Online degree program launches in Tennessee

POSTED: 8:41 AM Jul 09 2013   UPDATED: 2:30 PM Jul 09 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

An adult online degree program promoted by Gov. Bill Haslam opened Tuesday in Tennessee.

WPLN-FM reports legislators were hesitant to spend $5 million to open an office of Western Governors University, which targets people who have some college credit but never finished a degree.

Lawmakers argued that Tennessee's existing public colleges could start a similar program, but Haslam convinced them to go with the Salt Lake City-based nonprofit.

Rich Rhoda, who heads the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, said a local WGU branch is a "small and very worthwhile investment."

Rhoda said Tennessee needs all the providers it can get.

The state has set a goal to graduate 55 percent of residents from college, meaning as many as 100,000 adult Tennesseans need to finish school.