This is Derek Miller Speaking on Business. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected higher education, including Western Governors University, a nonprofit online university based in Salt Lake City, with over 200,000 graduates in all 50 states. Aimee Edwards, Director of Strategic Outreach, is here to tell us more.
Western Governors University had some advantages relative to other universities going into this crisis: prior to the pandemic, all of our students were learning online, and 70% of our employees were already working remotely. But our students weren’t spared the professional, economic, social, and health impacts of COVID-19, so we immediately put together emergency aid funds that have distributed over $4 million to help address student needs.
Over 20 million Americans are estimated to be without internet—this makes it difficult for students trying to move forward with their education. WGU has established a $1M Online Access Scholarship to provide students with a laptop and to support their broadband access throughout their enrollment.
Due to COVID-19, we see a massive demand for education and training—we have to help workers prepare for their next opportunity. WGU is redesigning higher education to be affordable, student-centered, and to incorporate the most in-demand skills that the workforce needs today.
WGU is a leader in higher education—the largest school in the country, but also a leader in affordability, time-to-degree, and strong career outcomes for students. I’m Derek Miller with the Salt Lake Chamber, and this is Speaking on Business.