Western Governors University (WGU), a nonprofit, fully online university, and Northeast Community College have announced a new joint partnership that will provide students graduating with their associate degrees from any of Northeast Community College’s four 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.

“We are pleased to join our community college colleagues in this partnership with Western Governors University,” said Leah Barrett, president of Northeast Community College. “Similar to our college mission to support student success and elevate the vitality of our region, the partnership with WGU provides additional opportunities to complete bachelor’s and master’s degree programs online while continuing to live and work in rural Northeast Nebraska. The agreement creates another pathway to meet regional needs and advance the statewide attainment goal of 70% by 2030.”

WGU offers students graduating from Northeast Community College with 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 Northeast Community College will be able to seamlessly transfer their credits to WGU to ensure a direct pathway to earning their bachelor’s degrees.

New WGU students also will 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 flat-rate tuition of about $3,800 per six-month term. Students also will 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.

Northeast Community College 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.

“We are thrilled to provide continuing education options to graduating students of Northeast Community College,” said 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.”

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