Private Universities in Pennsylvania: A Complete List
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Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn, wrote famed Pennsylvanian and Founding Father Benjamin Franklin of education. Over 200 years later, private universities in Pennsylvania uphold Franklin's ideas with engaging undergraduate and graduate programs.
Top private colleges in Pennsylvania may cost more than comparable public schools, but their resources, faculty, and majors can make them an attractive option depending on your academic and career interests.
Use this guide to research popular private universities in Pennsylvania and explore the many benefits of studying there.
5 Popular Private Universities in Pennsylvania
The following private colleges in Pennsylvania are well known for their academic rigor, student success, and overall positive reputations. Consider applying to them today.
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $26,123
- Acceptance Rate: 7%
- Total Student Enrollment: 28,201
A member of the Ivy League, Penn features undergraduate majors in four schools. The university's Wharton School prides itself on its extensive alumni network and positive graduate outcomes. Consider Penn if you want to major in a STEM field, as the university invests a ton in scientific research.
Penn offers many on- and off-campus housing options and runs markets open to the public. Services within the extensive athletics department include personal trainers and group exercise sessions.
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $33,499
- Acceptance Rate: 11%
- Total Student Enrollment: 16,002
Situated in the heart of Pittsburgh, CMU educates over 14,000 students. You can choose an undergraduate major from one of the university's seven colleges. You can also customize your education through the university's variety of interdisciplinary majors and minors.
CMU wants to inspire athleticism in every learner with the Highmark Center, a state-of-the-art athletics facility under construction as of July 2023. Other ways to get involved at CMU include joining one of more than 400 student organizations or applying to one of the university's many fraternities and sororities.
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $34,837
- Acceptance Rate: 23%
- Total Student Enrollment: 10,383
A Catholic school located in the Philadelphia suburbs, Villanova educates nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers seven fully online undergraduate degrees, such as human resource management and general studies. Undergraduates can enhance their education with a five-year bachelor's/master's program.
Villanova helps you make the most of your time on campus with many student organizations, fitness centers, and state-of-the-art facilities. You can give back to the community by signing up for one of the Center for Service and Social Justice's volunteer opportunities.
Featured Online Programs
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $39,267
- Acceptance Rate: 80%
- Total Student Enrollment: 22,344
Founded in 1891, Drexel runs three campuses in Philadelphia and partners with universities around the world, including in China and Brazil. You can select from dozens of majors and may qualify for the Pennoni Honors College. Honors students can create a custom-tailored major or minor in interdisciplinary problem-solving.
Student organizations and Greek life define the Drexel campus experience. Nearly half of learners join a sport or participate in one of the university's many recreational programs.
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $20,715
- Acceptance Rate: 7%
- Total Student Enrollment: 1,625
Founded during the Civil War, Swarthmore College has an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and a 425-acre campus surrounded by nature. Some of the college's dozens of undergraduate majors include cognitive science, Latin, and peace and conflict studies. You can also design a unique major.
Many opportunities exist for you to get involved in campus life, including the Swarthmore Christian Fellowship and Queer Union. The college's athletics department features 20 varsity sports. You can also explore club sports, such as fencing.
List of All Private Universities in Pennsylvania
We've created a complete list of all four-year nonprofit private universities in Pennsylvania. You can use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.
The following school data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Schools that enroll fewer than 500 undergrads were not included in this list.
|School||Total Student Enrollment||Avg. Annual Net Price||Acceptance Rate||Number of Applicants|
|Bryn Mawr College||1,778||$39,072||31%||3,594|
|Carnegie Mellon University||15,057||$33,499||11%||34,261|
|Cedar Crest College||1,440||$23,500||84%||946|
|Chestnut Hill College||1,505||$25,357||98%||1,543|
|Delaware Valley University||2,168||$29,256||95%||2,299|
|Franklin and Marshall College||2,145||$31,135||36%||8,923|
|Grove City College||2,317||$23,538||71%||2,174|
|Gwynedd Mercy University||2,521||$28,122||58%||1,063|
|Harrisburg University of Science and Technology||3,206||$10,022||84%||1,160|
|Holy Family University||3,011||$12,379||77%||1,986|
|La Roche University||1,235||$24,233||97%||3,222|
|La Salle University||4,043||$17,552||94%||5,214|
|Lancaster Bible College||1,967||$21,415||97%||351|
|Lebanon Valley College||2,041||$26,743||77%||3,130|
|Mount Aloysius College||2,706||$20,564||86%||1,865|
|Point Park University||3,505||$24,702||82%||6,033|
|Robert Morris University||3,764||$23,572||94%||4,684|
|Saint Francis University||3,034||$27,459||73%||2,167|
|Saint Joseph's University||6,464||$33,777||89%||9,708|
|Saint Vincent College||1,592||$23,121||73%||2,163|
|Seton Hill University||2,012||$24,576||78%||2,668|
|The University of the Arts||1,557||$42,467||80%||1,086|
|Thomas Jefferson University||8,270||$28,110||89%||5,723|
|University of Pennsylvania||28,038||$26,123||7%||54,588|
|University of Scranton||4,692||$35,526||84%||9,530|
|University of Valley Forge||583||$25,825||82%||370|
|Washington & Jefferson College||1,157||$25,636||88%||3,414|
|York College of Pennsylvania||3,852||$20,916||96%||4,529|
How Much Do Private Colleges in Pennsylvania Cost?
In general, private universities in Pennsylvania cost significantly more than public universities, regardless of whether you're an in-state or out-of-state student.
According to NCES, four-year private universities in Pennsylvania cost an average of $43,926 in tuition and fees in 2021 — that's roughly $18,000 more than the average cost for out-of-state students at public colleges in the state.
|Institution Type||Average Tuition & Required Fees|
|Public 4-Year (in-state)||$14,532|
|Public 4-Year (out-of-state)||$25,697|
Benefits of Studying in Pennsylvania
The many top private universities in Pennsylvania make up just one of the reasons you should consider studying in the Keystone State.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Pennsylvania experienced a low 4% unemployment rate in May 2023. This figure suggests a good economy with open positions for recent college graduates.
Private colleges in Pennsylvania can prepare you for a career with one of the state's top employers, such as Amazon, UPS, and Comcast. These and other companies require a college education for many entry-level positions. Living in Pennsylvania also places you near New York City and other major metropolitan areas.
Frequently Asked Questions About Private Universities in Pennsylvania
How many private universities are in Pennsylvania?
There are over 100 four-year nonprofit private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, according to NCES. These include secular and religious institutions, and most have an acceptance rate above 50%. Student body size also varies greatly, giving you many options to find the right educational experience.
Start your research of private colleges in Pennsylvania by comparing their majors with your academic interests. Also, check whether schools and programs hold proper accreditation. These two steps can help you narrow your college search significantly.
What Ivy League colleges are in Pennsylvania?
The only Ivy League college in Pennsylvania, the University of Pennsylvania features a distinguished faculty and students who often become leaders in their fields. Penn and the other seven Ivy League schools date back over 200 years and rank as some of the world's best institutions of higher learning.
Keep in mind that prestige isn't everything. Academic offerings, graduate outcomes, and support services may make a greater impact on your life after graduation.
Is it expensive to go to college in Pennsylvania?
Private four-year colleges in Pennsylvania charge considerably more than the state's public schools. Even out-of-state students tend to save money at a Pennsylvania public colleges compared to those attending private schools.
Your cost of attendance (COA) includes tuition and fees, in addition to expenses like housing, meals, fees, and personal expenses. You can lower your COA by applying for institutional and private scholarships.