A pencil drawing a line across a gap between two sides illustrates the idea of the college readiness gap.

New program targets college readiness gap

Competency-based courses can help close to college readiness gap for aspiring students

A new competency-based series of courses aims to tackle the growing college readiness gap and prepare students for success in and after college.

WGU Academy, a new independent operating unit from Western Governors University, is intended to help solve the widening college readiness gap. Courses and programs in WGU Academy will give aspiring students an affordable, low-risk pathway that readies them for college success either at WGU or at other institutions.

The characteristics of today’s college students have changed, and the means of serving them must change with them. Nearly 70 percent of high school graduates enroll in college, but 26 percent drop out in their first year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Among the 20 million individuals enrolled, according to Higher Learning Advocates, more than 41 percent are over the age of 25, 55 percent are financially independent, and 26 percent are parents. Additionally, there are 80 million adults who need access to post-secondary credentials to be readied for the future of work.

WGU Academy will leverage WGU’s method of serving contemporary students, especially in underserved populations, and will provide personalized learning onramps that improve individuals’ progress, persistence, and attainment in their college-level programs.

Laura Ascione