Western Governors University - legit?

Discussion in 'Education, Teaching and related degrees' started by swimmagal, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. swimmagal

    swimmagal New Member

    I was thinking of transferring into Western Governors University because its online and I love taking my classes online. I find the below to be the pro's and cons of it but what do you think? Is this a legit university for a bachelors in education?

    -all online
    -transfers in most credits (BUT you have to apply before they tell you which ones)
    -private school (fancy eh)
    -they have course mentors that help with class questions
    -tution - take as many classes as you want....anyone know how that works???
    -finish 1 class at a time, no wait time between starting a new class and finishing
    -no maximum amount of classes

    -pass/fail - no GPA for resume
    -no honors classes
    -webcam for proctored exams - that just sounds awkward!
    -no information on if the individual courses are easy or hard aka no preview
    -no due dates which means you REALLY need motivation
    -a biology education degree is a BA instead of a BS (does that make a difference??)

    Can you tell me if my cons are stupid or do they make sense? Answer the questions within the pro's and cons and in the first paragraph!! I just want someone whose been through this program before to help me and advise me! If you have graduated with an education degree from this school maybe we can keep in touch through email or something? Anyways please let me know what you think!!
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Western Governors University is legitimate. But most of your cons are reasonable objections. (Well, other than the last one, since in the U.S., BA/BS makes no practical difference.)

    If you don't think the school would suit you, keep looking. But if you think it would, then it's a perfectly fine school.
  3. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    You pay by the semester rather than by the credit or by the course. In other words, the faster you complete the degree, the less it costs. The more semesters you need, the more you need to pay.

    It's been discussed on a few occasions on this board. The consensus is that overall, it is a very good deal- so long as you keep up with your studies. However, it is highly unrealistic (although maybe not entirely impossible?) to think that you could finish in just one semester. You probably weren't expecting to anyway :)
  4. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Different states have different requirements for teacher training. In some cases, WGU cooperates with specific states to provide programs that are tailored to those state's requirements. If you look at the bottom of the WGU Homepage, you will see a list of "WGU State Institutions", including WGU Indiana, WGU Missouri, WGU Tennessee, WGU Texas, and WGU Washington. So if you live in one of those states, you should click there. If not, you can still go to WGU, but you will have to make sure that the WGU program is consistent with the specific requirements of your state.
  5. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    BA/BS doesn't really make a difference, but you should know that WGU's program is not a hardcore biology degree. It's more like a degree in educational science with a concentration in biology. I would put "non-profit" as a pro instead of "private." It's much better than it being a for-profit college. Private rarely means prestige whether among for-profits or non-profits, but for-profits are definitely private schools that aren't considered to be fancy. There are a lot of state universities with more prestige than WGU.
  7. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    WGU falls into a gray area between "public" and "private" schools. It's sometimes described as "quasi-public".

    WGU was initially established and funded as a cooperative effort by multiple state governments (specifically, a group of Western state governors). So WGU is not a traditional "state" school, because multiple states were involved. In general, the easiest way for multiple state governments to cooperate is through the private sector.

    The WGU state institutions -- like WGU Washington, WGU Texas, etc. -- are technically private; however, they resemble typical state schools in that they give preference to in-state residents. For example, WGU Indiana says:

    WGU will probably not be regarded as particularly prestigious, whether you consider it private or public. On the other hand, it is definitely non-profit, so it avoids the possible stigma that is sometimes associated with for-profit institutions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2013
  8. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    As to the "no due dates" thing

    While there are few solid "due dates" with WGU, there ARE some deadlines:
    1. Every student has to clear a certain number of units every term, or they will be placed on probation. Getting too far behind can cause a student to lose financial aid and/or "get kicked out".
    2. If you do not complete a competency ("course") you have been enrolled in by the end of a term, you will receive a "not passed" mark on your records. This mark does not count toward any sort of standing such as GPA, but is not a positive if you should have to share your transcript with anyone.

    With WGU it is beneficial to stay on task and on time. The regular conference calls with student mentors should help in this regard.

    When I completed my program with them, they were expecting students to provide a spreadsheet with anticipated times during the week for a 15-20 hour commitment. As many will tell you, the actual number of hours you will spend varies-- some competencies require more, others less.
  9. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    In some states, WGU might be quasi-public. In Texas, it's treated like a private school. It's not eligible for state financial aid, and Texas students don't get reduced rates.
  10. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    WGU Texas gives admissions preferences to Texas residents:

    And WGU Texas does provide reduced rates to Texans, if they are graduates of Texas community colleges:

  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    That is not even close to receiving in-state tuition based solely on residency or being eligible for state financial aid. Any private college is free to give preference and/or discounts to locals.
  12. swimmagal

    swimmagal New Member

    1- Do they offer an option instead of the webcam to go to an approved testing site (like my old high school)?
    2 - How can I tell which credits will be accepted without replying? I'm a sophomore and have taken 1 1/2 years of classes already at my local community college.
  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    WGU also receives no state funding, and the discount amounts to less than $300. I was wrong about Texans not receiving a discount because I hadn't checked the website in awhile, but the discount only applies to certain Texans and is rather small. I could probably find another private college that gives a discount to certain CC students. I know, at one time, Straighterline students received some sort of discount. I still don't see WGU as being quasi-public in Texas.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2013
  14. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    duplicate post, delete
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2013
  15. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    It's true that ultimately, WGU Texas is a private school. However, WGU is hardly a typical private school, given that:

    -- it restricts admissions to Texas residents;

    -- it charges unusually low tuition, at a level that is more consistent with state schools, not private schools.

    -- it provides further tuition discounts to graduates of Texas community colleges (but not to graduates of out-of-state CCs). Admittedly the discounts are low, but let's not forget that their tuition is at a low, state-school-like level to begin with.

    - it was established by Texas Governor Rick Perry through an Executive Order. The Governor's Executive Order explicitly calls upon The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to:

    So WGU Texas was established by an act of State Government, grants preferential admissions to state residents, and charges low tuition to those state residents. While it is a private school, it has an obvious resemblance to state schools in these respects.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2013
  16. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I agree that WGU is not the typical private university since it was established by governors, but low tuition rates are possible because of their competency model. Not only have state schools like NAU followed this model charging out-of-state students a tuition rate even lower than WGU's, but SNHU, a private school, is following this model also charging less than WGU. Patten University, a for-profit, also has extremely cheap tuition rates.

    The thing with WGU-Texas or any other offshoot is that the admissions preference almost has no meaning. I don't know if they have a limit to how many students they can admit at these campuses, but admissions is not competitive. If you don't get into one of these state campuses, you can always attend WGU. Other than having to pay $300 more, there is no difference between attending WGU-Texas and WGU. I thought I read once that WGU qualifies for state financial aid in one state. I think that is what would really make the difference. While I didn't qualify for federal grants for my graduate program at Angelo State University, I qualified for a state grant. WGU giving a discount to Texas CC students is more like a partnership/articulation agreement than some kind of government relationship. State colleges give lower rates to all residents regardless of where they went to school. WGU gives a 5% discount to CCs in Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia in addition to Texas.
    Welcome Community College Partners
    Community College Partners

    Edit: I found it. WGU Indiana is eligible for state aid.

    WGU Indiana Tuition and Fees | Indiana Online University | WGU Indiana

    WGU also qualifies for state aid in Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont.

    Even though these states don't have their own WGU campuses, they treat WGU more like a state institution than Texas. I'd rather get a state grant than a $300 discount. Even Straighterline students can get up to a $200 discount. The grant for my graduate program was almost $1,000.
  17. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    True enough. However, those schools probably don't have articulation agreements with the Texas Association of Community Colleges, like WGU Texas does. WGU Texas is almost like a state school that way.

    That's what I would have guessed too. However, the Chancellor of WGU Texas recently stated that they had only a 35 percent acceptance rate.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2013
  18. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    They have admissions requirements, but they aren't competitive. If you can pass everything, you get in. I've only heard of their second degree BSN being competitive. I already knew that a lot of people fail the readiness test. Some people have complained that it's inaccurate, but it's not surprising that so many of the applicants lack basic reading/writing and math skills. I think one of the reasons why so many people still end up at expensive for-profits is because they don't want to deal with the admissions requirements at other schools. Even CCs require a placement test and will make you take remedial courses if you don't score high enough.
  19. swattz101

    swattz101 New Member

    Yes, you have the option to use an approved testing site. WGU has a list of sites across the country and will even pay any proctor fees.

    I've taken one test with the webcam and admit it was a little weird knowing someone was watching me while taking the exam. They paused the exam until I had the webcam set up just right. WGU sends students a fisheye webcam that takes a wide angle view. They uses Kryterion for the online proxy. I will probably take my next exam at the local community college.

    I am currently enrolled in the IT program, so I don't know a lot about the teaching programs, but I have read some of the experiences on a different student forum. You can accelerate some of the classes but some of the others have to be taken at certain times of the year. This is due to the student teaching/observation part of the teaching degrees. If you don't already have a relationship with a local school, WGU will help you make contact.
  20. instant000

    instant000 Member

    I think that WGU is a legitimate school, but everyone's situation is different. :)

    Yes, it is a legit university: regionally accredited, non-profit, and inexpensive. As far as a bachelors in education, other posters have warned that states have different teacher credentialing requirements. You want to consider those.

    It is more appealing that they are an inexpensive non-profit. The "private" status matters less.

    Six month terms, as fast as you can complete your courses. There have been some who completed their MS or MBA degrees within six months. Those who transferred in a lot of courses have completed a BS in IT within six months.

    I have NO IDEA how this works for Education majors. Consider that education majors have this little component called "Demonstrated Teaching" (or something similar to that. Basically, you have to teach real students). You have to do this "in person." As such, there's not any good way to speed this particular part up.

    This has not really hampered people from going on to other schools. Scroll to the bottom of this page:
    WGU Alumni Community - Graduate School

    Pardon my ignorance, I did not know this mattered.

    It's designed to stop cheating. It's the same as if you took the test in a classroom with a proctor. Every certification test I've taken has had me to show a photo ID. Some also require a photograph to be taken at the test center. Additionally, the tests are monitored over video camera. This is normal for testing, as far as I'm concerned.

    If you know the subject or can capably teach yourself, the courses will be easy. If you struggle to learn on your own, then WGU is not for you.

    Not entirely true, as others mentioned the need to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). You'll see your fellow students talk about SAP a lot.

    If your major is education, you're not doing hard Biology.

    I dislike calling questions stupid. Questions are usually asked out of ignorance. Being ignorant means that you do not know. It does not mean that you are stupid.

    There is a forum where a lot of wgu students hang out:
    WGU Students

    You might find some associates there.

    Keep in mind this disclaimer: Authoritative answers will come from the school itself. A forum cannot substitute for that.

    Hope this helps!

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