Students attending Nebraska community colleges
can add Western Governors University to the list of potential transfer schools
after an agreement was signed Aug. 30.
Southeast Community College President Dr. Paul
Illich joined Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, WGU President Scott Pulsipher and
other representatives from the state’s two-year colleges for an articulation
agreement signing ceremony in SCC’s Health Sciences Facility on the Lincoln
Campus. Illich praised the arrangement.
“This is why we’re here, giving everyone
access to the life-changing benefits of higher education,” he said. “None of us
in higher education has ownership of learning. Learning happens everywhere. We
need to make sure we’re being true collaborative partners.”
Representatives from Central, Northeast and
Western community colleges also were in attendance. WGU’s agreement also
includes Mid-Plains and Metro community colleges.
The event served as a renewal of a memorandum
of understanding between WGU and the state of Nebraska initially signed 25
years ago when the state, and then Gov. Ben Nelson, helped create the
University. Ricketts said the renewed partnership will help engage Nebraskans
who are working adults and those with some college but no credential to
complete bachelor’s and master’s degrees in high-demand fields.
Current WGU student Amanda Redler, seeking a
Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education, and Brenda Soto, a WGU alumnus
with a Master of Science degree in Health Leadership, also spoke during the
ceremony, praising WGU for its flexibility and opportunities to numerous
“Today, more than 300,000 Nebraskans have some
college, but no degree,” Pulsipher said. “This is untapped human potential that
WGU was built to serve. Many of these individuals are from historically
underserved populations such as rural residents, first-generation students,
low-income, and people of color. They need a flexible, affordable path to
opportunity. And Nebraska needs these individuals to have the right skills to
drive their workforce and economy.”
residents who choose to attend WGU are eligible to apply for the Nebraska
Opportunity Grant, which awarded more than $21 million in 2020-21 to more than
13,000 students who attended the University of Nebraska, community colleges,
independent schools, state colleges, or private career schools. The average
grant was $1,609.
WGU also announced
the launching of a new $200,000 WGU-Nebraska Partnership Scholarship.
Twenty-five years ago, 19 governors signed an
MOU in Omaha that established Western Governors University as a nonprofit,
online, competency-based university designed to serve working adult learners.
“What this agreement is all about is making
sure there are many options for our students,” Illich said. “This will create a
seamless articulation agreement with all of the community colleges and Western