School Profile: Western Governors University

Western Governors University (WGU) in Salt Lake City, Utah is a private, online, nonprofit university founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors. The idea of the school was brought forth in June of 1995 at a meeting of the Western Governors Association. The following November, the idea was formally proposed, and the school was officially founded in 1996. The school is made up of four colleges, each offering master’s and bachelor’s degree programs: the College of Health Professions, the Teachers College, the College of Information Technology, and the College of Business. As of July 2015, Western Governors University has grown to more than 60,000 currently enrolled students and boasts more than 50,000 graduates.

Western Governors University Accreditation Details

Western Governors University is regionally accredited, the highest form of accreditation given to institutions, by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. In addition to regional recognization, the bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and the WGU Teachers College is the first online university to hold accreditation for its programs that lead to licensure from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In addition, the school’s Health Informatics program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

Western Governors University Application Requirements

WGU considers the following criteria when making a decision regarding a student’s admission: – The time commitment a student can make to his or her studies; – A student’s results from the WGU Collegiate Readiness Assessment (if necessary); – A student’s prior work experience and college experience; and – A student’s interview with a WGU enrollment counselor. In addition, depending on the program of interest, students might need to meet other program-specific admission requirements. Students seeking an undergraduate degree must complete an application for admission, hold a valid high school diploma or GED, be at least 16 years of age, and submit official transcripts of all prior academic work completed at colleges, community colleges, or academic institutions. Specifically, students apply to WGU’s online B.S. in Nursing program must meet the following special requirements: – Must submit a resume and hold employment in a position that requires nursing knowledge at the time of application; – Must possess an unencumbered, current registered nurse (RN) license; – Must possess a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing; and – Must submit to a criminal background check via American Databank.

Tuition and Financial Aid

What sets WGU apart from other universities is the school’s flat-rate tuition. The school is committed to keeping tuition affordable, and degree programs cost about half of those at other online universities. WGU charges tuition at a flat rate each term, and the more courses a student completes each year, the more affordable the degree becomes. Students pursuing a B.S. Nursing with pre-licensure can expect to pay $4,250 per 6-month term, which includes clinical rotation fees, and students seeking a B.S. in Nursing will be charged $3,250 per term. Students are responsible for other costs as well, including the ATI TEAS V Exam, uniforms, a consolidated nursing fee, lab kit fees, an iTouch unit, and various clearances such as an immunization tracking system, criminal background check, and drug screen. Eligible students may be able to apply for financial aid to help offset the cost of fees and tuition, including electronic learning materials, technology, textbooks, and other educational expenses. Students are required to first file the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive consideration for any financial assistance. The school participates in the following federal loan and grant programs: – Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant – Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) – Federal Pell Grant – Federal Work-Study Program – Federal Direct Loan Program In addition to federal loans and grants, some students may be eligible for state-based financial aid if they live in Washington, Vermont, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. WGU also offers scholarships for qualified applicants, corporate reimbursement opportunities, and discounts and benefits for veterans and military members.

Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing Overview

The online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program at WGU enhances students’ personal status, increases job security, and boosts salary while helping students’ hospitals to achieve “magnet” status. The degree program is laid out in such a way that students can expand their knowledge and skills beyond the clinical aspects of nursing, giving them a strong background in technology integration, patient safety, and evidence-based practice as well as healthcare policies and systems. The BSN requires a minimum of 90 hours of clinical experience under the guidance of a mentor in a qualified community health services setting, such as a public health clinic or department. Students considering the online BSN can expect to take courses in the following key subject areas: – Information Management and the Application of Technology – Leadership and Professional Image – Organizational Systems and Quality Leadership – Evidence-Based Practice and Applied Nursing Research – Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing – Professional Roles and Values – Nutrition for Contemporary Society – Health Assessment – Care of the Older Adult Each course contains recommended learning resources as well as a study guide for students to use. Students are also assigned a mentor who can help to guide them through the process. In addition, some of the program’s course requirements might be satisfied through transfer credits: – Clinical Microbiology – Biochemistry – Introduction to Probability and Statistics – Introduction to Humanities – Elements of Effective Communication – Survey of United States Constitution and Government – Introduction to Psychology – Introduction to Sociology – Anatomy and Physiology – English Composition I – Foundations of College Mathematics Students should also keep in mind that the online BSN program does require the successful completion of a field experience outside the classroom. The field experience is regarded as something to be proud of, the culmination of all the hard work that students put into their degree over the past several years. Through this field experience requirement, students pursuing the online BSN at Western Governors University can allow them to take what they’ve learned and apply it to a real-world situation, proposing a strong, applicable solution to an actual issue that they are facing in that healthcare setting.

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