World Campus military and veteran student enrollment continues to rise

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The flexibility of online education is ideal for many adults who want to learn when and where it is convenient for them. It is especially beneficial to active-duty military service members deployed in a war zone or where Internet access is limited. Since Penn State’s World Campus launched 15 years ago, enrollment by active-duty military service members and veterans has grown steadily.

In 2012–13, there were 2,334 military and veteran students enrolled in online programs, or 16 percent of all World Campus enrollments. Over the last four years, military and veteran student headcount has increased 120 percent, from 1,060 in 2009–10 to today’s record number.

“I wouldn’t be able to be a traditional student,” said Army Staff Sgt. John Daughenbaugh, a bachelor of science in business major. “A lot of my courses are offered during the daytime. Online courses are convenient,” added Daughenbaugh, an Army recruiter stationed in State College. He grew up in Howard, Pa., and has been a soldier for nine years, including a tour in Iraq. Daughenbaugh would like to become an officer. Earning a bachelor’s degree will help.

Online education also works for Marine Corps Sgt. Tom Brown. “As an infantryman, there is no typical work day offering a systematic schedule. Sometimes we spend several days in the field, which limits a student’s ability to participate in daily course exchanges,” said Brown, who has completed five deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He graduated earlier this month with a master’s degree in homeland security, geospatial intelligence option. After 13 years in the Marines, Brown recently became a civilian intelligence analyst in Afghanistan.

Ensuring the success of military and veteran students is the mission of Penn State’s World Campus Advising and Learner Success team and the Military Admissions and Advising Team, which includes admissions counselors and academic advisers with military experience.

Ensuring the success of military and veteran students is the mission of the World Campus Advising and Learner Success team, which gives students access to World Campus student clubs, podcasts, webinars, town halls and more; and the Military Admissions and Advising Team, which includes admissions counselors and academic advisers with military experience.

For Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Juliana Mercer, having access to World Campus support services helped her consolidate credits earned from multiple universities. “I thought about my education and realized I wanted a degree from a prestigious university,” said Mercer, who is pursuing an online bachelor of science in organizational leadership. She served in Civil Affairs in Iraq and Afghanistan. At a Naval hospital, Mercer worked with Wounded Warriors Battalion and is continuing her assistance as a chairman with the San Diego Warrior Foundation Freedom Station.

The World Campus’ welcoming environment and initiatives for service members and veterans have resulted in Penn State being recognized as a military friendly school by G.I. Jobs, Military Advanced Education and Military Times.

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Last Updated May 09, 2013