Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

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Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is a small public university that was founded in 1837 as the African Institute and later known as the Institute for Colored Youth. The school's establishment was funded in part by the donation of a large sum of money by Quaker philanthropist Richard Humphreys, who bequeathed $10,000 – which represented a tenth of his estate – to found a school that would educate African-Americans. Degrees were not granted from Cheyney until 1914.

In 1983, the institution's name was formally changed to Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. The 275-acre campus in the Cheyney community of the Thornbury Township in Pennsylvania, is well-known for being the first higher learning institution for African-Americans.

Programs, Alumni, and Accreditation

Cheyney University has more than 30 baccalaureate degrees and two master's degree programs in education and public administration. Over the course of its history, Cheyney, as it is commonly referred to, has graduated 10,000 students. Of these 10,000, many have gone on to become notable individuals in the U.S. and abroad. Cheyney and its programs are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Notable alumni include:

  • Ed Bradley
  • Robert W. Bogle
  • Curt Weldon
  • Thaddeus Kirkland
  • Samuel J. Patterson

There are two schools: The School of Arts and Sciences and The School of Education and Professional Studies.


Among the athletics programs offered at the university, the basketball program is the most highly recognized. As a Division II school, the men's basketball team holds the NCAA's seventh spot in most all-time win percentage. This includes 16 PSAC conference championships as well as four Final Fours and one National Championship in 1978.

Cheyney has a brother-sister team coaching men's and women's basketball: Dominique Stephens and Marilyn Stephens. They were hired in 2009.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Cheyney offers a wide range of options for students to defray the cost of attendance, including Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education, Pennsylvania State Grant Program, student employment, scholarships and loans. All applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Library System

The Leslie Pickney Hill Library is located on the upper campus and houses the print and nonprint collections that support the curriculum, a selection of government documents and workstations that provide internet and electronic-resource access. The library is also thehome of the University Archives.

Cheyney's library system dates back to March 7, 1853, when a library and reading room were opened in the Institute for Colored Youth in a building at Seventh and Lombard streets in Philadelphia. The collection was available free of charge to community members, and by 1855 there were 427 registered borrowers. In 1903, the ICY moved to Cheyney; the Carnegie Library opened on the new campus in 1909. The library was renamed for Hill in 1962.

Student Housing

On-campus residence halls are:

  • Martin Luther King Hall
  • New Residence Hall
  • Sojourner Truth Hall
  • Emlen Hall
  • Burleigh Hall

Living options include female- or male-only and coeducational. The residence halls are capable of accommodating more than 1,200 students, whether they are new, transfer, non-traditional or upperclassmen. Emlen Hall accommodates the Keystone Honors Academy Students as well.

General Information

Admission Office
1837 University Circle
PO Box 200
Cheyney, PA 19319-0019
(610) 399-2275
(800) 243-9639
Fax: (610) 399-2099

Contact: Angela Brown
Director of Admissions
Main Address
1837 University Circle/PO Box 200
Cheyney, PA 19319-0019
(610) 399-2000

Total undergrads: 1,333
First-time degree-seeking freshmen: 301
Degree-seeking undergrads: 1,315
Graduate enrollment: 155

Rural setting
Small town (2,500 – 9,999)
Residential campus

Degrees offered:


Admissions Information

Application Fee

College has an application fee: Yes

Regular application fee: $20

Online application fee: $20
Enrollment Rates

Percent applicants admitted: 34%

Percent of students who return for sophomore year: 62%

College Majors

Arts, Visual & Performing

Art – General B
Drama/Theater Arts B
Music – General B

Biological & Biomedical Sciences

Biology B

Business, Management, & Marketing

Business Administration/Management B
Hospitality Administration/Management B

Communications & Journalism

Communications/Rhetoric B

Computer & Information Sciences

Computer/Information Sciences – General B


Early Childhood Education B
Elementary Education B
Special Education B

English Language & Literature

English Language & Literature – General B

Family & Consumer Sciences

Clothing/Apparel/Textile Studies B

Foreign Language & Literature

French B
Spanish B

Health Professions & Clinical Sciences

Clinical Laboratory Science B


Mathematics – General B

Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

Biological/Physical Sciences B

Parks, Recreation & Fitness

Parks/Leisure Facilities Management B

Physical Sciences

Chemistry B


Psychology – General B

Social Sciences

Economics B
Geographic information science B
Political Science/Government B
Social Sciences – General B
Sociology B

Degree levels for each major are designated by the following letters:

    A = Associate degree
    B = Bachelor's degree
    C = Certificate or diploma

*We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

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