SALT LAKE CITY --Bailey Beeler of Symsonia earned her bachelor of science, nursing degree from Western Governors University (WGU). The online, nonprofit university held its 71st (Cincinnati, Ohio); 72nd (Anaheim, California); 73rd (Salt Lake City, UT); and 74th (Seattle, Washington) commencement ceremonies in the spring and summer of this year to celebrate the recent graduation of more than 10,000 students from across the country.

WGU has recognized 5,750 undergraduate and 4,488 graduate degree recipients, who have completed their degrees since June 24, 2019. Their areas of study include business, K-12 education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. The average time to graduation for those earning a bachelor's degree was 2 years, 3 months, while the average time to degree for graduate programs was 1 year, 7 months.

The average age for those who graduated is 38 years old.

WGU pioneered competency-based education, which measures learning rather than time spent in class.

Designed to meet the needs of working adults, students study and learn on their own schedules with individualized, one-to-one faculty support. They complete courses as soon as they demonstrate that they have mastered the subject matter; allowing them to move quickly through material they already know so they can allocate time for what they still need to learn. As a result, many WGU students are able to accelerate their studies, saving both time and money.

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 119,000 students nationwide and has more than 158,000 graduates in all 50 states.

Driving innovation as the nation's leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 21 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today's rapidly evolving economy.

WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies, and was featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.