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New Study by Gallup--WGU Graduates Have Great Jobs and Great Lives

Press Release from Western Governors University

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gallup has released the results of a new study that compares the satisfaction and overall well-being of Western Governors University (WGU) graduates with graduates from other institutions in the U.S. For the third year, the results demonstrate that WGU graduates are more likely to have the jobs they want, feel engaged at work, and have an emotional attachment to the university.

The findings were released Wednesday at Gallup headquarters in Washington, D.C., to media, policymakers, and leaders in higher education and workforce development. Joining a panel discussion led by Brandon Busteed, Gallup's Executive Director, Education and Workforce Development, were Louis Soares, Vice President, Strategy, Research and Advancement, American Council on Education; Cheryl Oldham, Vice President of Education Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Scott Pulsipher, President, WGU; and Kurt Gunnell, Director, Institutional Research, WGU.

According to the study:

  • The employment rate for WGU alumni who have graduated within the last five years—81 percent—outdistances the national average of 74 percent.
  • WGU graduates are more likely to be engaged employees— 15 percent higher than the national average.
  • WGU graduates said their experience was worth the cost—73 percent compared to 38 percent.
  • WGU alumni are nearly twice as likely as graduates of other institutions to be thriving in all five elements of well-being—purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.
  • WGU alumni are almost twice as likely to be emotionally attached to their university than alumni from other universities—demonstrating that personal connections are possible in distance learning.

"WGU grads are twice as likely than other college graduates to say they had a mentor who encouraged their goals and dreams," said Brandon Busteed. "Given that Gallup has found this to be the single strongest element linked to long-term success in career and life, it's a hugely positive outcome. It's not about simply having an advisor who provides course selection tips. WGU grads are being inspired and encouraged around their life goals and dreams."

The survey, which included 2,700 WGU graduates, compared the WGU responses to the national data included in the Gallup-Purdue Index. Gallup and Purdue developed the index to examine the long-term success of graduates as they pursue a good job and a better life. The index provides insight into the relationship between the college experience and whether college graduates have great jobs and great lives.

View the 2016 Gallup Report here.

About WGU
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 80,000 students nationwide and has more than 79,000 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 20 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

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Contact for media inquiries:
Joan Mitchell – VP of Public Relations

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