Total undergraduate applications for summer/fall 2020 are 100,519; first-year baccalaureate applications are down 0.3% from last year. International applications are down 11% and paid accepts are down 2.5%. Out-of-State applications are up 5% and paid accepts are up 0.3%. PA applications are down 4% and paid accepts are also down 10.7%.
This year, prospective students can extend the deadline for submitting their deposit from May 1 to June 1, and 5,800 students have requested an extension. Currently, paid accepts are 15,337, down 6.8%, but given the deadline extensions, year-to-year comparisons are problematic.
Reports released by Moody’s Investors Services and S&P Global Ratings gave Penn State’s credit rating a stable outlook, even as the University navigates challenges presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Moody’s assigned the University an Aa1 stable rating, while S&P assigned Penn State an AA long-term rating with a stable outlook. In its analysis of Penn State, Moody’s said its Aa1 stable rating reflects the University’s position as a nationally recognized public institution with a vast research portfolio.
As Penn State continues to address the challenges and plan for future phases that the coronavirus pandemic presents, three task groups have been formed and are focusing on critical areas impacting students, faculty and staff. The groups are working together to establish the necessary infrastructure and processes, consistent with public health and scientific guidelines, to uphold health and form a plan for students, faculty and staff to return to campus.
Career Services is available for both students and alumni with virtual career counseling, resources and career events, such as online career fairs. An evolving list of virtual resources, events and information can be found on the Career Services website. Penn State’s Alumni Career Services also has a dedicated team offering career counseling, coaching, webinars, events and other resources to all Penn State alumni. Students can connect with their college or campus career offices for resources and support as well.
Penn State is slated to receive just shy of $55 million from the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund as part of $14 billion in support for postsecondary institutions and their students under the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as announced by the U.S. Department of Education. Of that nearly $55 million, half of the money — or approximately $27.5 million — will be earmarked for emergency financial aid grants for Penn State students.
Research and Awards
Two faculty members have been named Evan Pugh University Professors: Susan Trolier-McKinstry and Penny Kris-Etherton. This is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the University on its faculty. Trolier-McKinstry is the Steward S. Flaschen Professor of Ceramic Science and Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Director of the Nanofabrication facility at Penn State. Her research in the area of thin films has impacted technology including miniaturized sensors, micromachined analytical instrumentation, and high frequency biomedical ultrasound. Penny Kris-Etherton is a distinguished professor of nutrition, and she oversees the Penn State Cardiometabolic Research Lab. She is a world-recognized expert on the effects of diet on established and emerging risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
The 2020-21 Penn State Laureate is David S. Witwer, professor of American Studies at Penn State Harrisburg. Witwer’s scholarship focuses on the impact of union corruption scandals on modern American politics, and brings together the intersecting historical fields of labor, politics, journalism, and organized crime.
Led by Professor of Chemistry Paul Cremer, a team has received a grant from the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences Coronavirus Research Seed Fund to develop an inexpensive sensor that can continuously monitor for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Quantum machine learning, an emerging field that combines machine learning and quantum physics, is the focus of research to discover possible treatments for COVID-19, according to Penn State researchers led by Swaroop Ghosh, the Joseph R. and Janice M. Monkowski Career Development Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering. The researchers believe that this method could be faster and more economical than the current methods used for drug discovery.
A $450,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut Research will aid researchers in the College of Agricultural Sciences as they explore the potential to empower women farmers in northern Ghana through peanut production.
Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, recognizing distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States.
Debora Verniz, a doctoral candidate in architecture, has been awarded the 2020 Alumni Association Dissertation Award from the Graduate School for her research work in planning affordable housing structures in low-income areas.
This spring, the Penn State All-Sports Museum has been offering virtual programming that includes discussions with former varsity athletes, virtual scavenger hunts, and book readings.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Board hosted the annual "The Nittanys" for the 33rd consecutive year on a virtual platform to recognize teams and individuals for their academic, athletic and community achievements. Notably, the women’s soccer team won the award for having the highest GPA.