Why Choose a Private Institution in Pennsylvania?
There are over 110 private four-year colleges in Pennsylvania, including schools like Villanova University, Drexel University, and Swarthmore College.
Choosing the right college depends on many factors, such as available programs and financial aid. In general, private colleges and universities are smaller than public colleges and may offer fewer degree options.
However, private colleges and universities can offer smaller and more specialized classes. Students interested in a literature degree, for example, could consider attending a private liberal arts college over a public institution.
Another key difference between public and private colleges is cost. Public colleges receive funding from the state and usually feature lower tuition rates than private colleges. Despite the higher overall cost of tuition, some private colleges offer more financial aid than their counterparts.
Readers should also note that Pennsylvania does not participate in reciprocity programs. This means that out-of-state students do not receive tuition discounts.
Pros and Cons of Attending a Private College or University in Pennsylvania
In general, private schools are smaller than public schools and offer smaller class sizes.Smaller private colleges may not have as many degree options. But they often offer specialized degrees, especially for schools like liberal arts colleges.Pennsylvania has many highly ranked private colleges and universities with highly regarded academic programs.
Without receiving any aid from the state or federal government, private schools charge more tuition than public colleges and universities.Students attending a smaller private school may have limited program options.Pennsylvania does not participate in tuition reciprocity programs, which means out-of-state students do not receive cheaper tuition.
Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Institutions in Pennsylvania
A nonprofit college or university still charges students tuition. However, it uses that tuition to fund its students' education by providing research opportunities, maintaining facilities, and/or offering co-curriculars.
A for-profit college or university answers to a private organization or corporation. The primary goal of these institutions is to make money for their investors, which means tuition money typically goes to marketing and recruiting rather than to the students. There are 52 for-profit colleges in Pennsylvania that offer four-year or two-year degrees.
Nonprofit and for-profit colleges have pros and cons, but in general, nonprofit colleges offer a better education. However, some for-profit colleges provide more practical degree options for working students.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Private Institution in Pennsylvania?
Students should consider cost when deciding where to go to college. Private colleges in Pennsylvania charged an average of $42,812 in tuition and fees in 2019-2020. For room and board, private colleges and universities charged an additional $13,945. Students should also consider extra costs such as textbooks and other school materials.
The University of Pennsylvania is among the most expensive private colleges in Pennsylvania. The school charged students $79,014 in tuition, fees, and room and board in 2021-2022. Among the least expensive private colleges in Pennsylvania is Strayer University, which charged $21,735 for tuition, fees, and room and board in 2021-2022.
However, private colleges and universities also offer financial assistance for students — sometimes more than at public institutions. Students can also explore more options, such as tuition-free colleges.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Private Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania
How many private colleges and universities are there in Pennsylvania?
There are over 110 private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. Students can find both large and small private colleges in the state and specialized institutions like liberal arts colleges.
Private colleges and universities do not receive funding from the state. Tuition generally costs more at a private college than at a public college. However, students can often find more opportunities for financial aid at a private college.
What is the most expensive private institution in Pennsylvania?
Among the most expensive private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania is the University of Pennsylvania. Private colleges need tuition fees to cover administrative overhead, research opportunities, and employee salaries.
Readers should always research the cost of college before applying. Prospective students can look on each college's website for information about their financial aid policies or call the admissions office for details.
What is the least expensive private college or university in Pennsylvania?
Strayer University is among the least expensive private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. While private colleges and universities are generally more expensive than public institutions, students can still find options with reasonable tuition costs.
When applying to any college or university, students should consider the hidden costs of college, including textbooks, school supplies, and transportation expenses. Students can speak with the admissions office or financial aid department to learn more about the cost of attending college at a particular school.
Is a private college or university right for me?
Private and public colleges offer excellent education opportunities. In general, private institutions offer small class sizes and specialized programs.
However, private colleges and universities often cost more than public institutions, especially for students who live in-state. Public colleges and universities also offer more program options and extracurriculars.
Readers should consider factors like cost, area of study, and personal interests when choosing the right college for them.
Can I get more scholarship money at a private college or university?
While private colleges generally cost more, they also provide a lot of financial aid to students. Applicants to private colleges and universities may qualify for academic and need-based scholarships to cover the cost of tuition.
Readers can also research independent scholarship and grant opportunities. Students can use multiple scholarships during the year to help cover the cost of tuition.