New scholarship program aims to develop successful habits in students

A new initiative from Penn State World Campus is providing scholarship funding to a select number of students for developing habits that can help them be successful online learners.

The Penn State World Campus progressive scholarship program is providing an increasing amount of scholarship funding each year, up to $7,750 over four years, to 90 undergraduate students who are selected for this pilot initiative. The students must complete tasks each semester, such as meeting with their academic adviser, to be eligible to receive the scholarship funding.

World Campus will monitor the students each semester to determine the impact of the financial incentive on their progress from one semester to the next.

“We want to give students the knowledge and the tools they need to be successful online learners, and we are always exploring new methods and programs to help us accomplish this goal,” said Clayton Steen, associate vice president of Penn State Online Education Enrollment Strategy. “We are very excited to pilot this program that we expect to instill in students the best practices they can do to help them stay focused and stay on track in pursuit of their degrees.”

Requirements of the program

The first group of 30 Penn State World Campus students began their studies in the spring semester, and 30 students received the scholarship funding when they began this fall. The final group of 30 students in this pilot program will be selected to participate in the spring 2024 semester. There is no application for this program, as the students who are selected to participate are determined by World Campus.

To be eligible to receive the aid from the progressive scholarship program, each semester the students must meet with their adviser, register for courses on time, take at least six credits per semester, enroll in both the fall and spring semesters, and maintain at least a 2.3 grade-point average.

In the first year they meet the requirements, students will receive $1,500. In subsequent years, the amount will increase to $1,750, to $2,000, and to $2,500 in the final year.

The best practices were determined after research by World Campus staff on the habits of successful learners. Organizational Effectiveness staff conducted a benchmark study to review scholarship and graduation guarantee programs offered by other universities, through which they identified frequently cited habits of successful students. The staff have since analyzed data from Penn State World Campus students to verify that these habits are related to success in the World Campus undergraduate student population.

The impact of scholarship funding

Linda Teti is one of the students who was selected to receive the progressive scholarship award for the fall semester. Teti received an associate degree from Nassau Community College in New York and has enrolled in Penn State World Campus to finish her bachelor’s degree, in law and society.

She is the first in her family to go to college and wants to be a real estate lawyer.

“My parents were really excited when I told them that I was going to Penn State online,” Teti said. “They were so proud of me.”

She said the scholarship funding helped alleviate the stress of paying for college and is motivating her to continue.

“Having the scholarship really helped me financially,” she said. “It took a huge weight off my shoulders.”

Scholarships for online learners

The progressive scholarship program is the latest financial aid initiative World Campus has launched to help students be successful online learners.

A scholarship program aimed at first-generation college students, Smart Track to Success, was established in 2017, and it disburses hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship funding to students in financial need each semester. Almost 700 students in this program have graduated.

Each semester, Penn State World Campus distributes scholarship funding to hundreds of undergraduate students who demonstrate a financial need.

Learn more about giving to Penn State World Campus student scholarships.

Media Contact:
Mike Dawson