World Campus provides military students access to a dedicated support team

November 06, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a senior chief in the U.S. Navy and an online learner, Tanya Near knows there are unique challenges a military student can face on his or her path to a degree. But she said Penn State World Campus makes overcoming those obstacles easier.

“There are a lot of different challenges with being a military student, and Penn State’s willing to take the time and effort to help you work through them,” said Near, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in security and risk analysis. “You’re not just paying for a degree. The way World Campus incorporates advising and their other services is a benefit to the military community.”

Penn State World Campus provides military students of all branches access to a dedicated military support team and military-exclusive services, including their own undergraduate academic advising team. Many of the advisers have military connections, including as a veteran or military spouse.

Jorge Trevino served more than two decades in the Navy and said having advisers with military experience helps students make the transition from the military to college.

“We’re the liaison between the military and collegiate cultures,” said Trevino, who advises approximately 300 to 400 students actively attending Penn State World Campus at a given time. “We’re talking their language. Veterans have a special bond with other veterans. If you have one veteran talking to another veteran, they’re going to ask you for your story.” 

For Marine Corps veteran Mark Kennedy, he connected with Trevino when he decided to continue his Penn State education. Kennedy was a student at University Park in the 1980s before enlisting in the Marines.

He decided to re-enroll in Penn State, this time online through World Campus, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business. Kennedy said having an adviser with military experience provided him with a more personal connection.

“He always calls me ‘Top’ since I was a master sergeant,” said Kennedy, referring to the rank’s nickname in the Marine Corps. “He thinks about everyone he’s advising beyond just checking the box on the course requirements. Penn State picked the right people because they understand the military.”

In addition to a dedicated military advising team, Penn State World Campus has military admissions counselors and GI Bill certifying officials; provides financial aid and assistance, including military grant-in-aid that makes it possible for service members and their spouses to save up to 44 percent on undergraduate tuition; and offers disability services for students who may need accommodations.

Maggie Kwok, a Penn State World Campus disability specialist, said her experience in the Navy opens an avenue of connection between herself and students.

“Someone who has that military background will automatically know all the obligations that come with that,” she said. “There’s natural camaraderie in the military, and I can hear them opening up when I disclose my military background.”

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 12, 2021