Why This Matters

  • 115 COLLEGES IN PENNSYLVANIA

    According to College Navigator, there are 22 public colleges, 88 private non-profit colleges, and five private for-profit colleges in Pennsylvania.

  • $15,310 IN AVERAGE IN-STATE TUITION & FEES

    College Board estimates the average student at a public in-state college in Pennsylvania paid this sum during the 2021-22 school year.

  • $14,800 FINANCIAL AID PER U.S. STUDENT

    During the 2020-21 school year, the average full-time undergraduate student in the U.S. received this sum in financial aid.

Our Research

This list features some of the best brick-and-mortar schools in Pennsylvania. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. 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 like the U.S. News & World Report among others 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), a reputable organization that examines the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of education programs in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

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

The Top 21 Colleges in Pennsylvania

Best Colleges In Pennsylvania
01
Intelligent Pick
University of Pennsylvania
01
Best Interdisciplinary Programs
Carnegie Mellon University
01
Best Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Lehigh University
01
Best Faith-Based Institution
Villanova University
01
Best Liberal Arts Institution
University of Pittsburgh
01
Best Public Research School
The Pennsylvania State University
01
Best Private Research School
Drexel University
01
Best for Diversity and Inclusion
Temple University
01
Best Catholic Institution
Duquesne University
01
Best Private Medical Program
Thomas Jefferson University
01

Chatham University
01

Swarthmore College
01

Widener University
01

Wilkes University
01

Haverford College
01

Gannon University
01

Bryn Mawr College
01

Bucknell University
01

Lafayette College
01

Franklin & Marshall College
01

Dickinson College

 

What You Should Know About Graduating From College in Pennsylvania

Before settling down to study in a new state, it’s important to consider the employment opportunities in the area. As of October 2021, these five industries employ the greatest number of Pennsylvanians: education and health services; trade, transportation, and utilities; goods-producing; professional and business services; and government. The top two industries employ over a million workers each.

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: Philadelphia International, Highmark Health, Vanguard Group Inc., Temple University, and many more.

What’s Next?

When researching colleges in Pennsylvania, it’s important to consider your financial aid options. The following list includes state and federal resources such as grants, scholarships, and loan programs available to undergraduate students in Pennsylvania.

  • Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). PHEAA is a student aid organization offering a state grant program, low-cost student loans, and college planning resources.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Every year the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office disburses more than $120 billion in financial aid. Students receive assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, work-study jobs, and more. To check your eligibility, visit the FAFSA4caster, and to apply for aid, complete the online application.
  • CareerOneStop. Sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop provides a comprehensive selection of financial aid resources in each state. You can filter results according to degree type and college location. Listings include the award amount, deadline, contact information, and other details.