Mansfield Early Start Program remains tuition-free for PA students through First Citizens and C&N support

Two photos of groups of four people standing in front of the Mansfield M logo sign
Top Photo, Left to right— MU Executive Director of Advancement Casey Wood, FCCB CEO & President Randall Black, FCCB CFO Steve Guillaume, MU Provost Dr. John Ulrich

Bottom Photo Left to Right– Left to right—C&N Senior Vice President and Director of Marketing Charity Frantz, C&N Chief Delivery Officer & Region President Tom Rudy Jr, MU Provost Dr. John Ulrich, MU Executive Director of Advancement Casey Wood

MANSFIELD, Pa. – The Early Start Program (ESP) of Commonwealth University-Mansfield will remain tuition-free for Pennsylvania public high school students thanks to support from First Citizens Community Bank (FCCB) and C&N Bank.

It marks the second year First Citizens and C&N have supported the Early Start Program. First Citizens committed an additional $50,000 to the program, while C&N doubled its support of ESP from a year ago with a $40,000 contribution.

“We are very grateful to both First Citizens and C&N for their generous commitment to Mansfield’s Early Start Program,” said Dr. John M. Ulrich, Mansfield University’s provost. “This support helps ensure that Mansfield can continue to provide high school students in the Northern Tier and elsewhere in our Commonwealth with an affordable, early start to their college education.”

The Early Start Program 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. Thanks to support from community organizations like First Citizens and C&N, the Early Start Program has been tuition free for Pennsylvania public school students since Fall 2021.

“We are proud to support the tuition-free Early Start program at Mansfield University,” noted Randall E. Black, CEO and President of FCCB. “Through this powerful program, students in Pennsylvania can earn tuition-free college credits and get a head start on their future. At FCCB, one of our goals has always been to strengthen the capacity of our communities to support tomorrow’s leaders through educational opportunities. This program allows us to invest in a way that will surely improve the future of our communities.”

“C&N recognizes the important role that Mansfield University plays in our region and the value provided by their Early Start Program,” Citizens & Northern’s President and CEO, J. Bradley Scovill said. “We appreciate the opportunity to create even more possibilities for young people to succeed through our continued partnership with the university.”

Beginning with five agreements in 2018, MU’s Early Start Program has grown to more than 50 partnerships with public school districts and private schools throughout Pennsylvania and in the southern tier of New York.

Students who successfully complete an ESP course are granted automatic general acceptance for full-time enrollment at Mansfield. Specific academic degree programs may require additional application materials for consideration.

In addition to the standard ESP courses taught by Mansfield faculty, course delivery is available at participating schools through the Concurrent Enrollment pilot program, enabling high school students to take Mansfield courses taught by qualified high school teachers on-site in their high school. The relevant university faculty must first approve the high school teachers providing instruction.

The university currently has Concurrent Enrollment agreements in place with a set of districts in the Northern Tier, including Athens, Northern Tioga, Southern Tioga, Troy, and Wellsboro. Students enrolled in such courses will also have their tuition subsidized.

The continuation of the tuition subsidy beyond Fall ’22 is dependent on the ongoing availability of external funding.

Mansfield University’s Executive Director of Advancement, Casey M. Wood highlighted the relationship with the local financial institutions.

“The relationships we have established with FCCB and C&N in support of the Early Start program is an example of a thriving “community” partnership,” Wood said. “Only through their investments can Mansfield provide this tuition-free opportunity. Like FCCB and C&N’s footprints, our reach for students to seize this tuition-free opportunity extends across Pennsylvania.”

For more information on the Early Start Program, visit