Online university WGU sees state’s Reconnect scholarship as an opening for future growth

7/5/2017

After four years in operation, Tennessee’s state-backed online university is looking to capitalize on a new scholarship program that is expected to pump thousands of adults into higher education in the coming years.

WGU Tennessee, which launched in July 2013, caters to adult students by letting them work through bachelor’s or master’s programs at their own speed online. Leaders plan to market that model aggressively to adults who use the new Tennessee Reconnect grant to go to community college tuition- free.

WGU Tennessee Chancellor Kimberly Estep indicated that the university would position itself as the ideal next step for adults who graduate from community college using Reconnect. She predicted it would lead to continued growth for the university, which has enrolled more than 3,350 students in its first four years.

The university expects “to see accelerated growth in the years to come,” Estep said in a statement. “As adult learners take advantage of tuition-free associate’s degrees through the TN Reconnect Act, WGU Tennessee will be there to provide an affordable, high quality option for those looking to pursue bachelor’s degrees.”

The university has taken steps to use the state’s network of 13 community colleges to grow its recruitment pool.

WGU Tennessee has a partnership with each community college that shaves 5 percent off tuition for any community college graduate who transfers to the online university. Earlier this year, WGU Tennessee started marketing a more aggressive scholarship for younger students who had graduated from community college through the Tennessee Promise program.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by ADAM TAMBURIN

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org

 

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