2022 Top Private Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania

Private colleges and universities frequently top the lists of the best schools in the U.S. These institutions offer rigorous academic programs for students looking for a personalized college experience.

Private institutions generally cost more than their public counterparts, but students often receive the benefits of smaller class sizes, strong alumni networks, and generous financial aid opportunities.

Unlike public colleges and universities, private institutions do not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state tuition. This means students from anywhere can enroll in Pennsylvania’s private colleges and universities without paying higher out-of-state rates.

2022 Best Private Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Showing 30 schools

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia, PA

    Graduation Rate

    96%

    Enrollment

    26,675

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $57770

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $57770

    University of Pennsylvania offers programs from its campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. Academic and technical programs help students reach their professional goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. A waiver makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. At the accredited institution, students also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. University of Pennsylvania holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #2

    Curtis Institute of Music

    Philadelphia, PA

    Graduation Rate

    69%

    Enrollment

    173

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2900

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $2900

    Curtis Institute of Music is a private institution located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 69%. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements and start dates. Curtis Institute of Music is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #3

    Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore, PA

    Graduation Rate

    94%

    Enrollment

    1,594

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $54656

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $54656

    A private institution, Swarthmore College grants degrees and certificates from its campus in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports a graduation rate of 94%. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Applicants can reach out to the admission department to learn more about enrolling. Swarthmore College has received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #4

    Haverford College

    Haverford, PA

    Graduation Rate

    90%

    Enrollment

    1,317

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $56952

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $56952

    From its campus in Pennsylvania, Haverford College administers 39 total programs. Students enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. Information on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. The school reports a 90% graduation rate. Real-world experience helps candidates stand out on the job market. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Many schools no longer require test scores for admission. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #5

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Graduation Rate

    90%

    Enrollment

    14,180

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $57119

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $57119

    From its campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University offers academic programs as a private institution. The school offers programs that prepare learners for the workforce. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. The school offers nationally ranked programs in diverse fields. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Carnegie Mellon University has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #6

    Clarks Summit University

    South Abington Township, PA

    Graduation Rate

    88%

    Enrollment

    771

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $26082

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $26082

    Clarks Summit University, which operates a campus in South Abington Township, Pennsylvania, often ranks as a top school. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. Academic and technical programs help learners reach their unique professional goals. Enrollees earn their degree or certificate in as little time as a few months or as much time as seven years depending on program type and enrollment status. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department provides additional resources on submitting an application. Financial aid helps degree-seekers pay for their education. Clarks Summit University holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #7

    Villanova University

    Villanova, PA

    Graduation Rate

    90%

    Enrollment

    10,848

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $55280

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $55280

    Villanova University enrolls learners from its Villanova, Pennsylvania campus. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to apply. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. Learners at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover educational costs. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #8

    Lafayette College

    Easton, PA

    Graduation Rate

    88%

    Enrollment

    2,662

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $55752

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $55752

    A private institution in Easton, Pennsylvania, Lafayette College offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. Students who complete a technical or academic program may enter the workforce. The cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports a 88% graduation rate. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. Lafayette College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #9

    Lehigh University

    Bethlehem, PA

    Graduation Rate

    90%

    Enrollment

    6,953

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $55240

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $55240

    From its campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh University enrolls students as a private institution. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. At the accredited institution, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports a graduation rate of 90%. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling. The school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #10

    Bucknell University

    Lewisburg, PA

    Graduation Rate

    90%

    Enrollment

    3,697

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $58196

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $58196

    Bucknell University, located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, enrolls students in 80 programs. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-instructor ratio is unknown. How much aid students receive on average is not currently known. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 90%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning makes graduates more competitive. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements.

    #11

    Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing

    Lewistown, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    61

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $19255

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19255

    Located in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing educates students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their career goals. Students gain knowledge and skill specific to their field by completing their program's coursework requirements. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT scores. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The school supports enrollees with tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing has received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

    #12

    Bryn Mawr College

    Bryn Mawr, PA

    Graduation Rate

    84%

    Enrollment

    1,723

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $54440

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $54440

    Located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College awards degrees and certificates as a private institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. Students who complete an academic or technical program enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Students can fund their education with financial aid such as federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports a 84% graduation rate. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements. Bryn Mawr College holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #13

    Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences

    Reading, PA

    Graduation Rate

    57%

    Enrollment

    330

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10635

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10635

    Located in Reading, Pennsylvania, Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences enrolls students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to strengthen their skills. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

    #14

    Williamson College of the Trades

    Media, PA

    Graduation Rate

    73%

    Enrollment

    246

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $27570

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $27570

    Williamson College of the Trades, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Media, Pennsylvania. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help students reach a variety of career goals. Academic programs can take as little as a few months or as many as seven years to complete, depending on the degree or certificate type and the student's enrollment status. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. Admission advisors can provide additional information on submitting an application. Degree-seekers at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Williamson College of the Trades holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    #15

    Franklin and Marshall College

    Lancaster, PA

    Graduation Rate

    85%

    Enrollment

    2,315

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $58800

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $58800

    Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Franklin and Marshall College grants college degrees as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their educational goals. Students strengthen their knowledge of the field by completing coursework. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to apply. Learners benefit from support services like tutoring and career counseling. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Franklin and Marshall College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #16

    Yeshivath Beth Moshe

    Scranton, PA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    42

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9600

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9600

    From its campus in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Yeshivath Beth Moshe grants degrees and certificates as a top school. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help learners meet a variety of professional goals. Depending on the degree or certificate type, enrollees can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years completing a program. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. The admissions staff can provide more information on the process. Financial aid helps students cover the cost of their degree or certificate. The school is accredited by the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, an independent accrediting body.

    #17

    Gettysburg College

    Gettysburg, PA

    Graduation Rate

    81%

    Enrollment

    2,370

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $56390

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $56390

    Located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Gettysburg College offers multiple programs as a private institution. Students complete programs that prepare them for careers and professional advancement. The institution provides academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements depending on their program. Gettysburg College holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #18

    Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia

    Philadelphia, PA

    Graduation Rate

    62%

    Enrollment

    130

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9450

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9450

    Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia enrolls students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their career goals. Students strengthen their knowledge of the field by completing coursework. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to apply. The school supports learners with academic help and career services. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia has received accreditation from the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, an independent accrediting body.

    #19

    The Workforce Institute's City College

    Philadelphia, PA

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    7

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12097

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12097

    From its campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Workforce Institute's City College enrolls students as a private institution. The school offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to bolster their knowledge. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. This makes it easier to enroll. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs. The Workforce Institute's City College holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #20

    UPMC St. Margaret School of Nursing

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    128

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15545

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $15545

    A private institution located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, UPMC St. Margaret School of Nursing offers a variety of programs. The school offers accredited programs that prepare students for a successful career. Learners enroll in academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. UPMC St. Margaret School of Nursing has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, an independent accrediting body.

    #21

    Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    143

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10461

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10461

    Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing is a private institution that offers multiple programs. The school offers accredited programs that prepare students for a successful career. The institution offers an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. The cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

    #22

    Rosedale Technical College

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Graduation Rate

    79%

    Enrollment

    362

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15125

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $15125

    Located in Pennsylvania, Rosedale Technical College offers 11 academic programs. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-teacher ratio is unknown. The average amount of aid awarded to students is unknown. Students in the school's programs graduate at a rate of 79%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning makes graduates more competitive. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements.

    #23

    Studio Incamminati

    Philadelphia, PA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    49

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12625

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12625

    A private institution located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Studio Incamminati enrolls students in several programs. The school offers programs that prepare graduates for careers and professional advancement. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners at the institution choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school holds accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Arts and Design.

    #24

    Falcon Institute of Health and Science

    Bethlehem, PA

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    61

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $21140

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $21140

    From its campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Falcon Institute of Health and Science grants college degrees as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to strengthen their skills. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. The school provides support such as tutoring and career services. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. The institution's accreditation status is unknown.

    #25

    Dickinson College

    Carlisle, PA

    Graduation Rate

    83%

    Enrollment

    2,133

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $56523

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $56523

    Located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Dickinson College awards degrees and certificates as a private institution. The institution's faculty brings expertise in multiple fields. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The school's cost per credit is unknown. The accredited institution meets the requirements for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Students earn their bachelor's degree from the school at a rate of 83%. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying. The school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #26

    UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    298

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15545

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $15545

    UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, often ranks as one of the best schools. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help students meet their career goals. Academic programs can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete, depending on degree or certificate type. Applicants may qualify for a test score waiver. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The admissions department can help students complete the process. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing has received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

    #27

    Laurel Business Institute

    Uniontown, PA

    Graduation Rate

    80%

    Enrollment

    240

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10645

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10645

    Located in Pennsylvania, Laurel Business Institute enrolls students in 19 programs. Students enjoy rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. Information on the student-to-teacher ratio is unavailable. The amount of aid students receive on average is not currently known. The school reports a 80% graduation rate. Experiential learning opportunities help graduates on the job market. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #28

    Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

    Lancaster, PA

    Graduation Rate

    63%

    Enrollment

    1,811

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $29320

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $29320

    From its campus in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences administers 28 total programs. Learners benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-instructor ratio is currently unknown. Information on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. Degree-seekers graduate from the school at a rate of 63%. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #29

    Triangle Tech Inc-Greensburg

    Greensburg, PA

    Graduation Rate

    81%

    Enrollment

    139

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $17758

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17758

    Triangle Tech Inc-Greensburg, located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, enrolls students in 4 programs. Students benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-teacher ratio is unknown. The amount of aid students receive on average is currently unknown. The school reports a graduation rate of 81%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning makes graduates more competitive. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #30

    Muhlenberg College

    Allentown, PA

    Graduation Rate

    84%

    Enrollment

    2,251

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $54600

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $54600

    A top-ranked school, Muhlenberg College enrolls learners in programs from its campus in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help students meet a variety of professional goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. These policies make it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help students apply to the school. Students also use financial aid to pay for their college degree or certificate. Muhlenberg College has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting body.

    Why Choose a Private Institution in Pennsylvania?

    There are over 110 private four-year colleges in Pennsylvania, including schools like Villanova University, Drexel University, and Swarthmore College.

    Choosing the right college depends on many factors, such as available programs and financial aid. In general, private colleges and universities are smaller than public colleges and may offer fewer degree options.

    However, private colleges and universities can offer smaller and more specialized classes. Students interested in a literature degree, for example, could consider attending a private liberal arts college over a public institution.

    Another key difference between public and private colleges is cost. Public colleges receive funding from the state and usually feature lower tuition rates than private colleges. Despite the higher overall cost of tuition, some private colleges offer more financial aid than their counterparts.

    Readers should also note that Pennsylvania does not participate in reciprocity programs. This means that out-of-state students do not receive tuition discounts.

    Pros and Cons of Attending a Private College or University in Pennsylvania

    Pros

    • In general, private schools are smaller than public schools and offer smaller class sizes.
    • Smaller private colleges may not have as many degree options. But they often offer specialized degrees, especially for schools like liberal arts colleges.
    • Pennsylvania has many highly ranked private colleges and universities with highly regarded academic programs.

    Cons

    • Without receiving any aid from the state or federal government, private schools charge more tuition than public colleges and universities.
    • Students attending a smaller private school may have limited program options.
    • Pennsylvania does not participate in tuition reciprocity programs, which means out-of-state students do not receive cheaper tuition.

    Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Institutions in Pennsylvania

    A nonprofit college or university still charges students tuition. However, it uses that tuition to fund its students’ education by providing research opportunities, maintaining facilities, and/or offering co-curriculars.

    A for-profit college or university answers to a private organization or corporation. The primary goal of these institutions is to make money for their investors, which means tuition money typically goes to marketing and recruiting rather than to the students. There are 52 for-profit colleges in Pennsylvania that offer four-year or two-year degrees.

    Nonprofit and for-profit colleges have pros and cons, but in general, nonprofit colleges offer a better education. However, some for-profit colleges provide more practical degree options for working students.

    How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Private Institution in Pennsylvania?

    Students should consider cost when deciding where to go to college. Private colleges in Pennsylvania charged an average of $42,812 in tuition and fees in 2019-2020. For room and board, private colleges and universities charged an additional $13,945. Students should also consider extra costs such as textbooks and other school materials.

    The University of Pennsylvania is among the most expensive private colleges in Pennsylvania. The school charged students $79,014 in tuition, fees, and room and board in 2021-2022. Among the least expensive private colleges in Pennsylvania is Strayer University, which charged $21,735 for tuition, fees, and room and board in 2021-2022.

    However, private colleges and universities also offer financial assistance for students — sometimes more than at public institutions. Students can also explore more options, such as tuition-free colleges.

    Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

    Frequently Asked Questions About Private Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania

    How many private colleges and universities are there in Pennsylvania?

    There are over 110 private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. Students can find both large and small private colleges in the state and specialized institutions like liberal arts colleges.

    Private colleges and universities do not receive funding from the state. Tuition generally costs more at a private college than at a public college. However, students can often find more opportunities for financial aid at a private college.

    What is the most expensive private institution in Pennsylvania?

    Among the most expensive private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania is the University of Pennsylvania. Private colleges need tuition fees to cover administrative overhead, research opportunities, and employee salaries.

    Readers should always research the cost of college before applying. Prospective students can look on each college’s website for information about their financial aid policies or call the admissions office for details.

    What is the least expensive private college or university in Pennsylvania?

    Strayer University is among the least expensive private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. While private colleges and universities are generally more expensive than public institutions, students can still find options with reasonable tuition costs.

    When applying to any college or university, students should consider the hidden costs of college, including textbooks, school supplies, and transportation expenses. Students can speak with the admissions office or financial aid department to learn more about the cost of attending college at a particular school.

    Is a private college or university right for me?

    Private and public colleges offer excellent education opportunities. In general, private institutions offer small class sizes and specialized programs.

    However, private colleges and universities often cost more than public institutions, especially for students who live in-state. Public colleges and universities also offer more program options and extracurriculars.

    Readers should consider factors like cost, area of study, and personal interests when choosing the right college for them.

    Can I get more scholarship money at a private college or university?

    While private colleges generally cost more, they also provide a lot of financial aid to students. Applicants to private colleges and universities may qualify for academic and need-based scholarships to cover the cost of tuition.

    Readers can also research independent scholarship and grant opportunities. Students can use multiple scholarships during the year to help cover the cost of tuition.