Puerto Rico’s Universidad del Este (Eastern University, or UNE) is the newest member of the Ana G. Méndez University System. The main campus in Carolina is joined by five satellite campuses in the communities of Barceloneta, Cabo Rojo, Santa Isabel, Utuado and Yauca. The Metro Orlando University Center in Orlando, Florida, opened its doors in 2003. Universidad del Este was founded in 1949 as Puerto Rico Junior College. In 1992, the institution expanded to a four-year college. Nine years later, the first master’s degrees were offered, making UNE a full-fledged university. Universidad del Este is a private, non-profit institution accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Universidad del Este’s academic offerings are organized into the following nine divisions: Business Administration; Social and Human Sciences; Science and Technology; School of Education; Continuing Education; Health Sciences; School of Professional Studies; Technical Studies; José A. Santana International School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Slightly more than half of UNE’s students select a business, marketing or management-related academic path. Homeland security, law enforcement and education combine for another quarter of majors.
Students looking to continue their studies past the bachelor’s degree or professionals who want to enhance their job skills can enroll in one of Universidad del Este’s master’s degree programs. The Master of Business Administration, Master of Social Work and the Master of Arts in Education are the primary graduate degree offerings. Within the MBA program, students can concentrate on human resources, management, accounting or agribusiness, among other topics. A Master of Criminal Justice and Criminology is available from the Department of Social Work.
Universidad del Este offers certificates in 23 areas. Each of the satellite campuses offers certificate programs tailored to the needs of the local community. Requirements for receiving a certificate include a minimum number of credits earned along with a minimum grade point average. Students must also complete a graduation application and ensure that they have met all financial obligations to the university. The certificate programs are among the more popular academic pathways, especially for working adults and other non-traditional students.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Less than half of freshman applicants are admitted into Universidad del Este. First-year retention rates for freshmen have slowly risen to about two-thirds of the entering cohort. Despite these relatively low numbers, UNE has grown substantially for several years running.
Proof of high-school graduation or its equivalent must be supplied. If under 23 years of age, applicants must sit for the College Board’s SAT examination. High-school applicants must also meet any additional requirements of the program to which they are applying. A complete immunization record is required before applications can be processed.
Students who have earned at least six credits at another institution may be eligible to transfer to Universidad del Este. Transfer applicants must supply the admissions office with two official transcripts from their previous coursework. A recommendation from the Dean of the former institution is also required. The applicant’s GPA will be one of the primary factors in determining whether to accept or deny admission of a transfer student.
Applicants from outside the United States and territories must provide a Green Card or Student Visa in addition to meeting all the requirements of domestic applicants. The Puerto Rico Department of Education must certify credit transcripts prior to admission. International transfer students must have their credits verified by an official agency. Additionally, International students will be largely responsible for the cost of their education, so proof of financial support will be necessary.
Students of higher-learning institutions in Puerto Rico can apply for and receive all of the same benefits as students attending schools in the fifty states. The financial aid office at Universidad del Este supplies paper copies of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The form can also be completed online, a method which promises faster processing and less chance of error.
Scholarships, Grants and Loans
Most financial aid awards are based on need. Both the Federal Pell Grant and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant are calculated from financial information in the student’s FAFSA. Universidad del Este also offers a number of institution-specific scholarships, such as the Ana G. Méndez Scholarship, Honors Program Scholarship and Choral Scholarship.
Federal loans are available when need-based aid fails to cover all tuition and expenses. Loans must be paid back under an agreed-upon repayment plan. Direct Subsidized Loans don’t earn interest while students attend classes at least half-time, while Non-subsidized Loans earn interest all the time. Generally, students enjoy a six month grace period after graduating or leaving school before having to begin repaying their loans.
Federal Work-Study Programs allow students to earn both money and hands-on work experience in their future career. It’s important to seek out and apply to work-studies as early as possible. In general, these position are part-time and low paying, though part of every student’s pay is funneled directly to their cost of education.
Student Financial Aid Details
More than 12,000 students are enrolled in Universidad del Este’s various academic degree and certificate programs. Sixty-five percent of those students are female. A 35:1 student to faculty ration means large class sizes and potentially more anonymity. Less than half of UNE’s students are undergraduates in the traditional sense. Several thousand are older individuals enrolled in adult professional or certificate programs. Off-campus centers also account for a significant chunk of total enrollment.
Universidad del Este maintains support services and offices to ensure each student has an equal chance for success. Libraries at the main campus in Carolina and at each satellite campus offer online databases, electronic books, research assistance and multimedia resources. An Education Technology Office extends a helping hand to students and professors in getting the most out of UNE’s available computer and technical resources. Academic and career counseling services are available for students who find themselves struggling.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Universidad del Este offers scholarships, room and board, and other forms of assistance to student-athletes. The university competes within the Inter-University Athletic League in a variety of sports. The mission of UNE’s athletic department is to promote both teamwork and a lifetime of physical health and activity.
The Universidad del Este participates with other colleges in the following sports:
- Beach Volleyball
- Table Tennis
- Weight Lifting
- Track and Field
Intramural Sports and Games
For ordinary students, intramural activities offer a sense of fun and camaraderie. Three-on-three basketball, volleyball, table tennis, chess and dominoes are just some of the available choices.
- Petersons Four-Year Colleges 2011. New Jersy: Peterson, 2010. Print.
- Universidad del Este. Universidad del Este. 2011. Web. 11 July 2011.
- Universidad del Este. US News and World Report, 2011. Web. 11 July 2011.
Josh is a full-time professional writer and organic farmer who lives in rural Kentucky.