Burgum: Western Governors University and North Dakota Community Colleges formalize their partnership


BISMARCK, North Dakota Western Governors University (WGU) and the five community colleges of the University System of North Dakota have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will provide their graduates and staff with an affordable pathway to earn their bachelor’s or master’s degrees from WGU.

Additionally, under the terms of the agreement, those who enroll in one of the online nonprofit university’s more than 60 undergraduate or graduate programs in business, computer science, K-12 teacher education or health professions – including nursing – will now be eligible to apply for scholarships offered by the university Community College Partner Scholarship program.

Graduate students from Bismarck State College, Dakota College at Bottineau, Lake Region State College, North Dakota State College of Science, and Williston State College will be able to seamlessly transfer their credits to WGU. The university offers North Dakota Community College graduates and staff a skills-based approach to learning that allows them to use their previous education, training, and experience to quickly navigate material they already know so that can focus on what they still need to learn. Students complete their programs by studying on schedules that suit their lives, progressing as they demonstrate mastery of the subject. While WGU’s degree programs are rigorous and challenging, competency-based learning allows students to accelerate their progress and graduate sooner, saving them time and effort. ‘money.

“The partnership provides students with additional opportunities beyond the more than 300 online graduate and undergraduate programs currently offered by institutions in the North Dakota University System,” said NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Five North Dakota Community College Presidents and WGU was first announced during Governor Doug Burgum’s 2022 State of the State address. During his remarks, Burgum highlighted the state’s recent efforts to address North Dakota’s workforce challenges and grow and diversify the economy, reinforcing the critical need to provide residents with access to high-quality education to prepare them for in-demand careers. While North Dakota signed the original WGU charter 25 years ago under the leadership of the then government. Ed Schafer, Burgum affirmed that the state looks forward to rekindling its partnership with WGU to improve educational offerings for students of all ages and backgrounds.

“In North Dakota, we strive to ensure that every resident can thrive in the 21st century economy and reach their full potential. To be successful, we need to better align our degree offerings with the needs of North Dakota businesses. This new partnership with Western Governors University will provide North Dakotans with seamless access to one of the nation’s most innovative institutions of higher education to further their education while pursuing their career goals and pathways to opportunity,” Burgum said.

Under the terms of the agreement, students transferring from the North Dakota Community College system to WGU will also be eligible for scholarships to make tuition even more affordable. the Community College Partner Scholarship is valued up to $2,500 and applied to WGU’s already low flat-rate tuition of approximately $3,800 per semester. Scholarship recipients will receive a tuition credit of $625 per term, renewable for up to four terms based on academic performance. Applicants who do not have access to affordable high-speed internet will also be eligible to apply for the WGU Online Access Scholarship, which covers internet installation and monthly access fees for as long as qualifying WGU students are active and in good standing. The program also provides devices to students who need them.

“We are excited to provide continuing education options to North Dakota community college graduates and staff,” said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, regional vice president of Western Governors University. “WGU appreciates the important role community colleges play in workforce development and is pleased to provide North Dakota residents with pathways to higher education and career advancement.”

For more information on WGU’s partnership with North Dakota Community Colleges, to visit www.wgu.edu/ndcc.

About WGU

Founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to affordable, high-quality higher education, the nonprofit online WGU now serves more than 131,000 students nationwide and has more than 257 000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading skills-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, heads of state, employers, and students as a working model in post-secondary education. In just 25 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly changing economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.

About North Dakota Community Colleges

The University System of North Dakota is a unified system of higher education governed by the State Board of Higher Education. Organized in 1990, the system includes two research universities, four regional universities and five community colleges. The mission of the State Board of Higher Education and Chancellor of the University System of North Dakota is to unlock the potential of higher education in the state to improve the quality of life and the social and economic vitality of all served by its colleges and public universities. .

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