World Campus celebrates military online learning

Tim Kluska Credit: Courtesy photo. All Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Tim Kluska has had a successful career since graduating with a degree in finance from Penn State World Campus in 2018. After working at investment firm Vanguard for five years, he left his position to pursue a master of business administration at the Harvard Business School. He also received Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, which requires 300 hours of study each for three exams. He credits his Penn State education for helping him to prepare for these industry exams and his success.

“I felt I was at a strong level of preparedness thanks to how well the Penn State World Campus finance program prepared me, from both an academic perspective and the awareness of the impact the CFA charter would have on my career,” said Kluska, who completed most of his bachelor of science in finance, which is offered online in partnership with Penn State Behrend, while serving on active duty in the Marine Corps as a utilities engineer.

Kluska is one of the many military and veteran learners who earned a degree online through Penn State World Campus that is helping them achieve their professional and personal goals.

25 years of offering degrees online

This year, Penn State World Campus is celebrating 25 years since it began offering online education. The portfolio has grown to a comprehensive selection of more than 175 degree and certificate programs. Degrees are offered in a variety of disciplines from business, science, engineering, education, health, homeland security and more.

For active-duty service members, veterans and their dependents, Penn State World Campus offers a variety of support services and financial aid to help students achieve success.

The Penn State World Campus Military Grant-in-Aid program is one of the ways that the institution helps create a high-quality, affordable education for military students. It reduces the cost of tuition for service members in undergraduate degree programs.

Military students studying online also have access to a dedicated team of military admissions counselors and academic advisers, many of whom were service members or military spouses. A team of School Certifying Officials are available to assist students with using their GI Bill® and other financial aid benefits.

Continued partnerships to benefit military learners

Penn State World Campus partners with other Penn State colleges and campuses to bring educational opportunities to students across the world. Penn State World Campus also partners with the U.S. Army and Marine Corps to offer fellowships to provide more access for service members to earn a degree while on active duty.

U.S. Army Sgt. Major Jose Barron and daughter, Melissa. Melissa is a first-year student at Penn State University Park. Credit: Courtesy photo. All Rights Reserved.

U.S. Army Sgt. Major Jose Barron took advantage of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship to further his education while continuing to serve his country. He is one of more than 125 soldiers who have earned master’s degrees through the partnership since 2015. Each class of fellows completes the degree in one year while stationed at the Non-Commissioned Officer Leadership Center of Excellence at Fort Bliss, Texas.

“The master’s program offers me the ability to be set in a better position for greater opportunities within the military and civilian life,” he said.

Barron earned a master of education in lifelong learning and adult education. He hopes to use his degree to teach others at the higher education level and help his community.

Education that moves with you

Receiving change-of-station orders and moving is a consistent part of life for many military families. With the flexibility of learning online through Penn State World Campus, students like Taylor Croy can continue their education wherever their family may be.

Taylor Croy Credit: Courtesy photo. All Rights Reserved.

Croy is a military spouse whose family is no stranger to relocating.

“Penn State World Campus provided me with an opportunity to earn a quality education that moved where I moved, understood my scheduling and time needs, and is affordable enough to be attainable,” she said.

Not only was Croy able to work toward a bachelor of arts in labor and human resources, but she also was able to participate in research with Penn State faculty members. The research team, including Croy, published an academic paper — an opportunity she did not think she would have.

Recognized for programs and resources for veterans

Penn State World Campus is consistently recognized for its opportunities and support for online military-affiliated learners. Earlier this month, Penn State World Campus earned the No. 4 spot in the Primarily Online Education Category on the Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges 2023 list.

Penn State World Campus also ranked as the No. 3 overall institution for military and veteran learners in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. The Pennsylvania National Guard Association also has designated Penn State World Campus as a Guard-Friendly School that creates a supportive learning environment for guard members who are pursuing postsecondary education.

Penn State World Campus also is partnering with the United Service Organizations (USO) to help service members who are transitioning to civilian life and may be interested in furthering their education.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Penn State World Campus on its Best Online Programs for Veterans list. These rankings are based on academic quality and the institution’s ability to make college more affordable and accessible through the GI Bill, scholarships, and financial aid programs designed for military students.

Each semester, Penn State honors graduating military-affiliated students with red, white, and blue honor cords. Credit: Penn State Creative Commons.

Honoring service members

Penn State recognizes learners who are serving or have served in the armed forces with red, white and blue honor cords to wear during their commencement ceremonies. Each semester, Penn State World Campus military graduates are invited to a special event at University Park where they can receive their honor cords from University leaders like President Neeli Bendapudi.

Service members also are honored each November through the University’s Military Appreciation Week, which has grown to be the largest event of its kind among the universities in the Big Ten Conference.

Creating opportunities for military learners

For students like Tim Kluska, the opportunity to earn a degree while serving in the military allows them to get ahead.

“Without the opportunity provided to me by Penn State World Campus, I would not be here,” Kluska said.

Visit the Penn State World Campus website to learn more about what military students can expect online.