WGU Tennessee Fact Sheet

Background and Mission

  • WGU Tennessee has been established by the state of Tennessee as an online, competency-based university to expand access to higher education for Tennessee residents.
  • The university offers more than 50 online, competency-based degree programs in high-demand career fields including Business, Information Technology, Teacher Education, and Health Professions, including Nursing.
  • The state has partnered with Western Governors University to establish WGU Tennessee, a new option in higher education for Tennessee residents.
  • The mission of WGU Tennessee is to expand access to affordable higher education for Tennessee residents through online, competency-based degree programs that address key workforce needs.
  • WGU Tennessee is a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Governors University, which was founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs. Today, Western Governors University is a national university with more than 40,000 students from all 50 U.S. states.
  • Nonprofit but self-sustaining on tuition, WGU Tennessee provides new educational opportunities for Tennessee residents without ongoing state subsidy.

Accessibility and Affordability

  • WGU Tennessee’s online, competency-based model makes college possible for working adults who may not be able to travel to a campus. It also provides them the flexibility they need to complete their studies while they meet work and family obligations.
  • WGU Tennessee tuition is charged at a flat rate for six-month terms, not per credit hour or semester. Tuition for most programs is $2,890 per term.
  • Students may begin their terms at the first of any month.
  • Because WGU Tennessee is a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Governors University, WGU Tennessee students may qualify for federal financial aid.
  • WGU Tennessee is offering a special scholarship program for new students. More information is available on the website, http://tennessee.wgu.edu/tuition_financial_aid/scholarships.

Academic Model

  • WGU Tennessee uses competency-based, mentor-guided model that requires students to demonstrate their knowledge rather than spending time in a classroom.
  • Each WGU Tennessee student is assigned a mentor, who provides one-on-one coaching, guidance, and support from enrollment through graduation.
  • Learning resources, which include textbooks, webinars, simulations, and online tutorials, have been developed by third party sources and are reviewed by councils comprised of industry representatives to ensure that they are relevant to employers’ needs.


  • WGU Tennessee is accredited through Western Governors University, which is regionally 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).
  • The nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791).
  • The Health Informatics program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

Governance and Tennessee Operations

  • WGU Tennessee is led by Chancellor Kimberly Estep. The chancellor reports to Western Governors University President Scott Pulsipher.
  • WGU Tennessee works under the guidance of an Advisory Board comprised of corporate, community, and education leaders in the state, including:
    • John Ingram (Chair), Chairman, Ingram Industries, Nashville
    • Jerry Askew, CEO, Alliance for Better Nonprofits (ABN), Knoxville
    • Tim Attebery, President, Holston Valley Medical Center, Kingsport
    • Shannon Brown, Senior VP/Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer, FedEx Express, Memphis
    • David A. Golden, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary, Eastman, Kingsport
    • Carol Ross-Spang, Senior VP, Human Resources, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Memphis
    • Ralph Schulz, President & CEO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville
    • John Steele, Senior VP, Human Resources, HCA, Nashville
    • Karen Ward, Senior VP/Chief Human Resources Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Chattanooga

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