A new kind of university for Washington: online and designed for 21st-century careers—and 21st-century lifestyles

WGU Washington is an online, competency-based university designed to expand access to higher education for Washington residents. In 2011, the Washington State Legislature created WGU Washington in partnership with nationally recognized Western Governors University.

The state’s highly educated population has been a driving factor in Washington’s economic growth over the past few decades, and ongoing educational opportunity will only become more crucial for the estimated 67% of all jobs statewide that will require some postsecondary education by 2018. More and more Washingtonians will need to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees—including busy adults who already have jobs, families, and lifestyles that make a traditional university setting unrealistic.

Recognizing these facts, WGU Washington’s principal goal is to open doors to higher education for adult learners through:

  • Access to quality education. As an online, state-endorsed university that provides residents access to nationally recognized degree programs, WGU Washington makes a college degree a real possibility for more Washingtonians.
  • Career-focused bachelor's and master's degrees. WGU Washington’s rigorous degree programs are in the fields of business, information technology, K–12 education, and health professions (including nursing)—highly in-demand fields that represent the present and future of Washington’s economy.
  • Affordable tuition. A nonprofit university, WGU Washington’s tuition is among the lowest in the state.
  • Flexible online degree programs. At WGU Washington, you will leverage the power of online and technology-based learning with the prove-it-and-move-on approach of competency-based education to study and advance at your pace, balancing school, work, family, and life obligations.

WGU's Core Themes

Accreditation and Recognition

WGU Washington is regionally, NCATE, and CCNE* accredited. WGU is also a USDLA 21st Century Distance Learning Award recipient for its leadership in distance education.

*The bachelor's and master's degree programs at WGU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791).

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Student and Grad Success

Through competency-based learning, WGU Washington grads earn a degree that represents proven knowledge. Because they finish their programs having become truly competent in the skills and subjects employers value most, WGU Washington graduates are ready to excel in their careers. It's why WGU Washington grads get jobs that more than pay for their education in just a few years.

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A Washington-Approved University Created to Fill a Gap in the State’s Higher Education Opportunities

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 offers residents of the state another means to further their education:

  • Quality college degree programs for non-traditional students. WGU Washington’s challenging online degree programs are accredited, career-relevant, and nationally recognized.
  • Affordable tuition. Nonprofit WGU Washington's tuition is among the lowest in the state, comparing very favorably to Washington's public colleges and universities. Terms are six months long, and you pay one rate per term, regardless of the number of courses you complete.
  • Competency-based learning. Designed to meet the needs of adult learners, this approach allows students to move quickly through materials they have already mastered, enabling them to focus on new learning.
  • Flexibility. Students complete courses through mentor-guided independent study, so they can schedule their studies to fit their lives, not the other way around.
  • One-on-one support. Faculty members provide individualized mentoring to each student from enrollment through graduation. Our students report a higher level of student/faculty interaction than students at traditional colleges and universities. Based on the National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE).
  • Superior learning resources. WGU Washington students have 24/7 access to online learning modules, electronic textbooks, web-based tutorials, and simulations for each course of study.
  • An online community for Washington students and access to Western Governors University’s national student community. You'll be able to connect and interact with other students both within Washington and from all over the country.
  • The University of You. At WGU Washington, we believe everyone has the right to earn a college degree. And we believe the path to that degree should be accessible, flexible and affordable. We believe life experience should count for something, independent learning should be celebrated, and focus and determination rewarded. We believe in you. Read more about The University of You.

A Proven Academic Model from a Nationally Recognized University, Customized for Washington

WGU Washington is the state’s only competency-based university, leveraging an innovative approach to education pioneered by our parent institution, Western Governors University. Western Governors University was founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors, including Washington Governor Mike Lowry.

Curriculum, learning resources, faculty mentors, and student services for WGU Washington are provided by Western Governors University through its partnership with the State of Washington. WGU Washington degrees are granted under the current accreditation of Western Governors University, which is 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), and Nursing bachelor’s and master’s programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791).

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"The university offers students access to higher education wherever they are, whenever they need it, at a price they can afford." Timothy J. Lowenberg,
Major General (Ret.)
NBC Reports on how WGU works.
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About WGU Washington’s Faculty

Student learning is the primary focus of the faculty at WGU Washington and the parent institution Western Governors University. Because of our unique student-centric, competency-based approach, faculty serve in different roles compared to traditional schools and other online schools. Read more.

Learn more about employment opportunities at WGU Washington

Questions and Answers

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Why would I choose WGU Washington?

Because your professional success is our goal. If you’re seriously considering an online degree program, you want high-quality academic content that’s relevant to your career, tuition that’s affordable, flexibility that fits your lifestyle, and a strong support system to help you stay on track. These are the critical attributes of WGU as a nonprofit university founded by the governors of 19 U.S. states to expand educational access for the working adult.

Why is "competency-based" important?

The "competency-based" approach benefits you in two ways. First, you know you’re being trained to be competent in your field. You want high-quality academic content that’s relevant to your career. We make sure you know your stuff. Second, the approach lets you advance as quickly as you can demonstrate your competence through our rigorous assessments. It really is a "Show me what you know" approach that lets you take advantage of knowledge you already possess. You can use this knowledge, work hard in your program, and accelerate your time to completion. You could save both time and money. An Enrollment Counselor can explain this approach further.

What is WGU’s Mission Statement?

"The principal mission of Western Governors University is to improve quality and expand access to post-secondary educational opportunities by providing a means for individuals to learn independent of time and place and to earn competency-based degrees and other credentials that are credible to both academic institutions and employers."

What is WGU’s Promise Statement?

"We help our students achieve their dreams for a degree and career success by providing a personal, flexible, and affordable education based on real-world competencies."

Is WGU Washington a good fit for you?

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