Penn State World Campus shows robust growth as it turns 15

January 28, 2013

In January 1998, Penn State became one of the first universities to offer online education, launching its World Campus with just 41 students in five academic programs.

As it celebrates its 15th anniversary, the World Campus boasts nearly 12,000 students, studying more than 90 undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs.

“For 15 years, we’ve led the way in the online delivery of high-quality degrees from a high-quality institution,” said Wayne Smutz, executive director of Penn State World Campus and associate vice president for Academic Outreach. “This is accomplished by working in partnership with Penn State’s academic colleges and faculty to offer programs to adult learners who may be balancing career, family and education.”

Today, World Campus students come from every state in the nation and the District of Columbia, as well as three territories and 54 countries.

The popularity of the World Campus has led to five straight years of double-digit enrollment growth. Enrollment of veterans and active duty military personnel has also risen significantly in recent years, reaching 15 percent in 2011-12.

A major factor contributing to the growing enrollment is a vigorous commitment to academic quality and student support services. These efforts have been widely recognized, including Top 25 rankings of several online degree programs by U.S. News & World Report and the Award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education by the Sloan Consortium.

To learn more about the World Campus, visit

Penn State World Campus focuses on adult learners studying at a distance, delivering more than 90 of Penn State’s most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, which serves more than 5 million people each year, in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated February 08, 2013