Arizona students could obtain self-paced degree through Ducey agreement

Jan 19, 2023, 4:35 AM

(Gabriela Campos/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)...

(Gabriela Campos/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

(Gabriela Campos/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

PHOENIX — One of former Gov. Doug Ducey’s final acts in office could give hundreds of thousands of local students a chance at higher education.

Ducey signed a memorandum of understanding with Western Governors University, opening the door for an Arizona chapter and for an estimated 600,000 adults to get a degree.

WGU is described as a competency-based university, meaning students can study on their own schedule with no required login or class times, according to Rick Benbow, regional vice president of the university. Students can also set their own learning pace and take assessments when they’re ready.

The online university also allows students to use their prior education or training to complete their degree.

“As you progress through the coursework and material, when you feel that you can demonstrate mastery of the skills and competency you can simply contact your program mentor and have a discussion and schedule to take the final,” Benbow said.

He added the set up of traditional universities doesn’t always work for some students, but WGU could be set up better to serve their needs.

“Our focus is really on adult learners. Those students who have some college and no degree, but also underserved students,” Benbow said. “Seventy percent of our student population comes from one or more underserved backgrounds. They’re first-generation college students, low-income students, students of color and also rural residents.”

Benbow believes Arizonans with prior commitments will benefit most from the agreement.

“Those individuals who have family obligations. They have a family to take care of or a loved one to take care of and are working full-time and just can’t find the time to maybe pursue their higher education endeavors,” Benbow said.

The university provides degrees in high demand jobs such as nursing, IT, education and business.

“The online competency-based model I think offers an affordable and flexible way for those individuals to upskill and reskill and again remain competitive in a tight labor market in which companies are looking for the latest and greatest in skills,” Benbow said.

According to Benbow, the agreement allows students who attend WGU to qualify for state aid.

“Currently our students are eligible for state aid through the Arizona LEAP program and were hoping that this agreement expands those efforts for those working adults, for those veterans, for those first generation college student,” he said.

To learn more about WGU, visit online.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Bipartisan state budget of $16 billion passes in Arizona Legislature...

Associated Press

Arizona lawmakers pass bipartisan $16.1 billion budget, fix $1.4 billion deficit

Arizona lawmakers passed a $16.1 billion bipartisan state budget, which Gov. Hobbs negotiated with GOP leaders, on Saturday evening.

2 hours ago

Southbound Loop 101 on-ramp in Scottsdale to close (ADOT Photo)...

Bailey Leasure

Southbound Loop 101 on-ramp in Scottsdale to close for 2 months

 The southbound Loop 101 on-ramp at Princess Drive and Pima Road in Scottsdale is scheduled to be closed for two months

4 hours ago

Improvements coming to Brooks Crossing Park (City of Chandler Photo)....

Bailey Leasure

New improvements coming to Chandler’s Brooks Crossing Park

Chandler City Council approves a construction agreement that will allow for improvements to Brooks Crossing Park.

4 hours ago

The new Desert Sage Restaurant & Bar inside the recently renovated Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hot...

Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa wraps up extensive renovation

The Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa hotel in Glendale recently underwent a nine-month long, multimillion-dollar renovation.

5 hours ago

arizona water conservation...

Nick Borgia

Arizona to invest $8.5 million for water conservation project

Arizona senators announced that $8.5 million will be invested in Arizona to continue a feasibility study related to water conservation.

15 hours ago

guns and drugs...

Nick Borgia

22-year-old Tucson man indicted for trafficking firearms and drugs

A Tucson man was indicted by a federal grand jury for having possession of multiple illegal firearms, weapon attachments and cocaine.

19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Arizona students could obtain self-paced degree through Ducey agreement