Best Public Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Pennsylvania provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Best Public Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

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 public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 21 public universities in Pennsylvania. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Pennsylvania, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

How do we determine Pennsylvania's best public colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

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Best Public Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

  1. #1

    University of Pittsburgh

    Pittsburgh , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    27K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1350/30

    What is University of Pittsburgh known for?

    University of Pittsburgh’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Anthropology
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #2

    Temple University

    Philadelphia , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    33K

    What is Temple University known for?

    Temple University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Religious Studies
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/19

    What is Indiana University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Anthropology
    • Education
    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Lincoln University

    Lincoln University , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    940/17

    What is Lincoln University known for?

    Lincoln University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    West Chester University

    West Chester , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

    What is West Chester University known for?

    West Chester University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/21

    What is Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/20

    What is California University of Pennsylvania known for?

    California University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Education
    • Earth Sciences
    • Physics
    • Law
    • Economics
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    What is University of Pittsburgh at Bradford known for?

    University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Biology
    REQUEST INFO
  9. Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1040/19

    What is Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

    What is Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Education
    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/21

    What is University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown known for?

    University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  12. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/20

    What is Edinboro University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Education
    • Earth Sciences
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

    What is Kutztown University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Kutztown University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Millersville University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Millersville University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Cheyney University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Cheyney University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Communications
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Pennsylvania College of Technology

    Williamsport , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Pennsylvania College of Technology known for?

    Pennsylvania College of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  17. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/19

    What is East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania known for?

    East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

    What is Clarion University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Clarion University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Earth Sciences
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/19

    What is Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  20. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/22

    What is University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg known for?

    University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Anthropology
    • Medical
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  21. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/19

    What is Mansfield University of Pennsylvania known for?

    Mansfield University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Education
    • Literature
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

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Pennsylvania’s Best Public College in Your Area of 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. University of Pittsburgh
  2. Pennsylvania State University
  3. Temple University
  4. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  5. Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
  6. California University of Pennsylvania
  7. Penn State Harrisburg
  8. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
  9. Clarion University of Pennsylvania
  10. West Chester University
  11. Millersville University of Pennsylvania
  12. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
  13. Penn State Altoona
  14. Penn State Lehigh Valley
  15. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  16. Penn State Berks
  17. Penn State York
  18. Penn State New Kensington
  19. Penn State Hazleton

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