(WBIR-Knoxville) Governor Bill Haslam is pushing for more college graduates in the state and he's using technology to do it.
Western Governors University Tennessee launched this summer; it's an accredited, non-profit online university
It's part of Governor Haslam's "Drive to 55," an effort to increase the amount of graduates from 32% to 55% by 2025.
WGU Tennessee student George Julien, 44, is working to finish his bachelor's degree in information technology security.
Julien works as a senior network administrator in Oak Ridge. He has two associate degrees but hopes to complete his bachelor's degree. That's after 22 years in the U.S. Air Force.
"When I was in the military it was hard to get a lot of college... deployments and everything else. You'd start classes, then you'd stop classes. And I did that for a lot of years. When I first got out, just too much going on. I couldn't always get the classes that I needed that work with my schedule," Julien said.
Wednesday on 10News at Five, John Becker sat down with WGU Tennessee Chancellor Kimberly Estep.
"Many of our students log in when their children go to bed and after a work day. So it may be 8, 9, 10 o'clock at night when they begin to access their materials or access their materials over the weekends," Estep said.
Julien estimates he gets around five hours of sleep each night.
"Usually up around 5:30 in the morning, get my two boys, get them ready for school," Julien explained.
Julien takes his classes online usually after 9 p.m. He takes them one at a time and has four classes this term, which is six months long. At WGU Tennessee, it costs about $6,000 a year, full time.
"I've always believed you should never stop learning. Even when I finish this, I don't see that I'm going to stop in any way," Julien said.
Julien is one of about 130 students in the Knoxville area that are enrolled this term at WGU Tennessee.
The 44-year-old expects to earn his bachelor's degree in about a year and a half.
The University of Tennessee, local community colleges, as well as national universities also have online courses.