Western Governors University and Lake Area Technical Institute Announce Partnership

For immediate release

October 31, 2019

New partnership will allow students graduating from LATI to seamlessly transfer into WGU’s online undergraduate programs; WGU will also offer scholarships for students

Watertown, S.D. – (Oct. 31, 2019) To help provide an affordable pathway for students of Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) to earn their bachelor’s degrees, Western Governors University (WGU) and LATI today announced they have entered into a partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, students who have completed an associate degree at LATI and are interested in earning a bachelor’s degree in business, IT, K-12 teacher education or health professions – including nursing – will be able to seamlessly transfer their credits to WGU. Additionally, new LATI students enrolling in WGU will be eligible to apply for the university’s Community College Partnership Scholarships, valued at up to $2,000 each.

The Community College Partnership Scholarship is open to graduates and staff of LATI and will go toward WGU’s already-low flat-rate tuition of about $3,500 per six-month term. Recipients will receive a $500 tuition credit each term, renewable for up to four terms based on satisfactory academic performance.

“The WGU and Lake Area Tech partnership is one more way Lake Area Tech graduates can continue an affordable and attainable future of life-long learning,” said Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney.  “WGU has given Lake Area Tech students a valuable opportunity to work, raise a family and advance their education in a format and at a cost that works for them.  We are grateful for the forward thinking and vision that the Governors of the Western states had in developing the WGU.”

Lake Area Tech Agriculture graduate Brianne Wipf is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting/Business Management through WGU. “I really appreciate the competency-based learning style WGU offers,” she said. “Staying on track online is easy with the help of my mentor who calls me each week.”

Lake Area Tech Nursing Instructor Alissa Iverson obtained her Master’s Degree through WGU while working and raising her family. She said being able to set her own learning pace was helpful given her busy schedule. 

WGU, a fully online, nonprofit university, offers LATI students a competency-based approach to learning. This method allows students to take advantage of their knowledge and previous experience to quickly move through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. Students complete their programs by studying on schedules that fit their lives, advancing as soon as they demonstrate they have mastered subject matter. WGU faculty members work one-on-one with students as mentors, offering guidance, support and individualized instruction. While WGU’s degree programs are rigorous and challenging, competency-based learning makes it possible for students to accelerate their progress and graduate faster, saving both time and money.

“Both WGU and LATI are committed to providing greater educational opportunities to students interested in advancing their careers, and this partnership will help further that mission,” said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Regional Vice President of WGU’s Midwest Region. “Our academic programs are both flexible and affordable and ensure graduates have the core knowledge and skills required to compete and succeed in the workplace.”

For more information about the partnership, visit https://www.wgu.edu/LATI

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 117,000 students nationwide and has more than 157,000 graduates. 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 22 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, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.

About Lake Area Tech

Established in 1965, Lake Area Technical Institute is a public two-year college located in Watertown, SD.  The college was selected in 2017 as the #1 Two-Year College in the Nation by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence.  The 40 acre campus is home to approximately 2600 full and part-time students enrolled in 30 different programs of study. The college has an 84% retention rate and 99% placement rate for graduates. Lake Area Tech has been featured in Time Magazine, NPR, The New York Times and recognized by Forbes, Chronicle of Higher Education, Aspen Institute, Niche, Military Friendly and more. Lake Area Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  Learn more at www.lakeareatech.edu

Cutline: Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney signs the partnership agreement with Western Governors University as Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Regional Vice President of WGU’s Midwest Region, looks on.