State’s nonprofit, online university, WGU Tennessee, has conferred 3,000 degrees since its launch

 WGU Tennessee – the nonprofit, online university launched as part of former Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 effort – has now conferred 3,000 degrees since launching in 2013.

Last year, the online university became the third-largest private, nonprofit college in Tennessee (based on full-time enrollment). Of the 3,000 degrees awarded since 2013, 44 percent of graduates are first-generation college students, with an average age of 41 years old. WGU Tennessee’s average completion time is around 24 months, a product of the university’s competency-based education, which allows students to progress at their own speed.

“Conferring 3,000 degrees since our launch demonstrates the continued need across our state for our affordable and competency-based education model,” said Kimberly K. Estep, Ph.D., WGU Tennessee chancellor. “As we prepare for a new year, our hope is to continue to grow and provide working adults more opportunities to earn their degrees at their own pace and at an affordable cost.”

WGU Tennessee has reached several other milestones over the last year, including:

  • Achieving a statewide footprint of students and graduates in all 95 counties;
  • 4,000 enrolled students after less than five years in the state;
  • Awarding more than $2 million in scholarships to Tennesseans; and
  • Surpassing 50 partnerships with corporate and nonprofit organizations, including all 13 Tennessee community colleges, to increase access and affordability for their members.

“I enjoyed the variety of ways the online material was presented,” said Madeline Casity, a Master of Arts in Science Education graduate and Knoxville resident. “From the mentor program to the support materials offered, I never felt alone and could reach out for one-on-one help whenever I needed it.”

“It’s difficult to motivate yourself to go back to school when you’ve been out of the routine for so long,” said Trese Tank, an MBA in Healthcare Management graduate and Murfreesboro resident. “I found that WGU Tennessee really worked with my schedule, strengths and talents to help me earn my degree in a reasonable length of time.”

“WGU Tennessee makes accomplishing your degree as a working adult achievable,” said Teresa Chumney, a Bachelor of Science and Business – Human Resource Management graduate from Memphis. “Keep your eye on the prize and stay focused, and you will be successful at reaching your goals.”

WGU Tennessee aims to lessen the financial burden of higher education for its students – making it unique among higher-education institutions in Tennessee. For instance, WGU Tennessee’s Tenn-K Scholarship is open until March 15. At up to $10,000 each, the scholarship covers approximately 70 percent of total tuition costs toward a degree. Learn more and apply at

About WGU Tennessee

WGU Tennessee is an online, nonprofit, competency-based university established to expand Tennesseans’ access to higher education throughout the state. Formed through a partnership between the state of Tennessee and nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Tennessee is open to all qualified Tennessee residents. The university offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the high-demand career fields of business, K–12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.

Degrees are granted under the 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 programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).*

In addition to WGU Tennessee, there are seven other WGU state-based, state-endorsed universities: WGU Indiana, established in June 2010;WGU Washington, established in April 2011; WGU Texas, established in August 2011; WGU Missouri, established in February 2013; WGU Nevada, established in June 2015; WGU North Carolina, established in October 2017; and WGU Ohio, established in February 2018.

For more information, visit the WGU Tennessee website,, or call 855-948-8495.


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