Our History & Mission

A history of helping young people and adults earn their accredited high school diploma online

Penn Foster Anniversary Seal

How did Penn Foster begin?
In 1890, a newspaper editor named Thomas J. Foster founded the school to provide coal miners with the education they needed to advance in their careers and increase worker safety. At the turn of the century, the school was officially known as the International Correspondence Schools (ICS), and one out of every 27 adults in the US had taken an ICS course. Penn Foster has been around for over 125 years, and continues to evolve to meet the needs of learners today and tomorrow.

In 1956, Penn Foster High School was founded to provide young people and adults an affordable alternative to traditional high school and equivalency exams. SInce then, Penn Foster has transformed into one of America’s largest privately licensed high schools, with over 60,000 students, and over 25,000 graduates each year.

What is different about Penn Foster High School?
Penn Foster High School is proven, respected, and we graduate more high school students each year than any other school. At Penn Foster High School, you’ll benefit from our success coaching model, custom-designed, mobile learning platform developed with the online learner in mind, affordable tuition, and 0% interest on payment plans.

Mission Statement
Penn Foster's mission is to enhance the lives of our students and clients through the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and credentials that can help them work toward their goals of advancing in their chosen field, starting a new career, or pursuing lifelong learning.

Penn Foster Institutional Goals

  • Provide educational programs that enable self-motivated, independent learners to acquire core competencies in their chosen technical and professional fields
  • Employ contemporary learning strategies based on academic standards of good practice in distance education
  • Develop and maintain systems that optimize student opportunities for broadly participative, interactive learning
  • Establish and communicate high standards of academic performance for students and the institution
  • Assess student learning and institutional effectiveness systematically in order to improve student performance
  • Provide an extensive suite of student support services based on student needs and interests
  • Conduct fiscally responsible planning that balances the institution's commitment to academic excellence with its concern for profitable financial performance

The mission is supported by an admissions policy that allows students with appropriate prior education to enroll in programs without regard to race, religion, gender, age, color, national origin, or physical disability.

The school regularly assesses fulfillment of its mission and achievement of its institutional goals through ongoing studies of student learning, measurement of student satisfaction, and evaluation of career outcomes of graduates.

Serving students with disabilities
At Penn Foster, we are dedicated to working towards meeting the needs of our students. We have engaged in an ongoing process to extend the accessibility and usability of our portals and program content for students with disabilities including those of vision, hearing and manual dexterity.

In keeping with our core company values of integrity, inclusiveness and compliance, we are committed to providing an accessible, high quality online experience for all students. Learn more about our commitment to serving students with visual, auditory or manual dexterity disabilities.

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offer ends 6/15/17