Staying in your hometown should not prevent you from earning a college education that will help you achieve your job ambitions. Western Governors University (WGU) has announced a new scholarship option for adult learners who reside in rural areas of the country, allowing them to obtain a quality, affordable, accredited degree where they live.
Find Out Where You Live The scholarship is worth up to $3,000 and is open to new students and returning alumni who desire to continue their education at WGU. Scholarship awardees will be awarded up to $750 per six-month term, which is renewable for up to four periods. Applicants must reside in a rural area of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.
The new scholarship follows the release of a rural jobs report by WGU’s Northwest Regional team, Shifting Winds: Examining Employment Trends in Rural Northwest Regions.
According to the study, which was done in collaboration with WGU Labs, while demand for talent moved during the pandemic, rural health care job ads continue to dominate in these locations, and rural STEM-sector job postings are increasing dramatically — with up to an 183% increase in rural places. When compared to high school diplomas, demand for bachelor’s degrees has soared.
Auditing, marketing, computer science, business development, project management, accounting, Agile methodology, finance, workflow management, and data analysis were the most in-demand skills. WGU’s more than 60 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in business, healthcare, information technology, and education may provide adult learners with the skills that employers are looking for.
“This is a commitment the university has made and certainly the Leavitt School of Health has made,” said WGU Senior Vice President of the Leavitt School of Health, Keith Smith, PhD. “We’re in the process of adding several non-clinical programs, a portfolio that meets the entire spectrum of needs for rural health.”
“Everything we do at Western Governors University is aimed at increasing accessibility and opportunity for each student, regardless of their location, background, motivations, or life situation,” added Tonya Drake, PhD., regional vice president of WGU. “Many students want to go back to school and pursue higher education, but the cost and location can be overwhelming and deter many students from attending college.”
Drake, who grew up in a rural area, had to leave her hometown to get her bachelor’s degree.
“A lot of people leave and don’t come back. Great strides have been made, but I still have nieces and nephews who live in rural parts of the state and wonder if they will have to leave their towns to get an education and a good-paying job,” she said. “The rural community is the backbone of our economy, and we look forward to helping people gain the degrees needed to obtain in-demand jobs in their hometowns.”
To find out more about the scholarship and apply by June 30, visit the Learn Where You Live Scholarship page.