Note: Employees of all Columbia Montour Chamber members, their spouses and dependents are eligible for a 5% discount on tuition through the PSU World Campus.
Military students face unique challenges when transitioning from service to college, and Penn State is committed to providing the necessary resources and support to help them succeed in and out of the classroom.
That’s the goal for Eugene McFeely, Penn State senior director for Veterans Affairs and Services.
“Student veterans are adult learners, have typically been away from school for a long period of time, and may have families, work a full-time job, or deal with issues that come along with service and deployments to combat zones,” said McFeely, a retired Air Force colonel. “We provide the resources to help students navigate and overcome challenges they may face and also build a sense of community where student veterans, who have already made the transition to college, help those who are new to Penn State.”
More than 5,600 Penn State students have direct military ties as either an active-duty service member, a reservist, veteran or military dependent, across all of the University’s campuses, including Penn State World Campus.
Penn State has consistently been recognized as a military-friendly school for the many academic programs and support resources available to active-duty, veteran and ROTC students. In 2018, Penn State World Campus was ranked as a top online school for military and veteran students by Military Times and U.S. Veterans Magazine.
There are several benefits and programs for the military community at Penn State:
— Penn State aids student veterans’ transitions from service to college by providing a host of programs, including a peer-to-peer sponsorship and mentoring program run by current student veterans; veteran student clubs and organizations; and a veteran-only first-year seminar class, “Transition is the Mission,” where veterans can learn about transitioning to college, maximizing GI Bill benefits and other career and academic success aids. Penn State also offers student veterans priority registration, and there are more than 50 Penn State scholarships with either a military or veteran preference stated as part of scholarship award criteria.
— Veterans using any chapter of the GI Bill, and dependents receiving Chapter 33, Chapter 35 or Fry Scholarship benefits, are eligible for in-state tuition regardless of residency. Veterans who are not using GI bill benefits should contact their campus certifying official to determine requirements to establish eligibility for the in-state rate. All active-duty military and Department of Defense employees, along with their spouses and dependent children, receive in-state tuition provided they are stationed in Pennsylvania, or enrolled in the World Campus.
— Military students may be eligible to earn Penn State credit for educational experiences and for Military Occupational Specialties, Navy Enlisted Classification, Air Force Specialty Codes, Marine Corps Enlisted Rating, and Coast Guard Rating. Credits will be considered based on a transcript from the American Council on Education (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service. Members of the military applying for admission can have an ACE transcript sent directly to the Undergraduate Admissions Office for evaluation of transferable credits.
— Active members of the armed services and veterans are classified as adult learners at Penn State, and as part of that population, have access to a number of resources unique to the needs of adult students.
— Penn State’s Office of Veterans Programs provides services in outreach, certification, mentorship and general counseling to veterans and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits recipients.
— The Penn State Law Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic provides students hands-on experience representing veterans and current service members in some of the unique legal issues they encounter. Under the supervision of a faculty member, clinic students help fill the critical gap between the demand for this specialized legal assistance, and the limited supply of such services in the state and the nation. The clinic focuses its work in three areas: veterans’ benefits appeals, veterans’ rights cases, and state and federal policy.
— Penn State World Campus has aligned its online degree and certificate programs, student support services, and policies to address the unique needs of military and veteran students. World Campus also has an academic military support team, representing every academic and support unit within the University, to help facilitate student success and achievement.
— Military Grant-in-Aid is an undergraduate program that brings the tuition rate closer to the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance Program cap, making a World Campus education more affordable to military students and spouses. The grant-in-aid is offered to all members of the U.S. armed forces, including Guard and Reservists, and their spouses, for all branches of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Coast Guard under the Department of Homeland Security.
— Penn State also partners with the U.S. Army for the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program, providing scholarships for sergeants majors to enroll in the online master of education in lifelong learning and adult education degree through Penn State World Campus. Students finish the degree within a year and go on to teach the academy’s Sergeants Major Course, which educates the military’s enlisted leaders to operate on all levels of leadership.
— The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness is a valuable, interactive and comprehensive resource for professionals working with military families. Its staff engage in applied research and evaluation, implementation science, education, and outreach to advance the well-being and health of military families.
Visit the Office of Veterans Programs website for more information.