by NWCCU are the University of Washington, University of Alaska, University of Utah, University of Idaho, University of Montana, University of Oregon, and Brigham Young University, just to name a few.

      You really should be ashamed and embarrassed for not having the smarts to figure out the difference between NWCCU and NWAC, especially since the WGU website plainly states who they are accredited by. And even Wikipedia PLAINLY states that Western Governor's University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. (NWCCU). The NWAC that you are talking about is not listed anywhere on the WGU website or the Wikipedia article for WGU. Shame on you for being too lazy to even Google the words "WGU accreditation"! The first search result is a link to the WGU page that cites all of the agencies the school is accredited by. Shame!

      February 7, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  37. gayguy

    this is not a real collage and only losers would apply

    February 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Another WGU student

      Wow, what part of regionally accredited don't you understand? Do you realize that many Universities that share the same accreditation are part of the PAC 12?

      February 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • jake

      No it is a real "collage". A collage of lies, advertisement, fast money, lost tax education dollars, and students with big loan balances and squat. That is a collage.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • Matt

        One does not go to collage, they make a collage. I can only assume that you never went to college, since you can't even spell the word.

        February 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • LB

      Collage & college are two different things!

      February 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Dol

      So your application is already in? On the Troll list, you are.

      February 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  38. jake

    How many laboratories do their courses entail? How many hands-on projects with instructors and fellow students by your side? You can get a weak BBA on-line. But they are gipping the student into believing they have something marketable and at the same time fleecing the American tax payers by sucking up Federal Pell Grant money that goes to waste.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Katie

      Hi Jake,

      I'm actually a graduate of WGU. I completed my last course about 6 months ago for my B.S. in Information Technology (emphasis in security). I also have over 15 IT certifications, have 5 years in my field, make more than a modest income (by modest, I mean six figures). Given your inability to properly structure a sentence, use grammar correctly, and your many spelling errors, I doubt you should be judging anyone else's education.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
      • Derek

        Good story and by six figures you mean 2000.00. These schools are jokes. Such a joke in-fact that some employers will throw out resumes with these joke colleges, they know that these school are just money makers. While I do feel there are a few classes that can be done online,a vast majority need to be taught by a real teacher. Would you rather haves nurse in a hospital tearing you with an online degree, or a degree from a real university?

        February 8, 2012 at 8:53 am |
      • Katie

        Derek, if you doubt my honesty in regards to my yearly income, I would be happy to snap a picture of my paycheck for you. I'll even scribble something identifying on it along the lines of "Hey, Derek, This good enough for you?" Maybe I'll get in on the shot and make a ridiculous "duck face." In fact, let's make a deal. If I can prove that I make six figures in IT and have a degree from WGU, you have to admit that in some people do get value from these degrees. Does that sound reasonable to you?

        February 8, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Emma

      Derek,
      you are an idiot!!! WGU is a NON-PROFIT school! Costs are very reasonable, so people are NOT coming out with huge debt that they would from another school (online or not)....that is the point...that is why WGU is getting some good and well desereved attention.

      February 17, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  39. jake

    I believe CNN is selling advertisement to companies (like this mill) pretending it to be news.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Katie

      Improper use of "()". Perhaps revisiting your college English classes could assist you with your writing so you don't embarrass yourself.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
      • sharky

        Yet when you use the parentheses it is all right, but if someone else does they are wrong. Oh you and you elite WGU degree. LOL

        February 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
      • Katie

        Sharky, here you go: http://www.ehow.com/how_2057192_use-parentheses-correctly.html

        February 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
      • Wayne

        Katie, congrats on your online degree from WGU. I'm sure it taught you how to interact, present, and speak well in front of your peers right? Oh wait you have an I.T. degree never-mind.

        February 8, 2012 at 2:53 am |
      • Katie

        Funny you should mention my public speaking skills, Wayne. I happen to be co-presenting on EMR security in front of a few hundred physicians this weekend and you're more than welcome to drop by to evaluate my public speaking skills. Here is the link to the conference: https://m360.opsc.org/frontend/event.aspx?EventId=38115

        See you Sunday?

        February 8, 2012 at 9:07 am |
      • BAZZINGA!!!!

        Nice Katie.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:20 am |
      • Fred

        I noticed you said you were going to be co-presenting about EMR security at a conference. However, there is only one presenter listed for EMR security and their name is most certainly not Katie.

        I'm happy you had a good college experience, but for all the hate people are giving you, you seem to have no problem dishing it right back out. Furthermore, you've made Scott, who is presumably a co-worker or superior, look bad to anyone who is capable of using Google by your unprofessional name dropping. It's a comments section on the internet. You're not going to be winning any wars by arguing in them. For the sake of your job please learn some professionalism.

        February 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  40. jake

    WGU = All Online Schools = Farce that eats out tax dollars for BS (pun) degrees. We waste our tax dollars in the form of Pell Grants to these "play-schools" while at the same time we import foriegners for our engiineering jobs. When they can prove a credible engineering or medical education is obtainable on-line then they have proved something. They are watering down the worth of already dubious degree programs.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • voss

      WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities which also accredits the state universities the rocky mountain states. Including UNLV, Montana State, Univerity of Alaska, University of Idaho, University of Oregon, University of Washington, and Utah State. Almost every reputable college in the western states outside of California gets their accreditation from NWCCU.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Katie

      You sound like a very bitter and angry college dropout, Jake. Are you this bitter towards all who have succeeded where you have not?

      February 7, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  41. jake

    I'm a WGU student and I have 6 degrees and they were worth every penny the US Government provided in the form of Pell Grants. I am ready to fix your teeth and bloodlet you from my experience gained and I can do this by Skype on-line. I do not need to set in a classroom and experience social and intellectual thought with others. I have Wikipedia and Facebook and I hate the light of day and hide from the postman and my mom.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • B-Squared

      THAT was funny...

      February 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Matt

      Jake, you don't have a degree.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • me

      That was quite hilarious. Thank you for all of your entertaining comments. It's a shame that the comment section is better written and more news worthy than the actual articles are.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • ThanksMountainMan

      Jake if you actually attended University you would realize you actually waste lots of time being in a class doing things you could absolutely learn yourself. Not all degrees should be done online, like ones that require physical labs. IT degrees online is a no brainer. You are the type to stand in line at a bank instead on going to their website to do a transaction. You possess old school thinking, and you will eventually be left behind and unemployed.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  42. Lama

    What's up with all these creepy comments defending this school to death? It's almost cult-like. Scientologists would be proud. I've read cnn blogs about abortion, gay marriage, and the middle east, and even the trolls in those comments sections wouldn't take such time and effort to defend their cause. My conclusion? Either WGU is requiring its staff to comment bomb this site with additional propaganda or the students are getting extra credit to do so. Far more plausible than an obscure online school having its entire alumni base show up to cnn on the one day their school is mentioned in a minor blog.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Rendarth

      Remember the Penn State people during their scandal? If someone sees their school in the headlines, they'll comment.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Teri

      I wouldn't say it's obscure. I know several people that have degrees from there. Problem is.......none of them have found jobs.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Pete

      I get what you're saying, but no, it's not a cult. This school does have its fierce devotees, though. It's no worse than any other pursuit in the world where you will find fierce devotees.

      A lot of folks who would not have wanted to mold their schedule (not to mention their wallet) around some school have found WGU to be a good way to pursue their educational goals, and many are overwhelmingly happy with their choice. To each his own.

      February 10, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  43. WGU Alumni

    I just graduated from WGU with a dual BA in Special Education (prek-12) and General Education (prek-5) in December. I am grateful for the opportunity to earn a degree while raising a family and working full time. There are many online and brick and mortar schools that are fantastic, you need to find the one that works for you. I worked my butt off to earn my degree, but the best part about WGU is the fact that I had access to a mentor (who would call me as often as necessary to help me navigate the WGU world), Community Mentors for each subject (who hold Masters Degrees or higher in the field they are serving as mentor) that will help you online, on the phone and skype, as many times as necessary to help you understand and pass the tasks. Everyone who is enrolled in WGU has a mentor and access to Community Mentors who can help with any daunting task. I was never alone in my quest for higher education. I did not have my degree handed to me – I had to earn it. I would recommend WGU to anyone looking for an alternative (not an easy) route to a degree.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • BRBSanDiego

      Your moronic logic betrays the worthless degrees you earned. You are basically certified to be a babysitter. You can attend two semesters of most state universities and get a teaching credential no matter what, where, or why your bachelors degree was in. You can even get a "temporary" credential good for ten years while taking night classes. WGU is a joke and so is your degree. You may be top dog at the day care you work for at minimum wage, but that is about the top level you will achieve.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
      • youarewrong

        Trolls are so sad. Like you could ever say anything like that to someone's face, fatboy. Also you didn't even read her comment correctly.

        February 8, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  44. cecil

    Wow, Western Governer's University must be having a tough time, if they have to pay for full page advertisements like this.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Pete

      They're not, actually. Theiir enrollment is skyrocketing, and they've set up relationships with three states in the past year to provide educational services to those states' residents.

      On the flip side of the coin, I've noticed that when there's a slow news day on a college or personal finance blog, someone will post about WGU. It is what it is. . .

      February 10, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  45. Matt

    Sounds like they're getting a great education at the diploma mills. I remember when you could just buy a degree from a company that advertised inside of match book covers. Yes, I know, I'm very old, but having a Bachelors Degree from an online university where the students and teachers never meet seems too good to be true and must really be a BS (pun intended) degree. I bet they also have a lot of really hard papers to write where they can just cut and paste everything off the Internet.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Rendarth

      Diploma mills are a problem. But Western Governors isn't an example of one. I've seen their postings on the academic job websites, and they're seeking highly qualified individuals. As long as you hire qualified people as teachers, online classes can be every bit as challenging as those offered in a classroom. In fact, they can even be MORE difficult due to mandatory message board postings.

      February 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Another WGU student

      So....which schools are you insinuating students never turned in a plagiarized paper?? Traditional BM? lol.
      Your Plagiarized paper at WGU will get flagged so quick it would make your head spin. Copy paste from internet? Your comment and intolerance is laughable. Many of my papers were 10-15 pages with no more than 30% sources being used but that is just my BA program. Failure to cite properly using the APA format will not get you a degree at WGU.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
      • Vanessa

        You are not kidding. I'm doing a 30 slide power point paper, and just finished my 13 page paper for a social science course. In fact, I should be doing some work right now, but find these posts a little bit hilarious.

        February 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  46. Zeke Grytz

    I graduated from WGU and landed a fortune 500 job earning 100k plus per year! I love online schooling.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • neptonomist sentry

      I graduated from Oregon State and will never be employable!

      February 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
      • Kathy

        That's because you must have a fat butt just like everyone else in Oregon.

        February 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • jake

      I graduated from Oz and I'm the last living munchkin! Tax payers and students Get fried with DeVry and Skewed with WGUed.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
      • Pete

        How do you figure, Jake? Do you have statistics, or at least anecdotes to back your assertions? Look up WGU students on LinkedIn, and you should find a fair number of done very well.

        February 10, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  47. Reality_Check

    Relax everyone...isn't the purpose of college is to find yourself, your voice, your position in life. Online or brick and mortar schools is irrelevant. If an education gives you the tools to be confident and a baseline of education, then that is great. As a hiring manager for a global Fortune 100 company, the facts are what can you do for me (or my company); how can you add value?. Experience and the ability to deliver results is what counts in the long-run. All of this short sighted conjecture is just silly. Grow up...a degree is only worth the person behind it. Just my two cents in a world that wants my job.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • JeffInNh

      I respectfully disagree. I have been quite sucessfully employed in my field for many years. Yet, i only have an associates degree. There are many defense based high tech jobs in my field that I can not have. Even though I have > 25 years experience they wont hire me, due to a lack of a bachelors degree. Some people/companies cant see past the sheepskin.

      February 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
      • jake

        The problem with people w/o advanced degrees trying to do work that requires one is they are sure they know how, but never know why and as such can hurt people. Unless of course we are talking hotel mngt, graphic design, hairdressing.

        February 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  48. Another WGU student

    The teacher's college is NCATE accredited. To put that in perspective only 24 "B and M" schools including Stanford share the NCATE national accreditation honor in California . As a student I still must pass state mandated testing such as the PRAXIS or CSETS, CBEST, RICA and not to mention for my dual license I will be doing 16 weeks of Demonstration Teaching between elementary level and secondary as part of my Degree plan. Very detailed papers and objective exams clearly require extensive knowledge for the courses taken. Trust me that the teacher's college does NOT take the NCLB act lightly.
    As a student that has attended B&Ms before, I can attest that just sitting in a class listening to lectures is NOT a learning style that fits myself. Let me say if you like to learn at your own pace that is faster than any CLASSROOM can offer than go to WGU because you will NOT be disappointed!

    February 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  49. Indebt4ever

    I have a BA, a corp job, a small house and an old car. I am single woman who makes a decent salary ($50s). But I will never get out of debt because of student loans (my only debt besdes my home). I wish I had never gone to public university, despite all the good times, friends and educational experiences I had. A 4 year degree is a waste. And before you go talking crap, I pursued my dream industry and did everything I wanted in my education. I was told that you get the education, the job and everything will fall into place. NOT TRUE. No one factors in 9/11, bad economies, crappy politicans, 8% interest on those loans and making $30K/year the first 10 years out of college, when they say get your degree. If I had to do it all over again, I would've gone to a trade school for something useful like AC repair or a mechanic. And if I had kids I would tell them to think outside of the univerity box- because this day in age, they are just another number, waiting to find a job.

    February 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Brian

      I agree 100%. There are very few degrees worth the cost of university these days. Most are not worth it.

      February 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • blogger

      I agree also....Graduated with loads of debt in '82 as a teacher only to be offered starting salary of $12,000-$20,000. Actually a Catholic school offered me $8,000 yr. Absolutely insulting. I quit teaching and started a construction company. The Catholic Church that ran the school hired me to remodel the rectory....I made $35,000 in 4 weeks! Yep it was payback time and I don't feel a bit guilty.

      On the other hand I advise my children to explore careers and salaries before making any kind of educational commitment. My oldest daughter went to court reporting school a 90 credit program. The total cost including her stenography machine was about 15k. Her wages $50-$75 hour depending on where she is at. Last year she ha one job where she made $8,000 in 5 days. It's a great occupation for women. Look at Community College of Allegheny County in PA. for the program.

      My other daughter is becoming an Optician. My son is at Penn State for Computer Security and Forensics. All of these careers will pay more than the bills.

      Choose your career wisely....and it's never too late to retrain. My third daughter was born with cerebral palsy. I needed to work nights and from home...I retrained in computer science and went back to teaching......While teaching I learned about online day trading.....retrained again and I'm now a full time trader....from home! For me it's the ideal career and it didn't cost me very much....just the cost of books and the school of hard knocks.

      Check out what I do hxxp:// http://www.tradingroomblog (dot)com

      February 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • BRBSanDiego

        Whose rectory did your remodel?

        February 7, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Matt

      You seem to be very bitter. No one is guarenteed a job in the US with or without a degree. Most people go to school to get an education and learn how to think, but some people think that they deserve a job just because they have a degree is laughable.

      February 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • jake

      yes. You failed to identify the worthless degree type, poor college, lousy grades, and lack of determination you have. Try engineering at a decent university. You will have studies something worth someone paying you more than Starbucks. Otherwise keep crying. Its not too late.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
      • John G

        Jake I am convinced you are a total d-bag. I got a degree in Piano Performance on scholarship and have been gainfully employed as an accountant since I graduated. I went back and took additional night classes to sit for the CPA exam. My lady friend is a teacher who graduated with – gasp – a liberal arts degree. I took engineering classes when I got to college and despised it. The lesson? Never do anything just for money. Plus, there are plenty of out of work engineers out there. You can do anything you want to, regardless of your college major.

        February 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
      • riley

        I do agree somewhat with you John. Don't just pick something because of the money. But, realize if you spend 60k on a social work degree you will not be making enough money to repay them. Yes, pick something you like but don't ignore the money part.

        February 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  50. jollyjam1

    The irony of a school without teachers granting a degree in teacher education.

    February 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Kthnxbi

      Kinda like the irony of making a comment without first understanding things like facts.

      February 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
      • Another WGU student

        exactly

        February 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
      • Darth Cheney

        One fact we have at our disposal is that you do not know the definition of the word "irony."

        February 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  51. popejon

    I have a BS in Industrial Design. For 4 years I had to spend a minimum of 20 to 30 hours (sometimes 40 to 60 hours) a week in the machine shop, building physical models of my designs. Nobody I know has $100K+ of machine shop equipment in their house that we had in our shop. Most ID schools today have 3-D printers , CNC milling machines and CNC lathes in addition to non CNC milling machines and lathes. If you cant build working models and presentation models of your own designs, nobody in the industry will hire you.... I also had to take 2 years of material an process classes. The most important part was going on filed trips to see how it is actually done in the real world. You just cant do that online. This online degree might work for some majors but not for all....

    February 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • seraphim0

      It's obvious that you skimped on the English classes.

      February 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  52. Time Bandit

    "But to move up in the company, Moore needed a bachelor's degree."

    This is what I find annoying, why should someone have a degree to be moved up? If they have been on the job long enough and the experience to do the job, isn't that good enough?

    February 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jackie L

      No, unforunately, experience is not enough any more; it doesn't count for anything. As my father always said, "there are a lot of people (educated a–holes he called them) with B.S. degrees out there. And that is exactly what they are – BS!!" Experience has been overrun in favor of education. Just because someone has a degree doesn't mean they know the work.

      February 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
      • Jackie L

        And it looks as though I might be one of them as I can't seem to spell the word "unfortunately"!

        February 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  53. WGU student #2

    So many naysayers. I'll bet 90% of the people with negative comments on here are doing nothing to better themselves. They just enjoy spouting venom at others. If you don't like WGU, don't attend. See you in the workforce whiners.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • popejon

      Actually I have a BS in Industrial design and I'm very gainfully employed and have no use to further my education. This online stuff might work for some majors but not all. It took me 4 years (most programs are 5) at about 80 hours a week of class time, studio time and machine shop time. None of which you can do online.

      February 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • WGU student #2

        Obviously there are fields where being physically present would have a distinct advantage. You say you have no further need to further your education because you have an awesome job. See, I can't understand that, maybe it's just the way I am but I would feel stagnant not trying to be the best I can be. This school provides the means for many who probably wouldn't even try to educate themselves further to learn while taking care of small children, working full time, supporting a family etc. etc.. Don't know why so many ugly people on here sharing their disapproval. All the people who think my school is trash can abstain from going there, or even from hiring an alumni if they are in that position. Who cares!

        February 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
      • Pete

        Actually, I _can_ envision a BS degree in industrial design being doable online, but it would require discussion boards, E-mail and a LOT of interaction with professors. You could submit paperwork online for grading, use the same computer tools (AutoCAD? advanced math diagramming applications?) and converse with the faculty via E-mail, IM, phone, etc. You'd have to write more papers, and maybe sit through some streamed or podcast lectures, but I believe it could be done.

        February 10, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  54. Jorge

    Yes Alex, we get it, YOUR education is better than that of anyone else who did the work online because you went to tailgate parties and campus bashes, go sell that to an HR department somewhere (don't be disappointed or bitter if someone with a lesser degree but a more valuable outlook of the organization's needs gets promoted/hired before you do).

    February 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Alex

      Actually, I have a tenure-track position in academia. :)

      February 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  55. aflarend

    No teachers? Then who puts together the courses, evaluates the assignments, gives feedback, and so on?

    February 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • No Seriously

      wgu.edu. You can read all about it there. :)

      February 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • riley

      Its an online program. You do not need a teacher for every class putting together a different lesson each semester. This is popular for public schools for K-12 now as well.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  56. chuck

    I went to Tufts in Boston and Georgetown in DC for law. I have undergrad debt but no law school debt thanks to a program in law school which pays my tuition if I practice public interest or government (I'm a prosecutor) law for 5 years. After the 5 years, I can work at a law firm which will pay me a premium for my prosecutorial experience. That should kill off my undergrad debt in 3 years tops (210k per year). Then I can return to prosecuting.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • DLee

      Umm, who cares?

      February 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Wowed

      Wow, thanks for letting us know how little your weenis is d-bag!

      February 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  57. SWH

    I have to say one thing here and that alot of brick and morter schools are offering online classes now as well to meet the needs of their "traveling" students.

    What is the difference between these online courses versus an online school? Take a look at Harvard right now as they offer some courses strictly online or online and at the campus or via web conference.

    I have truely done alot of research on these type of schools before obtaining a bacholers from AIU online and found that alot of employers prefer experience over degrees, but a degree tells them you are willing to go the extra mile to get that extra training to get better at your job or become more efficent in your field.

    To me a brick and morter school is great in its own way as you get more interaction with people you may have never met and you get a hands on meeting with professors or teachers who have been teaching their whole lives and may have relevant experience in the field. It also allows you to ensure you are learning the material and not "skimming" by just to get the paper for $80k.

    Online schools force you to sit down and study or read from a book, but of course you can also "skim" by here as well if you truely wanted too by just doing the bare minium. You are also taught, usually, by instructors who have field experience and will give you time if you ask them for it, but you have to ask for their attention. This to me illustrates real life if you need help you ask for it since it will not be handed to you.

    I see both sides of the coin and I do not have a prefence of which type of school folks go to. You get out of your classes what you put it in to them.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • WGU Alumni & Student

      Excellent input.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  58. KG

    I am a stay-at-home mom to two under 3 and would NEVER have the chance to go to school if it weren't for WGU. I was hesitant about the school at first, but now that I am in my first term, I realize this is the BEST school ever. I have serious school pride now! My father is also attending WGU while holding a full time job. The classes are challenging and I am learning a lot. This IS a legit school. I am in my 3rd month of my first term and have completed 7 classes, because I have a lot of time on my hands at home when I am not taking care of my kids.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  59. Obviously

    Someone from WGU is on this site defending them with full vigor.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • WGU student #2

      Clearly there are many of us. Many closed minded individuals judging WGU without knowing anything about it. Go to a physical university if you choose, more power to ya! But obviously we are happy with our decision.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  60. Bye Bye Education

    Gone are the days when you actually physically went to class, interacted with classmates, professors, administrators, coaches, etc. Weclome fast food college where the piece of paper is the only goal. These McDegrees make those once earned degrees valueless.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Brian

      blame it on employers looking for letters in front of your name rather than actual competency. we're just playing to thier tune.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • jim

      I think you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Distance learning has been a fact of life in the UK for decades (I got my MBA in 1996 that way) and anything that reduces the cost and maintains quality is to be welcomed. Sorry if that spoils your view of how 'real' education should be delivered!

      February 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • WGU student #2

      Speak for yourself! I attend WGU to better myself. Not for a "piece of paper".

      February 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Always Learning

      Who says you have to go to school to get an education? All you need are the right resources.

      February 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • writerscramp

      Could not agree more with that comment. Over half the value of a REAL college educational experience is the classroom environment and the opposing views of classmates physically in a classroom. An education based on just communication with a cyber-teacher offers no opportunity for debate, workgroups, alternative viewpoints and the give-and-take of the real world and working with others. With the scam of online education, you just cough up X thousands of dollars, regurgitate some facts you tread and they shove a piece of paper at you. What a scam !!!! you can do that for free at a public library people !!!!

      February 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
      • riley

        Wrong. Most online classes have an online forum similar to this where students are required to participate. There is plenty of discussion. Perhaps even more so since its online.

        February 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
      • Future WGU Student

        I graduated from a two-year community college nearly 10 years ago with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design. I currently make $55,000 per year in my field with my current education and experience. I am "the boss" of a small in-house department of graphic designers, as well as a working designer.

        I wish to move further within my company, but that piece of paper showing I have earned a higher degree is holding me back. Because of this, for some time now I have been researching both online and B&M universities. I have visited local campuses (I live in Fort Worth, Texas, where we definitely have some quality universities in my backyard) and have attended seminars and various workshops to help me in my decision; one that will fit my lifestyle. Being that I have a technical degree (actually I have two AAS degrees; one of which is in Business Administration I earned back in 1982 from a business college that lacked the proper accreditation [today it is accredited by a reputable agency]), I am now currently back in school getting some "basics" I need toward any degree in the State of Texas (I am currently taking BCIS, a requirement in the State of Texas for any degree). I promise there is a point to this LONG post.

        Being in the classroom today is not the same as it was back even just ten years ago. Last semester I took Texas State and Local Government and the poor professor couldn't get any class participation for anything! Frankly, I got tired of being one of he few that did participate because there was no point in debating when nobody debated. This semester there are several students whom are disruptive to the class; allowing their cellphones to ring, speaking over the professor's lectures or just chitchatting with their neighbor. The high-paid professor does nothing, and when you say something to the student(s), the stop for a moment but come back with a vengeance. With this all said, I am gong to be transferring to WGU because I just cannot afford to get my degree at the 4-year university I am currently attending; plus it will take me 20 years do to so!

        I am anxious t transfer to WGU...saving up my $6,000 so I can go into this debt-free!

        February 11, 2012 at 1:23 am |
  61. really?

    Where's the "Advertisement" flag on this "article"? No critical analysis, just gushing on about how good WGU is. And tons of comments that conveniently buttress the school.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • No Seriously

      Yeah I guess they should write an article about the merits of traditional brick and mortar schools in the U.S. and how they're the best in the world right? I'm certain my old college professor that obtained his degree in the 1940's would agree wholeheartedly with you.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • McBain

      It does read like an advertisement doesn't it?

      February 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  62. Kara

    Generally comments are short and more spontaneous; it's obvious people who comment are paid to promote that sh!t...

    February 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Diane

      Where is my check then damnit?!?

      February 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • WGU Alumni & Student

      Or maybe, just maybe, when you find something really exceptionally good, you don't have to be paid to support it. I have never been paid to support or endorse WGU in my life. I don't expect I ever will be. Trust me, there are days I wish I had a camera over my shoulder so they could see just how much work I do for them on their behalf, but I have a true and deeply seeded love for this school. People like you aren't going to shake it. But I guarantee that anything negative anyone has to say, someone will have an answer for. For every bad experience, there are hundreds more good experiences. For every problem you can come up with, we students have found a way around it. We Go Further because that is what we are inspired to do.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  63. Hailey

    I really like what WGU has provided for working adults. As a teacher, I can appreciate a continuing education without having to go to actual classes, especially since I would really like to get a degree in administration. I however, believe it is only for adults who are working and looking for jobs, or young students who cannot afford boarding at or near a "brick and mortar" university. I would not recommend it to a kid fresh out of high school who needs to not only learn how to exceed at their chosen carrer, but learn life skills and real-life social problem solving. University not only prepares you for your career, but prepares you to think in so many different situations since you are immersed in a place where you meet all sorts of people and challenges. Of course, the armed forces does the same, in which it would be great if they took classes at WGU...

    February 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Alex

      I guess I agree with you. This type of college is more for working adults who may want a promotion. I would be dissapointed in my son if he chose online schooling right after high school.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
      • jd

        WGU is meant mostly for working adults – in fact, without some prior college experience, it's pretty hard to get into WGU in the first place.

        February 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  64. Pramod

    Bad advertisement on CNN.
    A lot of paid commentors too.

    This is becoming NewsMax..........

    February 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Pete

      Not as much an advertisement as a slow news day. . .

      February 10, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  65. John Gabriel

    I am a WGU alumni. There is a small catch: You must be able to study on your own. The mentors and instructors do not teach. They will refer you to the materials but that's as far as it goes.

    So while it's a great opportunity for those who are self-learning, it's definitely not for everyone. Nonetheless, I obtained my degree through this university and saved a lot of money and headache. The last thing a mature adult needs or wants is to be in a university classroom with sweaty teenagers. How depressing.

    The WGU proctored exams are set by other universities and the projects and assessments are marked externally also.

    The entrance exam is quite difficult. But at $6K it's worth a shot even if you don't make it.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • WGU Alumni & Student

      I'm sorry that you had this experience. I have not had the same experiences. Granted, I've come across a few course mentors who were not as willing to go through course materials bit by bit by bit, but each and every mentor I've met has been willing to teach me if I needed it. All I had to do was ask.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  66. seriouslythanks

    Great Story! I am currently a third grade teacher at an International School in the Middle East and my husband goes to WGU for his teaching degree. I can tell you for certain that his education is definitely better than mine. WGU strips down all the BS tenure, grumpy Professors, textbook-profit-scheme, time-wasting, unnecessary costs of brick and mortar schools. While I am chipping away at my $100K in private school loans, we are able to pay out-of-pocket for his school loans. Yes, we pay almost $1,000 a month for just MY loans... I don't wish this kind of stress on anyone.

    When I go back for my Masters it will be at WGU. It just makes sense to me. There are so many people in the world who haven't gone beyond high school for whatever reason but this is definitely a way for people to reach their personal goals. I am so proud of my husband for being smart about his schooling.

    - Grateful Wife of a WGU student

    February 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Alex

      More like your husband "logs-in" to WGU. He doesn't actually attend class. :)

      February 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
      • seriouslythanks

        I like to speak about what I know and understand about the world without judging other people's decisions. Might you lift yourself to my level?

        February 8, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  67. Alex

    The problem with these online schools is the lack of human interaction and fulfilling experience. I went to the University of Hawaii for my undergrad and master's, and currently am getting my Ph.D. at Chapman University. I would never trade my 6 years of college experience and current schooling for a quick online degree, which many employers would not even recognize.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • WGU Alumni & Student

      There isn't really a lack of human interaction. I see other WGU students periodically. I just don't live on campus. Even when I went to brick and mortar schools, I didn't live on campus most of the time. I still had to schedule time to see other students outside of the classroom then, just as I do now. The biggest difference is that now we all have conversations online in forums, on facebook, in online communities, on phone conferences, in webinars, and in other ways that the school has set up for us. We have mixers where multiple students gather just for the purpose of meeting each other. We have service projects where students get together to give back to the community. And...for the record...my online degree was recognized immediately by one of the world's most renowned companies in the defense industry. Months before I graduated. And I'm living up to their expectations due to my outstanding and exemplary education.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • Alex

        That's wonderful for you. Nevertheless, I still think traditional face-to-face education does not compare to online forums, discussions, etc. There is a loss of connection. I do, however, think this type of communication is beneficial when used as supplementary to in-class lessons.

        I guess my perspective is coming from working in the Education field and academia. For the most part, we do not recognize degrees from those who received them online.

        I would not want my child getting a degree from WGU or any online school. I can't imagine a high school senior being excited about attending WGU. It would moreso be a last resort, after community college.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
      • riley

        Most online schools do not accept 18 year olds. They are for working adults. They usually require prior college experience.

        February 7, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • WGU Student 2012

      Haha I'd love to meet the person that cheats his/her way through WGU. It would be very, very difficult to do. On the other hand, it appears that cheating at traditional colleges isn't quite as difficult: http://www.bangstyle.com/2011/12/cheating-in-college/

      February 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • cubensis

      Wrong. hats your opinion not a fact.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • Alex

        Yes, that's* my opinion; therefore, my commentary. I guess they aren't teaching you how to write at WGU.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • matt

        HAHAHAH. Boom! Roasted!

        February 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • McBain

        Got him!

        Nice Alex.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Diane

      Hi Alex,

      I think most individuals in academia would agree with you. The reality however is that online education is growing in both popularity and demand...hence the reason schools like Columbia, NYU, etc. are adding entire degree programs online with little/no residency requirements. Online education isn't for everyone however in the years ahead, this notion that online education doesn't compare to a traditional degree will be a minority view. While "social interaction" and face to face teaching may be have been an important part of the education process in the past, in today's connected world it's no longer an absolute. The reality is that online education is the future. Schools will either realize this and adapt or they will lose their student base over the long-run. For the record, I have hired individuals with online degrees in the past and been pleased with my decision so perhaps I'm biased. I do believe however that I'm not the only one.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
      • Alex

        I agree with you. Traditional schooling is not for everyone; however, I don't think high school seniors should aspire to go to University of Phoenix or WGU. What I liked about my traditional university was the overall experience which is my point. Living on-campus for my undergrad and graduate years, I had easy and daily personal access to my professors, advisors, and colleagues. There were events like tailgating for football games, fraternity gatherings, on-campus concerts, etc. that were always happening at the university. Things, I think, are not available at online schools.

        Professors were always accessible and literally accross the street and knew students at a more personal level. There are certain things I do not agree with regarding traditional colleges (large class sizes, multiple choice tests, among others), but I think the student-professor relationship becomes even more watered-down at the online school level.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
      • Jennifer Scott

        Our world is online now, Our college experience will reflect that soon. I attended University of Illinois ten years ago and knew it then when an online class was offered. I think this scares professors and administrators.

        February 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
      • riley

        Alex, kids are now attending k-12 strictly online. Check out k12.com
        Many school districts are offering it because their school systems are so bad and parents are demanding other options. For many kids today it will not be unusual to attend college online. No more unusual than to order a digital book on amazon.com vs going to a "real" bookstore and buying a "real" book. Yes, socialization is important which is why k12 offers community field trips etc.

        February 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • cubensis

      Yeah call me out because my keyboard doesn't work. Thank goodness people like you are becoming less and less. Ignorance is bliss. And I don't go to WGU, but I did my research.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
      • Alex

        You still forgot the apostrophe either way. :)

        February 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • maxiiscott

      I'm an HR Director who evaluates these things in my hiring process and I once thought like you. However after walking through the education process with a friend who pursued an online degree, my mind has changed. In comparison I think online is tougher because you don't have the face-to-face interaction. With face-to-face you have non-verbal communication to go along with the academic piece. Online you are scored without any bias because you are only interacting electronically with your professor. In my friend's case, the professors were tough and sometimes brutal in their scoring of projects and papers. My friend didn't have it easy at all and I have a new respect for the process. I don't think any less of his post graduate degree because he achieved it online.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
      • BRBSanDiego

        FYI – most on-line class work are not graded by "professors"; there simply is not enough time to read hundreds of pages containing drivel and plagarism. These papers are scanned by student readers who make comments and assign a grade. If you look at ten returned papers, the handwriting will not be the same on hardly any of them. These places are primarily diploma mills with very few exceptions. Bet they don't flunk many of their brilliant "students" as long as the check clears. W.C. Fields said it best "there is a sucker born every minute".

        February 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
      • youarewrong

        brbsandiego: that quote is from an unknown source. Usually attributed to P.T. Barnum, not W.C. Fields. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There%27s_a_sucker_born_every_minute. Consider yourself schooled.

        February 8, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  68. Skeptical

    The problem I have with any on-line degree is there is no guarantee the person whose name ends up on the diploma actually did the work. While there are instances of fraud at brick and mortar colleges, it is much less likely. If I was faced with hiring one of two students with similar grades and experiences, and one was from a traditional university and one from an on-line university, I'd pick the traditional student every time.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • WGU Alumni & Student

      You do realize that all of our exams are proctored, correct? In fact, I was almost turned away from being able to take an exam because my signature today didn't match my signature from five years ago 100% and the proctor was under the impression that she was a handwriting analyst. I rather think it would be extremely difficult to have someone sit my exams for me when I had to provide multiple forms of picture ID and multiple forms of signature ID. Additionally, the school sets up my TaskStream site, where I upload any work that is completed that is not an exam. I suppose it's possible to cheat and have someone else do your work for you, but TurnItIn screens all papers for plagiarism. We are not allowed to have more than 30% of quoted or closely paraphrased work in our papers, even if it is cited correctly. Do you honestly think that the school isn't going to come down strict on anyone caught cheating and that they don't have methods in place to weed people out who would be going about it?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
      • Amanda

        Not all online courses have proctored exams. I took several classes online with no proctored exams.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • WGU Alumni & Student

        Yes, I did mention work that was *not* an exam. Please read my FULL post :)

        February 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • Derek

        30% shows just how big of a joke this is. At my university anything over 10% was considered bad.

        February 8, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • cubensis

      That's why you don't hire anyone based on their degree only. That's just dumb.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
      • Alex

        Very good point! But it is a selling point for potential candidates!

        February 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • WGU Student 2012

      I'd love to meet the person that cheats his/her way through WGU. It would be very, very difficult to do. On the other hand, it appears that cheating at traditional colleges isn't quite as difficult: http://www.bangstyle.com/2011/12/cheating-in-college/

      February 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
      • cubensis

        I don't even see the point in cheating through college. You still have to produce and when they find out you don't know anything you are gonna be out on your butt.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Brian

      The thing is, most traditional brick-and-mortar universities now have online options as well. And there is no way to tell the difference between an online MBA or an in-person MBA from, say, University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler School of Business (ranked #16 in the nation). The degrees from traditional colleges don't state whether the courses were taken online or in person. So it is ridiculous to say that a degree earned through work online is less valuable. This is what people were saying about email 20 years ago or ecommerce 15 years ago or online dating 10 years ago. Just like communication and shopping and relationships, technology makes education cheaper and more efficient without necessarily any impact to quality.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
      • seraphim0

        I love how all of you, convieniently, use the same term for a physical university: brick and mortar. Is that in the script you're C&Ping from?

        February 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • Jennifer Scott

        I agree Brian. Young people will never know what it was like to do anything almost completely by internet. Facetime in iphone and mac still amazes me but not my daughter who is growing up to be in the room learning from people all over the world. Speaking of that 13 years ago I met my now husband on the internet in a chatroom and I learned so much about him before we even met in person (and he was in London). I knew he was going to be a great father and that is invaluable.

        February 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  69. WGU student #2

    I'm starting my Business degree in a couple of weeks. I'm excited!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  70. David

    Nice advertisement

    February 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Commenter

      Great non-comment. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
      • alan s

        Commenter: David's "Nice advertisement" was not a non-comment. He was pointing out the fact that the supposed news article was nothing but an advertisement.

        February 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Charlie

      I have to agree "It's an online, nonprofit, fully accredited university, a distinction not granted to all online campuses." Most online campuses are Accredited.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
      • cubensis

        No most online programs are not accredited, or they are from some crap accreditation facility. The only one that matters are the regional ones like WASC and others. WGU is one of the few that is accredited by the same ones as brick and mortar schools.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Beth

      I thought the same thing. True or not, it reads like they just got a press release from this place and slapped it up on the site as is.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • Pete

        Unfortunately, yes, I've seen some college and personal finance blogs do that on slow news days.

        February 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  71. Chad

    In looking somewhat in-depth at their site, as well as their accreditation credentials, I must say I'm impressed with this model for competency-based education.

    February 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  72. Justin

    thanks CNN for the tip, will def. look into it.

    February 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Justin

      Bachelors of I.T. Basic Tuition: $2,890 per 6-month term – is about on par with some technical college prices.

      February 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
      • Julie

        You also have to think that is for six months and for as many classes as you can finish in that time. There is a minimum number of classes for financial aid but if you want to work your butt off and do a bunch of classes it really saves you time and money.

        February 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  73. WGU Student

    I attend Western Governors University I started in November with 3 transfer credits and in 7 weeks I completed 23 Credits all before the end of the year! I am now on pace to graduate with my Bachelors in Business-IT Management by November of 2012. If you are a working adult and you don't have time due to other responsibilities to attend a traditional on campus college this is the school for you. I can honestly say that before WGU I gave up on college because I didn't think it was possible to achieve my goals but now after being a student for the past few months I'm on my way! Thank you WGU

    February 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • cubensis

      That sounds like it worked out for you. My current situation is I was fired after 10 years with a company. I have been trying to work and go to school for years, usually the employers are never flexible, especially the last one. So my plan is to get my A+, then apply to WGU and start working on my BSIT nd look for either a part time job or a fulltime job. I am 36, I need to get my degree I am tired of dead end jobs.

      February 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • WGU Student

        I understand I'm 25 and I'm tired of dead end jobs as well but you can get your A+ through the program @ WGU or just get all your IT certs before attending then you will have half of your degree completed before enrolling

        February 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • cubensis

      no you see the list of requirements to apply for the BSIT? I have none. I have practical experience but no degree or certificate to show for it The counselor told me if I completed a certificate I could apply. The A+ is the easiest one I think,

      February 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Josie

      Do all the classes have a comprehensive final exam? They really should, if they want to be respectable. It seems almost any schools can get accredited these days, tons of "bible colleges" that award bachelor's degrees in science for studying creationism, etc.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
      • John in Jackson, MS

        9 times out of 10 those "bible colleges" you refer to aren't regionally accredited. There's a HUGE difference between fake accreditation and regional accreditation. Regional accreditation is the one that matters.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • Brian

        All the courses have a rigorous final exam or a extensive final project (think 10-20 page papers). WGU is accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities which also accredited the University of Washington, University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, and University of Utah.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  74. Katie

    Western Governor's U is not at all like Phoenix, where classes they offer are only accredited by them (no transfers) and their bottom line is their own ability to turn a profit. Plus they do NOT like it if you don't fill out the FAFSA, because they really want to get the government to give them money on your behalf, sometimes you don't even know about it! WGU is non-profit and utilizes classes from other universities and colleges. Their classes do transfer. They have no campus and no tacked on fees. For the industrious, willing to study at home student, WGU is the place to go.

    February 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  75. popejon

    Best education you can get is taught by people who are actually working in the career you're trying to get a degree in. Or being taught by people who spent their entire career working in the field you're trying to get a degree in and are now retired and only teaching because they loved what they did. Otherwise you're wasting your time an money. Just studying a text book online or in your hands will never compare to actual experience....

    February 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • WGU student #2

      WGU does have instructors and mentors in the field you are interested in! It's an awesome deal!

      February 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  76. Busybody

    The On-line education colleges haven't been around that long ("relative"- I know). I'm still wondering how they're
    received and respected by potential employers. Cutting the costs sure helps. Designing a program for time strapped folks
    DOES make a lot of sense.

    February 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Probably Not

      I am responsible for job descriptions, interviews, and hiring recommendations where I work. I would probably not consider a person whose only qualifications were a BS degree from WGU. Their experience is more important than their education where there is a relevant work history. As far as promotions, I would base how much WGU cirriculum is like corporate traning content, and whether they compare in attaining certifications.

      February 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • WGU student #2

        Many WGU students DO have experience in their field of study. Many times they are just "dotting the i's and crossing the t's" so to speak as far as the diploma/certifications/etc etc. to excel further in their desired field. I have 20 years experience in the service industry, however a diploma will help me utilize that experience in a broader sense.

        February 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
      • Dee (WGU Student)

        LIke WGU Student #2 said. We do have actual experience. We are required to go through pre-clinical experiences as well as clinical experience. Teacher's College Students are required to complete observations in the classroom and then also complete demonstration teaching (student teaching) in accordance with state requirements. The only difference between a student that attended a brick and mortar college and WGU students is that we didn't have to sit in a classroom 2-3 times a week. We sit at home in our sweatpants with our liquid motivation mug (provided by WGU) and do our work. For a busy mom who works full time, this option (plus the financial aspect) was a no-brainer.

        February 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • WGU Alumni & Student

        I attended multiple brick and mortar schools before I found WGU. I didn't learn much of anything useful at any of them. I certainly couldn't have passed any of the certification exams after taking the equivalent courses. WGU curriculum is much more difficult and challenging and definitely provided me with a lot more experience in what I actually needed to know in a given area than any brick and mortar school class ever gave me. If I want an edge up in the workplace, I need to know more than the basic concepts of a certain area, and that seems to be all that most college kids these days are getting. Colleges expect future employers to teach them the nitty gritty, or for them to go out and learn it on their own in their free time. I didn't have to do that. The cost of my education covered those learning experiences because WGU taught me more than just the basic concepts and ideas. They taught me competence in an area. The result? I was able to walk into a career situation and, for the most part, do the job from day one with little to no training and nearly no "real world" experience behind me. Good luck finding a brick and mortar student who is as active in the community and extra curricular activities as I am who could do the same.

        February 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • HR Director

      I'd hire a graduate from WGU. The school is accredited and honestly, if one of my employees shows the initiative and completes his/her degree outside of work, that's worthy of promotion. We will definitely look into hiring WGU graduates.

      February 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  77. AnneSD

    University? To me, a college or university degree implies that the student has received a well-rounded education with emphasis in a particular field. This school offers a few general ed classes like essay writing and general math, but the rest is technical courses.

    It may be appropriate for some people, but let's call it what it is - a specialized technical school not a university or college.

    February 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Dee

      Anne~ Have you really researched the requirements for this university? It is far from a technically school and you do receive a full well-rounded education from WGU. I am currently in my 2nd to last semester at WGU for my BA in Elementary Education and had to take more than essay writing and math. Just like at any brick and mortar college, I had to fulfill multiple liberal arts requirements in order to even start any of the degree specific course work. When I graduate, I will have earned a Bachelors degree, not a technical certification. I highly recommend you do further reading about WGU before you pass judgement. The degree I will receive from WGU will be the same I would have received had I attended a brick and mortar university (Teacher's College has NCATE accreditation).

      February 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • SoCaller

      My husband is finishing his degree (got Associates from a junior college) and is taking Business Law, Organizational Behavior, Finance and all the other business classes I took for my BBA at Texas Tech University (a "real" school) and also getting my MBA at University of Southern California (I think even you would admit that's "real"). His lower level classes transferred in from his JC and will be done in 2 years (OR LESS!) AT A COST OF ~$9K total including books and all materials. It's about time there is an honest option for working adults to not be raped financially by a Devry, Phoenix, Capella or other non-accredited "University".

      February 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • WGU Alumni & Student

      I find your comment unfounded, as WGU requires general education in math, english, and the sciences, as do all of the regular brick and mortar schools. Granted, I had already taken most of these courses elsewhere, so mine had transferred in. However, I had read recently one student's comment of being surprised at the pig fetus showing up on her door so she could complete dissection requirements. She wasn't going to be a science major of any kind. WGU requires the same basic courses that any four-year university does, they just allow you to test out of more classes than most brick and mortar schools do. And before anyone tells me that you can't test out of brick and mortar schools, I can assure you that you can. I tested out of classes at every brick and mortar school I attended...often several years worth of a subject at a time. You just don't get to transfer those credits when you leave that school; they are only good in one place.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
      • Derek

        And your telling me she could dissect it and identify all structures with no teacher give me a break.

        February 8, 2012 at 9:12 am |
      • Vanessa Loftis

        Derek, we have course mentors, so yes, you can identify all the parts. I had to take an integrated science course at WGU, probably one of the hardest courses. We had to know biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology and I may be missing one of two others. Not only did we have to know each discipline, we had to know how each discipline overlaps into other disciplines. Then we had to take a 4 hour exam and complete many tasks including large papers, presentations and projects. I would love to see people from a traditional college come on over and see that this school is NOTHING compared to U of P, Kaplan, Devry and many others.

        February 8, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  78. hypatia

    Oh please! Is this another 'University of Phoenix"? Those places are scary beyond reason-I know of one 'phoenix' who is now a registered pyscho counselor.

    February 7, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • cubensis

      First of all you could read the f***ing article before you respond. Do some basic research before you look like a fool. U of P is a FOR PROFIT school, this is NON PROFIT, This is accredited, U of P is not accredited. UofP's "erms" are like 6 weeks long. What can you learn in 6 weeks? WGU terms are 6 months, you literally go at your own pace.

      February 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • SoCaller

      This couldn't be FARTHER from Phoenix! Phoenix is unaccredited and costs $60-80k to graduate w/a "degree". My husband is finishing his degree (got Associates from a junior college) and is taking Business Law, Organizational Behavior, Finance and all the other business classes I took for my BBA at Texas Tech University (a "real" school) and also getting my MBA at University of Southern California (I think even you would admit that's "real"). His lower level classes transferred in from his JC (somehting else you can't do at Phoenix) and will be done in 2 years (OR LESS!) AT A COST OF ~$9K total including books and all materials. It's about time there is an honest option for working adults to not be raped financially by a Devry, Phoenix, Capella or other non-accredited "University".

      February 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
      • tlarose

        I have to agree...I went to DeVry, and after 1 1/2 years of the accelerated program, I graduated with a BS in Telecom Mgmt, and $60K in student loan debt...OUCH!!

        February 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
      • Susan

        $60K for a 1 1/2 year program, you really didn't do your due diligence before you decided to go there. In too much of a hurry to get a degree, I suppose, then to research other options. I hope you learned your lesson from this.

        February 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • 13Directors

      It can't be like Phoenix if it's a non-profit. That alone draws a huge distinction.

      I'm in school at a brick and mortar school for the first time in my life because I can. There's gotta to be some limitations to what they offer, but I see no reason why this can't be another option to get an education.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Marie

      This is not like University of Phoenix, I went there and they will kick you out for not completing at least 12 credit hrs in a semester, which is 6 months. I graduated in May of 2010 with a BS in Accounting.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • LinuxRacr

      Hypatia,

      I can honestly say that this is NOT like UoP. I know, because I attended UoP for a year, and now am a student at WGU for a B.S. in I.T. (Security emphasis). The cost for one thing is is about half at WGU, and you get more "bang for your buck," being that you can go at your own pace, and also get industry-recognized certifications (such as CCNA, Security+, CEH) as part of the program. I was paying like $1,800 per class at UoP. At WGU, I have already finished 2 classes in one month, which means that I have already saved because I pay roughly $3,000 per 6-moth term. I was able to accelerate to finish my first two classes early because of my prior experience being an I.T. professional for 12 years. You demonstrate competency, you move on. Period.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:56 am |