WGU Washington Fact Sheet

Background and Mission

  • WGU Washington has been established by the state of Washington as an online, competency-based university to expand access to higher education for Washington residents.
  • The university offers more than 50 online, competency-based degree programs in high-demand career fields including Business, Information Technology, Teacher Education, and Health Professions, including Nursing.
  • The state has partnered with Western Governors University to establish WGU Washington, a new option in higher education for Washington residents.
  • The mission of WGU Washington is to expand access to affordable higher education for Washington residents through online, competency-based degree programs that address key workforce needs.
  • WGU Washington is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western Governors University, which was founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs. Today, Western Governors University is a national university with more than 40,000 students from all 50 U.S. states.
  • Nonprofit but self-sustaining on tuition, WGU Washington provides new educational opportunities for Washington residents without ongoing state subsidy.

Accessibility and Affordability

  • WGU Washington’s online, competency-based model makes college possible for working adults who may not be able to travel to a campus. It also provides them the flexibility they need to complete their studies while they meet work and family obligations.
  • WGU Washington tuition is charged at a flat rate for six-month terms, not per credit hour or semester.
  • Students may begin their terms at the first of any month.
  • Because WGU Washington is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western Governors University, WGU Washington students may qualify for federal financial aid.
  • WGU Washington is offering a special scholarship program for new students. More information is available on the website, http://washington.wgu.edu/tuition_financial_aid/scholarships.

Academic Model

  • WGU Washington uses a competency-based, mentor-guided model that requires students to demonstrate their knowledge rather than spending time in a classroom.
  • Each WGU student is assigned a faculty member personally dedicated to them: a Program Mentor, whose job is to help guide and motivate the student the entire time they are in the program.
  • The Program Mentors provide instruction, guidance, and support through every aspect of the student’s progress through the degree program.
  • Learning resources, which include textbooks, webinars, simulations, and online tutorials, have been developed by third-party sources and are reviewed by councils composed of industry representatives to ensure that they are relevant to employers’ needs.


  • WGU Washington is accredited through Western Governors University, which is regionally accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
  • Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
  • The bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791).
  • The Health Informatics program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

Governance and Washington Operations

  • WGU Washington is led by Chancellor Tonya Drake. The Chancellor reports to Western Governors University President Scott Pulsipher.
  • WGU Washington works under the guidance of an Advisory Board composed of corporate, community, and education leaders in the state. WGU Washington Advisory Board members are:
    • Marty Brown, Retired Executive Director, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC)
    • Don Brunell, Partner, Brunell Creative; Former President, Association of Washington Business
    • Al Davis, Principal, Revitalization Partners
    • Phyllis Gutiérrez Kenney, Former State Representative, VP of Leadership and Economic Development, Sea Mar Community Health Centers
    • Steve Mullin, President, Washington Roundtable
    • Dr. Kathleen Ross, President Emeritus, Heritage University
    • Dr. Samuel H. Smith, President Emeritus, Washington State University
    • John D. White, Vice President Emeritus, BergerABAM

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