Graduate First, Transfer Later

Western Governors University is a favorite of the college completion crowd, with a competency-based approach that offers an attractive path to a degree for adult students. But now WGU is nudging its students toward graduation even before they enroll.

For example, WGU Texas is offering a 5 percent tuition discount and other perks to students who transfer in from the state’s two-year colleges, but only if they complete their associate degrees first.

“It’s the idea of finishing what you started,” said Mark David Milliron, WGU Texas’s chancellor.

And it’s not just WGU Texas. The parent university, which offers bachelor's and graduate degrees, has begun a national push to encourage students to complete their associate degree before enrolling. And it's seeing results. Two years ago, 35 percent of the university’s incoming students held an associate or bachelor's degree. Now roughly half do, said Pat Partridge, Western Governor’s chief marketing officer, who oversees marketing and admissions.

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