Is Penn State World Campus a Good Online School?
The name pretty much says it all — Penn State World Campus is a part of Penn State, which is a high-ranking flagship research university with a Carnegie R1 classification to boot. You can think of it as the public school’s online campus. But is Penn State World Campus as prestigious as the University Park, Pennsylvania-based institution?
Penn State World Campus is a good school for transferees because there is no limit to the number of credits earned from regionally accredited institutions that can be transferred. It’s also a suitable online school for those who wish to earn a Penn State degree and become a part of its large alumni network.
Keep reading if you are thinking about placing Penn State World Campus at the top of your college list.
Whether you are an incoming first-year college student or already a professional, you will have a much better idea by the time you reach the end of this post if you should earn your online degree from it.
Penn State World Campus Accreditation
Penn State World Campus is Penn State, which is the flagship institution of the state of Pennsylvania. Needless to say, it is not a diploma mill. The online school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), whose main focus is the accreditation of schools within the Mid-Atlantic US.
It’s not uncommon for many diploma mills to give themselves names that sound very much like legitimate and trusted colleges and universities in order to make it seem like they’re the real deal.
Well, Penn State World Campus is named as such because it is in fact the real Penn State, only online.
It only means that you are considered a Penn State student if you attend Penn State World Campus. As a matter of fact, the diploma you will receive after completing your online program is the very same diploma that someone who is attending Penn State will get — there will be no mention whatsoever that you attended Penn State via the internet.
Besides, unlike diploma mills, Penn State World Campus is accredited by an actual accreditor that both the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognize.
Accredited colleges and universities, online or otherwise, can either be regionally or nationally accredited.
Generally speaking, regional accreditation is considered the more prestigious kind. That’s because it has been around longer and has more rigorous quality standards. It’s because of this why credits from a regionally accredited institution can be easily transferred to another regionally accredited school.
As a matter of fact, Penn State World Campus will accept all credits earned by a transferee from a college with regional accreditation — we will discuss this matter in a few, so don’t stop reading now.
Besides regional accreditation from MSCHE, various online degrees available at Penn State World Campus have programmatic accreditation, too, which helps ensure that they’re top-notch. For instance, its Nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
When was Penn State World Campus Established?
Penn State was founded in 1855. It was in 1998 when the University Park, Pennsylvania-based public research university launched Penn State World Campus. Partnering with Penn State’s various academic departments and colleges, the school now offers more than 175 degree and certificate programs.
Even before the internet came into being, Penn State has been allowing students to get their hands on college degrees without leaving their homes.
Since 1892, just a few decades from the time it was established, it has been offering distance learning.
Also known as correspondence course, distance learning before the dawn of the internet involved instruction done by mail. Nowadays, however, distance learning at Penn State World Campus uses a combination of self-study and peer-to-peer interaction through email, chat, video conferencing, discussion boards, social media and more.
Classes at Penn State World Campus are asynchronous — there is no need to attend online classes at predetermined times. However, readings, assignments and other tasks have to be completed on a weekly basis.
What is Penn State World Campus Known For?
Penn State World Campus is known for being the online campus of Penn State, which is a high-ranking university as well as the state of Pennsylvania’s flagship and only land-grant institution. Graduates of Penn State World Campus become members of the largest and most widespread alumni network in the US.
As a Penn State World Campus student, you will also be known as a Penn State student.
That’s because the two are one and the same — the curriculum of Penn State World Campus is the same curriculum of Penn State, developed and administered by the same faculty members.
Penn State World Campus also boasts of the largest alumni network, with literally hundreds of chapters across the land.
And the members are widespread, too, with over 700,000 alumni from various parts of the globe. A solid alumni network like that of Penn State World Campus can make a huge difference while working on a degree and when finding a job.
Some of the most popular majors at Penn State World Campus include:
- Information Science
- Computer and Information Systems Security
- Organizational Behavior Studies
- Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
- Public Relations
How Much Does It Cost to Attend Penn State World Campus?
The cost of attending Penn State World Campus can vary, depending on the type of program, number of credits taken per semester, and number of credits already earned. Typically, as of the academic year 2021 to 2022, the rate of an online undergraduate degree at Penn State World Campus is $590 per credit.
It’s not uncommon for adult learners attending colleges and universities, physical and online alike, to be part-time students, which means that they are enrolled in less than 12 credits per semester.
That’s because many of them have very hectic everyday professional or family-life schedules.
Part-time students enrolled at Penn State World Campus pay $590 per credit, provided that the total number of credits they have under their belt is 59 or fewer. If they have already earned 60 or more credits, either from another college or Penn State World Campus or a combination of both, the cost increases to $632 per credit.
Thinking about enrolling as a full-time student taking at least 12 credits per semester? You will pay tuition amounting to $7,169 (if you have less than 60 credits) or $7,738 per semester (if you have 60 or more credits).
Graduate degree programs available at Penn State World Campus cost more per credit or semester.
Does Penn State World Campus Accept Financial Aid?
Both full-time and part-time students at Penn State World Campus are eligible for student aid. However, most certificate students do not qualify for it. Transferees applying for financial aid should confirm that their previous schools have canceled pending aid. Around 72% of Penn State World Campus students get aid.
Like when applying to a physical college or university, the first step you need to take if you are applying to Penn State World Campus and want to get financial aid is to fill out the FAFSA.
Besides federal aid, you may also apply for various Penn State World Campus scholarships.
What’s so nice about the many different institutional scholarships available at the online school is that you will have to complete a single application only, in addition to the FAFSA — you will be considered for all scholarship options for which you are eligible. Needless to say, different institutional scholarships have different eligibility requirements.
By the way, Penn State World Campus has more than 40 institutional scholarships, which are awarded to hundreds of undergraduate students every year.
And every year, around 72% of the studentry receive aid, with each awardee getting an average of $6,294.
Does Penn State World Campus Offer Special Benefits for Military Personnel?
Penn State World Campus provides various opportunities for service members, veterans and military families to reach their educational goals. The school’s very own Military Grant-in-Aid and education benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) help make earning a degree attainable for military personnel.
According to Penn State World Campus itself, it understands that military and veteran students as well as their dependents may encounter financial challenges in going to college.
This is why it makes available various resources to help them finance their education.
For one, the online school offers an automatic application fee waiver for undergraduate degrees for active-duty, guard, reservist and veteran applicants.
It also has the Military Grant-in-Aid program that lowers tuition to $362 per credit, which, when other financial assistance programs for military personnel are sought, can go as low as $112 per credit.
There are also various VA education benefits available for military personnel that they can take advantage of when applying to Penn State World Campus. They include:
- Post-9/11 GI Bill – Chapter 33
- Montgomery GI Bill – Chapters 30 and 1606
- Tuition Assistance Top-Up
- Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Scholarship
- Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) – Chapter 35
What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Penn State World Campus?
First-time, first-year students should have a high school GPA of at least 2.0 in order for their applications to be considered by Penn State World Campus. The standard minimum GPA requirement for most colleges is 2.0. Some programs the online institution offers require applicants to have slightly higher GPAs.
Like many colleges and universities, Penn State doesn’t have a published minimum GPA requirement.
On the other hand, its accredited online campus, which is Penn State World Campus, requires applicants to have earned a minimum GPA of 2.0 in high school. But because the online school has a holistic admissions policy, it also takes into account many other factors when reviewing applications.
It’s not uncommon for many academic institutions, traditional and online alike, to have a more selective admissions process for some of their most competitive programs.
True enough, at Penn State World Campus, some competitive online offerings require a GPA higher than 2.0.
For instance, the Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering program the school offers requires applicants to have a high school GPA of 2.7 or higher. Many online graduate degrees at Penn State World Campus have a higher GPA requirement, usually a minimum of 3.0, most especially those that are in the STEM field.
Does Penn State World Campus Require SAT or ACT?
Because Penn State is a test-optional public research university, Penn State World Campus allows applicants to decide whether or not they would like to submit their test scores. The middle 50% composite SAT and ACT scores of students admitted into the school are 1090 to 1300 and 23 to 30, respectively.
On the fence as to whether or not you should provide your test score to Penn State World Campus? Considering your application will help you make a smart decision.
A low test score can hurt a strong application, while a high test score can boost a not-so-strong application.
Fret not if you choose to keep your SAT or ACT score to yourself. That’s because it will not put you at a disadvantage in the admissions process. As a matter of fact, the admissions office of Penn State World Campus itself says that you will not be required to submit additional documents or supplemental application materials.
However, at any given time, Penn State World Campus, like many test-optional institutions, may go from test-optional to test-required. Make sure that you research the online school’s latest admission requirements.
How Many Transfer Credits Does Penn State World Campus Accept?
There is no limit to the number of credits that may be transferred to Penn State World Campus. However, chances are that not all previously earned credits will count toward the intended degree. Also, in order to get a degree from Penn State World Campus, a student should earn a minimum number of credits from it.
It’s not uncommon for online schools to accept a limited number of credits earned from other institutions.
What’s so nice about Penn State World Campus is that it will consider all credits applicants wish to transfer.
However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that each and every earned credit will be honored.
For one, credits should have been earned from a regionally accredited institution.
And, needless to say, credits should apply to the Penn State World Campus program of choice. It’s also important to keep in mind that only credits earned from courses with grades equivalent to not less than 2.0 at Penn State can be transferred.
In order for transferees to earn an associate degree from Penn State World Campus, 18 of the last 30 credits they take must be from Penn State World Campus.
On the other hand, in order to earn a bachelor’s degree from the school, transferees should earn 36 of the last 60 credits from it.
How Much Time is Spent Online by Penn State World Campus Students?
On average, Penn State World Campus Students taking an undergraduate degree program spend between eight and 12 hours per week studying as well as completing assignments for a three-credit course. On the other hand, students taking a graduate degree program typically spend more hours on their studies per week.
Planning on attending Penn State World Campus as a full-time student so that you can earn your degree in four years? Then you should be able to devote enough time to around four three-credit courses.
Doing the math, you will have to spend around 32 to 48 hours studying and doing various tasks per week.
Like many online schools, Penn State World Campus has asynchronous classes. This means that you can attend to your coursework only when you have the time. However, keep in mind that there are weekly deadlines for various course activities, which means that attending asynchronous classes is no reason for you to slack off.
Penn State World Campus Rankings
Various degree programs offered by Penn State World Campus are highly ranked by US News. Most of them are graduate degrees. Among undergraduate degree programs, Business and Psychology have the highest rankings. US News has also ranked Penn State World Campus’ online bachelor’s programs for veterans.
Prior to enrolling in a particular online program, oftentimes, you have no choice but to trust the word of the institution offering it and online reviews of individuals who have actually enrolled in it.
But there is something that you may include in the equation: college rankings by reliable college rankers.
When it comes to college rankings, US News is undeniably one of the most popular and trusted, especially among college-bound teens who are going through the college selection process. Well, many of the programs offered by Penn State World Campus are ranked by US News, and the following are some of them:
- #2 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs
- #2 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs
- #11 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans
- #16 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
- #2 in Best Online Master’s in Industrial Engineering Programs
- #3 in Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs
- #7 in Best Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering Programs
- #7 in Best Online Master’s in Special Education Programs
- #8 in Best Online Master’s in Education Programs
- #13 in Best Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology Programs
- #15 in Best Online MBA Programs
Related Article: Top 20 Online Colleges
Just Before You Apply to Penn State World Campus
Penn State World Campus is not just any online school — it is the online campus of Penn State, a prestigious public research university that is the flagship institution of the state of Pennsylvania and has what’s considered the largest and most widespread alumni institution in the US.
And because it’s Penn State’s online campus, the diploma you will receive after completing your online degree program at Penn State World Campus is the very same diploma that Penn State students get.
Read Next: Indiana University Online Review
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.