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Alta Via Intentionally Catholic College Community

Alta Via is a dynamic opportunity for incoming Saint Francis University students to deepen in their Catholic faith and benefit from curricular and co-curricular experiences aligned with the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi. 

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      Alta Via (The Highway) is an intentionally Catholic college community at Saint Francis University designed for students who want to deepen their faith.

    • Alta Via (The Highway) is an intentionally Catholic college community at Saint Francis University designed for students who want to deepen their faith.

  • An Alta Via Experience

    Join like minded students in a life-changing journey:

    • living with other program participants
    • completing specifically designed, sequential courses
    • participating in community engagement activities with and for others
    • actively engaging in liturgy and devotion
    • participating in at least one pilgrimage 

    Program Spiritual Advisor

    Fr. James

    Fr. James Puglis, T.O.R.
    Director of the Alta Via Program 


    • Applications and Scholarships
    • Program Overview
    • Curricular Components
    • Co-Curricular Components
    Applications and Scholarships

    Who should apply:

    Students who are outstanding representatives in their high schools, communities and parishes as demonstrated through an application process and resume and/or activities summary.  Students should have held one or more positions in organizations. 

    To apply:

    Fill out the application form (apply here). You will need to answer these two essay questions as part of your application. 

    1. What do you believe is the most difficult challenge facing the Catholic Church in the next 20 years?  (300 words max)
    2. What does it mean to be Catholic? (300 words max)

    Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. Successful candidates will be invited to conduct an interview on campus or via Skype.  The Alta via application is a supplemental program application.  Students are still required to complete the full application for admission.

    Scholarships:

    Ten (10) Alta Via participants will receive scholarships which are renewed annually as long as the student remains in good standing.  Awardees will receive $2,000 the first year, $2,500 sophomore year, $3,000 junior year and $3,500 in their senior year.  This amount is in addition to other Saint Francis University institutional scholarships.  

    Program Overview

    Founded in 1847, Saint Francis University is an institution rich in history and tradition. From our first founding fathers who traveled from the Archdiocese of Tuam in Ireland to the faculty and staff who today work to keep our Catholic Franciscan mission thriving inside and outside the classroom.  Continuing the heart of Saint Francis University's mission and developing students to embrace and uphold our mission in their own pathways forward is the driving force behind the Alta Via experience.  

    Program Highlights:

    • Participation will develop and strengthen your ability to follow, ever deeply, Christ crucified and accompany others as they do the same.

    • You will enjoy a residential experience among a group of peers sharing in the same intentionally Catholic experience

    • Be a part of a community from the moment you step foot on campus, bonding with other participants through: specially designed sequential courses all four years at SFU,  regular commitment experiences, access to specialized speakers and retreats, sharing in community service activities
    Curricular Components

    Franciscan Seminar Series

    Seminar series for program participants will be offered each semester focused on the virtues of beauty, goodness, truth and unity.

    Franciscan Enrichment Designated Offerings

    Franciscan Experience Series (FES) offerings are carefully crafted for program participants and the community at-large. FES offerings are designed to enrich spiritual development and compliment the ethos of the Alta Via program.

    Co-Curricular Components

    Devotion to Faith

    Liturgy participation, fellowship experiences, Bible study

    Cohort Experiences

    Participants will work with other Alta Via classmates to design and implement a Legacy Project. Retreats will be held annually at minimum. Senior year culminating pilgrimage experience. 

    Community Engagement

    Directed community service with Diocesan partners, youth events (Shycon, Firestarters, etc)

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