Overview of Pennsylvania Colleges & Schools

The state of Pennsylvania got its name from a land grant owed to William Penn to repay a debt by King Charles II. Today the state borders New York, New jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada. The state is host to an incredible number of public and private institutions of higher learning, and home to one of the oldest in the United States of America.

Pennsylvania has two state run systems for colleges and universities, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the 10th largest system of schools in the United States. It is comprised of fourteen schools that are located throughout the state and are the only wholly owned and governed public institutions in Pennsylvania.

Some PSSHE Schools:

The Commonwealth System of Higher Education is comprised of four mains schools and a large number of branches and affiliated schools. Schools within the CSHE are publically funded but independently operated. As such tuition is higher than PSSHE schools but lower than private institutions.

The four primary schools in the CSHE:

Additionally, Pennsylvania is home to a large number of private colleges that run the gamut from liberal arts colleges, to evangelical schools, to an Ivy League institution. These schools offer individuals educational opportunities that may be unavailable at public institutions, or have a history and notoriety that makes acceptance to them highly desirable. Some of these private institutions may have unique curriculums and experiential teaching methods, or may focus more on research.  Private schools are typically more expensive than public schools, but usually offer resources or class sizes that public institutions may be unable to provide.

Some larger private institutions include:

The state of Pennsylvania also has a large network of community colleges providing 2 year educations in technical and vocational fields as well as offering transfer opportunities into four year institutions. Along with the community colleges are a large number of private technical and vocational schools offering certificate and diploma programs geared at quickly providing the skills and education necessary for individuals to enter the work force as skilled labor.

The most populous city in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia, followed by Pittsburg and Allentown.  While the most populous county in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia County with Allegheny County close behind.   If you are interested in visiting the state of Pennsylvania, consider visiting their state page or the state chapter of the Chamber of Commerce.

College Degree Breakdown for the State of Pennsylvania

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, NCES, O*NET Online

Doctoral or professional degree164,3002.9
Master's degree00.0
Bachelor's degree1,126,39019.6
Associate's degree00.0
Postsecondary nondegree award375,2906.5
Some college, no degree137,2602.4
High school diploma or equivalent2,098,26036.5
No formal educational credential1,594,95027.8

Public Universities & Colleges

Image of Public College Campus

There are forty-two public 4-year state universities and colleges in Pennsylvania. These four-year institutions predominantly offer bachelor's or higher level programs and some may even include research facilities. See a state-wide list of the state universities and colleges in Pennsylvania.

Private Universities & Colleges

Image of Private College Campus

In Pennsylvania there are eighty-four accredited private four-year colleges. Similar to public schools, private colleges and universities offer bachelor's or higher level programs and research opportunities, although they usually have smaller classes and higher tuition. Compare admission requirements and tuition details for private colleges in Pennsylvania.

Community Colleges

Community College in Pennsylvania

Community colleges are public institutions that offer low cost, high quality education for residents throughout the state. These schools offer 2-year programs that grant associate degrees or offer training courses in specialized trades. Pennsylvania" Community colleges also are the number one transfer-out programs available for four-year colleges and universities. Learn more and compare community colleges in Pennsylvania.

Liberal Arts Colleges

Liberal Arts Colleges

Pennsylvania has twenty-four accredited liberal arts colleges. These schools primarily focus on undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences through comprehensive and flexible curriculums. Compare all the liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania.

Bible & Christian Colleges

Christian Colleges

Bible and Christian colleges generally provide specialized undergraduate education with a focus on religious or biblical study. There are approximately sixty such colleges in Pennsylvania located throughout the state. See a full list of Christian colleges in Pennsylvania along with program and tuition information.

Browse Schools by Career in Pennsylvania

Follow the links below to get information on accredited schools in our database that offer programs or degrees.

Medicine & Healthcare

Law & Criminal Justice