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After five years in operation, Tennessee’s online university now has students from every county

After five years in operation, Tennessee’s online university now has students from every county


WGU Tennessee – the nonprofit, online university launched as part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 effort – now has students enrolled in all 95 counties in Tennessee. This is the first time since launching in 2013 that the university has had students in every county of the state.

Earlier this year, the online university reached a milestone of 4,000 enrolled students after less than five years in the state. Currently, it is the third-largest private, nonprofit college in Tennessee (based on full-time enrollment).

WGU Tennessee
Kimberly K. Estep, chancellor, WGU Tennessee // SUBMITTED

“Reaching students in all 95 counties in Tennessee demonstrates the need across our state for our affordable and competency-based education model that speaks to students in rural and urban areas and helps them achieve their academic goals,” said Dr. Kimberly K. Estep, WGU Tennessee chancellor, who is based in the online university’s headquarters in Franklin. “Through WGU Tennessee’s learning approach, working adults are able to earn their degree at their own pace while using previously learned skills and experience to accelerate completion.”

WGU Tennessee has reached several other milestones this year, including:

  • Exceeding 2,700 graduates statewide
  • Awarding more than $1.5 million in scholarships to Tennesseans since launching
  • Surpassing 50 partnerships with corporate and nonprofit organizations, including all 13 Tennessee community colleges, to increase access and affordability for their members

WGU Tennessee has stayed true to its student-focused principles by providing a flexible and affordable option to working adults who want to return to school. The university aims to alleviate the financial burden of higher education for its students – making it unique among higher-education institutions in Tennessee.

In addition to these accomplishments, Western Governors University, the national entity with which WGU Tennessee is associated, also established a Responsible Borrowing Initiative (RBI) in 2013, which has led to a 41 percent reduction in student debt for its students across the country.

About WGU Tennessee

WGU Tennessee is an online, nonprofit, competency-based university established to expand Tennesseans’ access to higher education throughout the state. Formed through a partnership between the state of Tennessee and nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Tennessee is open to all qualified Tennessee residents. The university offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the high-demand career fields of business, K–12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.

Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).*

In addition to WGU Tennessee, there are seven other WGU state-based, state-endorsed universities: WGU Indiana, established in June 2010; WGU Washington, established in April 2011; WGU Texas, established in August 2011; WGU Missouri, established in February 2013; WGU Nevada, established in June 2015; WGU North Carolina, established in October 2017; and WGU Ohio, established in February 2018.

For more information, visit the WGU Tennessee website,, or call 855-948-8495.

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