Mansfield University’s Early Start Program now tuition free

Qualified high school students at more than 40 partner school districts in Pennsylvania can now earn tuition-free college credits


MANSFIELD, Pa. – Mansfield University announced that its rapidly growing Early Start Program will be tuition free for Pennsylvania residents beginning in Fall 2021, thanks to the generous contributions of two area banks:  First Citizens Community Bank and Citizens and Northern (C&N) Bank.

“We are very fortunate to have such supportive community partners as First Citizens and C&N Bank in our region,” said Dr. John M. Ulrich, Mansfield’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “Our community partners are strongly committed, as is our university, to providing affordable access to higher education for high school students here in the Northern Tier and elsewhere in our Commonwealth.  Together, we can make sure students have an opportunity to get an early start on their college education while still in high school.”

First Citizens committed $50,000 and C&N $20,000 to support the Early Start Program.

Dr. Ulrich also announced that high school seniors who enroll in Mansfield’s Early Start Program during the Fall or Spring semester of their senior year will automatically receive general admission to the university.  Certain academic degree programs may require additional application materials for consideration.

Mansfield’s Early Start Program (ESP) enables qualified high school students to enroll in courses taught by Mansfield University faculty—via face-to-face or online instruction—and earn college credits while still in high school.  The program has grown dramatically since its inception in 2018.  Starting with just five school district partners and 32 enrolled high school students, the university now has agreements with more than 40 school district partners, and during the Spring 2021 semester, the university enrolled more than 200 high school students.  While the university was already providing a tuition discount to its ESP students, the generous support from First Citizens Community Bank and C&N Bank will now subsidize the rest of the fee so there will be no tuition cost to the student.

In addition, the university has recently added another ESP option for students in the form of a concurrent enrollment pilot program, enabling high school students to take Mansfield University courses taught by qualified high school teachers on site in their high school.  The high school teachers must first be approved by the relevant Mansfield University faculty.  Currently, the university has concurrent enrollment agreements in place with a limited set of districts in the Northern Tier, including Athens, Northern Tioga, Southern Tioga, Troy, and Wellsboro. Students enrolled in such concurrent enrollment courses will also have their tuition subsidized, so there will be no tuition cost to the students.

“Our goal is to strengthen the capacity of our communities to support tomorrows leaders through educational opportunities,” noted Randall E. Black, President and CEO. “The EITC program allows us to invest in programs that give back. That’s as good as it gets.”

“At C&N, we play an important role in our local communities. It all starts with our youth – doing our part to provide them with valuable opportunities to learn and grow that will lead to a brighter future for all of us,” said Tom Rudy, Jr., C&N’s Chief Delivery Officer & Region President.

For more information on Mansfield’s Early Start Program, please visit the ESP website at or contact Provost Ulrich directly at

(L-R) Casey Wood, MU Director of Alumni Affairs and Advancement, Steve Guillaume, CFO First Citizens, Randall Black, CEO and President of First Citizens, Dr. Charles Patterson, President of Mansfield University.
(L-R) Casey Wood, Director of Alumni Affairs and Advancement, Dr. Charles Patterson, President of Mansfield University,  Tom Rudy Jr, C&N Chief Delivery Officer & Region President, Charity Frantz, C&N Senior Vice President and Director of Marketing