Western Governors University and Southeast Community College Announce Partnership
New partnership will provide SCC students with the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degrees through WGU’s affordable, online programs; WGU will also offer scholarships
Lincoln, Neb. – (Sept. 15, 2022) …With the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Gov. Pete Ricketts and Western Governors University (WGU) to expand access to higher education for the estimated 306,000 Nebraskans who have some college credits but no bachelor’s degree, Southeast Community College (SCC) and WGU today announced they have entered into a joint partnership. Together, the two institutions will work to provide students graduating with their associate degrees from SCC with an option to seamlessly transfer their credits to WGU and continue furthering their education.
The partnership announcement comes as part of the recent signing of the MOU, in which the State of Nebraska committed to supporting this agreement and others throughout the state 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. The goal is to increase the number of Nebraskans who have a degree, certificate, diploma or other postsecondary or industry-recognized credential over the next 10 years.
“What this agreement is all about is making sure there are many options available for our students who want to pursue a competency-based education,” said Dr. Paul Illich, President of Southeast Community College. “This will create a seamless articulation agreement with all of the community colleges and Western Governors University.”
SCC currently has 9,500 students enrolled, who take courses at campuses in Beatrice, Lincoln and Milford. SCC also offers courses in Lincoln at two off-campus sites, including its Jack J. Huck Continuing Education Center, and a downtown satellite campus known as Education Square. The college reaches students across a 15-county area, with learning centers in Falls City, Hebron, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, Wahoo and York.
WGU offers students graduating from SCC more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology and health professions, including nursing. The university pioneered the use of online, competency-based education, a model that allows individuals to further their education and careers on their own timeline, no matter where they live. This approach allows students in Nebraska to take advantage of prior learning and work-based experience to move through courses at their own pace and graduate quickly. 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, SCC 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 Southeast 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.”
Under the terms of the agreement between the two institutions, new students transitioning from SCC 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 each 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.
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 131,000 students nationwide and has more than 288,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 25 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.