Credits and costs
Family Literacy Is Vital to Children's Success
Literacy begins at home. The road to literacy starts early during a child's life and depends on interaction with parents and caregivers.
Our program is designed to help you understand the key components of family literacy (a two-generation approach to learning), including:
- how to understand children’s language and literacy development and support academic success
- how the role of adult education relates to adult learners’ needs and their roles as caregivers, workers, and community members
- how to strengthen and enhance parents’ knowledge of their roles and responsibilities as their children’s first teachers
- how to engage in interactive literacy activities with children and how to engage with schools and teachers
Penn State understands the importance of family literacy and has partnered with the College of Education to offer you an online Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Family Literacy program.
Family Literacy at Penn State
Our program's online curriculum was created in partnership with the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy and the National Center for Families Learning. These national organizations promote the values of family learning and literacy, support program improvement through research, and strive to help families make educational and economic progress through pioneering and continuously improving family literacy programs. The Goodling Institute is housed in the College of Education at Penn State.
Courses May Count Toward Related Programs
Postbaccalaureate students enrolled in family literacy certificate courses may be able to apply credits to other programs and certificates, such as:
- Lifelong Learning and Adult Education (Master of Education)
- Curriculum and Instruction (Master of Education)
- Children's Literature (Graduate Certificate)
Penn State is an Act 48–approved provider for Pennsylvania educators, so the courses for the postbaccalaureate certificate in family literacy may count toward professional development hours.
Eligible applicants may submit an application for a scholarship that applies to the four required courses. The Family Literacy Certificate Scholarship includes 25% off tuition for the first three courses and 50% off tuition for the fourth course. Applications will be accepted until all scholarships have been awarded. Applications for the scholarship can be found on the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy website.
Who Should Apply?
This program was developed to enable professionals to enhance their skills and credentials with a multidisciplinary, integrated approach to literacy instruction. Professionals in many fields can benefit from this certificate, including:
- teachers, staff, and administrators in family literacy, family learning, family engagement, or two-generation programs
- early childhood educators
- elementary and middle school teachers
- school counselors
- family, social, and human service professionals
- reading specialists
- parent or school/community liaisons
- adult educators
- parents of home-schooled children
- people considering a career in family literacy or a related field
Improve Your Literacy Abilities
Penn State's online certificate program in family literacy is a 12-credit program designed to meet the professional development needs of persons working in a variety of literacy education settings. The program can help you:
- earn college credits in the field of literacy
- expand your knowledge and skills in the field of literacy
- increase your earning potential
A Program That Can Suit Your Needs
Students in the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Family Literacy program can apply course work to the following degree programs:
- M.Ed. in Adult Education
- M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction
- Other bachelor's or master's degree programs through Penn State or other institutions (Speak with an academic adviser to see which programs accept these credits.)
Convenient and Flexible
Each course is taught using a blend of web and email to maximize flexibility, while maintaining teacher and student interaction. As a Penn State World Campus student, you can learn when and where it's most convenient for you.
Required Courses (12 credits)
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,007 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,082 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
Family Literacy Scholarship
Eligible applicants may submit an application for a scholarship that applies to the four required courses. The Family Literacy Scholarship includes 25% off tuition for the first three courses and 50% off tuition for the fourth course. Applications will be accepted until all scholarships have been awarded. Applications for the scholarship can be found in the Graduate School application.
Paying for Your Certificate
Students pursuing a certificate are considered "nondegree," a status that is not eligible for federal student aid, including the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program. A private alternative loan may be an option to consider.
Additionally, Penn State offers many ways to pay for your education, including an installment plan and third-party payments. Penn State World Campus also offers an Employer Reimbursement and Tuition Deferment Plan. Learn more about the options for paying for your education.
Students pursuing a degree and meeting all other eligibility requirements may qualify for financial aid.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
- Summer Deadline: Apply by May 1 to start May 15
- Fall Deadline: Apply by August 1
- Spring Deadline: Apply by December 1, 2023, to start January 8, 2024
If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.
For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:
Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed — Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
GPA and Test Scores — All applicants are expected to have earned a junior/senior grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.
GRE or GMAT scores are NOT required.
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
Statement of Purpose — Explain your reasons for applying to the Family Literacy certificate. Please limit your statement to one page.
Start Your Application
You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.
Begin the graduate school application
- Choose Enrollment Type: "Certificate Admission"
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
- Choose "Family Literacy" as the certificate
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.
Review the technical requirements for this program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State graduate certificate?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
To learn more about the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Family Literacy, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of Education, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
Beth McLean, Ph.D
405 Keller Building
University Park PA 16802
Email: [email protected]
Elisabeth McLean, Ph.D.DegreeEarly Childhood Associate, Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy
Dr. Elisabeth McLean has worked in the field of early literacy since 2000, and her experiences include designing and conducting professional development, designing curriculum, and engaging in research related to family literacy.
Anna Kaiper, Ph.D.DegreeAssociate Director/Assistant Teaching Professor
Dr. Anna Kaiper finished her Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota, specializing in adult literacy and language learning in a South African context.