February 8, 2011 | | Leave a comment Washington State lawmakers are proposing a plan to enter a partnership with the Western Governors University (WGU), which is an online school, according to The Seattle Times. Under the proposal, the state would create a partnership with the school, which would then become a new branch called WGU-Washington. Lawmakers are working on increasing the number of individuals who are earning college degrees within its borders. "There are people who are 30 and [older] who cannot drop everything and go back to college," Jim Kastama, state senator, told the news source. "They have a hunger, a thirst for higher education. And they need it because of the retraining requirements we need in our workforce right now." Furthermore, the plan will enable students to transfer college credits that they earn at WGU to other state-funded higher learning institutions. The proposal is backed by the state Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the superintendent of public instruction. According to a 2009 Reuters report, the online education industry grew by 17 percent. Furthermore, the sector had been growing at a rate of approximately 20 percent annually in previous years.