In a Year of COVID-19 Disruptions, Enrollment Soars at Ohio’s Newest University



Nonprofit, online Western Governors University Ohio sees 13% enrollment increase

 

COLUMBUS, OH – As COVID-19 displaced workers and shifted students to online learning, Ohio’s newest university saw a surge in enrollment during the pandemic. Nonprofit, online Western Governors University Ohio saw a 13 percent increase in adult learners enrolling to earn accredited bachelor’s or master’s degrees. According to WGU Ohio, the number of active students increased from 3,594 in February 2020 to 4,063 a year later. In addition, the number of graduates at the university rose from 4,362 to 5,835 over the same time.

 

“Pandemic disruptions are motivating many Ohioans to seek a degree or certificate in order to advance their careers or open new opportunities when better times return, but financial pressures have placed many higher-education options out of reach,” said WGU Ohio Chancellor K.L. Allen. “In the face of these trends, WGU’s enrollment surged because our unique approach to online higher education, low flat-rate tuition costs and broad range of financial aid are designed to meet the particular needs of today’s adult learners.“

 

In 2018, Ohio became the eighth state to partner with Western Governors University, a collaborative of state governors who saw – more than 20 years ago – the transformative power of competency-based education as a way to help close the skills gap and help busy working adults pursue in-demand jobs in healthcare, nursing, business, teaching and information technology.

 

At WGU Ohio, students follow a competency-based model of higher education, one that allows them to earn credit toward a college degree by demonstrating their mastery of a subject and its skills, rather than calculating a student’s progress toward a degree by the number hours that student sits in a classroom.  There’s no need to attend lectures or to “log on” at a specific time.  Instead, WGU students complete their programs by studying on schedules that fit their lives, at home and arranged to accommodate work and family obligations.  In addition to learning from instructors who are skilled at online teaching, each WGU student is assigned a dedicated advisor to motivate and mentor them throughout the process.

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