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2021 Best Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in Pennsylvania

111 Colleges
$25,101 Avg Cost (With Aid)*
4.2 Years Avg Time to Graduate*

There are lots of options to chooose from today when trying to decide which college to attend. College Factual has developed its Best Pennsylvania Schools For The Money For Those Getting Aid ranking as one tool you can use to help make this decision.

We analyzed 111 colleges and universities to determine which were the best for overall value for the money with aid in Pennsylvania. This ranking doesn't just identify the colleges with the lowest costs. Rather, it highlights those institutions that offer excellent educational experiences for a lower cost than other schools of roughly the same caliber. So it is possible that College A may rank better than College B, while College B is less expensive to attend.

Learn more about our ranking methodology.

Our average cost calculation adds up all expenses, such as tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses, and then subtracts the average financial aid awarded to a student. This gives a rough estimation of how much money you can expect to pay out-of-pocket or through loans each year.

Custom Rankings

We've developed a number of other tools and rankings to help you make your college decision. Start by filtering this list by location or field of study and then explore our other rankings that feature schools great for different groups of students such as veterans or returnings adults.

We've created a tool called College Combat that lets you create your own customized comparisons based on the factors that matter the most to you. Test it out by comparing your favorite schools against others you are considering!

Top Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in Pennsylvania

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Elizabethtown College tops this year’s ranking as the best school for overall value for the money with aid in Pennsylvania. E - town is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. It awarded 527 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at E - town about 4.1 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $17,380 for students who receive aid. This means that the average student pays around $70,910 to get a bachelor’s degree from E - town. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

With a freshman retention rate of 87%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. On top of its placing in our value rankings, E - town also did well on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania list. Pitt is a public institution located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The school has a large population, and it awarded 5,451 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Pitt is 4.2 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $23,237. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Pitt is $98,293. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

With a freshman retention rate of 93%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Pitt also did well on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#3

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Swarthmore College helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools for the money in Pennsylvania. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 545 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Swarthmore about 4.1 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $27,643. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore is $113,060. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1 is a sign that students will have more opportunities to engage with their professors one-on-one. Swarthmore also made our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list, coming in at #2.

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#4

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

Out of the 111 schools in Pennsylvania that were part of this year’s ranking, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania landed the #4 spot on the list. SRU is located in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania and has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 1,807 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes about 4.3 years for the average student at SRU to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $18,828 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from SRU is $80,772. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The low student loan default rate of 4.9% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

Full Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Report

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#5

Albright College

Reading, Pennsylvania

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Albright College. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania list. Albright is located in Reading, Pennsylvania and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 398 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Albright is 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $13,932 for students who receive aid. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Albright is $57,818. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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#6

Haverford College

Haverford, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #6, Haverford College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. Haverford is a private not-for-profit institution located in Haverford, Pennsylvania. The school has a small population, and it awarded 343 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.0 years for the average student at Haverford to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $29,030. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Haverford be around $117,572. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 97%. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Haverford also did well on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#7

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

West Chester University of Pennsylvania did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking, coming in at #7. West Chester, Pennsylvania is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 3,698 students in 2018-2019.

The average student at WCUPA graduates in less than 4.4 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $21,502 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the WCUPA is $93,964. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.9%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#8

Franklin and Marshall College

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Franklin and Marshall College landed the #8 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 614 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Franklin and Marshall is 4.1 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $30,765 for students who receive aid. This means that the average student pays around $125,214 to get a bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 92%. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Franklin and Marshall also did well on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#9

University of the Sciences

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

University of the Sciences did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking, coming in at #9. USciences is a private not-for-profit institution located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school has a small population, and it awarded 291 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at USciences to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $27,222 for students who receive aid. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from USciences be around $110,794. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The low student loan default rate of 2.6% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#10

Saint Vincent College

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Saint Vincent College came in at #10 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 394 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Saint Vincent is 4.1 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $26,431. This means that the average student pays around $108,367 to get a bachelor’s degree from Saint Vincent. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 4.0% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#11

Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Temple University ranked #11 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. This large public school is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 6,523 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Temple is 4.4 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $26,219 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Temple is $115,101. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 90%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year.

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#12

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

University Park, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #12, Pennsylvania State University - University Park did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. Penn State University Park is a large public school situated in University Park, Pennsylvania. It awarded 10,893 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Penn State University Park about 4.2 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $30,034. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University Park is $127,344. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

With a freshman retention rate of 93%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Penn State University Park also is in the top 15% of our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking.

Full Pennsylvania State University - University Park Report

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#13

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr College did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking, coming in at #13. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 406 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Bryn Mawr is 4.1 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $31,883 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr is $130,720. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Bryn Mawr also is in the top 10% of our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking.

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#14

Westminster College Pennsylvania

New Wilmington, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #14, Westminster College Pennsylvania did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. New Wilmington, Pennsylvania is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 269 students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at Westminster New Wilmington to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $24,242 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Westminster New Wilmington is $101,574. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

Full Westminster College Pennsylvania Report

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#15

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania ranked #15 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is a medium-sized public school located in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania that handed out 1,973 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Bloomsburg about 4.4 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $19,988 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg is $88,347. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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#16

Lafayette College

Easton, Pennsylvania

Lafayette College landed the #16 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Easton, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 804 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Lafayette is 4.0 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $33,848 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette is $137,084. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 95%. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Lafayette also is in the top 10% of our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking.

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#17

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Lehigh University came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania ranking. Lehigh University is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that handed out 1,379 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Lehigh graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $33,043 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Lehigh is $138,120. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1 is a sign that students will have more opportunities to engage with their professors one-on-one. Lehigh not only placed well in our value rankings, but it is also #4 on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list.

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#18

Lincoln University

Lincoln University, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #18, Lincoln University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. This small public school is located in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 358 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Lincoln graduates in less than 4.5 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $14,499 for students who receive aid. This means that the average student pays around $64,956 to get a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#19

Waynesburg University

Waynesburg, Pennsylvania

Waynesburg University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking, coming in at #19. Located in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 308 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Waynesburg to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $23,770. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Waynesburg is $97,695. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.4%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#20

University of Pittsburgh - Bradford

Bradford, Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh - Bradford ranked #20 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. University of Pittsburgh - Bradford is a small public school located in Bradford, Pennsylvania that handed out 226 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At University of Pittsburgh - Bradford, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $19,161 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from University of Pittsburgh - Bradford is $79,901. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 3.4% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#21

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Mansfield, Pennsylvania

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania ranked #21 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. Mansfield University is a small public school situated in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. It awarded 377 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.3 years for the average student at Mansfield University to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $17,921 for students who receive aid. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Mansfield University be around $77,419. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#22

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania ranked #22 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the large private not-for-profit school awarded 3,632 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At UPenn, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $36,844 for students who receive aid. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from UPenn be around $152,166. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 6 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. UPenn not only placed well in our value rankings, but it is also #1 on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list.

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#23

University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown

Johnstown, Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown ranked #23 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. Johnstown, Pennsylvania is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 524 students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.3 years for the average student at University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown to complete their degree, and it costs students who receive aid about $21,156 per year to attend the school. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown is about $92,029. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.4%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

Full University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown Report

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#24

Messiah University

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Messiah University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking, coming in at #24. Located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 636 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Messiah graduates in less than 4.1 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $31,960 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Messiah is $129,758. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

With a freshman retention rate of 88%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Messiah also is in the top 20% of our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking.

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#25

Lycoming College

Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Lycoming College came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania ranking. Lycoming is a private not-for-profit institution located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The school has a small population, and it awarded 298 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Lycoming graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $26,985 for students who receive aid. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Lycoming be around $113,067. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • For our state-specific rankings, we use in-state tuition to calculate average cost. For our national and regional rankings, we use a weighted average of in-state and non-resident tuition.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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