Richmond Promise and Western Governors University Announce Partnership to Benefit Richmond Promise Scholars

 In News, Press Release

The partnership signifies Richmond Promise’s first-ever collaboration with a fully online institution. 

Chris Whitmore and Rick Benbow III sit at a double table and sign the agreement between WGU and RP.

RICHMOND, CALIF. — Richmond Promise and Western Governors University have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will allow Richmond Promise Scholars to apply for a partner scholarship that, combined with the Richmond Promise Scholarship and other funding sources such as Pell Grants, would allow a student to pursue a college degree at little to no cost.

“Expanding access to college will always be one of the central tenets of Richmond Promise’s mission, and our partnership with Western Governors University is another way in which we are working to provide Richmond students with new pathways to postsecondary success,” said Richmond Promise Executive Director Christopher Whitmore. “We look forward to working alongside WGU to provide another affordable higher education option for Richmond Promise Scholars.”

The agreement provides Richmond Promise Scholars with an opportunity to apply for Western Governors University’s $5,000 Community Outreach Partner Scholarship at the rate of $1,250 per term, renewable up to four terms. WGU is an online, fully accredited, nonprofit university based in Utah that provides an affordable, flexible degree option for students. 

“Our partnership with Richmond Promise is a testament to our shared commitment to providing access to education and opportunities for all,” said Rick Benbow III, Regional Vice President for Western Governors University. “We are excited to collaborate in empowering the students of Richmond, fostering academic and professional excellence and nurturing future leaders committed to positive change in their community and beyond.”

Recognizing the increase in ways that students now pursue postsecondary degrees, the agreement with Western Governors University marks Richmond Promise’s first agreement with a fully online institution. Richmond Promise Scholars can use their scholarship at any not-for-profit postsecondary education institution, including community college, four-year college or university, and/or CTE program in the United States. 

Chris Whitmore and Rick Benbow III hold bags from their counterpart organizations.Since its launch in 2016, Richmond Promise has supported more than 3,300 Richmond young people as they make their way to and through higher education. Richmond Promise currently serves more than 1,300 Scholars per year who are pursuing associate and bachelor degrees, and career technical education certifications, at over 200 colleges and universities across the United States. 91 percent of Richmond Promise scholars identify as people of color and/or indigenous, 64 percent are first-generation college students, and entering the 2023-24 school year, Richmond Promise has awarded $8.88 million in scholarships to Richmond students.

To learn more about the partnership between Richmond Promise and Western Governors University as well as the Community Outreach Scholarship, WGU’s B4 Women in Tech program and the Online Access Award, visit

Lead photo caption: Richmond Promise Executive Director Christopher Whitmore, left, and Western Governors University Regional Vice President Rick Benbow III sign the partnership between RP and WGU outside of Richmond City Hall.

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