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Alvernia University

United States
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Institution type Private

About Alvernia University

Alvernia’s Franciscan heritage includes a rigorous intellectual tradition that recognizes and values the importance of diversity of thought, faiths and cultures. We challenge our students to shape the world and transform it as working professionals, concerned citizens and caring community members, consistent with the principles and teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi.

The Bernardine Franciscan Sisters, who founded Alvernia in 1958, are members of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. The Third Order was a spontaneous lay movement influenced by St. Francis and the early brothers as they worked and preached in cities and towns of Italy and across Europe, encouraging people to live the gospel and embrace a life of conversion in their own homes. Some people eventually decided to live a common life under the Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, and the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters are one of many religious congregations sharing this Third Order charism. 

As one of only 22 Franciscan institutions in the country, our identity is based on life-changing ideals that stress unconditional love for all people, compassion, humility, and forgiveness through an understanding of the gospels of Jesus Christ.

Our Franciscan mission influences all that we do – our curriculum and culture, what we teach and how we teach it. This creates a learning environment that encourages students to develop their individual gifts so as to transform themselves and the world around them. Core to our mission and intellectual tradition as Franciscans is the belief in the sanctity of creation and the protection of human rights through active participation in the economic, political, legal and social policy dialogue that affects human dignity.

Service, humility, peacemaking, contemplation, and collegiality are the core values of Alvernia. These basic values are intended to inform a way of life, a view of the world, and a definition of men’s and women’s relationships to their Creator that is more relevant today than ever before.

Campus information

The United States is a top destination for many international students given that it's considered to be one of the most affordable cities to live in.

The 121-acre campus in historic Berks County is situated three miles from center-city Reading in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania. There are two satellite centers in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).


Alvernia University does not provide housing accommodations for married couples or families, and does not allow infants and children to reside on campus.

A student must be enrolled as a full-time student at Alvernia University in order to be eligible for campus housing. A student is considered full-time when registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours.

Alvernia University’s current student residences are designed to complement the pursuit of full-time undergraduate studies, with respect to their design as multiple resident units, their supervision by undergraduate resident assistants reporting to graduate and professional staff members, and their emphasis on educational programming and leadership development to complement students’ curricular pursuits. For those reasons, students who are under the age of 17 or over the age of 30 normally are not eligible for University
housing. Petitions for exceptions to this policy will be considered on an individual basis by the Vice President for University Life, whose decisions with respect to such petitions will be final. If the University develops residential facilities for graduate students, this policy may be amended accordingly. 

Living On Campus

Alvernia University’s housing philosophy promotes moral development and civic responsibility, welcomes diversity, and respects the dignity of the human person at all times. The vision for the residence program has four points:

  • The residential experience is a center of excellence and a point of distinction for Alvernia. Students and their parents should find the Alvernia University campus safe, supportive, and nurturing.
  • The residential experience intentionally emphasizes and promotes moral development.
  • All faculty and staff join in the effort to provide a place and develop an atmosphere in which students can
  • achieve their potential academically, socially, morally, and spiritually.
  • The University provides all students opportunities to practice their faith and connect with each other and members of the clergy from their denominations, both formally and informally. While Catholic rites and ceremonies remain the principal focus of worship, ecumenical services are also conducted, and access to other religious services made possible. 

Resident Housing

  • Anthony Hall is the smaller of the two suite-style buildings and houses 68 students. The room and bath configuration is the same as Clare Hall. ADA suites are available for students who may require this accommodation.
  • Assisi and Siena Hall Townhouses each accommodates eight students of the same gender within each townhouse unit. Each unit is equipped with four double rooms, three bathrooms, a full kitchen, a full- sized refrigerator, a microwave and a coin operated washer and dryer.
  • Clare Hall a suite-style building that houses 150 students in suites each equipped with a bathroom designed with a double sink and tub/shower combination. ADA suites are available for students who may require this accommodation.
  • Founders Village Apartments, for upper-class students, include approximately 250 beds, with apartment sizes to complement many different living arrangements from one person efficiencies to five person apartments. These apartments feature upscale furniture, dining/living rooms, bathrooms, and full kitchens. Each hall contains a gas fireplace located in the main lounge, business center with computers and printers and a laundry room.
  • Francis Hall is a traditional residence hall with triple, double, and single rooms accommodating approximately 56 students.
  • Judge Hall is the University’s suite style hall and accommodates four upper-class students of the same gender per suite. Each suite is equipped with single or double rooms, a bathroom, a living area, a full- sized refrigerator and microwave. ADA suites are available for students who may require this accommodation
  • Village 4 (PODs) is a 12 person community living spaces with double and single bedrooms. These areas feature a full kitchen with two refrigerators, a dining area, a large living room, and an in-unit washer and dryer. In addition the hall contains a gas fireplace located in the main lounge, and a study room.
  • Veronica Hall is a traditional residence hall with triple and double rooms housing approximately 135 students. Veronica Hall is single-sex by wing.
  • Divine Mercy Residence is designated only for the use of the International Sister students enrolled at Alvernia University. This 3-bedroom house, which is located on St. Bernardine Street, can accommodate five sisters. 

Residence Life

The Associate Dean of Students & Director of Residence Life has overall supervisory responsibility for campus residences and works closely with the Director of Public Safety and the staff within the Facilities Office to assure safety. The Associate Dean & Director, assisted by the Housing Coordinator and Resident Directors, develops and implements residence life policies and procedures, and programming objectives. The Office of Residence Life is located in Veronica Hall and can be reached at 610-796-8320.

Resident Assistants (RAs) assist in the management and implementation of day-to-day operations of the office as well as assisting students in taking advantage of all opportunities campus life offers. Your RA can be one of the most helpful and resourceful individual you will interact with. These individuals are full-time, academically successful students who have been carefully selected because of their leadership potential, interpersonal skills,  positive attitudes and sense of commitment to promoting a living/learning environment. RAs complete extensive and ongoing training to fulfill their many roles.

As peers, the RAs not only provide general information, referral help and models of successful adjustment to University living, but they assist with roommate or suitemate conflicts and planning educational, cultural and social programs.

Resident students are informed of University policies and housing security and enforcement procedures in hall meetings throughout the year. In the first hall meeting, Residence Life staff, along with the RAs, explain policies and procedures in this handbook. Special emphasis is placed on residence hall safety and the vital role each student has in helping to maintain a secure environment. Hall meetings are held as warranted to remind residents of safety procedures, policies and to enhance the communal environment.

In the spirit of collegiality and shared responsibility, resident students are expected to accept the responsibility of group living and to act in accord with University policies and procedures. Students are expected to take an active, positive role in residence life governance through the Residence Hall Association.

Services for Residents

  • Cable TV. Basic cable television is provided in each residence room.
  • Common Areas. Each residence hall and townhouse offers common area space such as lounges for social and/or recreational purposes. Common area space is also inclusive of hallways and stairwells. All residents share responsibility with others in their hall or townhouse for the care and protection of common areas. Furniture may not be removed from common areas. Group damage assessments are made for damages to common areas if a responsible party cannot be identified.
  • Food Service. All resident students are required to participate in the University’s food service program. All freshmen residents must participate in either the full 19-meal plan or the alternate 14 meal plan during both semesters of their first year. Upper-class residents have several meal plan options. For more information regarding meal plan changes/dates, please contact the Billing Office.
  • Information Desk. A resident student information desk is located on the first floor of Veronica Hall. The desk is staffed according to the hours posted at the desk. The general hours of operation are as follows:
    • Monday through Friday: 9:00 a.m. through 12:00 midnight Saturday-Sunday: 8:00 p.m. through 12:00 midnight
  • Data ports. Each student has access to an individual data port for their use.
  • Wireless Internet. Wireless Internet is available throughout the residence halls. Private routers are prohibited.
  • Laundry Facilities. Washers and dryers are located in each residence hall as well as in each townhouse.

Additional info

All international candidates should submit the following:

  • Complete an online or paper application
  • Your application should be accompanied by a non-refundable $25 application fee. Call our office to request an application by mail.  Apply Online Now
  • Provide official secondary school transcripts (or GED) and all post-secondary school transcripts
  • Provide an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report if English is not your first language.
  • Register for the test online.
  • Provide a completed World Education Services, Inc. evaluation of all transcripts.
  • Learn more.
  • Provide a completed Alvernia University Financial Statement.
  • Available as PDF.


Courses available 10

Accounting & Finance 1 Applied, Pure Sciences 2 Education and Teaching 1 English Language 1 Humanities & Social Sciences 5


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