Free Tuition for Summer Classes? At Manor, a Group of Donors Makes it Happen

The program will allow returning students to take summer classes at Manor with no tuition cost. 

In a first-of-its-kind move for the institution, Manor College announced a new summer program that offers eligible students to take courses with no tuition cost associated.

“This program is a positive experience with great upside for students looking to catch up or get ahead in their college education,” Dr. Joseph Gillespie, Manor College Provost, said.

The Manor College Summer Scholars program is designed to provide a pathway for eligible returning students to take select summer courses at Manor with no tuition cost. This enables them to continue their academic studies at Manor in future semesters.

The first years of the program will be funded starting with support from Manor College Board of Trustees James Nevels and his wife, Lourene; Independence Blue Cross (IBX), as well as a personal gift from IBX President and CEO Gregory E. Deavens and his wife, Beverly Deavens. Future years will be funded by Board of Trustees members Leslie Turner and Dr. Robert Orsher.

“Beverly and I are very pleased to support the educational journey of Manor College students through the Summer Scholars Program,” said Deavens, who was the Manor College 2024 Commencement Orator and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the ceremony. “My parents were first-generation college graduates, and Beverly is a lifelong learner who completed her college degree as an adult, so we understand the special challenges that many Manor students face, as well as the rich rewards of completing the journey.”

Beverly and Greg Deavens.

Nevels added, “Lourene and I have been long-time supporters of Manor College. We have seen how Manor changes lives, and this Summer program takes their efforts to new heights. We look forward to great accomplishments from our students.”

“We’re incredibly blessed by the support Gregory Deavens, James Nevels, Leslie Turner and Dr. Robert Orsher and their families have given to our students,” Manor College President Dr. Jonathan Peri said. “Providing students with classes for no tuition cost aligns with Manor’s commitment to helping students who need it the most.”

This blessing goes further for Manor College students than at other institutions. Manor is among the most racially and ethnically diverse higher education institutions in Pennsylvania. More than 80 percent of students at Manor are eligible for federal Pell grants, which are awarded to undergraduate students who display “exceptional financial need.”

“As a first-time mom, all my money goes into raising my son,” said Shaun Buggy, a Pre-Nursing major at Manor. “Diapers alone are a major expense. Having this program for the summer has helped out tremendously. I plan to use this opportunity to get ahead of my studies, get my degree sooner and keep my overall tuition costs down. It’s a triple blessing!”

Natasha Moore, a senior studying Business Administration, added, “I always wanted to take a summer class, but chose not to because I could not pay out of pocket. In the upcoming fall, I would have had to take six classes to graduate. I was very happy to find out that one of the classes I needed to take was free so I would not have to take as many classes in the fall.”

Lourene and James Nevels.

The Summer Scholars program is among several recent efforts by Manor to help students succeed in the classroom and financially prepare them for life outside of it.

In January 2023, the institution received a transformative $1.27 million grant to help refugee, immigrant and first-generation students. The grant was secured by Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (PA-04). It supports students with costs associated with advising, tuition, housing and other essential needs.

The following October, Manor College was awarded $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education Strengthening Institutions grant under Title III. The funding has gone towards the creation of a Career Center, expansion of a summer bridge program for first-year students, professional development and implementation of early academic alert software.

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