Buildings are built with strong foundations. We don’t want our walls to crumble at the slightest breeze. But buildings also have walls, metaphorically and literally. The literal walls keep the building standing and safe from the elements, but the metaphorical walls?
They block people from opportunity.
When a university limits learning to in-person courses, the literal walls become metaphorical ones for many established adults. Adult learners who have some college but no degree can face challenges many younger, fresh-out-of-high-school graduates don’t. They have families and jobs; the commute to a face-to-face school is not feasible.
WGU wants to break down the walls built by traditional higher education. We want worthy learners to complete their degree regardless of ability to come sit in a classroom. That’s why we offer an online-only, student-centric alternative. With our flexible, learn-when-you-can class schedule, we’ve created a university where the brick- and-mortar buildings are necessities of the past.
Making “the Grind” Work
Alumnus Ray Baker knows how hard it is to make a traditional in-person education work as an adult.
“If you miss a day at a brick-and-mortar school, you’re in trouble,” Baker said. “But if you miss a day at WGU, it’s just the next day.”
Baker held a traditional 9-5 job and had familial obligations while studying at WGU. He needed to find time to earn his paycheck and bond with his children while getting schoolwork done. A traditional university set-up with classes during the business day or evening would not have been possible for Baker. He would have needed to sacrifice hours at his job or precious time with his family.
At WGU, students like Baker have the flexibility to learn on their own schedules. WGU achieves this by rejecting the two traditional university conventions.
First, WGU charges tuition at a flat fee based on six-month terms, not credit hours. Each student can take as many or as few classes as they can handle in that term. Students can therefore afford more classes per term than at a traditional university, meaning the faster they can earn their degree, the less money they’ll have to spend overall.
Second, WGU’s class structure is unlike that of conventional institutions. WGU students learn when they want and when they can. There are no set class or exam times. WGU’s use of digital learning empowers students to ride the study motivation waves as they arise. Students can move ahead in the coursework when they have time–and they don’t have to worry about falling behind when time is scarce.
“With brick and mortar schools, if you miss a class, you’re missing an assignment. With [WGU], I can just go listen to that lecture from last night and do my homework the next day.” Baker said.
Students Can Do it All
With WGU’s tuition structure and flexible timelines, students are able to stay in the workforce with minimal interruption to their lives. Instead of needing upwards of two years for a master’s degree, the average WGU student completes a master’s degree in just 18 months, so they can get back to focusing on more important parts of their lives.
“So you have your nine to five, you have your time with your kids, and then you carve out the time for school when it’s convenient for you,” Baker said.
“You have your nine to five, you have your time with your kids, and then you carve out the time for school when it’s convenient for you.”
– Ray Baker, WGU Graduate
Most of our students are online during the wee hours of the night–after all, we call them Night Owls for a reason. They can continue to work and spend time with their families during the day, and complete their degrees once the kids are tucked in for the night. At WGU, we want to make sure that our students are not only empowering the workforce after graduation, but also continuing to do so while they’re earning their degrees. Our students can have it all: quality time with their families, fulfilling 9-5 careers, and an education that enriches lives.