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In honor of National First Responders Day, which takes place annually on Oct. 28, Western Governors University (WGU) is launching a new scholarship to show appreciation for first responders - including EMTs, police officers, firefighters, corrections officers and others - who have demonstrated unprecedented selflessness and commitment in serving area communities as they carried out their duties throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The fully online, nonprofit university plans to award up to $80,000 in scholarships to area first responders - and their spouses - who are interested in furthering their education.

Each "First Responder Appreciation Scholarship" is valued at up to $4,000 per student and will be applied at a rate of $1,000 per term for up to four terms. The scholarships are available for new students enrolled in any of WGU's more than 60 degree programs in business, information technology, K-12 teacher education and health professions, including nursing. The scholarship application is available at and will be open through June 30, 2022.

"First responders make countless sacrifices on a daily basis to protect our communities, uphold the law and save lives," said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Regional Vice President of Western Governors University. "While we can never fully repay the debt of gratitude we owe our first responders, we at WGU hope that this scholarship offering can help provide those first responders and their spouses who are considering going back to school an even more affordable path to earning their degrees."

Designed to meet the needs of busy adult learners, WGU uses a competency-based education approach to learning, enabling students to take advantage of their knowledge and experience to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. Students complete their programs by studying and taking tests on schedules that fit their lives, advancing as soon as they demonstrate that they have mastered subject matter. The flexible format is perfect for those in full-time, demanding fields, like first responders.

For more information about WGU or available scholarships, visit

About WGU

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 130,000 students nationwide and has nearly than 250,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation's leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 24 years, the university has become a leading influence in the development of innovative workforce-focused approaches to education. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, and CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at


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