Scholarships help a military service member

When Tanya Near, an information technology manager in the Navy, decided to go back to school as a military student, a university’s academic reputation was her top priority.

Near could have chosen a university whose tuition rates were set to zero out the costs after the military’s Tuition Assistance Program benefits were applied. However, she saw value in getting a Penn State degree even if it meant paying out of pocket, as Penn State World Campus has long been recognized as one of the top providers of online bachelor’s degree programs by U.S. News & World Report.

“When I was looking at getting my degree, the reputation of the university played a huge part in the decision,” said Near, who was working in the Pentagon when she enrolled in 2018. “Because Penn State World Campus was so highly regarded, it was worth paying the difference.”

As Near was transitioning out of the military, she received a corporate job offer before graduating, which she attributed to her decision to choose Penn State.

Near had a fellowship in IT with a national media technology company, which fulfilled the Penn State internship experience requirement. At the end of the internship, the company offered her a full-time position in IT.

It also gave her the chance to use the company’s tuition reimbursement program toward her degree and retire from military service without the military education benefits for active-duty personnel. She graduated in 2020 with a bachelor of science in security and risk analysis and a minor in information sciences and technology.

Near was the recipient of three college scholarships available through Penn State World Campus: two specifically for undergraduate military students and another for adult learners.

In all, Penn State World Campus offers more than 40 scholarships that are awarded to hundreds of students. Eleven scholarships are specifically for military students.

Near said the scholarships helped offset costs even more after the federal student aid she received through the Department of Defense and Penn State World Campus Military Grant-in-Aid. She used some of the funding to help pay for course materials, such as textbooks.

“Even if it’s $100 or $200, it does help offset the costs where you are not worried about having to take out a loan for school,” she said.

Those who are interested in supporting scholarships to benefit veterans and active military students can visit the Give to Penn State World Campus webpage for more information.