WGU Indiana leader leaving to start higher ed fundraising group

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Western Governors University on Wednesday announced that Allison Barber will leave her post as chancellor of WGU Indiana to start an affiliated fundraising venture.

The newly created WGU Advancement said it will raise funds to “build financial support for initiatives that support the university’s commitment to reinvigorating the promise of higher education for all.”

Barber, who has served as chancellor of WGU Indiana since it launched in 2010, said the not-for-profit WGU Advancement will allow the university to give out more scholarships and support new programs at the university involving technology, additional degrees, new learning models and certifications.

"Indiana will continue to lead the way in our country in what it looks like to be creative and innovative in higher education," said Barber, who declined to identify the organization's initial fundraising goals.

WGU President Scott D. Pulsipher said in a press release that the new fundraising arm is meant to help the 36 million U.S. adults who have some college but no college degree.

“By creating a new funding source through WGU Advancement, we can do so much more,” Pulsipher said in the release. “Our goal is to increase our impact tenfold—to provide a pathway to a better life, not for hundreds of thousands, but for millions."

WGU Advancement said its early financial backers include Strada Education Network, the Lumina Foundation and the state of Indiana.

WGU Indiana has 5,400 students and has had 6,000 graduates since it opened in 2010. Barber said 98 percent of the college’s graduates are still living in the state. Barber said the university would start recruiting for a new chancellor.

WGU Advancement is expected to start out with between 20 and 30 employees. It will be based in downtown Indianapolis.

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