2022 Top Public Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania

Public colleges and universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it's not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public colleges and universities also rank highly among the best institutions in many states, Pennsylvania included.

Public institutions receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

2022 Best Public Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania

#1

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

University Park, PA

Graduation Rate

71%

Enrollment

91,427

Format

In person

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in University Park, Pennsylvania. The institution provides a variety of programs and coursework. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. At the school, students typically complete an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in 1-2 years, or a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit standardized test scores. These policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department can help students complete the application process. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#2

Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit LPN Career

Lewisburg, PA

Graduation Rate

70%

Enrollment

117

Format

In person

Home to 1 certificate programs, Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit LPN Career operates a main campus in Pennsylvania. Students can usually complete a credential program in a period of weeks or months. Short-term credential programs such as the ones at this school often operate under an accelerated timeframe, enabling students to enter the workforce quickly. The program builds advanced skills that can help students improve their career options. The school is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit LPN Career's admissions office can answer most questions about the school's admissions process. Graduates pursue careers in their field often immediately following program completion.

#3

Huntingdon County Career and Technology Center

Mill Creek, PA

Graduation Rate

78%

Enrollment

54

Format

In person

A public school in Pennsylvania, Huntingdon County Career and Technology Center offers professional education in many fields. Students can take online courses or study in person in Mill Creek. Learners can enroll in 1 certificate programs. Students in the programs develop specialized skills in one professional subject area. Programs take less time to complete than a four-year bachelor's degree, since students don't take general education requirements. Earning a diploma or certificate can help students improve their professional prospects. Graduates often receive a strong return on investment, including more job opportunities and higher salaries. Many graduates also enroll in associate or bachelor's programs. Credits earned in a diploma or certificate program may transfer to another degree.

#4

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

University Park, PA

Graduation Rate

71%

Enrollment

Not Provided

Format

Online

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus, located in University Park, Pennsylvania, operates as a public institution. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. Students who complete an academic or technical program enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Bachelor's students graduate from the school at a rate of 71%. The admission rate for prospective students is 76%. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus has received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#5

Eastern Center for Arts and Technology

Willow Grove, PA

Graduation Rate

100%

Enrollment

76

Format

In person

Eastern Center for Arts and Technology is a Pennsylvania-based public school that offers a wide selection of professional programs. The institution provides students seeking a faster course of study with 1 certificate programs. The coursework teaches core topics and specialized training. The programs' rigorous curriculua meet high academic standards. After completing a certificate, graduates pursue opportunities in related fields. A total of 88% of students get financial aid to pay for college. Learners qualify for federal financial aid at this accredited institution. Applicants can contact the school's admissions department for more information on the application process. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Education.

#6

Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County

Scranton, PA

Graduation Rate

68%

Enrollment

70

Format

In person

Located in Pennsylvania, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County offers 1 certificate programs. Learners in the programs complete rigorous curricula to prepare for careers and further studies. Students acquire knowledge to enter the workforce or advance their careers. The school's experiential learning opportunities help learners apply their knowledge in the real world. The postsecondary institution meets high academic standards to maintain its accreditation status. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, learners enrolled in the school qualify for federal financial aid. Prospective degree-seekers can learn about residency and practical experience requirements through the school's website. The institution holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

#7

Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center

Altoona, PA

Graduation Rate

81%

Enrollment

216

Format

In person

Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center hosts 33 certificate programs, making the school a top choice for professional training in Pennsylvania. Learners complete rigorous curricula emphasizing theoretical and practical knowledge. Degree-seekers gain skills necessary to launch their career or pursue promotions. Enrollees take their knowledge to the real world with experiential learning opportunities. The institution meets high academic standards to maintain its accreditation status. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. As an accredited institution, learners enrolled in the school can receive federal financial aid. The school provides information about general education and major coursework on its website. The institution has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Education.

#8

Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology

Lewistown, PA

Graduation Rate

90%

Enrollment

46

Format

In person

One of the top schools in Pennsylvania, Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology is a public institution. Students can study on campus in Lewistown or online. Candidates can enroll in 1 certificate programs. Earning their diploma or certificate, students build specialized skills in one subject area. Diploma and certificate programs don't require general education courses, which makes them faster to complete than four-year bachelor's degrees. Diploma and certificate programs can offer both professional and academic benefits. A professional credential can lead to more job opportunities and higher pay. These credentials can also lead students to an associate or bachelor's degree Some schools allow students to transfer the credits from a certificate or diploma program to another degree program.

#9

Fayette County Career & Technical Institute Practical Nursing Program

Uniontown, PA

Graduation Rate

76%

Enrollment

111

Format

In person

Home to 1 certificate programs, Fayette County Career & Technical Institute Practical Nursing Program ranks among the best schools in Pennsylvania. The rigorous curriculum helps learners gain theoretical and practical knowledge. Degree-seekers prepare to succeed in professional roles. Experiential learning opportunities let learners apply their knowledge in real-world contexts. The postsecondary institution holds accreditation, demonstrating the quality of its academic programs. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. As an accredited institution, learners enrolled in the school qualify for federal financial aid. The school provides information about required coursework on its website. The institution holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Secondary Education.

#10

Forbes Road Career and Technology Center

Monroeville, PA

Graduation Rate

100%

Enrollment

7

Format

In person

Forbes Road Career and Technology Center is a Pennsylvania-based public school that hosts an assortment of professional training programs. The school offers students seeking a quicker course of study 25 certificate programs. The curriculum teaches core topics and specialized training. The programs deliver rigorous curricula to prepare learners for careers and further studies. Upon completing a certificate, graduates seek careers in related fields. A total of 0% of students receive financial aid. Learners can receive federal financial aid at this accredited institution. Prospective students who have questions about the application process can contact the school's admissions department. Independent accreditors ensure that students receive a quality education.

#11

Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology

Pleasant Gap, PA

Graduation Rate

86%

Enrollment

160

Format

In person

A public institution, Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology enrolls students from its campus in Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Enrollees at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The institution reports that 87% of students receive financial aid and 46% take out loans. The public school reports a 86% graduation rate. The admission rate for applicants is 90%. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements. Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

#12

Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center

Springville, PA

Graduation Rate

96%

Enrollment

65

Format

In person

Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center is a public school that operates a main campus in Pennsylvania. Learners seeking an accelerated course of study can choose from 12 certificate programs at the school. The curriculum teaches core topics and specialized training. Enrollees complete rigorous curricula to prepare for careers and further studies. Graduates pursue opportunities in related fields after finishing a certificate. A total of 93% of students get financial aid to pay for college. As an accredited school, learners can receive federal financial aid. Prospective students can contact the school's admissions department to learn more about the application process. The school holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education.

#13

Berks Career & Technology Center

Leesport, PA

Graduation Rate

83%

Enrollment

52

Format

In person

Serving students of all backgrounds, Berks Career & Technology Center is a public school based in Pennsylvania. Learners seeking an accelerated course of study can choose from 31 certificate programs at the school. Program curriculum teaches core topics and specialized training. After completing the rigorous curriculum, graduates can pursue careers or enroll in other programs. After finishing a certificate, graduates seek opportunities in related fields. The amount of students awarded financial aid to pay for school is 84%. Students can receive federal financial aid at this accredited institution. The school's admissions department can answer any questions about the application process. The school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Secondary Education.

#14

Western Area Career & Technology Center

Canonsburg, PA

Graduation Rate

67%

Enrollment

72

Format

In person

Located in Pennsylvania, Western Area Career & Technology Center is a public school that offers professional training in many fields. The institution offers learners seeking an accelerated course of study 1 certificate programs. Program coursework covers core topics and specialized training. The programs' rigorous curriculua meet high academic standards. Graduates seek opportunities in related fields after finishing a certificate. About 83% of learners receive financial aid to pay for college. As an accredited school, learners qualify for federal financial aid. For more information about the application process, prospective students should contact the school's admissions department. The school has received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Secondary Education.

#15

Delaware County Technical School-Practical Nursing Program

Broomall, PA

Graduation Rate

63%

Enrollment

68

Format

In person

Delaware County Technical School-Practical Nursing Program hosts 1 certificate programs, offering professional training to students throughout Pennsylvania. Enrollees complete a rigorous curriculum emphasizing both theory and practice. Students gain skills necessary to launch their career or pursue promotions. Experiential learning helps enrollees apply knowledge in real-world contexts. Like those at other accredited schools, learners at this institution can qualify for federal financial aid. The school's cost per credit is unknown. Students enrolled in a program at the accredited school qualify for federal financial aid. Prospective degree-seekers can learn about requirements through the school's website. The institution has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

#16

Lancaster County Career and Technology Center

Willow Street, PA

Graduation Rate

81%

Enrollment

333

Format

In person

From its campus in Willow Street, Pennsylvania, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center offers academic programs as a public institution. Students leave the school with credentials that prepare them for the workplace. Degree-seekers benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Students receive an average aid award of $4657, making the average tuition cost after aid $7848. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements depending on their program. The school is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.

#17

Clearfield County Career and Technology Center

Clearfield, PA

Graduation Rate

78%

Enrollment

62

Format

In person

Located in Pennsylvania, Clearfield County Career and Technology Center is a public school. Admitted students can enroll on campus in Clearfield or online. Enrollees select from 16 certificate programs. Students in the programs gain knowledge and skills in one specialized study area. Diploma and certificate programs don't require general education courses, which makes them faster to complete than four-year bachelor's degrees. Certificate and diploma programs can impact students' careers long term. The return on investment includes the possibility of more career opportunities and higher pay. Many students choose to continue their education by pursuing an associate or bachelor's degree. After completing a credential, students may be able to transfer their credits toward another degree.

#18

Northern Tier Career Center

Towanda, PA

Graduation Rate

44%

Enrollment

34

Format

In person

A public institution based in Pennsylvania, Northern Tier Career Center ranks among the top schools in the state. Admitted students can take courses on campus in Towanda or online. The school has 1 certificate programs. The programs train students in one specialized area of study. Diploma and certificate programs take less time to complete than four-year bachelor's degrees. Diplomas and certificates can impact students careers greatly. A professional credential often leads to increased job opportunities and higher salary potential. A diploma or certificate may also prepare students to pursue an associate or bachelor's degree. Credits earned in a diploma or certificate program may transfer to a two- or four-year degree.

#19

York County School of Technology-Adult & Continuing Education

York, PA

Graduation Rate

69%

Enrollment

130

Format

In person

York County School of Technology-Adult & Continuing Education offers 15 certificate programs from its campus in Pennsylvania. Certificate and diploma programs often enable students to earn a credential in weeks or months. Like many diplomas and certificates, credential programs here serve students looking to enter the workforce quickly. The program highlights specialized skills that can help students increase their job prospects. The school has received accreditation from the Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Education. For additional information on the application process, students should contact York County School of Technology-Adult & Continuing Education's admissions office. Graduates pursue careers in their field often immediately following program completion.

#20

Chester County Intermediate Unit

Downingtown, PA

Graduation Rate

67%

Enrollment

100

Format

In person

Ranked among the top public schools in Pennsylvania, Chester County Intermediate Unit offers a variety of professional programs. Learners interested in a faster course of study can choose from 1 certificate programs at the school. Students take core courses and receive specialized training. The programs deliver rigorous curricula to prepare learners for careers and further studies. After graduating from a certificate, learners seek careers in related fields. A total of 86% of students get financial aid to pay for college. As an accredited school, learners qualify for federal financial aid. For help with the application process, students can contact the school's admissions department. The school has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

#21

Mercer County Career Center

Mercer, PA

Graduation Rate

55%

Enrollment

22

Format

In person

Ranked among the top public schools in Pennsylvania, Mercer County Career Center offers a variety of professional programs. Students can study online or on campus in Mercer. Learners can choose from 1 certificate programs. Enrollees in certificate or diploma programs develop advanced skills in a specific subject area while following an accelerated format. With no general education courses to complete, diploma and certificate candidates can graduate faster than bachelor's candidates. Certificate and diploma programs offer many long-term professional benefits. Graduates can earn a significant return on investment, including more career opportunities and higher pay. These credentials may also prepare students to pursue an associate or bachelor's degree. Some schools let students transfer diploma or certificate credits toward another degree.

#22

Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center

Johnstown, PA

Graduation Rate

81%

Enrollment

183

Format

In person

Offering 13 certificate programs, Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center serves students from a main campus in Pennsylvania. Programs feature rigorous curricula that meet high academic standards. Degree-seekers gain skills necessary to succeed in professional roles. Experiential learning opportunities teach enrollees how to apply lessons in real-world contexts. The institution maintains accreditation, signifying high-quality academic programs. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. As an accredited institution, learners enrolled in a program at the school qualify for federal financial aid. Prospective degree-seekers can learn about residency and practical experience requirements through the school's website. The institution holds programmatic accreditation from Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Education.

#23

Somerset County Technology Center

Somerset, PA

Graduation Rate

71%

Enrollment

77

Format

In person

Somerset County Technology Center hosts 19 certificate programs, making the school a top choice for professional training in Pennsylvania. For students looking to finish school quickly, most credential programs last just weeks or months, rather than years. Programs here attract students who want to develop advanced skills in an accelerated time frame. Students build specific skills that can help them pursue new career options. The school has received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Secondary Education. Somerset County Technology Center's admissions office can answer most questions about the school's admissions process. Graduates seek careers in their area of expertise after finishing their programs.

#24

Temple University

Philadelphia, PA

Graduation Rate

74%

Enrollment

38,794

Format

Online, In person

From its campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Temple University offers multiple programs as a public institution. Students earn an accredited degree that prepares them for careers and professional advancement. Learners enroll in academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school's programs appear in national rankings. The school's cost per credit is unknown. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Students receive an average aid award of $ 8964, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $ 23032. The institution offers both academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, enrollees complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Temple University has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#25

Franklin County Career and Technology Center

Chambersburg, PA

Graduation Rate

38%

Enrollment

64

Format

In person

Franklin County Career and Technology Center is a Pennsylvania-based public school that hosts an assortment of professional training programs. The school offers learners seeking an accelerated course of study 1 certificate programs. The curriculum covers core topics and specialized training. Enrollees in the program complete rigorous curricula to prepare for careers and further studies. After graduating from a certificate, learners pursue opportunities in related fields. A total of 69% of learners receive financial aid to pay for college. As an accredited institution, students at the school qualify for federal financial aid. The school's admissions department can answer questions about the application process. The school is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

#26

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

Lancaster, PA

Graduation Rate

61%

Enrollment

1,347

Format

In person

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, operates as a public institution. Learners take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. At the accredited school, enrollees qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. At the institution, 88% of students receive financial aid and 52% take out loans. The public school reports a 61% graduation rate. The admission rate is 89% for hopeful students. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#27

Schuylkill Technology Center

Frackville, PA

Graduation Rate

97%

Enrollment

54

Format

In person

Schuylkill Technology Center offers 4 certificate programs from its campus in Pennsylvania. Programs emphasize theoretical and practical knowledge through rigorous curriculum. Students gain skills necessary to launch their career or pursue promotions. The school's focus on experiential learning pushes learners to apply lessons in real-world contexts. The postsecondary institution meets high academic standards to maintain its accreditation status. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. As an accredited institution, learners enrolled at the school qualify for federal financial aid. The college provides information about general education and major coursework on its website. The postsecondary institution is accredited by the Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Education.

#28

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock, PA

Graduation Rate

68%

Enrollment

8,778

Format

Online, In person

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, which operates a campus in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, often ranks as one of the best colleges. Learners choose from a variety of degree-granting programs. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Students typically complete an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in two, and a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help applicants determine the next steps. Degree-seekers at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#29

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

Pittsburgh, PA

Graduation Rate

83%

Enrollment

32,686

Format

Online, In person

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, operates as a public institution. Learners take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs for students planning to enter the workforce or pursue further studies degree. Learners can expect to pay 1122 per credit at the school. At the accredited institution, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 77% of learners receive financial aid, while 48% take out loans. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 83%. The admission rate is 57% for incoming students. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#30

Pennsylvania State University-Dickinson Law

Carlisle, PA

Graduation Rate

Not Provided

Enrollment

Not Provided

Format

In person

From its campus in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Dickinson Law enrolls students as a public institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. We do not know the graduation rate at this time. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements and start dates. Pennsylvania State University-Dickinson Law holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

Why Choose a Public College or University in Pennsylvania?

Public colleges and universities in Pennsylvania offer access to a relatively affordable education and leading research centers and facilities.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator shows that Pennsylvania has 101 public colleges and universities. These include four-year and two-year institutions, as well as schools offering programs that can be completed in less than two years.

Four-year public colleges include The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University.

Prospective students may think cost matters most when deciding on the right college — and it does. However, they must also weigh other factors, such as which schools offer courses in the field they want to study.

Penn State, for example, ranks 22nd for its research, according to the National Science Foundation rankings of Higher Education Research and Development research expenditures. The university boasted 12 fields of research that ranked in the top 10, including material science (which ranked first), psychology, sociology, and engineering.

The cost of attending private colleges in the Keystone State, such as the University of Pennsylvania, can be nearly three times as much as attending Pennsylvania's public schools.

Out-of-state students also typically pay more to attend college in Pennsylvania, especially since Pennsylvania does not maintain regional reciprocity agreements with other states. Online programs often offer flat tuition rates for students no matter where they live.

This guide details the most and least expensive public colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, what they cost, and how to choose the right college for you.

Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in Pennsylvania

Pros

Cheaper tuitionWide selection of majors, minors, and professional certificatesLarger campuses with plenty of activities, social clubs, programs, and eventsGreater diversity in the classroom and on campusProminent faculty and state-of-the-art research facilitiesGreater exposure to world views

Cons

Students at public college often still borrow money, which they must repay with interest when they graduateBigger public colleges may not offer the tight-knit communities some students seekStudents may feel overshadowed by the campus size and enrollmentPublic schools may not attract as many international studentsAdmissions at leading public colleges can be competitiveInstructors may not provide personalized attention available at smaller, private colleges

Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Universities in Pennsylvania

There has been a lot of attention on for-profit colleges. Any profits these schools make is distributed among their shareholders. The shareholders' roles and the priority to make profits have been scrutinized.

For-profit schools are often viewed as providing a less rigorous education than nonprofit colleges. However, this is not always the case.

Pennsylvania has 106 private for-profit schools. Many provide specialized vocational training. These schools can offer flexible programs where students can quickly learn skills and get training in fields like cosmetology, automotive services, and aviation.

Nonprofit colleges, which include public and private schools, earn accreditation, a voluntary process that assures students that the school and its curriculum have been examined by an independent agency.

Nonprofit public universities and colleges in Pennsylvania get funding from the federal government as well as from tuition, donations, and endowments. Profits get reinvested into the schools. The funds are used to improve students' educational experience, pay instructors and professors, and fund research.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in Pennsylvania?

According to NCES, in-state undergraduates at Pennsylvania public four-year colleges paid, on average, $15,656 for tuition and required fees, plus $11,838 for room and board, in 2019-2020. Private four-year colleges in Pennsylvania charged students an average of $42,812 for tuition and required fees during that same academic year.

Pennsylvania does not have regional reciprocity agreements with other states, which means nonresident students may pay double, if not more, for tuition.

NCES reports that Pennsylvania four-year public colleges charged out-of-state students $30,222 for tuition and required fees in 2019-2020. At two-year colleges in Pennsylvania, students paid $5,348 for in-state tuition and fees and $13,480 for out-of-state tuition and fees.

Colleges commonly add additional fees to pay for such things as campus activities, technology services, distance learning, and more.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania

How many public colleges and universities are there in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, there are 45 four-year and 26 two-year public colleges and universities, where students can pursue their educational goals.

These schools offer a wide variety of classes. So students can develop their current interests and form new ones that encourage them to engage with the world around them.

Some people may think public schools are not as academically challenging as private schools. This, however, is untrue.

Public colleges and universities are staffed with instructors and professors who are passionate about the subjects they teach and ignite this same enthusiasm to learn in their students. At any of the public institutions in Pennsylvania, students have the opportunity to thrive.

What is the most expensive public university in Pennsylvania?

The University of Pittsburgh ranks among the most expensive public colleges in Pennsylvania. For the 2021-2022 academic year, its undergraduate tuition rates were $19,092 for full-time, in-state students and $34,124 for out-of-state degree-seekers.

Nationwide, college tuition has increased over 170% over the last 40 years. To date, over 43 million Americans have $1.75 trillion in student loan debt.

What is the least expensive public university in Pennsylvania?

Bloomsburg University (BU) of Pennsylvania — with a full-time undergraduate tuition rate of $7,792 in 2022-2023 — ranks among the least expensive public universities in the state.

Other public universities in Pennsylvania with the least expensive tuition rates include California University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln University, and Millersville University.

Tuition at Pennsylvania's public universities fluctuates, and a student's residency status or their degree choice can make the final cost of college more expensive. Graduate students may also pay more for their education than undergraduate students.

What is the biggest public university in Pennsylvania?

Penn State is the biggest public university in Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855, the school has 24 campuses with 22,000 acres. Penn State boasts a total enrollment of 88,914 as of 2021 and more than 707,000 alumni worldwide. The enrollment includes 15,438 graduate students and 73,476 undergraduate students.

In 2021, Penn State received more than 168,000 applications.

Students choose from more than 160 bachelor's degree programs, as well as more than 90 associate degree and 190 graduate degree programs.

Penn State reported $993 million in research expenditures in 2021.

Is a public college or university right for me?

No one can truly answer this question but you. There are pros and cons to attending a public institution — what suits one student might not suit the next.

Public colleges typically cost less than private schools. Public colleges and universities provide a robust catalog of programs and research opportunities.

With a larger enrollment, the campus life at public colleges and universities in Pennsylvania can offer more social activities, volunteer and civic opportunities, clubs, and networking.

Private colleges also come with benefits such as prestige and generous scholarships and grants, thanks to funding from endowments.