WGU Indiana: Lose the wait

2014-01-10T22:00:00Z 2014-01-11T23:45:10Z WGU Indiana: Lose the waitCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

As Hoosiers across the state jot down New Year's resolutions, WGU Indiana wants to encourage more than 700,000 Indiana residents who have some college but no degree to consider going back to school.

WGU Indiana, Indiana's nonprofit online university, has developed a slogan called, "Lose the Wait." The university will award 20 "Lose the Wait" scholarships worth $2,000 each to help students further their education toward a degree.

WGU Chancellor Allison Barber said the online university intends to help students who have been "on the bubble" about finishing their bachelor's or master's degree, because they didn't think they had the time, money or ability to handle college-level work because they've been out of school so long.

"WGU is challenging Hoosiers to 'lose the wait,' " she said. "Now is the time to go back to college. Don't wait to enroll. We are enrolling students every month. We now have 3,300 students in all 92 counties of Indiana."

Barber said 80 percent of those are transfer students. She said WGU's tuition has remained at a flat rate of $6,000 per year since the school's inception in 2010. She said it has graduated more than 1,000 students in four years.

One of those graduates is Blake Clifford, 47, of Lowell. Clifford, a married father of seven, graduated from WGU Indiana in May with a bachelor's degree in business management. He worked 18 years in logistics for two of the largest companies in the world. Clifford is continuing to attend school, now working on his master's degree.

One of the things Clifford said he really liked about the online university was the close contact he was able to maintain with instructors. He also liked that WGU Indiana provided a proctored test at a site where a camera was able to observe the students who took the test.

"That's a real standout point for WGU," he said. "Some online universities let you take an open-book test. WGU doesn't do that. It shows their commitment to excellence."

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