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WGU Gets $915K Grant to Recruit Women for Tech Degrees

The online university will use a grant from the tech industry consortium Reboot Representation Tech Coalition to support more Black, Latina and Indigenous women to complete IT degree programs.

Female software engineers
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock
Western Governors University (WGU) has received a $915,000 “Building Bridges and Breaking Barriers for Women in Tech” grant from the tech industry consortium Reboot Representation Tech Coalition to boost graduation rates among Black, Latina and Native American women in IT-related programs, an announcement last week said.

According to research from the National Center for Education Statistics cited in the announcement, Black, Latina and Indigenous women make up only 4 percent of students obtaining bachelor’s degrees in computing, despite representing about 16 percent of the total U.S. population. Additionally, the tech company Accenture noted that only 25 percent of tech graduates are women, with a dropout rate of 37 percent for tech classes compared to 30 percent for other programs.

The announcement added that while 61 percent of WGU students are women, the university’s IT enrollment figures closely resemble the national average. It said the university seeks to significantly increase the number of underrepresented women enrolled at WGU's College of Information Technology by 2025 through targeted outreach and customized student support.

“As a university with a mission to change lives for the better by creating pathways to opportunity, WGU recognizes the urgent need for more women of color to have access to industry-relevant technology education to prepare them for thriving-wage, in-demand careers in the technology sector,” Ashutosh Tiwary, senior vice president of WGU’s College of Information Technology, said in a public statement. “With the support from this grant, we aspire to grow our BLNA enrollment to reflect the national representation of women of color.”

According to the announcement, WGU will use the funds to provide peer coaching support, admissions process support, leadership development training and financial aid grants. It added that the university’s college readiness program, WGU Academy, will also act as a re-entry point for underrepresented students from WGU’s College of Information Technology that have previously discontinued their degree programs.

“At WGU, we believe in education equity and always keep an eye toward transforming our systems to improve access for all learners. Gifts like this ensure that, given the opportunity, every individual has something meaningful to contribute,” said Annalisa Holcombe, president of WGU Advancement, the university’s fundraising and development arm.
More information on WGU’s B4 Women in Tech initiative is available at