2023 Best Colleges in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania colleges of distinction state badge

Published: September 1, 2022

By: Colleges of Distinction Staff

Jump to: Albright College | Alvernia University | Bucknell University | Cabrini University | Carlow University | Chatham University | Commonwealth University of PA – Bloomsburg | DeSales University | Dickinson College | Elizabethtown College | Franklin and Marshall College | Geneva College | Grove City College | Gwynedd Mercy University | King’s College | La Roche University | Lafayette College | Lehigh University | Marywood University | Mercyhurst University | Messiah University | Mount Aloysius College | Neumann University | PennWest University | Saint Francis University | Saint Joseph’s University | Seton Hill University | Slippery Rock University | University of Pittsburgh at Bradford | University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown | University of Scranton | Ursinus College | Villanova University | Washington & Jefferson College | Waynesburg University | West Chester University of Pennsylvania | Westminster College | York College of Pennsylvania | Frequently Asked Questions

Colleges of Distinction has hand-picked a selection of top schools that are well equipped to provide a personalized education catered to students’ interests. Through a rigorous vetting and interview process for the 2022-2023 academic year, we have refreshed and reaffirmed that these institutions strive for excellence in line with the four overarching distinctions—Student Engagement, Teaching, Community, and Outcomes.

These schools vary in size, cost, location, academic offerings, and more, but they are all distinguished by their commitment to the undergraduate experience. The diversity of the college list is intentional, giving students and parents a variety of public and private universities to consider. No matter what, they all exhibit the foundational qualities of a fulfilling undergraduate education.


albright college seal

Albright College

Reading, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1856, Albright College offers a flexible curriculum, close faculty mentorship, and numerous experiential learning options—all designed to help students exceed their own expectations.

Learn to relate to people from different backgrounds at one of the most diverse colleges in the country, all while being encouraged to cross or combine majors to create an individualized academic program without taking longer to graduate.

After graduation, Albright alumni discover that their median income levels outpace the earnings of graduates from most other private and public colleges. They will have gained deep problem solving skills that take them confidently into any career and discover their full potential.

Acceptance rate 82%      •      Net price $19,553
Total Undergrad Population 1,584     •     Setting City: Small     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 60%      •      Retention rate 73%     •      Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1

Click here for available majors


Alvernia University

Reading, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Alvernia offers a unique blend of rigorous liberal arts core education for development of the mind, strong technical training in many high demand majors, experiential learning through study abroad and internship experiences, and engagement with the community through a Franciscan-based community service model. The university calls this model of transformational education the Alvernia Advantage, a style of education that transforms students into ethical leaders with moral courage.

Alvernia has a longstanding commitment to helping students develop their innate talents, discover their passions, and lead successful lives with deep meaning and purpose. Through experiential learning, students graduate well prepared for success in the workplace. The Alvernia Advantage results in a superior track record of career placements and quality graduate school opportunities, with 95% of students either employed or enrolled in a graduate program within six months of graduation.

Acceptance rate 70%      •      Net price $27,129
Total Undergrad Population 2,560     •     Setting City: Small     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 61%      •      Retention rate 71%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Click here for available majors


Bucknell University

Lewisburg, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Discover new opportunities at Bucknell University. Bucknell is a private institution in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania with more than 60 majors and 70 minors.

Professional and preprofessional programs in the College of Engineering, music, education, and the Freeman College of Management do more than coexist with the liberal arts and sciences. Bucknell is a unique national university where liberal arts and professional programs complement each other. Bucknell educates students for a lifetime of critical thinking and strong leadership characterized by continued intellectual exploration, creativity and imagination. 

Acceptance rate 38%      •      Net price $39,359      •      SAT Range 1250-1430     •     Students submitting SAT scores 54%
Total Undergrad Population 3,726     •     Setting Town     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 88%      •      Retention rate 92%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1

Click here for available majors


Cabrini University

Radnor, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

From their first semester, Cabrini students learn how to advocate for social change and explore where they stand in the fight for human rights and dignity. They work closely with caring faculty in small classes, participating in research projects, internships, and international service groups that provide crucial hands-on experience. This dedication to action is a great contributor to the outcome of 92 percent of the university’s graduates being employed or in graduate school within 10 months of graduating.

There’s more to Cabrini than academics. Cabrini’s 19 Division III sports teams have amassed more than 100 division championships and include a dozen All-American players. Students can join more than 50 student organizations, easily get to Philadelphia in less than 30 minutes, or hop on a train to New York City.

Acceptance rate 38%      •      Net price $39,359      •     SAT Range 1250-1430     •     Students submitting SAT scores 54%
Total Undergrad Population 3,726     •     Setting Town     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 88%      •      Retention rate 92%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1

Click here for available majors


Carlow University logo

Carlow University

Pittsburgh, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Carlow emphasizes a well-rounded liberal arts education with a solid foundation in ethics and social justice. Its students carry with them the values that have defined Carlow University for nearly a hundred years. They go on to do good—and do well—in their chosen professions. According to a recent career outcomes report, 97 percent of Carlow alumni were employed or continuing their studies at Carlow or other universities within six months of graduation.

Carlow’s dedication to social justice and service to the community began long before “social justice” became a buzz phrase. Founded in 1929 by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s students and faculty have been at the forefront of such issues as environmental protection, women’s empowerment and education, and racial equality, having participated in different activist events like the Civil Rights marches in Selma.

Acceptance rate 94% • Net price $21,212      •      SAT Range 980-1140      •      Students submitting SAT scores 92%
Total Undergrad Population 1,976      •     Setting City: Large     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 58%      •      Retention rate 85%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 10:1

Click here for available majors


Chatham University logo

Chatham University

Pittsburgh, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1869, Chatham University is a fully coed institution with an enrollment of over 2,200 students and over 60 undergraduate and graduate programs in four areas of excellence: sustainability; health & wellness; business & communications; and the arts & sciences. Chatham is the alma mater of environmental icon Rachel Carson (Class of ’29) and is recognized as a leader in the field of sustainability.

BACHELOR OF SUSTAINABILITY
In 2010, Chatham established the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment in order to produce leaders in the ever-developing field of environmental studies. Its unique sustainability program for undergraduates allows students to pursue such important concentrations as sustainable technology, natural resource management, sustainable business & management, and sustainable policy & communications. No longer a niche field, sustainability requires focus from excellent scholars who are passionate about the environment’s future. This program takes an interdisciplinary approach in order to analyze the policies, patterns, and social and economical issues related to the plant.

Acceptance rate 66%      •      Net price $28,310
Total Undergrad Population 2,353      •      Setting City: Large     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 62%      •     Retention rate 76%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 10:1

Click here for available majors


Commonwealth University of PA – Bloomsburg

Bloomsburg, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1839, Commonwealth University of PA – Bloomsburg is a public institution in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Students can immerse themselves in studies in nearly 60 undergraduate degree programs and more than 66 minors.

Acceptance rate 89%      •      Net price $18,302
Total Undergrad Population 8,427     •     Setting City: Small     •     Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 58%      •      Retention rate 77%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 20:1

Click here for available majors


DeSales University, a Catholic school in Center Valley, PA

DeSales University

Center Valley, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

DeSales energizes transformative learning through the liberal arts and professional studies as it introduces students to various ways of thinking and communicating, discipline-specific knowledge, and critical inquiry in fields complementing and reinforcing study in their selected majors.

A STRONG START
Beginning in the summer before their first semester, each first-year student is assigned an upperclassman mentor who will support them on Opening Day. These mentors meet with students on a weekly basis to check in and build a strong community of support. 

All first-year students join their mentors in a service project so that they may understand the importance of community engagement at DeSales. After their first semester at DeSales University, the first-year students can apply to become mentors for the new incoming class, allowing them to impart their knowledge and wisdom on the new students and keep the program fresh and exciting, year after year.

Acceptance rate 82%      •      Net price $29,836      •      SAT Range 1010-1240     •     Students submitting SAT scores 81%
Total Undergrad Population 3,302     •     Setting Rural     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 65%      •      Retention rate 81%           •     Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1

Click here for available majors


Dickinson College

Carlisle, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Dickinson students take control of their academic journeys. They are active, engaged, smart, and bold. Dickinson College teaches its students how to positively enact change through thoughtful analysis and decision making.

INTERNSHIP NOTATION PROGRAM
The Internship Notation Program (INP) is Dickinson’s way of identifying and tracking internship experiences. Students involved in the program complete a series of tasks including actual internship experience, reflective assignments, and online submissions. Several of Dickinson’s programs require students to complete an internship through INP. There are many benefits to the program: internships are recognized by the college, students gain hands-on experience, and the work is considered valuable to employers.

Acceptance rate 52%      •      Net price $37,342
Total Undergrad Population 1,932      •     Setting City: Small     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 84%      •     Retention rate 82%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 8:1

Click here for available majors


Elizabethtown College logo

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

The Elizabethtown College educational experience blends a high standard of scholarship with the commitment to educate its students in a relationship-centered learning community, foster international and cross-cultural perspectives, complement classroom instruction with experiential-learning opportunities, and prepare students for purposeful lives and meaningful work.

All Elizabethtown College students complete at least two Signature Learning Experiences (SLE) as part of their graduation requirements. Signature Learning Experiences are cataloged into five unique categories: supervised research; community-based learning; cross-cultural experiences; internships, field experiences or practicums; and capstone experiences. The Signature Learning Experiences challenge students to think beyond the classroom, traveling across borders and going behind the scenes.

MOMENTUM
Elizabethtown College offers the Momentum experience to first-generation college students whose families are unfamiliar with the transition to college. Momentum students arrive on campus a week prior to fall orientation, easing into the college lifestyle with plenty of time to adjust. Throughout this early week, the students attend workshops for academic and personal development and go on field trips that build camaraderie with their new peers.

Acceptance rate 86%      •      Net price $25,767      •      SAT Range 1080-1280     •     Students submitting SAT scores 85%
Total Undergrad Population 1,881     •     Setting Suburb     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 72%      •      Retention rate 89%      •           Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1

Click here for available majors


Franklin and Marshall College

Lancaster, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Succeed in your personal and professional life with an education from Franklin and Marshall College. F&M is a private university in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with over 60 fields of study to choose from.

Franklin & Marshall College is a residential college dedicated to excellence in undergraduate liberal education. Its aims are to inspire in young people of high promise and diverse backgrounds a genuine and enduring love for learning, to teach them to read, write, and think critically, to instill in them the capacity for both independent and collaborative action, and to educate them to explore and understand the natural, social and cultural worlds in which they live. In so doing, the College seeks to foster in its students qualities of intellect, creativity, and character, that they may live fulfilling lives and contribute meaningfully to their occupations, their communities, and their world. 

Acceptance rate 37%      •      Net price $28,038
Total Undergrad Population 2,254     •     Setting City: Small     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 85%      •      Retention rate 84%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1

Click here for available majors


Geneva College

Beaver Falls, PA ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Geneva College is a Christ-centered academic community that provides a comprehensive education to equip students for faithful and fruitful service to God and neighbor. Geneva offers over 80 traditional undergraduate majors and programs, including nursing, management, marketing, and cybersecurity, an array of fully online bachelor’s programs designed to be attainable for busy adults, and five high-demand graduate degrees in both classroom and online formats. The ABET-accredited engineering program is a Top 100 Best Undergraduate Engineering Program in the nation.

Adhering to the truth of scripture, a Geneva education is grounded in God’s word as well as in a core curriculum designed to prepare students vocationally to think, write, and communicate well in today’s world. A full 96% of students are working or in graduate school a year after graduation.

Geneva’s faculty of 100% committed Christians challenge students with a curriculum emphasizing the liberal arts and certain professional fields within the context of a Biblical view of life and the world. Faith is integrated into all academics, activities, and athletics, which includes 18 NCAA Division III varsity sports.

Acceptance rate 73%      •      Net price $19,967
Total Undergrad Population 1,349     •     Setting Suburb     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 72%      •      Retention rate 78%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1

Click here for available majors


Grove City College

Grove City, PA ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Faculty and staff equip students to discover and pursue their unique callings through an academically excellent and Christ-centered learning and living experience. Students flourish at Grove City College because faith is the foundation of everything they do.

From the classroom to the practice fields, from the dining halls to the dormitories, the entire College community seeks to understand how they might bring God’s glory into all daily activities. Such a campus-wide commitment encourages and supports students as they develop into leaders with these core values: faithfulness, excellence, community, stewardship, and independence.

Acceptance rate 73%      •      Tuition $19,990      •      SAT Range 1137-1368
Total Undergrad Population 2,317      •      Christian 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 87%      •      Retention rate 89%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 13:1

Click here for available majors


Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Valley, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

As one of 16 Sisters of Mercy colleges and universities in the United States, GMercyU is shaped by its Catholic identity and Mercy heritage. It’s a place where values are valued, open dialogue is encouraged, and service is expected. Focusing on educating the whole person—intellectually, spiritually, socially, and morally—GMercyU offers professional education grounded in the liberal arts, so students are prepared to do more than just do. Distinctive Mercy Graduates are prepared to think critically, communicate clearly, and live productive and meaningful lives.

With a campus community that is small but big hearted, GMercyU students find a warm and inclusive community in which to learn, grow, and succeed.

Acceptance rate 88%      •     Net price $25,219      •      SAT Range 950-1140      •      Students submitting SAT scores 90%
Total Undergrad Population 2,737     •     Setting Suburb     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 61%      •      Retention rate 78%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors


king's college logo

King’s College

Wilkes-Barre, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

King’s College is a Catholic institution in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Explore your career options with over 40 undergraduate majors to choose from. King’s pursues excellence in teaching, learning, and scholarship through a rigorous core curriculum, major programs across the liberal arts and sciences, nationally accredited professional programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and personal attention to student formation in a nurturing community. 

Acceptance rate 87%      •      Net price $27,561
Total Undergrad Population 2,320     •      Setting City: Small     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 59% • Retention rate 75%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors


La Roche University

Pittsburgh, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

A small, private institution in Western Pennsylvania, La Roche University provides a skills-driven education to prepare students for success in today’s global economy.

With more than 50 undergraduate majors, La Roche offers competitive programs in both high-demand fields and creative industries, with particular strengths in business, criminal justice, design, education, psychology, and health and medical sciences.

Located just 15 minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh, this residential university provides a vibrant campus community for more than 1,400 men and women who enjoy over 30 student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. La Roche welcomes students of all religions, nationalities, and backgrounds, including students from 16 states, two territories and 37 countries.

Acceptance rate 69% • Net price $23,932 • SAT Range 890-1110      •      Students submitting SAT scores 78%
Total Undergrad Population 1,292      •     Setting Suburb     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 58%      •      Retention rate 65%      •     Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1

Click here for available majors


Lafayette College

Easton, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Lafayette provides university-sized resources in an exclusively undergraduate college. The college wants its students to be in a constant state of learning—a process that involves participation in class, engagement in subject matters, and challenging one’s surroundings. The student that takes control of their educational experience has the freedom to explore their potential, while learning to adapt to the changing needs of society. And that makes for one marketable individual.

AN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM
Lafayette gives its students several opportunities to learn outside of the traditional classroom setting. Study abroad is embraced by Lafayette as an integral part of an undergraduate experience. Students that study abroad gain cross-cultural communication skills, as well as an appreciation for another culture. Other non-traditional opportunities include: undergraduate research, first-year seminars, and community outreach.

Acceptance rate 36%      •      Net price $28,735      •      SAT Range 1250-1440      •      Students submitting SAT scores 75%
Total Undergrad Population 2,514      •     Setting Suburb      •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 90%      •      Retention rate 87%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1

Click here for available majors


Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Find unparalleled opportunities for learning at Lehigh University. Located in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Lehigh Valley, Lehigh is one of the nation’s most distinguished private research universities. Through academic rigor, an entrepreneurial mindset, and collaborative opportunities Lehigh professors challenge their students to become the leaders of the future.

Acceptance rate 50%      •     Net price $29,098      •      SAT Range 1260-1433      •     Students submitting SAT scores 70%
Total Undergrad Population 7,067      •     Setting City: Small     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 88%      •      Retention rate 91%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1

Click here for available majors


Marywood University

Scranton, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Marywood University, located in Northeastern Pennsylvania at the foothills of the Pocono Mountains, is a comprehensive, independent, private, Catholic institution. Marywood offers many of the advantages that a large university provides, including more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees taught by outstanding faculty, along with 22 Division-III varsity athletics teams.

Marywood is a small, safe, and close-knit community that provides students with a friendly atmosphere and a high level of personal attention. At Marywood, students discover their passion and realize their purpose.

Acceptance rate 82% •      Net price $21,657      •      SAT Range 1000-1180      •     Students submitting SAT scores 96%
Total Undergrad Population 2,613     •     Setting City: Small     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 71%      •      Retention rate 83%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors


Mercyhurst University

Erie, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Mercyhurst University, founded in 1926 by the Sisters of Mercy, is a fully accredited, four-year, Catholic comprehensive institution for men and women in Erie, Pennsylvania. The university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors, nine graduate programs, and a variety of post-baccalaureate and advanced certificates.

Mercyhurst’s motto—Carpe Diem, Latin for “Seize the Day”—is at the heart of everything the university does. At Mercyhurst, students find a community that celebrates experiences both inside and outside the classroom, experiences that challenge them to write more, practice harder, dig deeper, and see the world from an unconventional perspective. College isn’t about reveling in what you’ve done in the past; it’s about uncovering who you are and who you want to become.

Acceptance rate 88%      •     Net price $26,942
Total Undergrad Population 2,790     •     Setting City: Small • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 70%      •      Retention rate 80%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 15:1

Click here for available majors


Messiah College is now Messiah University logo

Messiah University

Mechanicsburg, PA ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Messiah University is nationally recognized for bringing together top-tier academics and Christian faith. The University’s motto, “Christ Preeminent,” shapes every experience its students have at school. Lifelong friendships. Support from faculty mentors. Outstanding preparation for life and career. Championship athletics. Celebrated arts programs. Transformational service and ministry. Eye-opening study abroad. At Messiah, one’s life, faith, world, and possibilities open up. Students come to see anew.

Messiah University is a liberal arts and applied sciences University founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church. Though it is no longer legally owned by the Brethren in Christ Church, the University continues to emphasize its Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan theological heritage. Now the University’s faith base is broadly evangelical and includes students and employees from a variety of denominations and Christian faith traditions.

Acceptance rate 78%      •      Net price $27,641      •     SAT Range 1080-1310     •     Students submitting SAT scores 92%
Total Undergrad Population 3,370     •     Setting Suburb     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 79%      •      Retention rate 86%      •     Student-to-faculty ratio 13:1

Click here for available majors


Mount Aloysius College logo

Mount Aloysius College

Cresson, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Established in 1853, Mount Aloysius is a liberal arts and science-based institution with a commitment to career-directed study. Rooted in Catholic tradition, Mount Aloysius is one of the nation’s 17 Mercy-sponsored colleges. MAC began as an Academy and has since evolved into a comprehensive college that provides undergraduate and graduate education.

NESTLED IN THE ALLEGHENY MOUNTAINS
Recreational opportunities include cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and intramural sports. On campus, a traditional, multi-day competition called the “Mini-Olympics” involves seasoned athletes and bookworms alike.

CAREER SERVICES
The practical career assistance at Mount Aloysius prepares students for real-world careers in their fields of study. MAC goes beyond the classroom to help students gain practical experience. The career services department offers résumé-building assistance, mock interview opportunities, career workshops, job fairs, and referrals to prospective employers.

Acceptance rate 95%      •      Net price $22,082
Total Undergrad Population 2,806      •      Setting Town      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 40%      •      Retention rate 76%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors


Neumann University, a Franciscan Catholic university in Aston, Pennsylvania

Neumann University

Aston, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1965, Neumann University is a private, Catholic institution in the Franciscan tradition. With an emphasis on respect for individuals, concern for the environment, and social responsibility, Neumann excels throughout its bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs as well as its numerous student activities and 24 Division III sports teams.

Neumann is a small school full of big opportunities. In addition to the traditional liberal arts degrees, students can tap into such in-demand fields as Cybersecurity, Data Science and Analytics, Nursing, and the Health Sciences. Regardless of major, every student gets professional experience through real-world, hands-on internships, clinical placements, or student-teaching practice. The location, suburban Philadelphia, provides ample opportunities for jobs and internships and is in close proximity to New York City and Washington, D.C.

Acceptance rate 80%      •      Net price $29,471      •      SAT Range 900-1080     •     Students submitting SAT scores 87%
Total Undergrad Population 2,506     •     Setting Suburb     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 51%      •      Retention rate 77%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Click here for available majors


PennWest University

California, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

PennWest California was founded in 1852 to prepare teachers for Pennsylvania’s classrooms. Today, the University has grown to a mid-size public university that offers over 100 undergraduate and more than 95 graduate programs of study in education, human services, the liberal arts, business, science, and technology. 

The University focuses on applied learning, which positions students of all ages and backgrounds for career success, whether they choose to study on campus or online. Located south of Pittsburgh, PennWest California is a proud member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.

Acceptance rate 94%      •     Net price $19,116      •     SAT Range 920-1120      •     Students submitting SAT scores 79%
Total Undergrad Population 6,885     •     Setting Suburb     •     Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 50%      •     Retention rate 70%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 19:1

Click here for available majors


Saint Francis University logo

Saint Francis University

Loretto, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Saint Francis University offers academic study within the Franciscan tradition of using one’s talents to serve others. The more than 60 offerings include highly targeted, career-focused majors grounded in the liberal arts tradition of inquiry and self-discovery. Highly regarded programs in health science, education, business, and science attract a diverse student body to the beautiful campus setting.

The values of respect, faith, generosity, and joy run deep in the University culture and help to prepare ethical, knowledgeable professionals with a passion to shape the world. This holistic approach to career preparation is supported by respected faculty who work closely with students in small settings to meet individual goals.

WHAT MAKES SFU DIFFERENT
Simulation labs, Esports, SCUBA diving, Aviation, experiential learning, two public museums, Canine Learning and Behavior class, and a snow tubing park are some of the opportunities unique to Saint Francis University. Students enhance their academic and campus experiences with programs that fit their personalities.

Acceptance rate 59%      •      Net price $29,393      •      SAT Range 1010-1220     •     Students submitting SAT scores 89%
Total Undergrad Population 2,769     •     Setting Town     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 63%      •      Retention rate 96%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Click here for available majors


Saint Joseph’s University

Philadelphia, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Saint Joseph’s University is a nationally recognized, Catholic, Jesuit university that has advanced the professional and personal ambitions of men and women by providing a rigorous education.

SUMMER AND WINTER STUDY ABROAD
While study abroad is an incredible experience, not every student can commit to an entire semester. For those students, there are short-term study abroad programs held in the winter and summer. Short-term programs are led by Saint Joseph’s faculty and last about a month. During the summer and winter abroad excursions, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in new culture, all while learning from experienced faculty. Currently, short-term programs include the following destinations: China, Greece, Chile, and Rome.

PHILADELPHIA
While there is an endless number of on-campus activities, there are also great opportunities available through the city of Philadelphia. Philly is the fifth largest city in the U.S., which means it has a ton to offer. Students are invited to explore the city and take advantage of all the cultural attractions, recreational activities, restaurant scene and shopping. On top of that, Philadelphia offers incredible access to internships, jobs, and networking.

Acceptance rate 80%      •      Net price $35,780      •      SAT Range 1100-1290      •     Students submitting SAT scores 64%
Total Undergrad Population 6,779     •     Setting City: Large     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 81%      •      Retention rate 89%      •     Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors


Seton Hill University

Greensburg, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Since its founding by the Sisters of Charity in 1918, Seton Hill University has been a pioneering force of innovative higher education. It has flourished from its beginnings as an institution for young women and now brings unique opportunities for both male and female students of all ages. And thanks to its small size and years of educational expertise, the University excels in providing a personally fulfilling experience that teaches students to think and act critically, creatively, and ethically as productive members of society.

Seton Hill’s community is comprised of students from across the U.S. and all around the world. They enjoy over 80 undergraduate and 12 graduate degree programs as well as an adult degree program and advanced certifications in a variety of disciplines. Every student is given the tools to succeed—literally—as Seton Hill was the first university in the world to provide an iPad to every full-time student.

Along with new technologies, the University is also a spearheading force in academic development; new majors are introduced every year! Recent additions to Seton Hill’s repertoire include nursing, data analytics, cybersecurity, global studies, educational studies, healthcare administration, and innovative instruction.. Classes are taught in classrooms, labs, studios, in the field, and even online, extending Seton Hill’s impact both on campus and around the world.

Acceptance rate 79%     •     Net price $23,008
Total Undergrad Population 1,935     •     Setting Suburb      •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 66%      •      Retention rate 81%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Click here for available majors


Slippery Rock University logo

Slippery Rock University

Slippery Rock, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1889, Slippery Rock University is a Carnegie Master-L, four-year, public, coeducational, comprehensive University offering a broad array of undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 8,800 students.

The University, a member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, provides students with a superior learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with applied learning opportunities that will help them succeed in an increasingly complex world.

A DEGREE OF DIFFERENCE
The focus of a Slippery Rock University education goes beyond its diplomas. Its aim is to develop people capable of making positive differences in the lives of others. SRU challenges its graduates to understand the problems of the global society and address them throughout their lives with the confidence and skills gained at the University.

Acceptance rate 74%      •      Net price $18,117      •     SAT Range 980-1150     •     Students submitting SAT scores 89%
Total Undergrad Population 8,860     •     Setting Town      •     Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 69%      •     Retention rate 83%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 21:1

Click here for available majors


University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

Bradford, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford is a supportive, friendly institution for students who want to earn a world-renowned degree in a personalized environment. Pitt-Bradford’s 1,500 students enjoy the close-knit campus community, which means they receive personalized attention from their professors as well as administrators and staff on campus. Since Pitt-Bradford is a regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh, students receive the University of Pittsburgh degree, which is recognized and respected all over the world.

Pitt-Bradford offers more than 40 majors and more than 50 minors and pre-professional programs, from biology, criminal justice, and psychology to nursing, accounting, and energy science and technology. Most classes are small—the average class size is 19—which enables professors to get to know their students. Students also have ample opportunities to take part in the robust campus life: Division III athletics, intramurals, and recreational activities; more than 60 student clubs and organizations; and arts and cultural events.  

GROUND-BREAKING FACILITIES
There are several exciting areas on campus at which students can get cutting-edge, hands-on experience. Students who major in computer information systems and technology work on projects in their own dedicated labs, including a new virtual reality lab. Criminal justice majors investigate simulated crime scenes and collect evidence like the pros in the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) House. Nursing students practice their techniques on computerized mannequins in a simulation lab. Students studying psychology practice their counseling techniques and observe other sessions in the psychology lab suite.

Acceptance rate 79% • Net price $15,519      •     SAT Range 950-1145     •     Students submitting SAT scores 88%
Total Undergrad Population 1,305      •     Setting Town      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 44%      •     Retention rate 73%     •     Student-to-faculty ratio 17:1

Click here for available majors


University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Johnstown, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

The first regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh system—and one of the first regional campuses of a leading university in the United States—University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown supports inquisitive minds across 70 programs of study. Its founding in 1927 sparked an impressive development in higher education, providing the world-class University of Pittsburgh education to a comfortable residential campus within the lush Laurel Highlands.

Pitt-Johnstown is proud to support its community of Mountain Cats with a curriculum that is up to date with the world’s demands. No matter the discipline, the University has continually evolved its programs to ensure that every student gets the most out of their education. This kind of responsive educational framework creates leaders who are prepared for careers in nursing, engineering, the humanities, and more.

FACILITIES FOR EXCELLENCE
To complement its spectacular Pitt-quality education, Pitt-Johnstown maintains more than one million square-feet of facility space with the kind technology and resources needed to support all areas of study. For example, the Nursing and Health Sciences Building is equipped with 11 laboratories and state-of-the-art nursing simulation equipment, all of which run on sustainable/green energy.

New technology has also helped give rise to the University’s new programs in computer science and chemical, civil, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering. These ABET-accredited programs are supplied with the gadgetry needed for students to get hands-on experience.

Acceptance rate 87%      •      Net price $17,574      •      SAT Range 1010-1190     •     Students submitting SAT scores 93%
Total Undergrad Population 2,356     •     Setting Suburb      •     Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 54%      •     Retention rate 78%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 17:1

Click here for available majors


University of Scranton

Scranton, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Situated in the heart of Scranton, Pennsylvania, the University of Scranton offers students the opportunity to stand out. The University of Scranton is a private Catholic university that prepares students to make an impact in the classroom and beyond. The Jesuit educational tradition is based on the principle that students must be prepared to lead in their faith as well as their academic careers, and it’s with these roots that the University of Scranton gives students the chance to change world for the better.

UNIVERSITY HONORS PROGRAM
The University of Scranton offers a variety of honors programs, all of which are designed to let students shape their own academic journey. Programs across the business, STEM, and liberal arts fields all grant students a community of faculty, fellow students, and industry leaders to guide them both in and outside of the classroom. Students enrolled in honors programs participate in field trips, service projects, research, and more. Scranton’s honors programs help students become strong communicators, critical thinkers, and leaders on campus and beyond.

Acceptance rate 79%      •      Net price $36,093      •      SAT Range 1100-1280     •     Students submitting SAT scores 79%
Total Undergrad Population 4,957     •     Setting City: Small     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 82%      •      Retention rate 89%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1

Click here for available majors


Ursinus College Logo Stacked

Ursinus College

Collegeville, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Jumpstart your future at Ursinus College. Ursinus is a 170-acre private institution in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Education is a conversation, and the best conversations begin with real questions. Ursinus College’s signature Quest curriculum is built around four questions that everyone confronts: “what should matter to me? how should we live together? how can we understand the world? what will I do?”

Acceptance rate 80%      •      Net price $31,400      •      SAT Range 1150-1330     •     Students submitting SAT scores 67%
Total Undergrad Population 1,493     •     Setting Suburb     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 74%      •     Retention rate 85%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors


Villanova University Logo

Villanova University

Villanova, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Villanova University was founded in 1842 by the Order of St. Augustine. To this day, Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition is the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University’s six colleges.

FALVEY SCHOLARS
The Falvey Scholars program awards superior work in undergraduate research. Each year, a group of students is nominated for their exceptional work. A committee then selects the recipients from the group of nominated students. Awards are given in five areas: Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Nursing, and Business. Selected students are given the opportunity to share their findings with the campus community.

VILLANOVA MATCH RESEARCH PROGRAM FOR FRESHMAN
The Match Research Program gives bright, highly motivated freshman the opportunity to participate in research during their spring semester. Selected students work as assistants to faculty that are conducting research. Students work 10 hours a week for 10 weeks, and receive a stipend of $1000. This is an incredible opportunity for students interested in research. Not only does the program provide a solid introduction to practices and methodologies, but students have the chance to learn directly from experienced faculty.

Acceptance rate 31%      •      Net price $38,303      •      SAT Range 1320-1460     •     Students submitting SAT scores 60%
Total Undergrad Population 11,032     •     Setting Suburb     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 92%      •     Retention rate 96%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors


Washington & Jefferson College

Washington, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Washington & Jefferson College is a private institution in Washington, Pennsylvania that has been creating leaders for over 200 years. Students engage with each other and the community—with mover 20,000 hours of community service last year.

Acceptance rate 90%      •      Net price $27,477
Total Undergrad Population 1,167      •      Setting Suburb      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 65%      •     Retention rate 85%     •     Student-to-faculty ratio 10:1

Click here for available majors


Waynesburg University

Waynesburg, PA ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Waynesburg offers more than 70 major concentrations and five integrated bachelors-to-masters programs in athletic training, business, counseling, criminal investigation, and education. The University also offers graduate programs, with some available 100 percent online. The University’s top academic programs include business, communication, criminal justice, education, forensic science, and nursing.

What makes Waynesburg truly special, though, is that its academics are not just about class. They’re the foundation for a culture of growth, championed through academic excellence and personalized guidance that nurtures mind, spirit, and future. Waynesburg programs accelerate student growth through hands-on learning, research, internships, leadership work, service trips, and career planning.

DIVERSITY/GLOBAL LEARNING
Waynesburg University offers a unique International Studies minor option, employing many opportunities for students to gain a global education. One such example is the Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership, which provides scholarships to students who have never left the United States to study abroad for a summer. Waynesburg is one of only 13 higher education institutions in the country to participate in the program. Students can also partake in Faith Learning and Service Immersion Trips, which extend beyond domestic borders to places such as Nassau, Bonaire, Montego Bay, Patzun, Juana Diaz, Taipei, Belize, and the Dominican Republic.

Acceptance rate 90%      •      Net price $20,029 •      SAT Range 980-1170     •      Students submitting SAT scores 76%
Total Undergrad Population 1,576     •     Setting Town      •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 65%     •      Retention rate 79%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors


West Chester University of Pennsylvania

West Chester, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Located just 25 miles from Philadelphia, West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCUPA) is a public, regional, comprehensive institution committed to providing high-quality undergraduate education as well as a vibrant on-campus community.

CO-CURRICULAR PORTFOLIO
The Co-Curricular Portfolio is WCUPA’s way to make a meaningful record of a student’s involvement outside of the classroom. The point of the portfolio is to demonstrate that students have impactful experiences outside of their schoolwork. Résumés can only fit so much information, and so extracurricular experiences must often be excluded or abbreviated.  The portfolio allows students to showcase their experiences in clubs, sports, service, leadership, and more. This detailed scope says much more about students’ overall abilities and skillsets.

PRE-MAJOR ADVISING
Deciding a major isn’t always easy, and many students may even need a guiding hand to see all their possible choices. Faculty members are happy to act as pre-major advisors in order to help their students select the appropriate major for them. Undecided students are given a wealth of resources in order to let them explore their choices before coming to a conclusion. Through pre-major advising, students can discover passions they never knew they had.

Acceptance rate 86%      •      Net price $19,336      •      SAT Range 1010-1180     •     Students submitting SAT scores 90%
Total Undergrad Population 17,719     •     Setting Suburb     •     Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 75%      •     Retention rate 85%           •      Student-to-faculty ratio 20:1

Click here for available majors


Westminster College

New Wilmington, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Nestled within the charming town of New Wilmington, just one hour north of Pittsburgh, the Westminster College community studies hard, priding itself in strong academics, outstanding faculty, and individualized attention with an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It expands horizons with opportunities to study abroad and make connections with a strong alumni base. It encourages participation, sponsoring 22 varsity sports, 18 honor societies, and more than 80 clubs. It’s a platform for spiritual freedom, providing the independence for students to think and participate in what’s most important to them. It’s a place to call home to nearly 1,200 students each year.

RESIDENCE LIFE
Students quickly realize that the residence hall is so much more than a place to lay their head at the end of the day. It’s also somewhere to make memories and build strong, new friendships. That’s the College’s primary focus is on making every minute feel like home from the moment students step foot on campus.

Because Westminster College has a 4-year housing requirement, it is the mission of the staff to offer a dynamic approach to living that contributes to the development and education of all students. By living on campus, students feel the foundation of safety and comfort so that they’re able to explore new ideas, relate to others with respect and compassion, discover who they are, and solve problems autonomously.

Acceptance rate 77%      •      Net price $21,101
Total Undergrad Population 1,228     •     Setting Town     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 71%      •      Retention rate 80%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors


York College in York, PA

York College of Pennsylvania

York, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Students come to York College of Pennsylvania because they want to take action. They want internships and paid cooperative learning. They want to conduct research with faculty and meet with their professors one-on-one. They want to get engaged right away, joining the school’s award-winning radio station or entering in the Elevator Pitch Competition. And, most of all, they want to pay half of what other top private colleges are asking without sacrificing a solid education. From day one, York College does all that and more.

WHAT YORK OFFERS
York College has the academic focus that students want and employers need throughout more than 60 majors, including such new degrees as Integrated Marketing Communications, Cybersecurity Management, Public History, and Civil Engineering. Plus, with everything from a rock climbing wall to huge concerts on a campus that pulses with activity, there’s always something to do with friends old and new on the 4,000-student campus.

Acceptance rate 71%      •     Net price $22,876      •      SAT Range 990-1190     •     Students submitting SAT scores 92%
Total Undergrad Population 4,039     •     Setting Suburb     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 65%      •     Retention rate 77%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Click here for available majors


What it’s like to attend schools in Pennsylvania and other FAQ:

What are average tuition costs in Pennsylvania?

The average tuition & fees of Pennsylvania colleges is $13,416 for in-state students at public institutions, $18,065 for out-of-state students at public institutions, and $25,781 for students at private institutions.

Cheapest degree program in Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh-Bradford has an average net price of $15,519 making it the least expensive bachelor’s degree program in Pennsylvania that made our list.

Easiest degree program to get into in Pennsylvania

Mount Aloysius College has an acceptance rate of 95%, making it the least exclusive college on our list.

Degree program with lowest student debt in Pennsylvania

Lafayette College has a median total debt after graduation of $17,500. This is the typical debt for a student who completed their undergraduate degree.

Best Pennsylvania Colleges by Award

2023 Best Engineering Schools in Pennsylvania
2023 Best Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania
2023 Best Education Schools in Pennsylvania
2023 Best Business Schools in Pennsylvania