Go Western, Young Man

The best relatively cheap university you've never heard of. (Hint: it's only online)

Mike Kemp / Rubberball / Getty

Let's not waste anyone's time or money. You won't find that phrase emblazoned on a T shirt, but it's essentially the motto of Western Governors University (WGU), a private online school that has worked hard to prove it is anything but a diploma mill.

Established 11 years ago by the governors of 19 states, the virtual university--which is administered from Salt Lake City--has experienced a surge in admissions as more college students look for low-cost alternatives. Enrollment topped 10,000 last spring, growing at a rate of 40% in both 2006 and 2007. (See pictures of the college dorm room's...

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