Western Governors University and Mid-Plains Community College Announce Partnership
Western Governors University, a nonprofit, fully online university, and Mid-Plains Community College have announced a new joint partnership that will provide students graduating with their associate degrees from any of MPCC’s seven campuses with an affordable pathway to earning their bachelor’s or master’s degree from WGU.
The agreement comes as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Gov. Pete Ricketts and WGU to expand access to affordable, high-quality degree programs for the estimated 306,000 Nebraskans who have some college credits but no bachelor’s degree.
“MPCC is excited to be able to partner with WGU to offer additional transfer opportunities for students to continue their education,” said Ryan Purdy, President of MPCC. “A significant majority of our students are from our 18-county service area and WGU will provide another option to pursue a bachelor’s degree upon completion of an associate degree from MPCC.”
WGU offers students graduating from MPCC affordable access to more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology and health professions, including nursing.
Under the terms of the agreement, new students transitioning from MPCC will be able to seamlessly transfer their credits to WGU to ensure a direct pathway to earning their bachelor’s degrees.
New WGU students will also be able to take advantage of a variety of scholarships and state grants to make tuition even more affordable. The Community College Partner Scholarship is valued at up to $2,500 and will be applied to WGU’s already-low, flat-rate tuition of about $3,800 per six-month term.
Students will also be able to apply for the Nebraska Partnership Scholarship, which is valued at up to $4,000 and is designed for students living in Nebraska who want to further their education at WGU.
Additionally, Nebraskans attending WGU who qualify are eligible to apply for the Nebraska Opportunity Grant, a needs-based grant offered by the state for students who meet certain residency, enrollment and financial need qualifications.
MPCC serves 2,100 students across an 18-county service area in West Central Nebraska, with seven campuses located in McCook, North Platte, Broken Bow, Imperial, Ogallala and Valentine. MPCC students transitioning to WGU will be able to take advantage of the university’s online-competency-based education model, which will allow them to use prior education and work-based experience to move through courses at their own pace and graduate quicker.
Students study, complete coursework and take tests on schedules that fit their lives, advancing as soon as they demonstrate they have mastered the subject matter. Like all students at WGU, MPCC graduates who enroll will be paired with a program mentor who has expertise in their chosen degree program and supports students in learning and navigating their educational journeys from enrollment through graduation.
“We are thrilled to provide continuing education options to graduating students of Mid-Plains Community College,” said Dr. Terrance Hopson, regional vice president of Western Governors University. “WGU values the important role community colleges play in upskilling the workforce and is pleased to offer an affordable and flexible pathway for thousands of Nebraskans who need postsecondary education and training to advance their careers and, in turn, their lives.”
According to the MOU signed by Gov. Ricketts earlier this month, the State of Nebraska will commit to supporting the partnership between WGU and MPCC by enlisting relevant agencies to collaborate with and promote WGU in hopes of targeting underserved populations that include dislocated workers, veterans and rural residents.
Additionally, WGU will join forces with local employers and employer organizations to meet workforce needs throughout the state.