Class of 2017, Are You Ready?

Well, we are ready for you! Tomorrow, September 1, the application for fall 2013 (and summer 2013) is available. This date marks the first milestone of many on your way to becoming a Penn State student next year.

While we know that some of you have been anxiously counting down the days until you could apply, others might have some questions about the current status of Penn State. A great deal has happened throughout the last year, some of which might be causing you to feel unsure about applying. This last post in our Q&A series will hopefully address some of your concerns and help you feel encouraged about applying to such a GREAT institution.

So much has happened to Penn State over the last year, most recently the significant NCAA sanctions and the accreditation warning from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. How will these things impact me? What effect will this have on the value of my Penn State degree?

First, we want you to know that these are very important questions, and we understand why some students feel anxious about these recent occurrences.

While the NCAA sanctions may not have a direct impact on many students at Penn State, there has been concern regarding the sources of the funds for payment of the $60 million penalty. President Erickson has assured both current and future students that this fine will be supported through football reserves, the deferring of capital and maintenance expenditures, and an internal Athletic Department loan. The money will have no impact on the academic experience at Penn State or the tuition costs of its students. Penn State has a handy fact sheet about the NCAA sanctions that explains everything quite succinctly – and much better than I could!

The accreditation warning from the Middles States Commission on Higher Education stems from the results of the Freeh Report and the consent decree with the NCAA. While Penn State has been asked to submit a monitoring report to the Middle States Commission, it is important to remember that Penn State’s accreditation remains intact. Ultimately, this warning is not related to the academic quality or academic offerings of Penn State – our programs are still recognized as being of the highest quality.

Penn State has so many top-notch programs, I cannot even begin to list all of the accolades … and neither of the above events will change the academic experience a student will have here. Still, you might be thinking that I have a slightly biased opinion on everything since I work at the University.

Whether I am biased or not, I do think it is great school – but I am not the only one! Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education (the major organization representing degree-granting institutions), had this to share about Penn State: “It’s a great university. Its academic quality is superb. . . . If I were a mother of a youngster who had been accepted to Penn State, there is nothing in this set of events that would cause me to have second thoughts about the choice of school.”

Thanks Molly! While only a brief post, I hope this information helps those apprehensive students understand these two specific issues a little better, while also providing some useful resources for further research on these topics and the wonderful investment that is a Penn State education.

I will close my application Q&A series on this happy note:
With this week seeing the start of the new first year students at 20 campuses across the state, as well as the application for next year’s class of students becoming available on September 1, I am constantly reminded of the many great things that Penn State is. In addition to the amazing dedication to a world-class education, the energy and sense of community that abounds from Penn Staters, both new and lifelong, is really something to behold. I hope you apply to experience it for yourself!

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