Jesuit business schools offer free courses for alumni

The Commerce and Finance building at nightBeginning this year, graduates of most Jesuit business schools in the U.S. will receive an added benefit from their degrees — the opportunity to take free courses for the rest of their lives at other Jesuit business schools.

Known as the Jesuit Promise for Lifelong Learning, the agreement among 17 members of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) grants alumni of business programs the opportunity to audit courses up to the level of their earned degree at any of the signatory business schools, without paying tuition.

The idea originated more than three years ago with Kevin Stevens at Loyola University of Chicago. In March 2018, as he prepared to host the fall conference of the Jesuit business deans, Stevens proposed “a discussion of the viability of offering a lifetime, nationwide ‘warranty’” that would allow graduates to continue their education at any participating Jesuit business school.

Joseph Eisenhauer, dean of business at Detroit Mercy, who serves as president of the Jesuit business deans, led a drive to complete the project during the 2020-21 academic year.

“This is an historic agreement” Eisenhauer said. “Among its most important benefits, this arrangement will enrich the lives of those who are educated at Jesuit business schools by extending their academic opportunities long past their graduation. It will strengthen our network and raise the profile of Jesuit institutions among each other’s alumni. It adds a bonus to becoming a Jesuit alumnus or alumna, and those who audit courses may decide to take the next step and enroll in degree programs or certificates.”

According to the agreement, business school alumni will be allowed to audit courses without paying tuition, provided that unfilled seats are available in business classes at the host institution. Students taking advantage of this opportunity will be classified as non-matriculating guest students (or the equivalent designation), and will not receive grades, credit or transcripts for such courses.

Signatory institutions include the business schools at Canisius College, Creighton University, Fairfield University, Gonzaga University, John Carroll University, Le Moyne College, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University New Orleans, Marquette University, Regis University, Saint Peter’s University, Seattle University, St. Joseph’s University, University of Detroit Mercy, University of San Francisco, University of Scranton, and Xavier University.

The Jesuit Promise for Lifelong Learning can be found here.

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