The agreement comes as part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by Gov. Pete Ricketts and WGU to expand access to affordable, high-quality degree programs for the estimated 306,000 Nebraskans who have some college credits but no bachelor’s degree.
“We are pleased to join our community college colleagues in this partnership with Western Governors University,” said Dr. Leah Barrett, president of Northeast Community College. “Similar to our college mission to support student success and elevate the vitality of our region, the partnership with WGU provides additional opportunities to complete bachelor’s and master’s degree programs online while continuing to live and work in rural northeast Nebraska. The agreement creates another pathway to meet regional needs and advance the statewide attainment goal of 70% by 2030.”
WGU offers students graduating from Northeast Community College with affordable access to more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology and health professions, including nursing.
Under terms of the agreement, new students transitioning from Northeast Community College will be able to seamlessly transfer their credits to WGU to ensure a direct pathway to earning their bachelor’s degrees. New WGU students will also be able to take advantage of a variety of scholarships and state grants to make tuition even more affordable.
The Community College Partner Scholarship is valued at up to $2,500 each and will be applied to WGU’s already-low, flat-rate tuition of approximately $3,800 per six-month term. Students will also be able to apply for the Nebraska Partnership Scholarship, which is valued at up to $4,000 and is designed for students living in Nebraska who want to further their education at WGU. Additionally, Nebraskans attending WGU who qualify are eligible to apply for the Nebraska Opportunity Grant, a needs-based grant offered by the State for students who meet certain residency, enrollment and financial need qualifications.
Northeast Community College serves more than 13,000 students across a 20-county service area in northeast Nebraska, with its main campus in Norfolk and extended campus locations in O'Neill, South Sioux City and West Point.
Northeast students transitioning to WGU will be able to take advantage of the university’s online-competency-based education model, which will allow them to use prior education and work-based experience to move through courses at their own pace and graduate quicker. Students study, complete coursework and take tests on schedules that fit their lives, advancing as soon as they demonstrate they have mastered the subject matter. Like all students at WGU, Northeast Community College graduates who enroll will be paired with a program mentor who has expertise in their chosen degree program and supports students in learning and navigating their educational journeys from enrollment through graduation.
“We are thrilled to provide continuing education options to graduating students of Northeast Community College,” said Dr. Terrance Hopson, regional vice president of Western Governors University. “WGU values the important role community colleges play in upskilling the workforce and is pleased to offer an affordable and flexible pathway for thousands of Nebraskans who need postsecondary education and training to advance their careers and, in turn, their lives.”
According to the MOU signed by Gov. Ricketts earlier this week, the State of Nebraska will commit to supporting the partnership between WGU and Northeast Community College by enlisting relevant agencies to collaborate with and promote WGU in hopes of targeting underserved populations that include dislocated workers, veterans and rural residents. Additionally, WGU will join forces with local employers and employer organizations to meet workforce needs throughout the state.
For more information on the partnership between WGU and Northeast Community College, visit www.wgu.edu and northeast.edu.