201 Old Main Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-4700; Fax: (814) 865-1100

Chief Executive Officer: Dr. Rodney A. Erickson, President
Enrollment (Headcount): 74371 Undergraduate; 13024 Graduate
Control: Public
Affiliation: Government-State
Carnegie Classification: Research - Very High Research Activity
Degrees Offered: Postsecondary Certificate (< 1 year), Postsecondary Certificate (>=1 year, < 2 years), Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate Certificate, Master's, Doctor's - Professional Practice, Doctor's - Research/Scholarship;
Distance Education Programs: Fully Approved
Accreditors Recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education: American Bar Association, Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar; American Physical Therapy Association, Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education; American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation; American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology; Commission on Acceditation of Healthcare Management Education; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education; Commission on English Language Program Accreditation; Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology; Liaison Committee on Medical Education; National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Commission on Accreditation; National Association of Schools of Music, Commission on Accreditation; National Association of Schools of Theatre, Commission on Accreditation; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission
Other Accreditors: Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences; Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND); Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education; Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology; Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications; American Academy of Forensic Science; American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians; American Chemical Society; Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International; Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International (AACSB); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education; Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education; Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs; Council on Rehabilitation Education; Institute of Food Technologists; Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB); National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences; National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB); National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE); National Association of Schools of Public Affairs & Administration (NASPAA); North American Wildlife Technology Association; Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing - Licensing; Pennsylvania Department of Education; Professional Golfer's Association (PGA) of America; Society of American Foresters; Society of Wood Science and Technology
Instructional Locations
Branch Campuses: Dickinson School of Law, Carlisle, PA; Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
Additional Locations: Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies, Malvern, PA; Penn State Abington, Abington, PA; Penn State Altoona, Altoona, PA; Penn State Beaver, Monaca, PA; Penn State Berks, Reading, PA; Penn State Brandywine, Media, PA; Penn State DuBois, DuBois, PA; Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, Erie, PA; Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, Lemont Furnace, PA; Penn State Greater Allegheny, McKeesport, PA; Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, PA; Penn State Hazleton, Hazleton, PA; Penn State Lehigh Valley, Center Valley, PA; Penn State Mont Alto, Mont Alto, PA; Penn State New Kensington, New Kensington, PA; Penn State Schuylkill, Schuylkill Haven, PA; Penn State Shenango, Sharon, PA; Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Lehman, PA; Penn State Worthington Scranton, Dunmore, PA; Penn State York, York, PA
Other Instructional Sites: Abington Hospital, Abington, PA; Aria Health, Philadelphia, PA; ARIS-SON, Abington, PA; Clearfield Area High School, Clearfield, PA; Community Education Council of Elk and Cameron Counties, St. Marys, PA; Downtown Conference Center, Altoona, PA; Erie Regional Skill Center, Erie, PA; Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA; Kraft, Wilkes-Barre, PA; Lancaster Center, Lancaster, PA; Lebanon, Lebanon, PA; Mount Nittany Medical Center/Clinics in Centre County, State College, PA; Northern Tier Center, Towanda, PA; Penn State Continuing Education at Williamsport, Williamsport, PA; Pittsburgh Mills Mall, Tarentum, PA; Proctor & Gamble, Mehoopany, PA; Regional Learning Alliance, Cranberry Twp., PA; Sallie Mae, Hanover Twp., PA; Shaver's Creek, Petersburg, PA; The Penn State Learning Center (Lewistown), Lewistown, PA; Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna, PA; Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, PA
Status: Member since 1921
Last Reaffirmed: November 15, 2012

Most Recent Commission Action:
March 6, 2014: To accept the monitoring report. The next evaluation visit is scheduled for 2014-2015.

Brief History Since Last Comprehensive Evaluation:
November 15, 2012: To accept the monitoring report, to note the visit by the Commission's representatives, to remove the warning, and to reaffirm accreditation. To request a monitoring report, due November 1, 2013, documenting (1) the impact on the University budget and the identification of sources of funding to cover the requirements of (a) the report of the U.S. Department of Education regarding the University's compliance with the Clery Act and associated penalties; (b) updated estimates of the projected costs and liabilities associated with related litigation and the implementation of the Freeh Report recommendations and the NCAA Consent Decree requirements; and (c) the recommendations that are articulated in the report of the external monitor called for by Recommendation 8.3 of the Freeh Report (Standard 3); and (2) developments associated with the revision of the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees to accommodate (a) the expanded involvement of faculty, staff, and students on Board committees and (b) the dual reporting accountability to both the Board and the President of key positions, including that of the General Counsel and the Directors of Internal Audit and Compliance (Standard 4). The next evaluation visit is scheduled for 2014-2015.

Next Self-Study Evaluation: 2014 - 2015

Next Periodic Review Report: 2020

Date Printed: April 18, 2014


Branch Campus - A location of an institution that is geographically apart and independent of the main campus of the institution. The location is independent if the location: offers courses in educational programs leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential; has its own faculty and administrative or supervisory organization; and has its own budgetary and hiring authority.

Additional Location - A location, other than a branch campus, that is geographically apart from the main campus and at which the institution offers at least 50 percent of an educational program. ANYA ("Approved but Not Yet Active") indicates that the location is included within the scope of accreditation but has not yet begun to offer courses. This designation is removed after the Commission receives notification that courses have begun at this location.

Other Instructional Sites - A location, other than a branch campus or additional location, at which the institution offers one or more courses for credit.

Distance Education Programs - Fully Approved, Approved (one program approved) or Not Approved indicates whether or not the institution has been approved to offer diploma/certificate/degree programs via distance education (programs for which students could meet 50% or more of the requirements of the program by taking distance education courses). Per the Commission's Substantive Change policy, Commission approval of the first two Distance Education programs is required to be "Fully Approved." If only one program is approved by the Commission, the specific name of the program will be listed in parentheses after "Approved."


An institution's accreditation continues unless it is explicitly suspended or removed. In addition to reviewing the institution's accreditation status at least every 5 years, actions are taken for substantive changes (such as a new degree or geographic site, or a change of ownership) or when other events occur that require review for continued compliance. Any type of report or visit required by the Commission is reviewed and voted on by the Commission after it is completed.

In increasing order of seriousness, a report by an institution to the Commission may be accepted, acknowledged, or rejected.

Levels of Actions:

Grant or Re-Affirm Accreditation without follow-up

Defer a decision on initial accreditation: The institution shows promise but the evaluation team has identified issues of concern and recommends that the institution be given a specified time period to address those concerns.

Postpone a decision on (reaffirmation of) accreditation: The Commission has determined that there is insufficient information to substantiate institutional compliance with one or more standards.

Continue accreditation: A delay of up to one year may be granted to ensure a current and accurate representation of the institution or in the event of circumstances beyond the institution’s control (natural disaster, U.S. State Department travel warnings, etc.)

Recommendations to be addressed in the next Periodic Review Report: Suggestions for improvement are given, but no follow-up is needed for compliance.

Supplemental Information Report: This is required when a decision is postponed and are intended only to allow the institution to provide further information, not to give the institution time to formulate plans or initiate remedial action.

Progress report: The Commission needs assurance that the institution is carrying out activities that were planned or were being implemented at the time of a report or on-site visit.

Monitoring report: There is a potential for the institution to become non-compliant with MSCHE standards; issues are more complex or more numerous; or issues require a substantive, detailed report. A visit may or may not be required.

Warning: The Commission acts to Warn an institution that its accreditation may be in jeopardy when the institution is not in compliance with one or more Commission standards and a follow-up report, called a monitoring report, is required to demonstrate that the institution has made appropriate improvements to bring itself into compliance. Warning indicates that the Commission believes that, although the institution is out of compliance, the institution has the capacity to make appropriate improvements within a reasonable period of time and the institution has the capacity to sustain itself in the long term.

Probation: The Commission places an institution on Probation when, in the Commission’s judgment, the institution is not in compliance with one or more Commission standards and that the non-compliance is sufficiently serious, extensive, or acute that it raises concern about one or more of the following:

  1. the adequacy of the education provided by the institution;
  2. the institution’s capacity to make appropriate improvements in a timely fashion; or
  3. the institution’s capacity to sustain itself in the long term.

Probation is often, but need not always be, preceded by an action of Warning or Postponement. If the Commission had previously postponed a decision or placed the institution on Warning, the Commission may place the institution on Probation if it determines that the institution has failed to address satisfactorily the Commission’s concerns in the prior action of postponement or warning regarding compliance with Commission standards. This action is accompanied by a request for a monitoring report, and a special visit follows. Probation may, but need not always, precede an action of Show Cause.

Suspend accreditation: Accreditation has been Continued for one year and an appropriate evaluation is not possible. This is a procedural action that would result in Removal of Accreditation if accreditation cannot be reaffirmed within the period of suspension.

Show cause why the institution's accreditation should not be removed: The institution is required to present its case for accreditation by means of a substantive report and/or an on-site evaluation. A "Public Disclosure Statement" is issued by the Commission.

Remove accreditation. If the institution appeals this action, its accreditation remains in effect until the appeal is completed.

Other actions are described in the Commission policy, "Range of Commission Actions on Accreditation."