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Western Governors U Receives $1 Million Grant for Competency-Based Learning

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a $1.19 million grant to Western Governors University to launch competency-based associate's degree programs in information technology. The funding is intended to "to improve post-secondary access and success for young adult students, including first-generation college students and other under-served groups, by catalyzing competency-based learning," according to information released by the university.

The grant funding, which will be provided for three years, will allow WGU programs in Texas, Florida, Indiana, and Washington to partner with nine local community colleges in developing IT associate's degree programs. In Texas, Lone Star College System (LSCS) and Austin Community College (ACC) will partner with WGU Texas.

"This project is a great opportunity to work with two leading community colleges in Texas to bring more competency-based options to working Texans," WGU Texas Chancellor Mark David Milliron said in a prepared statement. "In addition, Dr. Richard Carpenter (chancellor, LSCS) and Dr. Richard Rhodes (president/CEO, ACC) will be effective voices to champion this innovation across the state."

WGU Texas will provide seminars, trainings, and workshops at LSCS and ACC in how to grow "robust and functional" competencies, choosing curriculum, and deploying relevant assessments.

WGU Texas is a state-endorsed nonprofit online accredited university operated by Western Governors University and available to Texas residents. Western Governors University has more than 38,000 students enrolled from all 50 states. It offers 50-plus bachelor's and master's degree programs in the areas of business, health, K-12 teacher education, and information technology.

For more information about WGU Texas, visit Go to to learn more about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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