Penn State to continue remote learning, online courses into summer

April 15, 2020

Given the continuing challenge and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic and to protect the health of students, faculty and staff, Penn State has made the decision to extend virtual delivery of courses into the summer. Further, the University will adjust tuition for the summer sessions in light of the ongoing pandemic and the persistent fiscal strain it is causing across Pennsylvania and the country.

“As Pennsylvania’s land-grant institution, we recognize the sustained financial hardship the coronavirus pandemic is putting on Pennsylvania families, and families everywhere,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “Although this decision will impact the revenue stream for the University, it does not in any way change the focus of our academic mission or the quality of our programs, courses and degrees. Our devoted faculty and staff continue to bring the curricula to life in new and innovative ways and our education outcomes will not change.”

Subject to Board of Trustees approval at the standing May meeting, undergraduate tuition will be adjusted according to a pre-existing tiered tuition structure already in place. For the 2020 summer sessions, campus tuition has been adjusted per the chart in the image below. The chart also is available in alternative format, here.

Specifically by residential campus

  • Abington, Altoona, Behrend, Berks, Harrisburg and University Park will be a tier 3. 
  • All other campuses will be a tier 5. 
A chart showing rates for summer 2020. This chart is available in alternative format at

For the 2020 summer sessions, campus tuition has been adjusted per the chart pictured here. The chart also is available in alternative format, here.

IMAGE: Penn State

However, tuition will vary based on major and academic year, as it does in a typical year. 

Due to the sustained financial hardship, graduate and World Campus students will also see a change in their tuition; they will be billed at 95% of the normal tuition for their program. More detailed information on Graduate School tuition will be available on the Graduate School website.

Possible late summer transition to campus learning

At this point, the University is planning to deliver all courses and programming virtually for the Maymester, Summer Session I and Summer Session II, through a mix of asynchronous online and synchronous remote course offerings. Grading methodology will revert to its typical form, with students receiving a letter grade for most courses. In addition, while the plan calls for online instruction for Summer Session II, the University is preparing in case health dynamics shift and students could safely return to campuses for in-person instruction. Any such decisions and related processes for welcoming students back will be made based on guidance from government and health authorities and include careful planning focused first and foremost on the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff. More information will be shared as the situation continues to evolve.

“As the world around us has shifted significantly during this ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with this decision, we aim to give our students as much consistency as possible for their academic progress, while also being nimble enough to respond to the best case scenario,” said Nick Jones, Penn State executive vice president and provost. “Since the University does not yet know when in-person activities on our campuses can safely resume, we hope that this announcement will set up our students to maintain their planned paths of learning, curricula and critical engagement as they pursue their degrees.”

Penn State’s goals for the 2020 summer sessions are to protect the health, well-being and safety of all students, faculty and staff while delivering robust educational offerings and co-curricular support and engagement opportunities. 

“Penn State has vast expertise related to teaching, learning and support for online instruction already built into our World Campus programs and residential online courses, and we are sharing that expertise with our other campuses across the commonwealth,” said Yvonne Gaudelius, associate vice president and senior associate dean of Undergraduate Education. “As one of the world’s leading higher education institutions for online education, we know that we have the infrastructure in place to continue bringing our same mission to life and meeting our students’ educational needs in their changing locations and environments.”

For more detailed information on how these changes will affect first-year and returning undergraduate and graduate students, please visit

More information on summer camps and other summer programming and activities will be available soon, as the University action groups charged with addressing the coronavirus pandemic finalize their decisions. Further, the University is planning and operating with the goal of having on-campus courses in the fall semester, if circumstances allow, but no decision has been made at this time.

Last Updated May 01, 2020