Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Online learning blends accessibility and convenience. Find out what the best online universities in Pennsylvania offer and how they might benefit you.
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Updated on March 18, 2024
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Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Earning a college degree can lead to higher wages and more career options. With 186 two- and degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the Keystone State, Pennsylvania students have many educational options to choose from when pursuing a degree.

Thanks to online learning, students in Pennsylvania can also now study virtually and enjoy more schedule and travel flexibility. The large number of options, however, can make the decision-making process feel overwhelming.

We've broken down what it could cost to attend college in Pennsylvania and the job opportunities your degree can lead to. We also highlight the best online universities in the state to help you find the right fit.

Featured Online Bachelor's Programs

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

Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Drexel University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $956-$994
Out-of-State | $956-$994

Quarter Credits to Graduate: 180

If you like the idea of being in Philadelphia, then consider Drexel University. If you live elsewhere, you can still enroll in one of the school's online undergraduate degree programs, including business, psychology, cybersecurity, education, and communications.

The majority of Drexel graduates (94%) who have secured full-time employment report being satisfied with their jobs. If you or an immediate family member is a Drexel alum, you can get a 15-30% tuition reduction. Also, because Drexel University operates on quarters instead of semesters, you can take more classes in a single term.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$54,766
Out-of-state
$54,766
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$36,234
Out-of-state
$36,234
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
90%
Acceptance Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
23,216
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#2 Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Thomas Jefferson University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,396
Out-of-State | $1,396

Credits to Graduate: 120

If choosing a major sounds restrictive or you want an education that gives you real-world experience, Thomas Jefferson University might be the ideal place for you. The school's Nexus Learning program allows you to collaborate with students from other disciplines to acquire hands-on learning from industry leaders.

Thomas Jefferson University offers 10 online bachelor of science degree programs, including in business management, health sciences, human resource management, and information technology. Some of these online programs offer hybrid formats for students who still want to participate in traditional classroom environments.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$41,900
Out-of-state
$41,900
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$22,068
Out-of-state
$22,068
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
8,270
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#3 Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Temple University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $499-$693
Out-of-State | $899-$1,154

Credits to Graduate: 123

A top-ranked public research institution, Temple University offers fully online bachelor's degrees in business administration, liberal studies, social work, and virtual media management. Even if you don't enroll in an online program, you can access Temple University's non-credit online courses in English learning and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) preparation to supplement your academic development.

As a Temple graduate, you would be connected with over 360,000 alums who can provide mentorship and professional connections. Almost 150,000 Temple University graduates still live and work in the Philadelphia area.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$16,488
Out-of-state
$29,712
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,388
Out-of-state
$23,922
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
72%
Students Enrolled
35,626
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#4 Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Elizabethtown College

  • Elizabethtown, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $425
Out-of-State | $425

Credits to Graduate: 125

If you're an older learner looking for an accelerated online degree that can help you advance your career, give Elizabethtown College a look. By completing a single course every five weeks, you can shorten the time it takes you to earn a BS from one of six online bachelor's programs, including accounting, human services, and professional studies.

Within one year after earning their degrees, 97% of Elizabethtown College graduates are employed or pursuing advanced degrees. Also, 64% of students with accelerated degrees reported experiencing improved job performance.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$34,000
Out-of-state
$34,000
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$34,000
Out-of-state
$34,000
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
1,933
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#5 Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

  • Slippery Rock, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $322
Out-of-State | $328

Credits to Graduate: 120

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (SRU) was founded in 1889 and is located about an hour north of Pittsburgh. It's one of 10 institutions of higher education making up the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education.

SRU might be the ideal school for you if you want to transfer from another institution or are a working professional needing a flexible schedule. Here, you can complete your bachelor's degree by enrolling in one many fully online programs, including marketing, accounting, leadership studies.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,716
Out-of-state
$11,574
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,288
Out-of-state
$13,932
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
82%
Acceptance Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
8,405
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#6 Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Saint Francis University

  • Loretto, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,283
Out-of-State | $1,283

Credits to Graduate: 128

St. Francis University is the oldest Catholic and Franciscan college in the U.S. and promotes principles of faith, discovery, respect, generosity, and joy. The school reports a graduation rate of over 70%, and early-career earnings among graduates typically surpass $62,000.

Students can choose from 11 fully online degrees, including behavioral science, computer systems management, finance, and healthcare management. Also, many other programs offer hybrid curricula. Applicants to online programs must submit official postsecondary or high school transcripts. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$38,852
Out-of-state
$38,852
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$21,920
Out-of-state
$21,920
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
85%
Acceptance Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
3,034
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#7 Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Misericordia University

  • Dallas, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $675
Out-of-State | $675

Credits to Graduate: 120

As a Misericordia University student, you'll be exposed to rigorous class-based learning combined with real-world professional development and leadership. Within one year after graduation, alums earn a median salary of $64,000.

If you work full time, are a nontraditional student, or already have college credits under your belt, one of the accelerated online bachelor's programs may offer an experience that meets your needs. Whether you major in accounting, diagnostic medical sonography, or social work, you'll be able to enroll in new courses six times a year.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$34,100
Out-of-state
$34,100
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$35,550
Out-of-state
$35,550
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
2,239
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#8 Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Immaculata University

  • Immaculata, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,563
Out-of-State | $1,563

Credits to Graduate: 126

With a 10-to-1 student-faculty ratio, Immaculata University offers a private education that focuses on faith-based values, student outcomes, and personal growth. The school reports that 94% of alumni of undergraduate programs report being employed or continuing their education.

The fully online programs at Immaculata University are career-focused and allow you to progress through your courses based on your timeline. You can earn your online bachelor's in allied health and healthcare, business, cybersecurity, human resources, and emergency management. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$26,900
Out-of-state
$26,900
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,780
Out-of-state
$12,780
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
82%
Acceptance Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
2,478
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#9 Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania State University

  • University Park, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $820
Out-of-State | $1,651

Credits to Graduate: 120

The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) offers 41 degrees that are 100% online. Online students can major in one of various disciplines, including business, technology, energy, criminal justice, healthcare or public health, political science, psychology, and many others.

Penn State World Campus is the home of the school's online offerings. As a student, you'll be in good company. You'll advance your education alongside organizational and military leaders, contributing your experiences and knowledge to this educational community.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$15,400
Out-of-state
$25,084
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$23,189
Out-of-state
$39,248
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
87%
Acceptance Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
88,914
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#10 Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

DeSales University

  • Center Valley, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $560
Out-of-State | $560

Credits to Graduate: 120

DeSales University is a Catholic institution located in Center Valley, about an hour from Philadelphia and close to other major cities on the East Coast. The school reports a 22-to-1 student-faculty ratio and about 22% of all students are enrolled in online courses. 

If you want to get your degree fully online, you can choose from among 15 accelerated programs, including accounting and forensic accounting, financial planning, management of information technology, pharmaceutical marketing, nursing, and theology. You can also enroll in programs with blended formats that include on-campus coursework.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$39,500
Out-of-state
$39,500
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$21,120
Out-of-state
$21,120
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
81%
Acceptance Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
3,101
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

Ranking Methodology Summary

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To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

How Much Does Online College Cost in Pennsylvania?

The cost of online college in Pennsylvania varies depending on the type of school you choose and your residency status.

In-state four-year public schools usually cost the least to attend. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), public schools charged in-state students an average of $14,920 in tuition and required fees in 2021-2022. Out-of-state students paid nearly double, and private school students paid more than three times that amount.

Schools often charge online students in-state rates even if they live outside the state. In this way, virtual learners not only save on transportation and lodging, but also on tuition.

Students can also pursue federal financial aid and support from specific organizations. Pennsylvania residents can make use of state-run financial aid as well, such as the programs from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

Cost of College in Pennsylvania in 2021-2022
Institution Type Average Tuition and Required Fees
Public Four-Year (In-State) $14,920
Public Four-Year (Out-of-State) $26,426
Private Four-Year $45,406
Public Two-Year (In-State) $5,549
Public Two-Year (Out-of-State) $12,657
Source: NCES

10 Fast-Growing Jobs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's job market looks bright for professionals with a bachelor's degree. The following table shows that the careers with the highest projected growth rates also earn higher-than-average salaries.

In fact, there are five fields with average annual salaries of over $100,000 and projected job growth rates of over 25% between 2020 and 2030.

You can access the promising fields below by attending one of the many online universities in Pennsylvania.

10 Fast-Growing Jobs in Pennsylvania
Job Job Growth 2020-2030 Average Annual Wage 2022
Statisticians 37.3% $89,540
Physician Assistants 33.5% $110,140
Medical and Health Services Managers 33.2% $120,910
Nurse Practitioners 32.7% $120,550
Information Security Analysts 32.5% $100,370
Software Developers and QA Analysts 27.9% N/A
Speech-Language Pathologists 26.8% $85,600
Operations Research Analysts 26% $79,260
Actuaries 25% $122,910
Interpreters and Translators 22.7% $55,170
Source: Center for Workforce Information Analysis

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Is online college free in Pennsylvania?

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No, Pennsylvania's online colleges are not free. However, the state does feature many affordable schools and programs. Online students can also qualify for the same financial aid opportunities as on-campus students, reducing study costs considerably.

For example, the PA State Grant alone may cover up to 50% of your costs.

Can you attend an online college in Pennsylvania without living in Pennsylvania?

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You can attend an online university in Pennsylvania while living out of state, often without any travel or campus requirements. However, some online programs require students to visit campus for certain classes or orientations. You may also be required to complete an internship at a Pennsylvania location.

Finally, many online colleges in Pennsylvania charge higher tuition rates for out-of-state students.

What is the easiest Pennsylvania online college to get into?

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Many online colleges in Pennsylvania have flexible admission requirements. According to the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard, the Pennsylvania College of Technology and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania are the only online colleges in the state with open admission policies and 100% acceptance rates.

What is the cheapest online college in Pennsylvania?

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The cost of your education depends on several factors, including the school type and your location. Some of the lowest-cost online colleges in Pennsylvania include Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (CU) and Pennsylvania Western University (PennWest Global Online).

Both PennWest Global Online and CU charge an annual tuition of around $15,000 for out-of-state learners, which allows you to save money if you fast-track your degree.

How many online colleges are in Pennsylvania?

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According to NCES, there are 40 public and 112 private nonprofit colleges in Pennsylvania as of 2021-2022. The majority of these schools offer at least some online programs, and over 40% of the state's student body takes online classes.


Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed February 15th, 2024.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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