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Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP)
What is WRGP, and how does it work?
“WRGP” is the Western Regional Graduate Program. It’s a tuition-reciprocity arrangement similar to the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) and it is coordinated by WICHE. WRGP enables students from WICHE states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming) to enroll in some 250 participating graduate programs and pay the enrolling institution’s resident tuition rate, instead of the nonresident rate that an out-of-state student would normally pay. WRGP is a tremendous opportunity for Western states to share distinctive programs (and the faculty who teach them) and build their workforce in a variety of disciplines, particularly healthcare. WRGP is not for short term exchange—it is meant to be used for a full graduate degree or graduate certificate.
WRGP is program-based; only certain programs at our participating institutions are eligible to enroll residents of WICHE states at the WRGP rate. They must be approved by a formal nominations process.
How can I apply for resident tuition through the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP)?
If you are a resident of one of WICHE’s 15 member states, then you are eligible to request the resident tuition rate offered by more than 250 some graduate programs (master’s, PhD and graduate certificate level) offered at more than 45 participating institutions. To be considered for the resident WRGP rate, apply directly to the department offering the WRGP program, or contact their graduate studies department.
Read the program’s WRGP profile for eligibility requirements and if you still have questions, contact the program’s WRGP administrator as indicated in the profile (see the link to the WRGP program profiles at the end of this question). Although some programs automatically consider applicants from a WICHE state for the WRGP rate, many of them require that you request the resident WRGP rate at the time of application for admission. Others may ask you to apply for the WRGP rate through their scholarship or financial aid office.
Please note that WICHE does not set qualification criteria for WRGP applicants, nor do we process applications or participate in the student selection process. Equally important, the WRGP resident tuition rate is not automatically awarded to all eligible candidates. Most programs must limit the number of new WRGP awards each academic year, so apply early!
How do I prove to my enrolling WRGP institution that I’m a resident of a WICHE state and eligible for consideration?
Contact your enrolling institution’s residency office and see what their requirements are. You must prove to their satisfaction that you’re a resident of one of the WICHE states. Please note that since no state support accompanies a WRGP student, your home state typically does not have a formal residency qualification process for WRGP applicants. If you need additional guidance, you may contact the central WICHE office for suggestions.
If I am awarded the WRGP tuition rate, how many years is the award good for? And do I need to reapply each year?
Most programs extend the WRGP rate to a student for the duration of their graduate studies, or a reasonable time to complete them. Most institutions don’t make you reapply each year, but some do; check directly with your enrolling institution to find out what the rules are. In all cases though, WRGP students must maintain good academic standing to keep their discounted tuition rate.
How much tuition will I pay if I am enrolled at the WRGP rate? What would I save compared to paying full nonresident tuition?
It depends, but here is an example: If the resident tuition rate of “Best Western University” where you are enrolling is $10,000, then that is your WRGP rate. If you had to pay the full nonresident rate, you would pay $20,000, so you are saving $10,000 per year! Please note that this is just an illustration. Check directly with your enrolling program and institution to determine exact tuition rates and savings.
Can you establish residency in the state where you are attending school if you are paying the WRGP tuition rate?
No. If you want to build time towards establishing residency, institutions require you to pay the full nonresident tuition. Residency policies vary by state (and institution), so check with your institution’s admissions or residency office for written requirements and advice.
I am a resident of a WICHE state and plan to enroll in a WRGP program. Do I automatically pay the WRGP resident tuition rate?
No, the WRGP resident tuition rate is not automatically awarded to all eligible candidates. In fact, most programs are becoming more selective. Even if you meet the program’s WRGP admissions criteria (which can be more rigorous than its regular admissions criteria for in-state residents), there are no guarantees. Many departments must limit the number of new WRGP awards each academic year, so apply early! And make sure you request to be considered for the WRGP rate at the time you apply for admission.
Can WRGP help me if I’m enrolling at a public institution in my home state where I’m a resident?
No. In this case, you don’t need WRGP. You will already get the resident tuition rate offered by your home state. WRGP can only help students from Western WICHE states who are leaving their home state and enrolling in a participating graduate program located in the WICHE region but not in their home state.
How many WRGP awards are offered each year? Is it true that institutions limit the number of WRGP discounts they award?
The number of WRGP awards varies each year. Many institutions and their participating programs do cap the number of WRGP awards. That’s why it’s important to apply for WRGP EARLY—as soon as you apply for admission.
Can a part-time student qualify for the WRGP rate?
Yes, part-time graduate students are eligible for consideration. However, a department has the prerogative to give priority to full-time students if they wish.
I got my offer of admission, but haven’t been notified if I received the WRGP resident rate. What should I do?
Check directly with the graduate admissions office or the graduate department of the institution where you applied. Our WICHE office does not process student applications, so we cannot tell you whether or not you’ve been awarded the WRGP rate. If you are awarded the WRGP rate, be sure to get it in writing and keep a copy for your personal documentation.
Have you received my WRGP application?
No we haven't, and please don't send WRGP applications to our WICHE office. WICHE oversees the WRGP program but our office does not process student applications. To check the status of your WRGP application, contact the graduate admissions office or the graduate department at the institution where you applied. You can find their contact information in the program’s WRGP profile on our website.
Where can I find the WRGP application?
There is no central WRGP application. Some WGRP programs have their own WRGP application. If they do not, make sure that you indicate you want to be considered for the resident WRGP tuition rate somewhere on the application (whether it is online or a paper application).
What are the WRGP admissions requirements?
Some graduate programs have special admissions requirements for students requesting the WRGP rate. To find out, check the program’s profile on our website.
I just learned about WRGP and already started classes. Can I apply for the WRGP rate after I’ve enrolled?
Most institutions require that you apply for the WRGP rate BEFORE you begin classes. You can contact the graduate admissions office or your program’s department to see if it is possible, but it is unlikely that they will award the WRGP rate retroactively. In addition, make sure that if you were awarded the WRGP rate that you have it in writing from your enrolling institution.
If I am not from a member WICHE state, am I still eligible to enroll as a WRGP student?
No. Only residents of WICHE’s 15 member states qualify. They are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. There are programs similar to WRGP in other regions. Contact your regional compact organization directly to see if it has a graduate program that offers reduced tuition. If you are in the mid-west, visit http://www.mhec.org. If you are in the southern United States, visit http://www.sreb.org/. And if you are in the northeast, visit http://www.nebhe.org/.
Which institutions participate in WRGP?
Some 45+ state-funded public universities located in the WICHE region participate in WRGP. Please note that WRGP participation is program-based, so not all of an institution’s programs are offered at the WRGP rate—only those that have applied to the network and qualified. To find out whether or not a graduate program that you’re interested in participates in WRGP, check our website. If your program is not listed, then it does not participate in WRGP.
Do private institutions offer programs through WRGP?
No, not at this time. However, private institutions are encouraged to submit their programs for consideration. To participate, they would need to offer a tuition rate reduction of 25 percent or more.
Do institutions offer online graduate study programs through WRGP?
Yes, some do. Inquire directly to the program you’re interested in, to see if they offer distance education degrees. Some are fully online, while others are “hybrid” programs with a combination of off campus and on campus learning.
I’m a resident of a WICHE state and interested in enrolling in a graduate program not located in a WICHE state. Can WRGP help?
Sorry. We can’t help you if your institution is located outside of the WICHE region. WRGP programs are located only in the WICHE member states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Check with your enrolling program’s department to see what other tuition savings programs you might be eligible. You might want to apply for a graduate teaching assistantship; some institutions charge TAs resident tuition as an added benefit.
Must a student demonstrate financial need to receive the resident WRGP rate?
Most enrolling institutions do not require that applicants show financial need to receive the WRGP rate, but some may use financial need criteria to award the reduced rate to those who demonstrate the greatest need.
As a faculty member or graduate dean, I'd like to nominate one of our programs for the WRGP network. How does the process work?
If you would like to nominate a program, contact WICHE’s director of student exchange. WICHE requests nomination proposals every year or two, and the call for nominations is released in September. Programs are typically approved by the following May.
To be eligible, programs that aren’t related to healthcare must be “distinctive,” meaning they must be offered at no more than four other institutions in the WICHE region (exclusive of California). Given the tremendous needs in the healthcare workforce, healthcare-related programs are not subject to the “distinctiveness” criteria, but must be of high quality. WICHE is also seeking graduate programs in emerging fields, as well as professional science masters programs. For complete details, visit www.wiche.edu/wrgp and look for the nomination procedure information and forms.