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

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Showing 30 schools

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Graduation Rate

    83%

    Enrollment

    32,686

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $19718

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33746

    University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, operates as a public institution. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce. The institution charges an average per-credit fee of 1122. Students can fund their education with financial aid such as federal loans, scholarships, and grants. Bachelor's students graduate from the school at a rate of 83%. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus has received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #2

    Temple University

    Philadelphia, PA

    Graduation Rate

    74%

    Enrollment

    38,794

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16970

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $29882

    From its campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Temple University grants degrees and certificates as a top school. Students take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help students meet their career goals. Academic programs can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete, depending on degree or certificate type. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. These policies make it easier to apply. Admission advisors can provide more information on the application process. Financial aid helps degree-seekers pay for their education. Temple University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #3

    Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

    Slippery Rock, PA

    Graduation Rate

    68%

    Enrollment

    8,778

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10507

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14615

    A public institution, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania grants degrees from its campus in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to strengthen their skills. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. A waiver makes it easier to enroll. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. The accredited school qualifies for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #4

    West Chester University of Pennsylvania

    West Chester, PA

    Graduation Rate

    77%

    Enrollment

    17,669

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10421

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22245

    A public institution, West Chester University of Pennsylvania enrolls students from its campus in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. Students who complete an academic or technical program often enter the workforce right away. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The institution reports a graduation rate of 77%. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. West Chester University of Pennsylvania has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #5

    Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

    Lancaster, PA

    Graduation Rate

    61%

    Enrollment

    1,347

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8250

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8250

    Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, a public institution in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to bolster their knowledge. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The school supports learners with academic help and career services. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #6

    Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

    University Park, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    Online

    In-State Tuition

    $13988

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13988

    From its campus in University Park, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-World Campus awards degrees and certificates as a top school. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help students reach a variety of career goals. Academic programs can take as little as a few months or as many as seven years to complete, depending on the degree or certificate type and the student's enrollment status. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. Admission advisors can help applicants complete the process. Financial aid helps degree-seekers pay for their education. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #7

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Berks

    Reading, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15206

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $24916

    From its campus in Reading, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Berks offers multiple programs as a public institution. The school's programs help graduates launch or advance professional careers. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Learners at the institution choose from academic and technical programs. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements depending on their program. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Berks has received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #8

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Lehigh Valley

    Center Valley, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14476

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23466

    From its campus in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Lehigh Valley enrolls students in 36 programs. Degree-seekers enroll in rigorous, top-ranked programs at the school. The average student-to-teacher ratio is currently unavailable. The average amount of aid awarded to students is unknown. The school reports a 71% graduation rate. Students should explore how workplace experience makes them more competitive employee candidates. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #9

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Mont Alto

    Mont Alto, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13710

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22302

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Mont Alto, which offers programs from its Mont Alto, Pennsylvania campus, often ranks among the top schools. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help students reach a variety of career goals. Depending on the degree or certificate type, enrollees can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years completing a program. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The admissions staff can provide more information on the process. Students at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Mont Alto holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #10

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Brandywine

    Media, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14476

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23466

    From its Media, Pennsylvania campus, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Brandywine enrolls learners in 32 programs. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-instructor ratio is unknown. Data on the amount of aid students receive per year on average is unavailable. The school reports a 71% graduation rate for its programs. Hands-on experience helps graduates stand out on the job market. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #11

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Altoona

    Altoona, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15206

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $24916

    Located in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Altoona attracts students with their well-regarded programs. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. Academic and technical programs help learners reach their unique professional goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Flexible admission score requirements make 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. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Altoona is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #12

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Greater Allegheny

    McKeesport, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13710

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22302

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Greater Allegheny enrolls learners from its McKeesport, Pennsylvania campus. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help learners reach a variety of career goals. Depending on the program, students can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years earning their degree or certificate. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. The waiver makes it simpler to apply. The admissions department can provide additional resources on applying. At the accredited institution, learners also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #13

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State New Kensington

    New Kensington, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13710

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22302

    Located in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State New Kensington enrolls students as a public institution. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. At the accredited school, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 71%. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying. The school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #14

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Beaver

    Monaca, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13710

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22302

    Located in Monaca, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Beaver often ranks among the best schools. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school's academic and technical tracks help learners meet diverse career goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. These policies make it easier to enroll. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. Degree-seekers also use financial aid to cover their educational costs. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Beaver has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #15

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Schuylkill

    Schuylkill Haven, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14476

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23466

    Located in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Schuylkill grants college degrees as a public institution. The school offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to bolster their knowledge. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. The waiver makes it simpler to apply. Learners benefit from support services like tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Schuylkill holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #16

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Scranton

    Dunmore, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14476

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23466

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Scranton, which operates a campus in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, often ranks as a top school. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Academic programs generally take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete depending on degree or certificate type. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help prospective students complete their application. Degree-seekers at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Scranton holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #17

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Fayette- Eberly

    Lemont Furnace, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13710

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22302

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Fayette- Eberly offers programs from its campus in Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania. Students take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. Academic and technical programs help students reach their professional goals. Check the program website for specifics on the degree- or certificate-completion timeline. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help prospective students complete their application. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #18

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Hazleton

    Hazleton, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14476

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23466

    From its campus in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Hazleton educates students as a public institution. Students complete programs that prepare them for careers and professional advancement. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. Multiple programs at the school appear in national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their major, learners complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Hazleton holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #19

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Wilkes-Barre

    Lehman, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13594

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22186

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Wilkes-Barre offers programs from its campus in Lehman, Pennsylvania. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Depending on the program, students can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years earning their degree or certificate. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. These policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department can help prospective students determine the next steps. Learners at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover educational costs. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #20

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Harrisburg

    Middletown, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15206

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $24916

    Located in Middletown, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Harrisburg attracts students with their well-regarded programs. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Academic programs can take as little as a few months or as many as seven years to complete, depending on the degree or certificate type and the student's enrollment status. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. Financial aid provides options for degree-seekers to pay for their education. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Harrisburg holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #21

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State York

    York, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14476

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23466

    A public institution, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State York educates students on its campus in York, Pennsylvania. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their career goals. Students prepare to contribute to their field by completing courses. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State York is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #22

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Abington

    Abington, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14532

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23720

    A public institution located in Abington, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Abington educates students through multiple programs. Students leave the school with credentials that prepare them for the workplace. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Abington holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #23

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Erie-Behrend College

    Erie, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15206

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $24916

    From its Erie, Pennsylvania campus, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Erie-Behrend College enrolls learners in 94 programs. The institution offers top-ranked programs that provide a rigorous course of study. The student-to-teacher ratio is currently unavailable. The average amount of aid awarded to students is unknown. The public school reports a 71% graduation rate. Graduates often benefit from hands-on experience, which makes them more competitive candidates on the job market. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #24

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Shenango

    Sharon, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13350

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $21774

    A public institution located in Sharon, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Shenango offers a variety of programs. Students complete programs that prepare them for careers and professional advancement. The institution provides academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Multiple programs at the school appear in national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Shenango is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #25

    Pennsylvania State University-Penn State DuBois

    DuBois, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13710

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22302

    Located in DuBois, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State DuBois educates students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares students for advancement in their field. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. These policies make it easier to enroll. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The cost per credit is unknown. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State DuBois has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #26

    Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

    University Park, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    91,427

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $18450

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $35514

    Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus, located in University Park, Pennsylvania, often ranks as one of the best schools. Students study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Enrollees earn their degree or certificate in as little time as a few months or as much time as seven years depending on program type and enrollment status. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help applicants determine the next steps. Learners at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover educational costs. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #27

    Bucks County Community College

    Newtown, PA

    Graduation Rate

    21%

    Enrollment

    7,480

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4898

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13298

    Located in Pennsylvania, Bucks County Community College offers 94 programs for students. The institution's top-ranked programs offer students a challenging course of study. Information on the student-to-faculty ratio is unavailable. How much aid students receive on average is not currently known. Students earn their degree from the school at a rate of 21%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps students enter the workforce. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Many schools no longer require test scores for admission. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #28

    Butler County Community College

    Butler, PA

    Graduation Rate

    29%

    Enrollment

    3,176

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5100

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11100

    A public institution, Butler County Community College grants degrees from its campus in Butler, Pennsylvania. The college offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Students complete courses and experiential learning opportunities to bolster their knowledge. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. This makes it easier to enroll. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school often fund their education with federal aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Butler County Community College has received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #29

    Montgomery County Community College

    Blue Bell, PA

    Graduation Rate

    24%

    Enrollment

    10,309

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5730

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14970

    From its campus in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County Community College awards degrees and certificates 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. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The public institution reports a 24% graduation rate. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling. The school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #30

    Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

    Bloomsburg, PA

    Graduation Rate

    60%

    Enrollment

    8,574

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10958

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22782

    Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania enrolls students at its Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania campus as a public institution. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited institution, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. Bachelor's students graduate from the school at a rate of 60%. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    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 tuition
    • Wide selection of majors, minors, and professional certificates
    • Larger campuses with plenty of activities, social clubs, programs, and events
    • Greater diversity in the classroom and on campus
    • Prominent faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities
    • Greater exposure to world views

    Cons

    • Students at public college often still borrow money, which they must repay with interest when they graduate
    • Bigger public colleges may not offer the tight-knit communities some students seek
    • Students may feel overshadowed by the campus size and enrollment
    • Public schools may not attract as many international students
    • Admissions at leading public colleges can be competitive
    • Instructors 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.