A military installation far from University Park will be the site of a Penn State classroom by fall.
Through an agreement with the Marine Corps, Penn State World Campus will offer courses at the education center at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, according to a press release from the university.
The program has been in the works for two years, when the Marines approached the university about starting a program there, said Ginny Newman, assistant director of defense sector education with World Campus.
Students will begin taking classes in person and, upon completion, can continue to work toward a degree online. Masters programs in homeland security, supply-chain management and human resources and a bachelor’s program in employment and labor relations will be offered, according to the release.
The number of classes offered from each curriculum is still being determined, Newman said. Classes will be taught by a World Campus faculty member from Orange County already teaching online, and a professor each from University Park and Penn State Harrisburg will be flown out. Additional faculty could be added as the program matures, she said.
The San Diego area was chosen because of the numerous military bases there and one of the largest military and veteran populations in the country, Newman said. The area is also home to an active Penn State alumni base and other enrolled World Campus students.
The program on base is also available for civilians in the area, but military personnel have priority for enrollment.
Work on the classroom will begin this spring and classes start in August, in time for the fall 2015 semester. It will cost about $500,000, including $140,000 in renovations for the classroom and offices for faculty, to start the program, Newman said.
Although it’s the first physical Penn State classroom at a military base, more than 1,800 of 10,805 World Campus students taking online classes are military affiliated. A quarter of those are currently serving on active duty or in the reserves or National Guard, and the remainder are veterans, Newman said.
“The university has a long history of educating members of our armed forces and we are committed to providing them with a high quality academic experience and the opportunity to become part of the Penn State community,” President Eric Barron said in a press release.
Penn State joins three other universities offering courses at the depot, Newman said. San Diego City College, Columbia College of Missouri and National University have facilities there, she said.