Public University, Online

Yes, just because it’s an online college doesn’t mean it’s for profit. Republican Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels last week created a new university, almost entirely online. According to an article by Dan McFeely in the Indiana Star:

…Daniels today signed an executive order creating an Indiana branch of Western Governors University.

WGU Indiana will be the first state branch of Western Governors University, a Salt Lake City-based online college where students and teachers interact completely over the Internet or telephone. Most students are working adults with families who cannot find ways to finish degrees in a more traditional setting.

According to Gov. Daniels, with the creation of WGU Indiana: “Today we mark the beginning of, in a real sense, Indiana’s 8th state university.” Well, sort of. According to the McFreely, no Indiana state dollars at all are going into the creation of the new school, though “Indiana students will be eligible for both federal and state grants and loans, as they are for other schools.”

In 1997 19 state governors incorporated Western Governors University as a private, non-profit university with the goal of offering mostly online courses to working adults. WGU, which offers programs in business, education, information technology, and health care, is one of the few colleges in America in which students earn their degrees by demonstrating competency, not after merely acquiring academic credits.

Tuition at WGU is about $6,000 a year, around the same price as the average American public university.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer