Federal audit: Utah-based Western Governors University should repay more than $700 million

  1. Federal audit: Utah-based Western Governors University should repay more than $7 million in financial aid - The Salt Lake Tribune

    Western Governors University may have to write a $712 million check to the federal government, based on recommendations in an audit report that says the online school’s offerings are “correspondence courses.”
    Released Thursday, the report by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General has found that most courses within WGU’s largest degree programs fall short of financial aid eligibility under Title IV of the Higher Education Act — and recommends the repayment of $712,670,616 awarded to students since July 2014.
    “None of these 69 courses [out of 102] could reasonably be considered as providing regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors,” the report states.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Gangsteroids
    Also please note:

    "WGU spokeswoman Joan Mitchell said Thursday that the report does not impose binding sanctions on the university.
    “It’s a recommendation from the Office of the Inspector General, who has no enforcement authority,” Mitchell said.
    Moreover, according to Scott Pulsipher, president of the Utah-based university, the findings are based in a misinterpretation and narrow application of federal law.
    “Obviosly we very much disagree with their opinion and perspective on these things,” Pulsipher said."

    This doesn't have any real impact. If the federal government does decide to follow up and demand repayment, then we can talk about it. This is just saying "Oh, the classes don't fit our traditional model of classes so they're not eligible for federal aid" but they can't do anything about it until the DoE decides to do something. WGU has no responsibility to repay anything regarding this report at this time.
  4. by   Pixie.RN
    WGU has elaborated on this audit: OIG Audit Report | Western Governors University
  5. by   meanmaryjean
    WGU's accreditors differ with the OIG. The regulation they are differing on was written for 'correspondence schools' and they cannot get past their interpretation of it.

    Bottom line: the OIG has no enforcement power and the DOE disagrees.
  6. by   elkpark
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    Bottom line: the OIG has no enforcement power and the DOE disagrees.
    And, under the Trump administration, the DOE is not going to object to anything schools do. Let the free market flower!
    Last edit by elkpark on Sep 24
  7. by   smartnurse1982
    So what happens to students that have financial aid?

    Are they required to pay the aid back?

    As a current student,there are courses I have passed without speaking to a course mentor.

    I know WGU is a favorite on Allnurses for the Rn to Bsn program,but some posters need to keep in mind that the school has changed for the worst since 2015.
  8. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from smartnurse1982
    So what happens to students that have financial aid?

    Are they required to pay the aid back?

    As a current student,there are courses I have passed without speaking to a course mentor.

    I know WGU is a favorite on Allnurses for the Rn to Bsn program,but some posters need to keep in mind that the school has changed for the worst since 2015.
    Again- the OIG report is an OPINION by an agency that has ZERO enforcement powers. The Department of Education disagrees with this report. NO financial aid is in danger.

    Your assertion that the school has 'changed for the worst' is without evidence. 25K nursing grads and enrollment grows every month.
  9. by   smartnurse1982
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    Again- the OIG report is an OPINION by an agency that has ZERO enforcement powers. The Department of Education disagrees with this report. NO financial aid is in danger.

    Your assertion that the school has 'changed for the worst' is without evidence. 25K nursing grads and enrollment grows every month.

    I go by what i see.

    Too many people are failing courses,especially in the groups I am apart of.
    You could even go on this site and see many struggling with biochem and stats
  10. by   Gangsteroids
    You literally cannot fail unless you don't pass a course before the end of your term? It's not that difficult to manage your time and reach out to instructors to help you pass these courses. And yes, I mean Biochem and stats.
  11. by   smartnurse1982
    Quote from Gangsteroids
    You literally cannot fail unless you don't pass a course before the end of your term? It's not that difficult to manage your time and reach out to instructors to help you pass these courses. And yes, I mean Biochem and stats.
    The instructors are not particularly helpful for some courses.
    All they do is refer you back to the course of study.

    But even then,you have to remember that the course mentors are not the ones grading your assignments.

    I have had papers that were ripped to shreds by a course mentor only for them to pass in taskstream.

    After the course mentor recommended I make some changes(which I did not) I just submitted it and it passed.
  12. by   not.done.yet
    There is no arguing that the overall pass rates for WGU are a bit dismal when you consider the university as a whole and not just the nursing program. Self-paced study is a challenge for a great many people.

    That being said, my own personal experience was overwhelmingly positive. I had all the help I needed from course mentors and the grading schematics were fair, clearly delineated and sensible. The commentary on grading was useful and pertinent. I was very satisfied with my experience at WGU and very happy not to have needed any loans to get my graduate degree.

    As far as it "going down hill since 2015", the school is fully accredited and continues to meet criteria for accreditation, which is the highest indicator of the validity of its offerings in nursing education. People have been trying to bad-mouth and discount WGU for its differences from traditional schooling since the day it began. It doesn't show any sign of slowing down and I am not inclined to put too much weight into this report.

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