Gwynedd Mercy University appears in our ranking of the 10 Most Affordable EdD in Special Education Online Programs.

Gwynedd Mercy University is a private university named after the Pennsylvania township that surrounds its campus. Prior to becoming a university, the land where its campus now sits was part of a large estate called Willowbrook Farm. Frances Bond owned the farm and lived there with his family. The family later sold the estate to the Taylor family who sold the entire farm to the Sisters of Mercy in the 19440s. This led to the Sisters establishing a college called Gwynedd Mercy College on the property. It would later become Gwynedd Mercy University or GMU. Some of the original farm buildings are still part of the campus today.

The university now offers opportunities for students who want to learn more than what they would in their classes. It has its own daycare facility on its campus that allows early childhood education and elementary education majors to gain experience working with kids in a nursery school setting. The university also has an upward bound program designed for high school students who want to gain college experience. Gwynedd Mercy University has an enrollment of more than 2,600 students and retains its affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church.

Gwynedd Mercy University Accreditation Details

Since Gwynedd Mercy University has regional accreditation, students of any age or status can apply for the financial aid packages offered by the university and the federal government. Students can also carry credits between two or more schools that have regional accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) granted Gwynedd Mercy its regional accreditation.

Gwynedd Mercy University Application Requirements

The educational leadership program offered by the university accepts only a small number of new students every year. Those students must meet the requirements for enrolling in the university's graduate school and the requirements of this program. They will submit the online application and pay an application fee. The graduate school only allows students to enter this program if they already have a master's degree from a school with regional accreditation. Students must also have an undergrad and graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Gwynedd Mercy asks for official transcripts from both the schools where the students received their undergrad and graduate degrees.

These students must also take the MAT or the GRE and submit their scores. The university requires that they score in at least the 65th percentile on the MAT or have a GRE score of at least 155. Those who have a GPA of 3.5 or higher do not need to submit a test score. Gwynedd Mercy also asks for a resume that shows the student has a minimum of three years of experience in the education field.

A writing sample of at least 750 words but no more than 1,000 words is also due. This shows the university that the student can handle writing at a higher level. Other requirements include a goals statement that also mentions the research topic the student has in mind and three letters of recommendation. The university also asks that students interview with a faculty member. If the student cannot attend an interview on its campus, the university can arrange for an online interview. Prior to beginning the educational leadership program, students must also submit forms that show they passed a criminal background check and a child abuse clearance check.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Payscale ranks Gwynedd Mercy University within the top 25 percent of colleges with the highest returns on the investments made by students. It ranks highly because its students graduate with less debt than the national average and because its students work in high paying fields after they graduate. Students graduate with less debt because this program is quite affordable. The university charges $965 per credit hour. Any student who enrolls part-time will also pay a $17 fee for each credit that they take. Students must put down a $500 deposit after receiving an acceptance letter, which the university will use to secure their places in the upcoming class. To gain some credits, students will take exams, which come with a $140 fee. They must pay that fee before taking the exam.

Gwynedd Mercy University recommends that students talk to a financial aid counselor to find out if they qualify for institutional aid. The university offers positions on its campus for traditional students that allow them to make money to cover their expenses. These programs come with tuition stipends too. Online students can look at both internal and external funding. They will often use the loans that they get after filing the FAFSA and the private loans offered by other institutions. Students can make payment arrangements with the university too.

Online Degrees Available

The Executive EdD program offered by Gwynedd Mercy University is a doctoral program designed for teachers and educators who already have a graduate degree. It is available as an accelerated online program with an emphasis on educational leadership. This program features 54 credits of classes and other work that help students prepare for working as superintendents and in other leadership roles. More than 70 percent of those in this program graduate within three years, while the national average sees around 40 percent of students take up to 10 years to complete similar programs.

Students have the option of focusing on higher education or school districts, but the special education program is more popular. It helps students prepare for working as leaders within special education departments and in schools that offer support for special needs students. Unlike some of the other programs that have residency requirements, this program features only online courses. Students will also do some work in their home areas. The university expects students to do two practicums, which will help them meet the requirements for earning a supervisor of special education certificate.

Some of the credits they earn will come from the work they do with an advisor while working on a dissertation. Students must create an extensive final project that they submit to the university before earning a doctoral degree. It can take students several years to complete this work. They also take classes that include Educational Policy Practice and Research in the US, The Ethics of Educational Leadership and Policy, School Law and Policy in Special Education and Designing Interventions and Assessing Outcomes. This Gwynedd Mercy University program teaches students how to function as effective leaders in the modern world.