This Back-to-School Season, WGU Washington Declares, “No Parent Left Behind”

Across the state, parents are buying school supplies, loading backpacks, and packing lunches as their kids head back to school. With carpools, afterschool activities, and homework added to schedules already packed with work and other family responsibilities, the last thing more parents have time to consider is heading back to school themselves. But, they should be….

Nearly half a million Washington residents, many of them parents, have started but not finished a college degree; yet by 2018, two-thirds of all jobs in the state will require at least some post-secondary education. A bachelor’s or master’s degree can bring career advancement, increase job security, and enhance earning potential, so how can busy parents finish their degrees and avoid being left behind?

For parents with over-scheduled lives and tight budgets, the prospect of heading back to college can be a daunting one. There are a number of college options, but few that are affordable and flexible enough to meet the needs of working adults. Washington’s new online university, WGU Washington, washington.wgu.edu, is designed to meet the needs of students with family and work obligations, and to do it affordably. Nonprofit and endorsed by the state, WGU Washington offers 50 accredited bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the high-demand career fields of business, information technology, teacher education and health professions, including nursing.

WGU Washington’s programs are structured to allow students to move quickly through what they already know and to focus on what they still need to learn. WGU Washington students advance by demonstrating what they know, not by logging time in class. This learning model, which includes the support of a dedicated mentor, is called competency-based education, and it represents a truly new and innovative approach to higher education.

At less than $3,000 per six-month term (and no limit on the number of courses per term), WGU is about half the cost of most other online universities and considerably less than most of Washington’s public universities. Because students can leverage their experience and prior college to help them move as quickly through courses as they are able, the average time to complete a bachelor’s degree at WGU Washington is just two-and-a-half years—an average cost of about $15,000.

As a parent, it’s likely that you are already talking to your kids about college, encouraging them to plan to attend and highlighting the benefits of earning a degree. And, as all good parents know, kids learn best by example. Finishing a degree means more than career advancement and better earning potential—it is a priceless accomplishment that demonstrates the value of education to your children. This back-to-school season, don’t be left behind.

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