What announcement was made on December 17, 2015?

The Boards of Trustees of Philadelphia University (PhilaU) and Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) have approved the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) to integrate the two organizations. The LOI ensures that our discussions remain exclusive and will continue over the next several months. During this period we will exchange greater detail about both institutions and work toward the goal of signing a definitive agreement to integrate our institutions over the next several years.

What led to the decision?

The academic leadership of both Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University had connected over the last several months to discuss potential partnership opportunities. What became clear through these conversations was that both organizations share a commitment and strong desire to reimagine education that can launch students into the careers of their passion in a bigger, bolder way.

It was also determined through these conversations that there are great synergies and complementary programs between these two academically and financially strong universities. For example:

  • Jefferson is recognized as one of the first health professions universities to require students to have hands-on clinical experience in the care and treatment of patients; Philadelphia University is renowned for its experiential, hands-on learning and its commitment to professional education in all areas of study.
  • Philadelphia University is nationally recognized for its transdisciplinary learning and collaborative discovery; Jefferson has an international reputation as one of the first institutions to develop an interprofessional approach to healthcare education.
  • And together, we share the belief that how we deliver education should be reimagined to benefit the 21st century student. We also have a number of strong and complementary programs, colleges and curriculums that will create further depth and breadth, leverage our combined faculty and expertise, and position our students and our institutions for a very promising future.
Why is this happening now and why do the two institutions want to integrate?

We believe that an integration of our organizations can drive innovation, enhance both universities’ offerings and create unprecedented opportunities for value for students and employers of the 21st century. By coming together, we can create a world-class comprehensive university, comprised of two campuses, with preeminence in architecture, business, design, fashion, engineering, health, science and textiles. At the heart of our desire to integrate is our mutual belief in professional and transformative education that sets the standard for the model comprehensive professional university.

What happens to the individual universities — Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University?

Signing the letter of intent allows us to do the necessary work to arrive at a definitive agreement in early 2016 so that we can proceed with an integration, in a thoughtful, inclusive manner, over a period of approximately three years. Our vision is to create a singular comprehensive university, comprised of two campuses, including all of the renowned programs and colleges of both institutions including health, science, architecture, design, fashion, business and engineering. This would create a new standard for inter-professional, trans-disciplinary learning and collaborative discovery through an active, engaged, real-world approach that develops professionals with the robust skill set needed to tackle complex problems.

What will happen to Philadelphia University’s non-health academic programs?

They will be at the heart of this exciting integration. The depth and breadth of top-ranked, innovative academic programs – including those that are directly related to health and those that are world renowned programs in design, engineering, etc. – is what makes this proposed integration so exciting and what presents the most value for students, employers and communities of the 21st century.

What will the leadership structure be? Who will be in leadership roles?

During this due diligence phase, all current leadership will remain in place. Upon arriving at a definitive agreement, we would create an Academic Oversight Board, chaired by Dr. Stephen Spinelli, Jr. and including academic leadership from both organizations, that would be responsible for the integration of the combined academic enterprise.

What will happen to TJU- and PhilaU-specific philosophies and programs like Nexus Learning and Inter-Professional education?

It is important to emphasize that the reason both organizations are seeking to integrate is because there is such depth and breadth of complementary programmatic and academic strengths at both TJU and PhilaU. A combination that emphasizes the strengths of our existing programs can only further drive the reach of these approaches for the benefit of our faculty, staff, students and communities.

Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health are all about health care. Does this combination mean they are broadening their scope beyond health?

Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health are indeed leaders in health care delivery, discovery and education. The Jefferson vision for its academic pillar has been to develop forward-thinking education that integrates new learning models and delivers programs that meet the evolving needs of today’s students.  The integration of Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University creates an amazing synergy that combines the power of design thinking, systems thinking, entrepreneurship and the modes of thought that are central to the liberal arts with the scientific inquiry and methodologies of the health sciences.

What will our name be?

Upon reaching a definitive agreement, we will begin a thoughtful planning and branding process to make those types of determinations.

What happens to the value of my degree/diploma that has the name Philadelphia University or Thomas Jefferson University?

The desire to integrate is rooted firmly in our collective desire to create higher impact and more value for our students past, present and future. We firmly believe that combining PhilaU and TJU will create a unique, comprehensive university which will only benefit students and alumni, alike.

What are some highlights of both organizations?

About Jefferson

Jefferson, encompasses Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, representing our academic and clinical entities. Together, the people of Jefferson, 19,000 strong, provide the highest-quality, compassionate clinical care for patients, educate the health professionals of tomorrow, and discover new treatments and therapies that will define the future of health care.

Jefferson Health comprises five hospitals, 16 outpatient and urgent care locations, as well as physician practices and everywhere we deliver care throughout the city and suburbs across Philadelphia, Montgomery and Bucks Counties in Pa., and Camden County in New Jersey. Together, these facilities serve nearly 73,000 inpatients, 239,000 emergency patients and 1.7 million outpatient visits annually. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is the largest freestanding academic medical center in Philadelphia. Abington Hospital is the largest community teaching hospital in Montgomery or Bucks counties. Other hospitals include Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience in Center City Philadelphia; Methodist Hospital in South Philadelphia; and Abington-Lansdale Hospital in Hatfield Township.

Thomas Jefferson University enrolls more than 3,900 future physicians, scientists, nurses and healthcare professionals in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC), Jefferson Colleges of Biomedical Sciences, Health Professions, Nursing, Pharmacy, Population Health and is home of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

For more information and a complete listing of Jefferson services and locations, visit www.jefferson.edu.

About Philadelphia University

Philadelphia University, founded in 1884, is a private university with 3,750 students enrolled in more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programs. As the model for professional university education, the University, through its award-winning Nexus Learning approach, prepares students to be leaders in their professions in an active, collaborative and real-world learning environment infused with the liberal arts.

With nationally ranked programs in physician assistant studies, architecture, fashion design, graphic design, strategic leadership and occupational therapy, and opportunities for industry partnerships and internships with top companies, PhilaU graduates have achieved a job success and graduate school placement rate of 95 percent.

Philadelphia University includes the innovative Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce; the College of Architecture and the Built Environment; the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts; and the School of Continuing and Professional Education. For more information, go to www.PhilaU.edu.

How will the integration process work and when will it begin?

Once a definitive agreement (terms agreed upon between our two organizations on how we will operate) is reached, we will launch the integration process through a broad strategic planning effort that will involve many faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community from both Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University. Groups will look at overall strategy and how to best integrate student life, academics, operations, branding and marketing, enrollment management, culture, philanthropy and innovation. The integration will occur over a three-year period.

I am a current student. Will my scholarships/grants change next year?

Our goal, as it has always been, is to continue to fund your institutional scholarships and/or grants at the same level each year of attendance as an undergraduate student provided that the information on your FAFSA and institutional funding remains constant.

What are the benefits of an integration of Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University for students?

The integration of Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University will result in increased visibility and recognition in higher education that we have created a university with a unique education model and a world-class reputation. Students will have access to:

  • more state-of-the-art facilities in East Falls and Center City
  • increased Nexus Learning opportunities
  • more internship opportunities
  • enhanced expertise across all disciplines, in architecture, business, design, engineering, health, science and textiles
  • two main campuses that will provide students with suburban-like and Center City experiences
  • more opportunities for undergraduate scientific and applied research
  • a combined alumni base of 78,000
  • a student base of more than 7,500
  • more employers who will continue to revere the profession-ready skills of our graduates, particularly within the context of our combined and innovative approach to education
Will I pay Philadelphia University or Thomas Jefferson University tuition in 2016-2017?

You will pay Philadelphia University tuition and we will handle those decisions as we do each year. The Board of Trustees at Philadelphia University will evaluate budgets and set tuition this spring. We expect to release the information in the usual timeframe in early April.

If I’m graduating in May 2017, what will my diploma say?

Philadelphia University or Thomas Jefferson University, depending on where you are enrolled.

Thomas Jefferson University is an institution that focuses on health. What does that mean for programs in architecture, business, design, engineering, fashion, liberal arts and textiles?

The integration of Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University is not about cutting costs and programs. In fact, it is about opportunity and creating a comprehensive university with diverse programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. By combining the academic program assets of both institutions, we expect to be able to offer more opportunities in health and non-health related areas to students, faculty, industry and other stakeholders.

Where will I have my classes?

Your classes will be located at the campus of the university in which you are currently enrolled. There will be a three-year integration process to combine the two institutions. Many programs require specialized spaces (architecture, engineering, health, fashion…) that exist on PhilaU’s or TJU’s campus, respectively, and so any potential changes would be discussed as part of the integration process. If you are a science/health major a PhilaU, there will likely be opportunities for students to utilize some of the state-of-the art equipment and labs that exist at Thomas Jefferson’s campus. However, it is too soon to predict when, if ever, teaching spaces for health/science programs would consolidate to any one location.

What will happen to our class sizes?

While the integrated University will have more than 7,500 undergraduate, graduate and CPS students on two campuses and online, our class sizes will remain small, and our faculty will continue to be deeply involved in your education. Additionally, Philadelphia University’s approach to teaching and learning, Nexus Learning, will continue. What you have now will only be enhanced.

I was accepted to Philadelphia University for fall 2017 and awarded a Faculty Scholarship/Faculty Grant, will the announcement result in changes to my award?

No, your award will stay the same. If you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to complete your 2017-18 FAFSA Form so we can create a comprehensive financial aid package. Students who submit their FAFSA by March 1, 2017 will be eligible for a $1,000 Early FAFSA award.

I am getting ready to file my FAFSA form for 2017-18. What school code should I use?

You should use Philadelphia University’s school code – 003354.

Will any non-health programs be eliminated?

All the traditional PhilaU programs like design, engineering, textile, fashion, business and others are important to creating the comprehensive university this integration promises. The integration of Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University is not about cutting costs and programs. By combining the academic program assets of both institutions, we expect to be able to offer more opportunities in health and non-health related areas to students, faculty, industry and other stakeholders.

Will I continue to contact the same admissions personnel and/or program director or faculty?

Yes, your admissions contact and his/her colleagues will continue to work with you throughout the process. The same is true of your program director and faculty. Continue to communicate with them to make sure that you are meeting deadlines and for answers to any questions or concerns.

Will the combination impact housing on either campus?

PhilaU’s policy requires freshmen with a permanent address more than 30 miles from PhilaU to live on campus for the first two-years of study. Therefore, students entering in fall 2016 will have housing guaranteed for the first two years and should expect to live on Philadelphia University’s campus. After the first two years we make every effort to offer a housing space to students who wish to remain on-campus. We currently use a lottery system to fill available housing spaces for junior, senior and five-year architecture students. There will be a three-year integration process to combine the two institutions. We expect there to be conversations about future housing options for students.

I’ve started researching potential study abroad (or internship) opportunities as part of my degree program. Will those opportunities change?

Study abroad (or internships) are great opportunities to learn in new and different environments. These opportunities will most certainly continue and we look forward to new partnerships and opportunities that will evolve from the integration of the two institutions.

What about the industry projects I’ve been hearing so much about? Will those still happen?

Absolutely! Having industry involved in the teaching and learning process is critical to preparing students to meet the needs of the workplace. These opportunities will most certainly continue and we look forward to welcoming new industry partners to our campus.

As a prospective student, I thought about joining the Fashion Industries Association (FIA) when I enroll in the fall. Will that student organization still exist?

Yes! Student organizations play a key role in community at Philadelphia University and opportunities for student groups focused on particular professions and other special interests will continue to be available to you throughout your time in college.

About Jefferson

Jefferson University Hospitals and Thomas Jefferson University are partners in providing excellent clinical and compassionate care for our patients in the Philadelphia region, educating the health professionals of tomorrow in a variety of disciplines and discovering new knowledge that will define the future of clinical care.

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About Philadelphia University

Our number one priority is providing students with an academic experience that leads to internships, jobs and meaningful career paths. We do this through focusing on innovation, innovative thinking and our award-winning Nexus Learning approach — active, collaborative learning that is connected to the real world and infused with the liberal arts.

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