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Why This Matters


    According to College Navigator, the four-year colleges in Pennsylvania include 39 public and 106 private non-profit options.


    For the 2022-23 school year, the average in-state tuition for public four-year colleges in Pennsylvania is $15,547, according to College Board.


    In the U.S., full-time undergraduate students attending college in 2021-22 received an average of $15,330 per year in financial aid.

Our Research

This list features some of the best brick-and-mortar colleges in Pennsylvania. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on our list are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) — this organization examines the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of postsecondary education programs in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission standards, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the resources and services provided for on-campus students. Then, we used this information to calculate the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Colleges in Pennsylvania

Best Colleges In Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Swarthmore College

Villanova University

University of Pittsburgh

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Temple University

Thomas Jefferson University

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

University of Scranton

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What You Should Know About Graduating From College in Pennsylvania

Before settling down to study in a new state, you should consider the employment opportunities in the area. As of May 2022, these five industries employ the greatest number of Pennsylvanians: office and administrative support occupations, transportation and material moving, sales, food preparation and serving, and healthcare practitioners.

For workers in Pennsylvania who have earned a bachelor’s degree, the top five fastest-growing careers in the state are information security analysts, medical and health services managers, software developers, operations research analysts, and actuaries. Many of these jobs are in competitive industries, so more qualified candidates have an edge over their peers.

To get an idea of specific career choices available to college graduates, here are some examples of Pennsylvania’s largest employers: Pennsylvania State University, Philadelphia International Airport, Highmark Health, G & D Construction, and Vanguard.

What’s Next?

When researching colleges in Pennsylvania, it’s important to consider your financial aid options. The following resources will help you find grants, scholarships, and loan programs available to undergraduate students in Pennsylvania.

Colleges by State

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