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2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania

111 Colleges
$24,383 Avg Cost*
4.2 Years Avg Time to Graduate*

With all of the options you have for higher education today, it can be tough to choose which direction to take. One of our goals at College Factual is to give you as much information as we can - such as our Best Value in Pennsylvania Schools ranking - to help you make that decision.

We analyzed 111 colleges and universities to determine which were the best for overall value in Pennsylvania. It's important to note that this isn't just a listing of colleges and universities with the lowest sticker price. Instead, this ranking identifies schools that offer a high quality educational experience at a lower-than-expected price. Because of this, it is possible for one college to rank better than another, even if the latter college has a lower average cost.

Get more details on our ranking methodology.

When determining average cost, we look at total expenses, such as tuition, fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other living expenses, and then deduct the average amount of financial aid awarded to a student. This estimate is meant to give you a better picture of how much money you'll have to pay each year, either through self-pay, loans, or external scholarships.

One Size Does Not Fit All

We know that one set of rankings doesn't always help you determine the best school for you, so we've created the ability to narrow your list by location and field of study as well as alternative rankings that prioritize different factors, such as those of importance to veterans and returning adults or those seeking diversity and overall quality.

One of our other unique offerings is College Combat. This tool lets you build your own customized comparisons utilizing the factors that are most important to you. If you're torn between two schools, you can use it to help you see how they stack up against one another!

Top Colleges for the Money 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 in Pennsylvania. Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 527 students in 2018-2019.

The average student at E - town graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $17,950. This means that the average student pays around $73,236 to get a bachelor’s degree from E - town. 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 87%. E - town also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools in this category.

Full Elizabethtown College Report

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#2

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania helped the school earn the #2 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools for the money in Pennsylvania. Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,807 students in 2018-2019.

The average student at SRU graduates in less than 4.3 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $21,166. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the SRU is $90,802. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.9%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#3

Albright College

Reading, Pennsylvania

A rank of #3 on our Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list means Albright College is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. Reading, Pennsylvania is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 398 students in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Albright is 4.2 years, and it costs about $16,128 per year to attend the school. This means that the average student pays around $66,931 to get a bachelor’s degree from Albright. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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A rank of #4 on our Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list means University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 5,451 students in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Pitt about 4.2 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $28,264. This means that the average student pays around $119,557 to get a bachelor’s degree from Pitt. 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 3.4%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Pitt also is in the top 15% of our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking.

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#5

University of the Sciences

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at University of the Sciences helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools for the money in Pennsylvania. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 291 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students 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 $27,452. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from USciences is about $111,730. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.6%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#6

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #6, West Chester University of Pennsylvania did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. This fairly large public school is located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 3,698 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at WCUPA about 4.4 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,815. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from WCUPA is about $108,442. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.9%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#7

Westminster College Pennsylvania

New Wilmington, Pennsylvania

Westminster College Pennsylvania landed the #7 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking. Located in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 269 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Westminster New Wilmington graduates in less than 4.2 years, and it costs about $24,777 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Westminster New Wilmington is $103,816. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The low student loan default rate of 4.7% 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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#8

Saint Vincent College

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Saint Vincent College landed the #8 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking. Latrobe, Pennsylvania is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 394 students in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Saint Vincent about 4.1 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $27,193. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Saint Vincent is $111,491. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.0%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#9

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

University Park, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State University - University Park did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking, coming in at #9. Penn State University Park is a large public school situated in University Park, Pennsylvania. It awarded 10,893 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Penn State University Park is 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $32,528. This means that the average student pays around $137,919 to get a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University Park. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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, Penn State University Park also did well on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

Full Pennsylvania State University - University Park Report

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#10

University of Pittsburgh - Bradford

Bradford, Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh - Bradford ranked #10 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. Located in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the small public school awarded 226 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The average student at University of Pittsburgh - Bradford graduates in less than 4.2 years, and it costs about $20,402 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from University of Pittsburgh - Bradford is $85,076. 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%.

Full University of Pittsburgh - Bradford Report

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#11

Waynesburg University

Waynesburg, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #11, Waynesburg University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. Waynesburg is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It awarded 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 estimated yearly cost for the school is $24,506. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Waynesburg is about $100,720. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The low student loan default rate of 4.4% 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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#12

Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Temple University landed the #12 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking. Temple is a public institution located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school has a large population, and it awarded 6,523 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at Temple to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $28,782. This means that the average student pays around $126,353 to get a bachelor’s degree from Temple. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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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#13

Lincoln University

Lincoln University, Pennsylvania

Lincoln University landed the #13 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking. Lincoln is located in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 358 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Lincoln is 4.5 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $15,535. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln is $69,597. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#14

Messiah University

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Messiah University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking, coming in at #14. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 636 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Messiah to complete their degree, and it costs about $32,513 per year to attend the school. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Messiah is about $132,003. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 88%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Messiah excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list.

Full Messiah University Report

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#15

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania came in at #15 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania ranking. Located in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, the medium-sized public school awarded 1,973 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At Bloomsburg, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and it costs about $22,632 per year to attend the school. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg be around $100,033. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

Full Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Report

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#16

Allegheny College

Meadville, Pennsylvania

Allegheny College came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania ranking. Located in Meadville, Pennsylvania, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 452 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Allegheny graduates in less than 4.1 years, and it costs about $33,108 per year to attend the school. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny be around $136,405. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 3.1% 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%. In addition to its great value ranking, Allegheny is in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list.

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#17

Lycoming College

Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Lycoming College ranked #17 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. Located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 298 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Lycoming about 4.2 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $27,294. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Lycoming is about $114,362. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#18

Washington & Jefferson College

Washington, Pennsylvania

Washington & Jefferson College did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking, coming in at #18. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Washington, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 382 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At W&J, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $34,366. This means that the average student pays around $139,526 to get a bachelor’s degree from W&J. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 1.1% 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%. In addition to its great value ranking, W&J is in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges in Pennsylvania list.

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#19

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Mansfield, Pennsylvania

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania landed the #19 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking. Mansfield University is located in Mansfield, Pennsylvania and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 377 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

At Mansfield University, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $19,892. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Mansfield University is $85,933. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

Full Mansfield University of Pennsylvania Report

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#20

University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown

Johnstown, Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking, coming in at #20. University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown is a small public school situated in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It awarded 524 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown about 4.3 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $23,235. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown is $101,072. 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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Pennsylvania State University - Erie - Behrend College ranked #21 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. Penn State Erie is a public institution located in Erie, Pennsylvania. The school has a small population, and it awarded 829 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Penn State Erie about 4.4 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $28,972. 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 Penn State Erie is $126,897. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot 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%.

Full Pennsylvania State University - Erie - Behrend College Report

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#22

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

Edinboro, Pennsylvania

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania ranking. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is a small public school located in Edinboro, Pennsylvania that handed out 798 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.5 years for the average student at Edinboro to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $20,200. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Edinboro is $90,294. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

Full Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Report

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#23

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania landed the #23 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania ranking. Located in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, the medium-sized public school awarded 1,651 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Kutztown University about 4.3 years to graduate, and it costs about $24,595 per year to attend the school. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University is about $106,496. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#24

California University of Pennsylvania

California, Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania came in at #24 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania ranking. This medium-sized public school is located in California, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 1,345 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Cal U graduates in less than 4.3 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $22,779. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Cal U is $97,266. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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With a ranking of #25, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 51 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is 4.3 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $10,497. 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 Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is $44,927. 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.

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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