In a typical university setting, a student attends classes and accumulates credits until he or she receives a degree. In a "competency-based" model, the student attends on-line classes and receives the degree when he or she shows a complete understanding of the subject matter.
Tennessee officials gathering in Nashville today launched Western Governor's University- Tennessee, a competency-based school that will be available soon for Tennesseans who already have some college credit and would like to complete their degrees. Annual tuition is approximately $6000, regardless of how many classes the student takes.
WGU was formed in 1997 by U.S. governors from 19 Western states. Since then, WGU has expanded to enroll more than 35,000 students nationwide and has begun launching state-specific schools since 2010. WGU-Tennessee is the fifth such school.
The state of Tennessee is committing $5 million to establish the school here. Officials say it's a one-time appropriation and they fully expect WGU-Tennessee to be self-sustaining with no other state funding required.
"Today in Tennessee, only 32% of our citizens have a two-year degree or higher," Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said at today's official launch. "Our goal is to raise that number to 55% by 2025. WGU Tennessee will play an important role in our success."