Best Private Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

Best Private Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Pennsylvania.

Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania

Prospective students hoping to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree have over 100 higher learning institutions to choose from. The largest public university is Pennsylvania State University, or Penn State, with a tuition of $18,000, and a student population of over 95,000 across its campuses. As a private institution, the University of Pennsylvania, or simply Penn, is known for its medical, nursing, social work, and business fields. Tuition is $56,000, and the school boasts a 95% graduation rate.

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Students can also attend one of the more than 60 religiously affiliated schools, such as Villanova University or Lafayette College, each with a tuition of about $53,000. Some of the most affordable colleges in the state include the Curtis Institute of Music and the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, with tuitions set at $3,000 and $9,000, respectively. Though the average tuition for college in Pennsylvania comes in above the national average, those who practice medicine in underserved areas may qualify for up to $100,000 in loan forgiveness through the Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program.

As the nation’s second state, Pennsylvania’s history runs deep. It’s here where Betsy Ross made the first American flag and where the Declaration of Independence was signed. The Keystone State is also home to some culinary delights, including whoopie pies, soft pretzels, and the famous Philly cheesesteak. Students looking to earn their degree in Pennsylvania will undoubtedly enjoy what the state has to offer.

Check out the state’s top programs and learn more about earning your degree in Pennsylvania.


What are Pennsylvania’s Colleges & Universities?

Pennsylvania’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 76 private universities in Pennsylvania. To be included in the list below of the 30 best private universities in Pennsylvania, schools must be fully accredited, private, non-profit institution, and must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

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Best Private Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

  1. #1

    University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

  3. #3

    Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

  4. #5

    Drexel University

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1290/28

    Drexel University’s Online Degrees

    BS Computing and Security Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Elementary Education
    • Special Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Communication
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Dance
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Behavioral Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Criminology and Justice Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Behavioral Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Services Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #6

    Haverford College

    Haverford , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

  6. #7

    Villanova University

    Villanova , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1395/32

    Villanova University’s Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Organizational Development And Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Public Service And Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Entrepreneurship
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #9

    Duquesne University

    Pittsburgh , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1215/25

    Duquesne University’s Online Degrees

    BS Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #10

    Thomas Jefferson University

    Philadelphia , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    Thomas Jefferson University’s Online Degrees

    BS Behavioral and Health Services
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Services Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Business Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #19

    Widener University

    Chester , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/22

  10. #20

    Saint Joseph's University

    Philadelphia , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    Saint Joseph's University’s Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Organization Development and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #23

    Elizabethtown College

    Elizabethtown , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/24

  12. #27

    Muhlenberg College

    Allentown , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1245/28

  13. #28

    Allegheny College

    Meadville , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1265/27

  14. #29

    Arcadia University

    Glenside , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/24

  15. #30

    Robert Morris University

    Moon Township , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/24

    Robert Morris University’s Online Degrees

    BS Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Marketing & Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Services Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Pennsylvania’s Best Private Colleges in Your Area Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Swarthmore College
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
  3. University of Pennsylvania
  4. Bryn Mawr College
  5. Haverford College
  6. Westminster College, Pennsylvania
  7. Lehigh University
  8. Bucknell University
  9. Wilkes University
  10. Dickinson College
  11. Drexel University
  12. Franklin & Marshall College
  13. Saint Francis University
  14. Elizabethtown College
  15. Villanova University
  16. Lafayette College
  17. Thomas Jefferson University
  18. Allegheny College
  19. Washington & Jefferson College
  20. Ursinus College
  21. Susquehanna University
  22. Gettysburg College
  23. University of Scranton
  24. Duquesne University
  25. La Salle University