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WGU Texas Celebrates First Anniversary, 8/3/12

More than 200 students a month enrolling in innovative, affordable member of the state’s higher education family

AUSTIN — Just one year after the state established WGU Texas through a partnership with Western Governors University, the nonprofit, online university has grown to enrollment of more than 3,000 students, a 60 percent increase since its launch. WGU Texas was established on August 3, 2011, by Executive Order from Governor Rick Perry with bipartisan support of the Joint Legislative Committee on Oversight of Higher Education Chairs, Senator Judith Zaffirini and Representative Dan Branch.

WGU Texas is self-sufficient on tuition of less than $6,000 per year and receives no ongoing state funding. With more than 50 accredited master’s and bachelor’s degrees in the high-demand fields of business, health professions (including nursing), information technology, and K-12 teacher education, WGU Texas focuses on providing affordable, high-quality opportunities for working adults.

First-year milestones include:

Milliron, a nationally-recognized innovator and leader in higher education, was appointed chancellor in December. He formerly served as Deputy Director of Postsecondary Success for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Following his appointment, the university announced the formation of its inaugural WGU Texas State Advisory Board made up of key leaders, including:

  • Andres Alcantar – Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, Austin
  • Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley – Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, CPS Energy, San Antonio
  • Patricia Diaz Dennis – Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Retired, AT&T, San Antonio
  • John Fitzpatrick – Executive Director of Educate Texas, Austin and Dallas
  • Bernie Francis – Owner and CEO of Business Control Systems, and First Class Caregivers, Inc., Dallas
  • Reynaldo García – President and CEO of the Texas Association of Community Colleges, Austin
  • Karen Garza – Superintendent, Lubbock Independent School District, Lubbock
  • Bonnie Gonzalez – Chief Executive Officer, Workforce Solutions, McAllen
  • Woody Hunt – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hunt Companies, El Paso
  • Robert Scott – Texas Commissioner of Education, Head of the Texas Education Agency, Austin
  • L. E. Simmons – Founder and President of SCF Partners, Houston
  • Lora Villarreal – Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer for Xerox Services, Dallas

“Texas was ripe for the model we’ve been able to bring to the family of higher education in the state,” says Milliron. “Our goal is to provide hard-working adults with more flexible, personalized learning experiences that are affordable, map to high-demand career fields, and maintain the highest quality standards.”

Part of WGU Texas’ growth stems from the successful Finish to Go Further program with Texas community colleges. Graduates of partner community colleges (Texas Association of Community Colleges member institutions) are currently eligible for tuition discounts, waived application fees, and the opportunity to apply for scholarships.

WGU Texas’ model is unique—rather than earning degrees based on time spent in class, students advance toward their credential by demonstrating competency. Students may progress as quickly as their knowledge and skills allow. Learning is individualized and guided by a team of highly-qualified, full-time faculty mentors who provide personalized, one-on-one support as well as subject matter expertise. Degree programs are rigorous and challenging, but allow flexibility to accommodate work and family obligations. Tuition is affordable at approximately $3,000 per six-month term for most degree programs, and federal financial aid is available. Students may apply at any time, and new six-month terms begin the first of every month.

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