Since 2016, Real Salt Lake and Owner Dell Loy Hansen teamed up with Western Governors University to grant four prospective students a scholarship worth one year of free tuition as they pursue a bachelor or master’s degree. For Shana Butler – one of four recipients of the annual scholarship – the opportunity presented by RSL and WGU changed the trajectory of her career and family path.
Butler, a two-time graduate of WGU, had the opportunity to pursue her master’s degree in accounting through the scholarship from the club and is now an accountant who works the perfect job for her family’s schedule.
“With this scholarship I was able to complete both of my degrees in accounting and get a job at an outsourced accounting firm for about a year,” Butler explained. “But, as a mother of six children, at times it’s difficult to always be at work and I always wanted to work and complete my education from home. When I found out I had received the scholarship I saw it as the perfect opportunity to complete my education at home on my schedule and I recently started a new job that allows me to work from home where I can be with my family.”
Having always wanted to earn her master’s degree, Butler needed the schedule flexibility to finish her education while being the best she could be for her family and when RSL and WGU partnered for the scholarship opportunity, it became the perfect chance for her to achieve her goals. But there was more than just a financial aspect to the scholarship for Butler. As a mother of six, receiving the scholarship at halftime of an RSL match to her provided the chance for her children to see that goals and dreams can be reached.
“To receive the scholarship at the game gave me significant motivation to not only complete my degree, but to show my kids the value of education and the scholarships that will help them achieve their own goals,” Butler said. “Being able to carry that forward for them was important and means a lot to me.”
Despite hectic schedules and all things life has to offer to each individual, Butler thinks that the example set jointly by two organizations who pride themselves on bettering the community means just as much as achieving one’s goals.
“I love the fact that two organizations that are so engrained in the Utah community came together to provide the unique opportunity for people in my situation to achieve their goals speaks volumes,” Butler reflected. “I know mothers and fathers in similar situations who have difficulties like I did and who may not be able to make it to a classroom on a regular basis. So, the chance to complete an education from home through WGU and RSL to me shows great insight and respect to bettering our community as a whole.”
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 121,000 students nationwide and has more than 166,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 22 years, the university has become a leading influence in the development of innovative workforce-focused approaches to education. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.