Best Public Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

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.

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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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.

Pennsylvania's Best Public Colleges Badge
Download Badge

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 PA state colleges, schools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

Back to Top

Best Public Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

  1. #2

    Temple University

    Philadelphia , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    33K

    Temple University’s Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Business Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • Marketing
    • Consumer Insights
    • Digital Marketing
    • Retailing and Sales Force Effectiveness
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/19

  3. #5

    West Chester University

    West Chester , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

  4. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/21

    Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania’s Online Degrees

    BS Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Care Administration and Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Leadership Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #7

    PennWest California

    California , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/20

  6. 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:

  7. Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1040/19

    Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania’s Online Degrees

    BA in Behavioral Health
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Healthcare Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Areas of Specialization: Human Resources (online or on-campus)
    • Marketing (online or on-campus)
    • Entrepreneurial Studies (on-campus only)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

  9. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/21

  10. #12

    PennWest Edinboro

    Edinboro , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/20

    PennWest Edinboro’s Online Degrees

    BS in Applied Technical Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

    Kutztown University of Pennsylvania’s Online Degrees

    BA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    7K

    Millersville University of Pennsylvania’s Online Degrees

    BA in Art History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    Degree Concentrations
    • General Sociology
    • Applied Health Care Concentrations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    <1K

  14. 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:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Online Degrees

    BS in Applied Health Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Applied Management
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Automotive Technology Management
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 122
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Dental Hygiene
    • Required Credits: 122
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency Management & Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. 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:

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #18

    PennWest Clarion

    Clarion , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

  17. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/19

  18. 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:

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/19

Back to Top

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. PennWest California
  7. Penn State Harrisburg
  8. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
  9. PennWest Clarion
  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

Check out our directory of public colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top public colleges in every state.