Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Online university bill moves out of House committee

The House Higher Education Committee on Monday recommended passage of a substitute bill intended to increase online access to college programs through Western Governor’s University (WGU).
Under SHB 1822, WGU-Washington would offer “online, competency-based degrees and provide enhanced access to postsecondary education for all Washington students, including dislocated workers and place-bound students.”
Unlike the original version of the bill, the substitute bill specifically names WGU-Washington as the institution that would partner with the state to deliver online programs to Washington students. WGU is a private, non-profit institution created in the mid-1990s by 19 U.S. Governors, including former Washington Gov. Mike Lowry.
Under the substitute bill, WGU-Washington would be allowed to operate under Washington’s Degree Granting Institutions Act as an independent, self supporting, non-profit university not eligible for state funding
WGU is not currently authorized under the Degree-Granting Institutions Act, but it is recognized as an accredited institution whose degrees are legal in Washington.  
Institutions not exempt from the Act are authorized by the HECB if they maintain offices in Washington, offer courses in the state (online courses from out of state typically don’t apply), or advertise and recruit specifically to Washington citizens.
The prime sponsor of SHB 1822 is Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney of Seattle. A companion bill, SB 5136, offered by Sen. Jim Kastama of Puyallup, had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development on Feb. 1.

1 comment:

  1. CAUTION!! WGU is not the panacea that it is being made out to be and IT'S ALREADY available to WA residents..however, WGU is not for any WA resident.. it is for WORKING ADULTS OR THOSE WHO ALREADY HAVE PREVIOUS COLLEGE (E.G. MILITARY).

    From WGU's materials, they target a specific student "In short, WGU is ideally suited to the working adult who already has some educational background or experience or competence in his or her field of interest. Or they have completed around two years of college or more. Do you think you fit these descriptions?
    Further, WGU was created for busy adults who need to juggle work, family, and school demands. Most WGU students work full time and find it inconvenient or impossible to commute to a college campus because of geographic or time restrictions. The governors of the Western states who support WGU insist that we produce highly competent graduates and, at that same time, help them obtain their degrees as quickly and affordably as possible."

    "While you enjoy great flexibility from week to week, you should expect to spend 15-20 hours or more per week on your studies to be successful." (while working full-time, juggling family, and paying $3000 every 6 months)