WGU Online University sees state Reconnect scholarship as an opening for future growth

After four years of operation, the state-backed online University of Tennessee is seeking to leverage a new scholarship program that is expected to provide thousands of adults with access to higher education in the years to come.

WGU Tennessee, which launched in July 2013, targets mature students by allowing them to complete bachelor’s or master’s degree programs at their own pace online. Leaders plan to aggressively market this model to adults who use the new Tennessee Reconnect grant to attend community college tuition-free.

WGU Tennessee Chancellor Kimberly Estep said the university would position itself as the ideal next step for adult community college graduates using Reconnect. She predicted this would lead to continued growth for the university, which enrolled more than 3,350 students in its first four years.

The university expects to “see accelerated growth in the coming years,” Estep said in a statement. “As adult learners take advantage of tuition-free associate degrees through the TN Reconnect Act, WGU Tennessee will be there to provide an affordable, high-quality option for those looking to pursue a bachelor’s degree.”

The university has already taken steps to use the state’s network of 13 community colleges to grow its recruiting pool.

WGU Tennessee has a partnership with each community college that reduces tuition by 5% for any community college graduate who transitions to online college. Earlier this year, WGU Tennessee began marketing a more aggressive scholarship for young community college graduate students under the Tennessee Promise program.

Contact Adam Tamburin at 615-726-5986 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @tamburintweets.

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