Penn State Sets Sail on New U.S. Coast Guard Education Initiative

By Deborah Benedetti and Dave Aneckstein, Penn State University

UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State will join the U.S. Coast Guard’s new Maritime Law Enforcement College Partnership Program to help educate and train maritime law enforcement personnel. Penn State, one of only 10 colleges and universities invited to participate in this program, will offer the Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society degree online through World Campus. The program begins in April.

“Penn State has a long tradition of extending education programs to members of the Armed Forces,” said Wayne D. Smutz, executive director of Penn State World Campus and associate vice president for Academic Outreach. “With this new partnership, Penn State has the opportunity to provide a quality degree program that will enable maritime enforcement specialists to maximize their education and training in a convenient online learning environment.”

The program is aimed at helping Coast Guard law enforcement professionals take advantage of receiving college credit for their Coast Guard training, which is approved by the American Council on Education. They also will have greater access to college programs focused on maritime law enforcement.

“The additional education from partner universities will enable the Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Program to move in the direction of greater professionalism,” said James F. Lis, head of education and training programs for the U.S. Coast Guard. “This is accomplished by adding to the technical training members receive from the Coast Guard focused and comprehensive courses in the areas of constitutional law, report writing and communication skills, to name a few. It is our hope that the schools will be able to align Coast Guard training with the necessary and required academic courses to graduate students who have tailored degrees with areas of concentration that directly apply to the job. This joint effort will enable a more highly educated, more professional Coast Guard law enforcement officer. That is the ultimate goal of this partnership.”

The Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society is offered by the College of the Liberal Arts and is delivered completely online. In addition, Penn State’s military grant-in-aid, available to all members of the Armed Forces, reduces tuition by 33 percent for all undergraduate programs, including the Law and Society program.

The Maritime Law Enforcement College Partnership Program is being developed by the Coast Guard Force Readiness Command, the Performance and Doctrine Division, the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy and the Coast Guard Institute with 10 academic partners: American Military University, Bellevue University, Northcentral University, Penn State, Roger Williams University, Saint Leo University, Thomas Edison State College, University of Maryland University College, Oklahoma University and Vincennes University.

Penn State’s initiatives to provide education to military students from all branches of service have been recognized with the 2009 Ray Ehrensberger Award for Institutional Excellence in Military Education. In addition, Military Advanced Education is including World Campus in its annual “Guide to America’s Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities,” and GI Jobs Magazine has designated World Campus a military friendly institution. Penn State also is participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program.

For information about the Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society degree, visit or call 800-252-3592.

Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering more than 60 of Penn State’s most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. Founded in 1998, Penn State World Campus is the University’s 25th campus serving more than 9,600 students in all 50 states and 62 countries. For more information, visit online. Penn State World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.

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