Penn State Now Military Friendly?

A very special Veterans Day Post:stefanmask

Penn State World Campus was just awarded the 2009 Ray Ehrensberger Award for Institutional Excellence in Military Education from the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE). The award was for Penn State’s appealing degree and Penn State’s commitment to allowing students to continue their education online, even if they are activated.

As a veteran of the United States Air Force and a student here at University Park myself, I can agree that Penn State really assisted me like no other university that I was trying to apply to while serving half a world away (ahem, Auburn, Alabama, Ohio State…). The fine employees in the admissions office were so kind and really empathetic and went out of their way to see that I had the opportunity to go to this amazing school.

The school may be quite deserving of this award for their World Campus and their efforts to enroll veterans, but some indiscretions might seem like Penn State as a whole does not deserve the title “Military Friendly”.

The school was hesitant to sign on for the Yellow Ribbon program, essentially giving in-state status to all veterans so that they could take advantage of the new G.I. Bill (The battle spread to the editorial page of the Daily Collegian where VERY ill-informed Collegian Editors and students voiced their opposition to the Yellow Ribbon program). Without the Yellow Ribbon program, someone like myself who had been serving around the country and 3 years would be told, “Too bad you didn’t serve back home” (luckily I played my tax card right to prove residency).

The other indiscretion was the RIDICULOUS portrayal of a veteran in a educator training video (as seen here). I don’t think I need to elaborate, the video speaks for itself. Penn State eventually pulled the video and offered an apology to the Penn State Student Veterans Organization.

Penn State is also very reluctant to accept military educational credits toward their degrees. I can see how this may be appropriate to some extent, but overall the university is not considered “Enlisted Friendly” by the U.S. Air Force.

I congratulate Penn State on their award and applaud their strides towards providing veterans with a quality education, but the university has a few more steps to go to fully appreciate their 2,600 student veterans.

About the Author

Stefan Choquette

Stefan is currently a Junior Integrative Arts major with a background in Computer Science. Stefan is a veteran of the US Air Force and is currently enrolled in ROTC to return as an officer after graduation. Stefan is a founding brother of Phi Kappa Sigma and a licensed private pilot. Stefan formally served as our Editor of Photography, and now helps with staff photography.

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