Mercyhurst University

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For Adult Students...

mercyhurst adult student


Some are preparing for new careers or looking for job advancement. Others are seeking to expand their knowledge in specialized areas or are returning to college to complete their degrees. For those lucky enough to have the time and the resources, the college experience may mean engaging in academic pursuits simply for enrichment and enjoyment. Mercyhurst University is committed to serving the diverse needs of adult students, regardless of their reasons for attending our university, and will be fully engaged in assisting them in reaching their educational and personal goals.

'Adult students' are defined according to guidelines used on the FAFSA to determine financial aid eligibility. In short, if you are 24 years of age or older, married, a veteran of the armed services or responsible for the majority of financial support of a dependent, Mercyhurst will engage you through the Office of Graduate and Continuing Education, sometimes referred to as 'Adult Admissions.'

Mercyhurst strives to provide you, the adult learner, with:

  • The Flexibility You Desire
    • Though daytime availability is necessary for many of our programs, evening, weekend and online courses are available to supplement your schedule and provide more opportunities for work or family commitments
    • Multiple campuses, including those in North East, Corry and at the Booker T. Washington Center in downtown Erie, provide additional opportunities to pick up courses to fulfill degree requirements
    • Summer and ‘mini-term’ coursework may help reduce your time to degree completion
  • The Quality You Expect
    • Nationally ranked - Ranked in the top tier and No. 13 for graduation rate by U.S. News & World Report
    • Academic options - More than 100 programs of study to choose from
  • A Price You Can Afford
    • Pay less - Pay 33% less than traditional students
    • Grants - State and federal aid is available to qualified applicants
    • Adult scholarships - Ask about our scholarship programs for adult students

Admission Requirements for Adult Students

Applicants are considered 'adult students' if they meet the following criteria upon application:

  • Graduated from high school or earned a GED at least five years ago
  • Are veterans of the armed forces, married, or financially responsible for a dependent

Adults wishing to complete undergraduate coursework as an 'adult student' may apply as one of the following:

  • Adult First-Time Student - adults who have never before attended college
  • Adult Transfer Student - adults who have attended college at some point in the past
  • Adult Re-Admit Student - adults who have previously attended Mercyhurst University
  • Adult Transient (Visiting) Student - students who are currently enrolled in another college or university and wish to complete one or more courses at Mercyhurst

Application requirements include:

  • A high school diploma or GED. Applicants must provide an official high school or GED transcript.
  • Applicants who have lower than a 2.5 GPA on their high school or GED transcripts are asked to complete an academic placement exam. This is a computer exam on reading, writing, and math.  
  • Applicants who have attended college at some point in the past must submit all official college transcripts from any post-secondary institution previously attended, regardless of whether any credits were successfully earned or not; an official high school transcript is NOT required if the GPA from the last college attended is above a 2.5.
  • The admissions office reserves the right to request a resume', letters of recommendation, personal essay or on-campus interview to help make admissions decisions. You will be notified by your enrollment counselor if one or more of these additional requirements is needed.

Adult Re-Admit Requirements

Adult students who have previously attended Mercyhurst University must only submit an application. We will obtain your Mercyhurst transcripts from the Registrar's office once your application is submitted. If you have attended another college or university after your time at Mercyhurst University, you would then be considered an Adult Transfer and must follow those admissions requirements.

Adult Transient Requirements

If you are not seeking a degree from Mercyhurst University but would like to take a single course, please fill out our Transient Student Application (filled out in the admissions office, payment due upon registration). We will only require transcripts if the course you are interested in has a perquisite.

Costs & Aid

Adult students for the 2018-2019 academic year are billed at $2,295 per 3 credit course (or $765 per credit). Post-baccalaureate coursework is billed at $1,755 per 3 credit course (or $585 per credit).  Professional development courses are $555. Note that adult students are also responsible for a $80 registration fee and a $160 technology fee for each semester of enrollment. Additional fees may apply depending on lab credits and specprogram fees

Mercyhurst University offers a wide variety of financial aid programs to make your college education affordable. Students seeking financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®); use school code 003297 when submitting your FAFSA®

Grants are financial aid awards that do not need to be repaid. Grants are applied to your bill and reduce your cost of attendance:

  • Pennsylvania PHEAA Grant - Pennsylvania residents enrolled at least half time may be eligible for a state PHEAA grant. Amounts are determined by PHEAA depending on your annual income.
  • Federal Pell Grant - Students who enroll at least half time may be eligible for a federal Pell Grant, which range from $598 to $5,815 per academic year. Students with very low incomes may also be eligible for a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG).
  • Mercyhurst's College Try Fund - Any adult student may enroll in refresher courses in math, writing, and critical reading at a reduced tuition rate (currently $440 per course). No application is required.
  • Catherine McAuley Award - Full-time adult students who demonstrate financial need may be eligible for a Catherine McAuley Award. This award provides up to $3,000 per academic year. All accepted students are considered for this award, provided a FAFSA® was filed.

Students should also consider student loans when financing their education. Mercyhurst is a direct federal lender, which means that students borrow funds directly from the federal government. Interest rates are below private market rates for both Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans. Students might also consider private education loans from banks and credit unions.

Employer Reimbursement

Any student fortunate enough to work for a company that offers a tuition reimbursement program should fill out the Semester Employer Reimbursement Form. This form is available through Mercyhurst's Student Financial Services office. This form will allow you to pay a deposit, credited to your student account, to defer payment until the end of the semester. Currently, the deposit ranges from $125 for students being reimbursed 100% to the remaining balance after benefit for students being reimbursed partially. To qualify for the deferred payment option, students MUST submit both the deposit and form each semester to the Office of Student Financial Services by the appropriate deadline (see form for details). It is the responsibility of the student to submit grades and invoices to their employer in a timely fashion to trigger the reimbursement. Please direct questions and inquiries to the Office of Student Financial Services, (814) 824-2288 or

Credit for Prior Learning

It's not unusual for our adult students to have some prior learning or work experience that could translate into college credits. We're excited to offer two opportunities for getting credit for what you may have already learned up to this point. First, the College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) helps you receive college credit for what you already know, for a fraction of the cost of a college course. There are more than 30 courses offered at Mercyhurst for which a student may take a CLEP exam! Student may earn a maximum of 30 credits utilizing the CLEP exams.

The second opportunity for earning college credit without spending the semester in a class is through prior learning or life experience assessment. Students earn credits through this means by completing an in-depth portfolio of their prior learning or life experiences (both professional and personal), which is then evaluated by a Mercyhurst professor or educational assessment administrator to determine if those experiences are relevant enough to merit college credit. This is a rigorous process, so be prepared to put in a great deal of time and effort into the portfolio. Contact Paul Hirsch,, for more information.

Admissions Contact

Paul Hirsch
Admissions & Enrollment Coordinator for Adult Students
Phone: 814-824-2985