Pennsylvania State University was chartered in 1855 under Act P.L. 46 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania in Centre County. After the Morrill Land-Grant Act, Penn State’s focus grew in 1874 to cover agricultural and classic education. By the 1970s, PSU was joining the PASSHE system as a flagship public, land-grant and space-grant RU/VH institution with a massive $3.602 billion budget. Pennsylvania State University occupies a main 5,448-acre suburban campus in University Park with 24 satellites from Erie to Harrisburg. Within the AAU, Penn State educates around 99,100 Nittany Lions face-to-face and 13,400 learners online via the World Campus.

According to the U.S. News, Penn State is the 50th best national university, 14th best public school, and 56th top high school counselor pick for 2017. In particular, the World Campus is acclaimed for America’s eighth best online bachelor’s, eighth best online MBA, and fourth best online graduate engineering degrees. On Niche, PSU stands as the 13th “Best Big College” with the 14th “Best Student Life” nationally. Forbes placed Pennsylvania State University as the 222nd best value and 38th top public college. Penn State was ranked the 12th best university for international students by the IIE. Washington Monthly also crowned PSU the 84th best college for civic engagement.

Pennsylvania State University Accreditation Details

Continually since 1921, Pennsylvania State University has been regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), one of U.S. Department of Education’s six agencies for reviewing Title IV eligibility. The World Campus also has the following programmatic accreditations for online PSU degrees:

• Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
• Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
• Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
• Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
• Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
• National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
• Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

Pennsylvania State University Application Requirements

Getting into Pennsylvania State University isn’t easy with the “more selective” acceptance rate of 51 percent in Fall 2015. Applying for online bachelor’s programs requires being a high school graduate or GED holder. Prepping for college with four units of English and three units each of math, science, and social studies is essential. On average, PSU Nittany Lions achieved a cumulative secondary GPA of 3.6. Freshmen also report a mean SAT score of 1270 and ACT score of 27. Transferring undergrads should have finished 27+ credits from accredited colleges with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

The Graduate School requires finishing a regionally accredited U.S. bachelor’s or foreign tertiary degree before eligibility is confirmed. International students at PSU must show comfort with English for a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper) or 80 (Internet). Most online master’s programs expect a junior/senior GPA of 3.0 or better. Certain programs, such as the Online Master of Engineering Management, will require three years of relevant experience. Penn State accepts an average GRE score of 153 verbal and 151 quantitative. The DNP program only admits registered nurses with a GPA above 3.5 and “B+” or higher on nursing prerequisites.

Undergraduate applications are generally reviewed until January 31st for Fall and November 1st for Spring, but post-bachelor’s applicants can be considered anytime. Create a MyPennState profile online to submit the application and the following:

• $65 non-refundable application fee
• Copies of official academic transcripts
• College entrance exam scores
• Typed, 300-word personal statement
• Three letters of professional reference
• Uploaded resume or CV (graduate only)

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time students at PSU are traditionally charged $17,900 in-state or $32,382 out-of-state each year for tuition alone before the $12,230 for room and board. Fortunately, the World Campus gives online students a break from this sizeable total up to $47,612. Online undergrads can expect paying $542 per credit or $6,587 for flat-rate, full-time tuition each semester. For nine or more credits, the information technology fee is $252. Online graduate programs have varying costs though. For example, the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction bills students $821 per credit, while the M.Eng. in Nuclear Engineering charges $1,100 per credit.

The NCES reports that 87 percent of beginning, full-time PSU World students earn financial aid at an average amount of $5,004. Online students with a minimum 2.5 GPA will receive the World Campus Scholarships. Studying online qualifies learners for over institutional awards like the Fannie Lou Hamer-W.E.B. DuBois Scholarship, Provost’s Award, Millennium Scholars Program, Laurel Haven Endowment Scholarship, and Frank A. Sinon Scholarship. World Campus enrollment qualifies undergrads for the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. Locals from the “Keystone State” could claim the Pennsylvania State Grant for 9 to 11 credits. Off-campus Work-Study jobs provide $9.50 per hour for up to 20 hours weekly. Online tuition can also be lowered with Perkins, Stafford, and Grad PLUS loans.

Online Degrees Available

Joining Pennsylvania State University’s alumni network of over 658,000 can happen online through the accredited World Campus. There are currently 125 online programs conducted via Blackboard Collaborate and Skype for flexible, academically equal education. Online courses have a student engagement rank of 87 and average 16:1 student-faculty ratio for professor accessibility. After all, Penn State has won the Sloan Consortium’s Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education Award. Two sample online PSU degrees are:

Bachelor of Science in Turfgrass Science

Tracing back to 1929, the Bachelor of Science in Turfgrass Science is a legendary, four-year program now delivered online by Penn State World Campus to train undergrads for athletic careers involved with maintaining healthy, fertile turf. The 120-credit curriculum integrates courses in plant biology, soil science, organic chemistry, pesticides, and professional agriculture with a supervised, off-campus internship. Online students network with professors like Dr. A.J. Turgeon while satisfying the GCSAA Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS) credential.

Master of Business Administration

Within the AACSB-accredited Smeal College of Business, the 48-credit Master of Business Administration is delivered primarily online to PSU graduates who wish to learn modern management models for effective leadership in the global climate. Students select from nine-credit concentrations, such as Business Analytics, Corporate Innovation, Finance, Human Resource Management, and Supply Chain Management. MBA cohorts travel to University Park for one five-day residency in August, January, or May at no extra cost.

Other online degrees at Pennsylvania State University include the B.S. in Biobehavioral Health, B.A. in International Politics, B.S. in Marketing, B.S. in Software Engineering, M.Ed. in Earth Sciences, M.P.S. in Homeland Security, M.P.S. in Psychology of Leadership, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).