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20 Most Affordable Colleges in Pennsylvania in 2021

September 16, 2021 | Staff Writers

Cheapest Colleges in Pennsylvania
Degree Finder
BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

College degrees are a valuable and important stepping-stone to a satisfying career and a good-paying job. A college degree is linked to a number of benefits including increased job opportunities, a higher degree of economic stability, and major opportunities for networking throughout your career. In addition, earning a college degree definitely promotes personal growth and an increase in self-esteem.

An undergraduate degree from a great Pennsylvania college can also prepare you for an advanced degree in your field. Earning a Master’s degree or Ph.D. can often greatly increase your likelihood of landing an outstanding, well-paying job.

Savvy students know that more than ever, they need to keep their college costs as low as possible. They’re looking more and more for great value for their education dollars.  The average annual tuition in the United States for an undergraduate degree from a private college is over $30,000 per year. This is quite daunting for many prospective students.

Furthermore, many students are trying to balance their education with competing concerns such as family obligations and employment duties. Massive college costs are likely to turn them off. So here you have it for your consideration: The top twenty value propositions for an outstanding undergraduate education in a Pennsylvania college.

Rank School Location
1The Curtis Institute of MusicPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
2Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia – Adult EducationPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
3Peirce CollegePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
4Holy Family UniversityPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
5Bloomsburg University of PennsylvaniaBloomsburg, Pennsylvania

The Top 20 Cheapest Colleges in Pennsylvania

1

The Curtis Institute of Music

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Curtis Institute of Music is a small and elite niche school with an enrollment of only 130 undergraduates. Although not the absolute lowest in average cost, Curtis ranks tops on our list because of its high, 64% graduation rate. Furthermore, 100% of its students receive financial aid.

School Overview

Average Cost: $12,668
Undergraduate Enrollment: 130
Visit School Website
2

Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia – Adult Education

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 58%

Talmudical Yeshiva is a private Jewish college. It is a very small school with an enrollment of 123 undergraduates. It is restrictive in its programs, only offering a degree in Talmudic and Rabbinical Studies. Fully 47% of the school’s undergraduates go on to achieve their degrees.

School Overview

Average Cost: $9,679
Undergraduate Enrollment: 123
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3

Peirce College

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 34%

Peirce is a small private college with the lowest average cost on our list. Business is the largest major here. Other popular programs are information technology and paralegal studies. Peirce generously offers aid to 100% of its undergraduate student base.

School Overview

Average Cost: $6,395
Undergraduate Enrollment: 278
Visit School Website
4

Holy Family University

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 58%

This private Catholic university is home to 2,134 full- and part-time undergraduate students. Popular majors at Holy Family include nursing, psychology, business, and criminal justice. With a 58% graduation rate, students go on to jobs with good earning power: Their average starting salary is $42,000 per year.

Program Data:

  • Median Salary of Seniors in their first job: $42,000
  • Median Salary of young Alumni (last 5 years): $60,000

Other points of distinction:

  • Ranked by Money Magazine’s 2019-20 Best Colleges for your Money, 22nd in Pennsylvania and 273rd overall.
  • Georgetown University’s new ranking of ROI for US Colleges and Universities ranked Holy Family University 20th in Pennsylvania for best return on investment. (2019, A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges, Carnevale, Cheah, Van Der Werf)
  • 25th in Pennsylvania in the Overall Mobility Index (the likelihood that a student moved up two or more income quintiles). Equality of Opportunity Project 2017
  • Holy Family University ranks 6th in lowest net price for 4-year, private, not-for-profits in Pennsylvania Based on the 2018 College Affordability and Transparency Data produced by the U.S. Department of Education
  • Nationally, Holy Family University ranks in the top 20% (18.9%) of student incomes at the age of 34 (Equality of Opportunity Project) 2017

School Overview

Average Cost: $15,074
Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,848 Full-time; 2,134 Total UG (full- and part-time)
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5

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

  • Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 61%

Bloomsburg University is a medium-sized public university in central-eastern Pennsylvania. Admission is somewhat competitive, with 77% of applicants accepted for undergraduate courses. Popular majors include business, criminal justice, and psychology. Over 95% of graduating students are employed after two years after receiving their degree.

School Overview

Average Cost: $17,137
Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,512
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6

Lincoln University of Pennsylvania

  • Lower Oxford Township, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

Located in the greater Philadelphia area, this public university has a strong commitment to its roots as the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and as a liberal arts institution. With an enrollment of under 2,000 undergraduates, Lincoln offers degrees in a wide variety of social sciences, business, media, and health-related sciences. Admission is competitive.

School Overview

Average Cost: $13,695
Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,963
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7

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

  • East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 56%

East Stroudsburg is a mid-sized public university near the Delaware Water Gap in eastern Pennsylvania. Some of the most popular degree programs are business, criminal justice, and psychology. Over 90% of students receive some form of financial aid.

School Overview

Average Cost: $15,275
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,243
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8

Penn State – Shenango

  • Sharon, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 35%

Penn State Shenango’s tradition of academic excellence, student success, unrivaled opportunities and greater career potential makes the campus a great place to study. With a 1:11 faculty-to-student ratio, the campus is dedicated to providing quality and rigor in their 14 majors that students expect at a world-class campus of Penn State University.

School Overview

Average Cost: $13,360
Enrollment: 373
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9

University of Pittsburgh – Titusville

  • Titusville, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 16%

This public small school has the lowest tuition among the five campuses of the University of Pittsburgh, making it an outstanding value. It has a very low faculty to student ratio of 1:7. Students at the school can study to become registered nurses. Also instructive, 95% of graduates are employed within half a year after graduation. As of Fall 2020 they have 23 full-time students, 10 part-time students, 29 full-time faculty and staff, 3 part-time faculty and staff, 26.3 total students full-time equivalent enrollment (FTE), and 30 total faculty and staff FTE.

School Overview

Average Cost: $16,262
Undergraduate Enrollment: 187
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10

Penn State – Wilkes Barre

  • Dallas, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 46%

Popular majors at Penn State – Wilkes Barre include business, criminal justice, engineering, and nursing. The school’s small size makes for a friendly campus and plenty of student-professor interaction. The median earning of its students six years after graduation is $50,100.

School Overview

Average Cost: $16,933
Undergraduate Enrollment: 366
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11

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 28%

Located in the capital city of the Keystone State, Harrisburg is a small-sized, private institution. With an acceptance rate of 100%, this may be a school for you. Popular majors include information science, game design, natural sciences, and biotechnology. Fully 97% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid.

School Overview

Average Cost: $13,909
Undergraduate Enrollment: 525
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12

Penn State Fayette – Eberly Campus

  • Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 50%

At this small-sized public college, students are likely to enroll in nursing, business, and human development studies. Students are on record indicating how much the Penn State – Eberly faculty is involved in their success. Over 95% of undergraduates are awarded financial assistance to pursue their degrees.

School Overview

Average Cost: $16.496
Undergraduate Enrollment: 570
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13

Edinboro University

  • Edinboro, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 43%

As their motto says, Edinboro University is “For those who strive”. This mid-sized private university was founded in 1857. The school is nationally known for its program in studio arts. Additionally, business and liberal arts are popular programs of study as well.

School Overview

Average Cost: 15,233
Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,201
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14

Penn State Beaver

  • Monaca, Pennsylvania

Business, information studies, criminal justice, and communications are among the top undergraduate programs at Penn State Beaver. Fully 94% of its graduates are employed within two years of graduation. While in attendance, over 90% of the undergrads are recipients of financial aid.

School Overview

Average Cost: $16,711
Undergraduate Enrollment: 548
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15

Yeshivath Beth Moshe

  • Scranton, Pennsylvania

This small Jewish college offers a single degree program in Talmudic and Rabbinical Studies. From a pure cost perspective, Yeshivath is one of the cheapest on our list.  It doesn’t rank as high as some because its graduation rate is only 21%, compared to the national average of 49% for undergraduate colleges. Because of its ultra-small enrollment, the student-faculty ratio is excellent, at 6:1.

School Overview

Average Cost: $10,125
Undergraduate Enrollment: 32
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16

Penn State – Schuylkill

  • Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

The small public college has a certain appeal for its students who report that the faculty makes them feel at home. Popular courses of study include criminal justice, nursing, radiation therapy, and business.  Admission to the undergraduate program is somewhat competitive: Penn State – Schuylkill has a 74% acceptance rate.

School Overview

Average Cost: $17,481
Undergraduate Enrollment: 490
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17

Lackawanna College

  • Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 31%

Lackawanna is a small private college in Scranton that may provide good value. It has an acceptance rate of 100%. Almost 95% of its students receive some type of aid. Business is the most popular degree program here. Other coveted majors include sonography and ultrasound technology, mental health and social services, and police and criminal studies.

School Overview

Average Cost: $17,380
Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,326
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18

Manor College

  • Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 40%

Manor is a small private college in the greater Philadelphia area. Many undergraduates pursue studies in the health professions, humanities, and the veterinary field. Over 85% of Manor’s graduates have become employed within two years of their graduation.

School Overview

Average Cost: $16,325
Undergraduate Enrollment: 480
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19

Central Penn College

  • Summerdale, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 40%

Central Penn is a small, for-profit college that provides degrees in business, physical therapy, criminal justice, and other fields. Over 95% of students receive aid from this school. In addition to in-person, campus-based studies, fully 16 online degree programs are offered.

School Overview

Average Cost: $17,014
ndergraduate Enrollment: 243
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20

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

  • Cheney, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 15%

Cheney is a small, historically black public university founded in 1837 and located in the greater Philadelphia metro area. With an acceptance rate of 100%, this school may be just the ticket for your undergraduate degree. Popular fields of study are business, sociology, biology, and psychology.

School Overview

Average Cost: $14,620
Undergraduate Enrollment: 433
Visit School Website

Begin Your Quest for a Value Education in Pennsylvania

Congratulations on your decision to obtain an affordable college degree in Pennsylvania! If you are looking for the best value for your money, the forgoing listing is certain to help with your decision-making process. As you can see, we look at a broad spectrum of school types, ranging from small private institutions to large state universities, religious versus secular institutions, all of which are based in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

We know that finding the best value for your undergraduate degree at a Pennsylvania college can be difficult. Therefore, we work hard to develop rankings of the best schools offering online degrees. These rankings are constructed based on criteria that most appeal to value-conscious students.

Ranking Methodology Described

Here’s how we do our college ranking: Our ranking is based on an equal (50% each) weighting of two normalized factors considered to be of critical importance: Annual net cost to attend and undergraduate graduation rate.  Net cost figures are calculated as the average annual cost of attendance minus the average amount of aid received. It essentially represents the true value of attending college. The graduation rate is the percentage of undergraduate students that actually finish their undergraduate program, graduate, and are have obtained their degree. Its importance lies in the fact that the students achieve what they set out to do. Additionally, it reflects the fact that all other criteria, such as social and demographic aspects, are sufficiently high that students remain at the school until their degree is awarded.

The net cost information (average total cost after average aid received) was gathered from Niche. Enrollment is for total undergraduate numbers as gathered from Google. Other school facts were gathered from Google as well.

If you represent one of the listed schools and notice an error please contact us so that we can make an update.

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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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