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World Campus Kicks Off Campaign To Triple Online Enrollment

Penn State World Campus will invest $20 million over the next five years in an effort to boost online enrollment to 45,000 — about triple the current head count.

World Campus, the online education wing of Pennsylvania State University, currently enrolls about 12,000 students, which has slowly been built up from an initial enrollment of 41 students in 1998, according to information released by Penn State. The university primarily serves part-time adult students and currently reaches learners in every state in the Unites States plus the District of Columbia, three U.S. territories, and 72 other countries. World Campus offers:

  • 5 associate degrees;
  • 19 bachelor degrees (including bachelor of science and bachelor of arts);
  • 13 undergraduate certificates;
  • 5 undergraduate minors;
  • 29 master degrees (including master of professional studies, master of business administration, master of education, master of engineering, and others); and
  • 22 graduate-level certificates.

With the $20 million investment, World Campus will be able to "fund new technologies, provide additional faculty capacity, enhance student services, support research and development initiatives, and improve infrastructure and marketing efforts," according to the university.

Funding for the effort will come from Penn State World Campus revenues, currently projected at $90 million in fiscal 2013.

"Since the mid-1990s, Penn State has led the development of a sustainable model for delivering online education, emphasizing high-quality programming and superior student services," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson in a statement released earlier this week. "Today's rapid advances in technology, coupled with cultural shifts, are changing the way students engage. With this new goal, Penn State is reaffirming its commitment to meet the needs of current and future students through online and hybrid programs, in addition to resident education programs."

"What sets Penn State's online education model apart is that it is embedded within the University, is an integral part of the academy, with strong relationships with University colleges and campuses, and involves the same faculty who teach on campus," said Wayne Smutz, executive director of the World Campus and associate vice president for Academic Outreach, also in a prepared statement. "The result for all students is a Penn State degree, regardless of how it is earned."

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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