Many military service members who are on active duty with the U.S. armed forces choose to go back to school online to finish their bachelor’s degree or start a master’s degree.
Veterans who have completed their service or retired from the military may also make the same decision to seek out an online institution.
Penn State World Campus is the online campus of Penn State, a nationally known and respected public research university. Penn State World Campus is a highly ranked institution of online higher education, having been recognized by Military Times, U.S. News & World Report, and the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations for its academic programs and support services for military learners.
‘Best for Vets’
Military Times ranked Penn State World Campus as one of the top institutions of online learning in the country in its “Best for Vets: College” list that was published in September 2022.
To compile the list, Military Times asked more than 300 colleges and institutions nationwide that offer residential and online degree programs to submit a survey with more than 70 questions about their services and programs specific to military students, whether they are active-duty, veterans, or family members of service members.
Penn State World Campus was ranked in the top of institutions that primarily offer education online. World Campus ranked in the top 50 among all institutions and the top in Pennsylvania.
Military Times’ methodology emphasized student success metrics, such as the number of students completing their degrees, remaining enrolled, and continuing from one semester to the next, and their grade-point averages. Other important factors it cited were a range of military-specific resources, financial assistance offered, and admissions and registration policies.
U.S. News' Best Online Programs for Veterans
Each year, U.S. News & World Report compiles rankings of institutions that offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs online. The annual rankings also include a list of the best programs for veteran students.
The portfolio of programs offered online by Penn State World Campus was highly ranked in the 2023 edition of U.S. News’ Best Online Programs for Veterans. The rankings are based on student engagement, services and technology, faculty credentials and training, peer assessments, and an institution’s ability to make college more affordable and accessible through the GI Bill®, scholarships, and financial aid programs for military learners.
Here are the rankings in the 2023 edition:
- No. 1, master’s in engineering
- No. 4 (tie), master’s in education
- No. 6, master’s in computer information technology
- No. 7, master’s in business (non-MBA)
- No. 15, bachelor’s
- No. 15 (tie), MBA
National Guard-Friendly institution
An organization whose mission is to support members of the Pennsylvania National Guard designated Penn State World Campus as a Guard-Friendly School in 2022 for the third consecutive year.
The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations (PNGAS) said Penn State World Campus exceeded its list of 10 criteria that create a supportive learning environment for Guard members who are pursuing post-secondary education.
These include accepting tuition assistance through the Pennsylvania Education Assistance Program and the Department of Defense’s GI Bill®, having policies to protect the academic standing and enrollment status of National Guard students, and providing training to faculty and staff to support National Guard members.
Support services for military students
Students in the U.S. armed forces have access to the Penn State World Campus military support team, many members of which are veterans or military spouses. Students can also utilize specialized services to help support academic success while they are on active duty, deployed, or handling other responsibilities.
Military admissions counselors can assist prospective undergraduate students with using their benefits and completing their Penn State applications, and they can provide guidance on the more than 30 bachelor’s degree programs offered online.
A team of school certifying officials helps military students who have applied and been accepted use their VA benefits. They can explain how to apply for the benefits, describe the financial programs available, and discuss the options that may be the best fit for each student.
Undergraduate military students who enroll will be paired with a military academic adviser. This adviser can help students with planning their academic programs, staying on track, choosing courses, and managing the impacts of deployments, trainings, or relocations.
Financial aid and educational benefits for military students
Military students can utilize education benefits and financial aid to reduce the cost of their tuition.
Penn State World Campus offers a Military Grant-in-Aid program to help make higher education more affordable and attainable for service members and their spouses in undergraduate degree programs. Military Grant-in-Aid lowers the cost of undergraduate tuition by more than 40% and can be combined with funding offered through the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance (TA) program.
Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard receive financial support through the Pennsylvania Education Assistance Program (EAP). Their spouses and children can receive financial support through the Pennsylvania Military Family Education Program (MFEP). Penn State World Campus accepts this funding, which results in a tuition benefit of $342 per credit.
Penn State World Campus offers more than 40 scholarships that are awarded to hundreds of students. Eleven scholarships are specifically for military students.
A comprehensive portfolio of online degree programs
Penn State World Campus has been offering online education for 25 years. The portfolio of degree programs that are offered online has grown to more than 175 degrees and certificates at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
Degrees are offered in a variety of disciplines from business, technology, the liberal arts, health, homeland security, and more.
Learn more about what military students can expect when learning online through Penn State World Campus.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at https://benefits.va.gov/gibill.