SALT LAKE CITY — Jena Mcatee of Bellaire has earned her Bachelor of Arts, Special Education degree from Western Governors University (WGU). The online, nonprofit university held its 70th (Orlando, Fla.); 71st (Cincinnati); and 72nd (Anaheim, Calif.) commencement ceremonies this year to celebrate the graduation of more than 22,000 students from across the country.

WGU has recognized 13,244 undergraduate and 8,930 graduate degree recipients, who have completed their degrees in the last six months. Their areas of study include business, K-12 education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. The average time to graduation for those earning a bachelor's degree was 2 years, 4 months, while the average time to degree for graduate programs was 1 year, 7 months.

WGU pioneered competency-based education, which measures learning rather than time spent in class. Designed to meet the needs of working adults, students study and learn on their own schedules with individualized, one-to-one faculty support. They complete courses as soon as they demonstrate that they have mastered the subject matter; allowing them to move quickly through material they already know so they can allocate time for what they still need to learn. As a result, many WGU students are able to accelerate their studies, saving both time and money.