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Penn State Moves Summer Session Courses Online Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Penn State will continue teaching its courses online this summer due to the continuing challenge and uncertainty presented by the coronavirus pandemic, the university announced late Wednesday night.

Although the plan is to continue learning remotely through the summer, university officials are prepared to transition back to in-person classes later on if federal health guidelines would allow them to, possibly in the second segment of summer session instruction.

“As the world around us has shifted significantly during this ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with this decision, we aim to give our students as much consistency as possible for their academic progress, while also being nimble enough to respond to the best case scenario,” Penn State Provost Nick Jones said. “Since the University does not yet know when in-person activities on our campuses can safely resume, we hope that this announcement will set up our students to maintain their planned paths of learning, curricula and critical engagement as they pursue their degrees.”

At this time, summer session will not employ the same modified grading system as spring-semester courses. Students will earn typical letter grades and not have the option to utilize alternative grades.

“As one of the world’s leading higher education institutions for online education, we know that we have the infrastructure in place to continue bringing our same mission to life and meeting our students’ educational needs in their changing locations and environments,” Associate Vice President Yvonne Gaudelius said.

The university also announced it plans to modify summer tuition rates to ease the financial burden on students and their families. Should it be approved by the Board of Trustees in May, Penn State would lower the pre-existing tiered tuition structure for some of its campuses. Penn State’s Abington, Altoona, Behrend, Berks, Harrisburg, and University Park campuses would be lowered to tier three, while all others would move to tier five.

World Campus and graduate students, on the other hand, would be billed at 95% for their summer session courses. As always, tuition will vary based on major and academic year.

“As Pennsylvania’s land-grant institution, we recognize the sustained financial hardship the coronavirus pandemic is putting on Pennsylvania families, and families everywhere,” Penn State President Eric Barron said. “Although this decision will impact the revenue stream for the University, it does not in any way change the focus of our academic mission or the quality of our programs, courses and degrees. Our devoted faculty and staff continue to bring the curricula to life in new and innovative ways and our education outcomes will not change.”

More information on Penn State’s upcoming summer sessions can be found here.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt is a junior majoring in journalism and is Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football aficionado, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza. His favorite shows include Community, Seinfeld, and Arrested Development, and he'll probably talk your ear off about them. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ for bad sports takes or email him at [email protected]

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