Pennsylvania hosts several schools with quality online programs. The Pennsylvania school with the most success in online learning is undoubtedly Penn State. The school’s World Campus is internationally renowned for its extensive offerings and excellent instructors, and more than 150 graduate degrees, undergraduate degrees, certificates and minors. Programs cover a wide array of disciplines, from business and psychology to media studies and turfgrass science.
The state is also home to several other schools with similarly robust online programs and services. But before we look at the best online colleges in Pennsylvania, let’s consider how both higher education and online education are faring in the state today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s robust public university system and extensive private school options place it among the best states in the country to pursue higher education. The state boasts 256 degree-granting postsecondary institutions, according to 2015-2016 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. This figure includes 62 public, 120 nonprofit, and 74 for-profit institutions. Combined, these colleges and universities served 725,770 enrolled students in fall 2016, an increase of about 116,000 students since 2000. These numbers continue to grow annually.
According to College Board data, the average yearly in-state tuition for a Pennsylvania public school was $14,437 in 2017. At Penn State University Park, the state’s flagship university, in-state students currently pay $18,436 per year, while out-of-state students pay $33,664. The Ivy League school serves nearly 47,000 undergraduate and graduate students through its on-campus and online programs.
Students attending online colleges in Pennsylvania can access several lucrative financial aid opportunities. In the 2015-2016 school year, postsecondary students in Pennsylvania received a total of $474,259,691 in need-based and non-need-based grants. Common sources of financial assistance include the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, PA Targeted Industry Program, Education Assistance Program for National Guard Members, work-study programs, and various institutional assistance grants. These grants go to more than 215,000 college and university students each year.
The State of Online Higher Education in Pennsylvania
The Distance Education State Almanac reports that 180,730 (or 24%) of Pennsylvania’s college and university students took at least one online course in in the 2015-2016 school year. While this is slightly lower than the national rate of 29%, distance learning increased by more than 31% between 2012 and 2015.
Furthermore, 85,178 (about 11.3%) of postsecondary students took all of their courses through distance education. This number includes 56,876 undergraduate and 28,302 graduate students. Approximately 51.7% of these students lived in Pennsylvania, while the the rest lived out of state. The data also indicates that about 95,552 (12.6%) of the state’s postsecondary students took a mix of on-campus and online courses during the 2015-2016 school year.
The online schools in Pennsylvania with the most significant growth between 2012 and 2015 include Penn State’s World Campus, Drexel University, Temple University, and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
Two organizations stand out for their efforts to promote the state’s online postsecondary courses and programs: PA Universities Online and the Pennsylvania Distance Learning Association (PADLA). PA Universities Online is essentially a tool for finding online colleges in PA. Programs and courses are currently available at the 14 state universities, collectively referred to as the PA State System of Higher Education. This service makes it easy for students enrolled in one state school to secure courses at a sister school. Similarly, it lets students from outside the state network audit courses unique to PA state schools.
The PADLA is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to provide a destination for information, networking and knowledge regarding distance education. Geared toward the professionals responsible for delivering online courses, whether they be teachers or administrators, the PADLA works with every form of online learning, including adult basic education, workplace training, ESL courses and naturalization test prep. The organization is, in a sense, an ongoing meeting of the minds shaping online education, which in turn benefits PA students at all levels.
Pennsylvania and SARA
Students attending online colleges in PA benefit from the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which sets uniform standards for distance education programs. SARA helps colleges and universities navigate the different laws and regulations governing online learning in each individual state. By joining SARA, online schools in PA can significantly reduce costs and pass on savings to their students. Colleges can also offer lower fees to residents of other SARA states.
Pennsylvania became an official SARA member state in January 2017. While not a member of any of the four regional compacts within the the agreement, Pennsylvania is affiliated with the Southern Regional Education Board. There are now hundreds of SARA-approved postsecondary institutions across the United States.
Distance learners benefit from SARA through greater access to online courses and reduced tuition rates. The compact also aims to improve the quality of distance learning by setting universal standards. SARA is currently working to streamline the process for resolving complaints from students attending schools in SARA states. As online programs continue to grow in popularity, SARA will likely play an increasingly important role in ensuring students get the quality education from distance programs.
Job Outlook for College Graduates in Pennsylvania
Graduates of online schools in Pennsylvania will enter a healthy job market in the years to come. As of May 2018, the state unemployment rate was 4.5%, only slightly above the national average. Pennsylvania workers make an annual median wage of about $48,760, with those in management occupations taking home $123,380 per year on average.
Some of the greatest employment growth in recent years has come in mining and logging, construction, business and professional services, and education and health services. The leisure and hospitality sector has also experienced steady growth.
Several specific careers have rapidly risen in demand and popularity, according to the career aggregation publication Zippia. Many of these jobs — such as occupational therapists, home health aides, and nurse practitioners — fall under the healthcare industry. Others — including interpreters, web developers, and biological engineers — span a variety of sectors. In short, college graduates can find numerous career options in an increasingly dynamic state economy.
In formulating this list, Zippia gathered data from each state and territory to create what it calls a “master database” of career data and information. It then analyzed all Pennsylvania occupations projected to have a minimum of 1,000 employees in 2024, ranking them from one to 437. The table below includes the top five occupations.
Fastest Growing Jobs in Pennsylvania
|Occupation||Job Growth Rate||Average Annual Salary||Jobs in 2024|
|Interpreter and Translator||134.8%||$55,290||1,900|
|Occupational Therapy Assistant||133.3%||$48,940||3,360|
|Physical Therapist Assistant||129.2%||$27,720||2,880|
|Physical Therapy Aide||128.0%||$27,160||1,230|
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor/BLS
Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Pennsylvania. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in PA, explore our state resources, including a database of every college and university in Pennsylvania or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Villanova University||Villanova||$$$$$||800 Lancaster Avenue|
Villanova, PA 19085-1699
Villanova University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as professional certifications through its myriad of fully online programs. All of its colleges and schools offer distance learning, including its Colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Nursing, and Professional Studies. A leading institution among online colleges in Pennsylvania, Villanova accommodates the demanding schedules of busy professionals looking to advance their career or enter a new field.
Each of Villanova’s online programs maintains specific admission and degree completion requirements. For example, the university recommends that individuals wishing to pursue an online undergraduate degree have at least 15 transfer credits from a regionally accredited school with at least a 2.5 GPA in any transfer coursework. The College of Nursing requires students to gain clinical experience in addition to online coursework.
The school’s online MBA program allows students to complete degrees in one of two accelerated curriculum styles: A flex track curriculum, which requires taking one to two classes per week to complete the degree in three years, or a fast track curriculum, where students can graduate in 21 months.
|2||Chatham University||Pittsburgh||$$$$$||Woodland Rd|
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Chatham University is one of the top online schools in Pennsylvania. The university accommodates busy professionals through distance learning programs in business and communication, creative and design arts, education, health science, and nursing. Coursework provides students with knowledge they can immediately apply in practical settings.
Although Chatham’s online programs maintain specific admission requirements, all students may register for a maximum of four courses per semester. Most online classes are intensive, seven-week courses and permit interactive, asynchronous discussion through a discussion board forum. Students also submit assignments and receive grades online. Although most of Chatham’s online degree programs don't have on-campus requirements, some degree programs, like the doctorate of nursing and professional doctor of occupational therapy programs, require short residencies.
Due to higher education regulations, Chatham accepts students for online programs from residents of every state except Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Additionally, Massachusetts residents are ineligible to apply for the bachelor’s in nursing program and master’s degree programs in infant mental health.
|3||Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences||Lancaster||$$$$$||410 N Lime Street|
Lancaster, PA 17602
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences (PA College) offers rigorous, intellectually stimulating curricula through its online courses. Students must be self-motivated, conscientious about schedules and deadlines, and comfortable with written communication.
The projected growth of health-related professions through 2020 makes PA College an attractive option among online colleges in Pennsylvania. It offers bachelor’s degrees in health sciences, healthcare administration, and nursing. Admission requirements generally include successful completion of a regionally accredited health sciences program with a minimum GPA of 2.0.
Those seeking admission to the nursing program must also work in a healthcare setting at least eight hours per week, hold a nursing license or temporary work permit, and obtain licensure within one year of enrolling in the program. In addition, PA College offers a distance learning professional certificate in cardiac electrophysiology, providing students with theoretical knowledge of cardiac electrophysiology and internal cardiac devices.
|4||Duquesne University||Pittsburgh||$$$$$||Administration Bldg 600 Forbes Ave|
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Duquesne University offers online degree programs that accommodate the demands of personal and professional schedules without sacrificing quality in your education. In abidance with its teacher-scholar model, it's been considered one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania due to its encouragement of student and faculty interaction while ensuring instruction reflects research and scholarship.
Students can pursue degrees in business, education, liberal arts, and nursing fully online at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Some programs, like the bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, permit accelerated completion through an eight-week term format. Those starting a degree program for the first time can finish in about four years on this track, and students who have 60 transfer credits or an associate degree can finish in about two years.
Some Duquesne graduate degree programs combine online and on-campus studies, permitting face-to-face interaction with professors and classmates. All distance learners may use Duquesne’s online writing center for one-on-one consultations and have virtual access to school library materials and librarians.
|5||Drexel University||Philadelphia||$$$$$||3141 Chestnut St|
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Drexel University stands out not only one of the best online colleges in PA, but in the world. Its innovation in distance learning began in 1996, the first year online courses were offered. Today, its online degree programs reflect commitment to high-quality teaching and learning that's student-centered.
Drexel offers over 140 online undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as various specialized certificate programs in arts, computer science, engineering, psychology, and public health. Accelerated tracks allow conventional and working students to complete degrees in just two years by spending less time in the classroom and more time gaining real-world, practical experience. Students have access to an online library that permits virtual access to reference materials and librarians. The school's career development center assists online learners with resume writing and personal branding to help them reach professional goals.
|6||Saint Joseph's University||Philadelphia||$$$$$||5600 City Avenue|
Philadelphia, PA 19131-1395
Students enrolled in online degree programs at Saint Joseph’s University experience the same intellectual rigor and dedicated academic advisement, and have access to the same educational resources as on-campus students. One of the leading online schools in Pennsylvania, SJU’s distance learning platform is user-friendly and easy to navigate, allowing students to login from practically anywhere in the world to access course materials, submit assignments, and engage in group discussion boards.
SJU offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as certificates in business, criminal justice, education, health services, leadership, and liberal studies. Degree requirements vary by program, but master’s degrees generally require 30 to 36 credit hours while the university’s sole bachelor’s degree in professional and liberal studies requires 45 credit hours in addition to 60 transfer credits obtained from another institution. Students typically complete online degree programs within two to three years as the flexibility of SJU’s online studies allows them to balance personal and professional demands.
|7||Pennsylvania State University - World Campus||University Park||$$$$$||128 Outreach Building|
University Park, PA 16802
A leader among online schools in PA, Pennsylvania State University – World Campus is committed to convenient, flexible, and high-quality education taught by the same renowned faculty that teach on-campus courses. The school's online student body is comprised of students from all 50 states and more than 60 countries on seven continents.
Penn State – World Campus accommodates undergraduate and graduate students previously enrolled at any Penn State campus, transfer students who wish to transfer either undergraduate or graduate credits from an accredited institution, and international students who demonstrate English language proficiency. The university offers over 125 accredited degrees and certificates, offering minors from fields like business, homeland security, law and public policy, and nursing.
Some graduate degree programs require a short campus residency ranging from a few days to two weeks for networking and knowledge exchange. Tuition costs depend on the chosen program of study and number of credit hours, and students may be eligible for financial aid. In addition, Penn State – World Campus offers tuition assistance to military students and veterans.
|8||Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania||Slippery Rock||$$$$$||1 Morrow Way|
Slippery Rock, PA 16057-1383
Known for quality and convenience, the online programs at Slippery Rock University provide learners the flexibility they need to fulfill their academic goals. Reputed among online colleges in PA for rigorous undergraduate offerings that lead to bachelor’s degrees, SRU accepts transfer and readmission students who previously attended SRU and wish to re-enroll.
SRU offers an online degree in interdisciplinary programs, allowing students to customize individualized study plans that make the best use of any transfer credits, which SRU requires 60 credit hours of as an admission requirement. Transfer students must have completed courses in writing, math, and computer proficiency. They must also have a 2.0 GPA or better.
The university also offers undergraduate degrees in management and nursing. Management students must have an associate degree in business to be eligible for admission. Nursing students must hold either a Registered Nurse (RN) associate degree or diploma, possess current RN licensure, have completed at least 63 credits, and have earned at least a 2.5 GPA.
|9||Cedar Crest College||Allentown||$$$$$||100 College Drive|
Allentown, PA 18104-6196
Designed with mature learners in mind, Cedar Crest College offers online degree and certificate programs through its School of Adult and Graduate Education. Although classes are delivered asynchronously through a virtual platform so students can study whenever and wherever works best for them, Cedar Crest offers the same personalized attention students would expect from a small, private college.
Cedar Crest is known among online colleges in Pennsylvania for its bachelor’s degree programs in business administration, criminal justice, and nursing. In addition, the institution offers a master’s degree in education. Students may enroll in either a standard or accelerated study track, the latter delivering courses over six to eight weeks.
Moreover, Cedar Crest offers over 500 online classes through its partnership with the Online Consortium of Independent Colleges and Universities. Cedar Crest has pre-approved several of these courses, which means credits earned through them are can satisfy degree completion requirements.
|10||Misericordia University||Dallas||$$$$$||301 Lake St|
Dallas, PA 18612-1098
A Catholic institution located in the borough of Dallas, Misericordia University rates highly among online colleges in Pennsylvania thanks to its commitment to outstanding teaching and learning. Its stellar online degree programs attract self-directed, goal-oriented adults wishing to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree through distance learning.
Reputed for its excellence in academics and advising, Misericordia offers undergraduate degrees in many disciplines, including accounting, business administration, information technology, and nursing. Programs are designed for learners possessing either an associate degree or prior college credit that they can transfer toward an undergraduate degree.
The school also offers graduate degree programs like health informatics and organizational management in addition to doctorate degrees in nursing practice and occupational therapy. Misericordia’s online courses are offered in what the school calls 'web-enhanced' form, meaning there's a blend of online and face-to-face instruction -- also known as hybrid courses -- or predominantly online, meaning they're primarily delivered asynchronously.
|11||DeSales University||Center Valley||$$$$$||2755 Station Avenue|
Center Valley, PA 18034-9568
DeSales University maintains a commitment to excellence in education, apparent in both its online and on-campus degree programs. Its online programs let students determine how to best align studies with work and personal schedules, offering asynchronous learning that still permits some interaction with faculty and students in Web-based environments. While some online programs at DeSales blend virtual and face-to-face instruction, all of the distance learning programs maximize students’ time without sacrificing course quality and rigor.
A leader among online colleges in PA, DeSales offers online undergraduate degrees in business administration, finance, marketing, and supply chain management. Courses in accelerated degree programs are delivered in six to eight week sessions, and allow students to transfer up to 75 credits from previously attended institutions if the student completed the course with at least a C-. Students can also receive credits for work experience through a prior learning assessment or for military and corporate training. Students must complete at least 15 credits at DeSales to earn a degree from the program.
|12||California University of Pennsylvania||California||$$$$$||250 University Ave|
California, PA 15419-1394
Offering over 75 degree and nondegree programs, California University of Pennsylvania's online programs, known as Global Online, have the same academic objectives and quality content as its classroom-based programs. The university annually assesses online students’ learning outcomes to ensure alignment with successful career entry and career advancement and enhancement.
Highly regarded among online colleges in Pennsylvania, Cal U offers associate degrees in liberal studies and technical studies and bachelor’s degree with majors like Arabic language and culture, sociology, and wellness and fitness. Master degree programs are available too in areas like business administration, criminal justice, law and public policy, and sport psychology. The school also offers doctoral degrees in criminal justice and in health science and exercise.
The school provides some specific resources to military members and their families, including tuition discounts. Veterans enrolled full-time in Global Online courses may qualify for housing payments through the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
|13||Temple University||Philadelphia||$$$$$||1801 North Broad Street|
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6096
A highly reputable institution renowned among online colleges in PA, Temple University allows learners on a worldwide scale to access courses through its distance learning programs. Physically located in Philadelphia, Temple’s online classes permit students the flexibility needed to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees at a pace aligning with their schedules, regardless of where they live.
Temple pays careful attention to industry standards to design appropriate, outcome-based learning. Individuals can pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration through the Fox School of Business while available master’s degree programs include business administration, communication management, digital marketing, music education, and social work. In addition, Temple offers doctoral degrees in athletic training, occupational therapy, and physical therapy through its online program.
Most courses are delivered asynchronously through Blackboard, a Web-based learning management system, and some faculty utilize WebEx for synchronous, live, virtual meetings. Online students can also take advantage of school resources like a writing center, career center, and library services.
|14||Philadelphia University||Philadelphia||$$$$$||4201 Henry Avenue|
Philadelphia, PA 19144-5497
A preeminent institution among online colleges in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia University delivers high-quality instruction preparing students for personal and professional success. Its online learning community is highly engaged and interactive, promoting knowledge creation and exchange.
Philadelphia University offers an array of bachelor’s degree programs, including ones in accounting, business management, law enforcement leadership, and organizational leadership. Master's degree programs are also available, including ones in business administration, construction management, disaster medicine and management, midwifery completion, and sustainable design. Courses are eight weeks long and split into two modules during each fall, spring, and summer semester.
Prospective undergraduates must submit an online application and either an official copy of a high school transcript or proof of General Educational Development (GED) program completion. Requirements for graduate degree programs vary by discipline, but all students must submit online applications and official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended. Tuition for undergraduate degree programs is $605 per credit hour, and graduate degree tuition ranges from $750 to $1,090 per credit hour depending on the graduate program. Undergraduate students enrolled in at least six credits during every period of enrollment (defined as 16 weeks long and consisting of two eight week classes) may be eligible for financial aid.
|15||Saint Francis University||Loretto||$$$$$||117 Evergreen Dr|
Loretto, PA 15940
Located in Loretto, Saint Francis University is one of the oldest Catholic institutions in the U.S and maintains commitment to inclusive learning even in its online programs. The university understands that online students seek exceptional education with flexible scheduling, and offers up-to-date eLearning.
Using Blackboard to deliver courses including discussion forums, on-demand lectures, streaming videos, and group collaboration software, SFU connects learners and faculty to ensure a robust academic experience. SFU offers bachelor’s degrees fully online in behavioral science and health studies, and online master’s degrees in health science, human resource management, and medical science. Students access professors through email, chat rooms, and discussion boards, keeping them connected despite geographical factors. Furthermore, SFU’s library offers an array of electronic resources, including video streaming, eBooks, and full-text periodicals that students can access from anywhere in the world.
|16||La Salle University||Philadelphia||$$$$$||1900 W Olney Ave|
Philadelphia, PA 19141-1199
Rooted in the Catholic faith in the tradition of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, La Salle University is one of the best of online colleges in Pennsylvania. Its dedication to high-quality liberal arts education gives students confidence knowing they can conveniently pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees with the flexibility needed without sacrificing their academic aspirations and goals.
La Salle offers several bachelor’s and master's degree programs fully online, including undergraduate programs in organizational leadership and nursing, with the latter allowing registered nurses to earn degrees at an accelerated pace. The school's post-baccalaureate pre-speech language pathology program prepares individuals without the required background in communication sciences and disorders to apply for admission to a master’s degree program in speech-language pathology. Individuals wishing to pursue a graduate degree fully online can choose from many degree programs, including analytics, cybersecurity, human capital development, and nonprofit leadership.
Although the school admits students from nearly every state in the U.S., it's currently unable to grant admission to its online programs to Wisconsin residents.
|17||Robert Morris University||Moon Township||$$$$$||6001 University Boulevard|
Moon Township, PA 15108-1189
Out of almost 700 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree courses online, approximately one in eight Robert Morris University students participate in distance learning. The school's reputation as one of the top online colleges in PA is largely attributed to two teams supporting distance learners: the Online Student Services Team, which provides help with course registration and resource provision, and the Instructional Design Team, which assists faculty with course design with an effort to maximize student engagement.
RMU offers undergraduate degree programs in areas like business, cyber forensics, info security, hospitality/tourism management, and organizational leadership fully online. Online master’s degree programs include business education, data analytics systems, and health services administration, and the school also offers a Ph.D. in instructional management and leadership.
RMU’s personalized attention for every learner includes access to a dedicated career coach who offers guidance and counsel to help students set and attain career goals. The school also provides each student with a dedicated wellness coach, whose one-on-one support helps students maintain well-being as they balance professional, personal, and academic demands.
|18||Carlow University||Pittsburgh||$$$$$||3333 Fifth Ave|
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3165
Carlow University traces its beginnings to the Sisters of Mercy from Carlow, Ireland, whose efforts to serve others remain at the core of the school’s student-centric environment and commitment to lifelong learning. Granted university status in 2004, Carlow is recognized among online schools in Pennsylvania for its use of the latest technology in academia, like video conferencing, social media, and chat platforms.
Carlow’s online programs allow students to earn a bachelor’s degree in subjects like business management, health management, and nursing, or to earn online master’s degrees in disciplines like business administration, educational leadership for higher performance learning, and fraud and forensics. Although it's primarily online, its master’s degree in fine arts requires two intensive, 11-day residencies in Pittsburgh and Dublin, Ireland. Similarly, its doctoral degree in nursing practice, designed to be completed in 20 months, requires students to collaborate in-person with faculty and peers two Saturdays each semester.
|19||Gwynedd Mercy University||Gwynedd Valley||$$$$$||1325 Sumneytown Pike|
Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437-0901
A standout among online colleges in PA, Gwynedd Mercy University customizes learning to ensure it meets each student’s academic interests. Located 30 minutes from Philadelphia in Gwynedd Valley, GMU attracts high-quality, motivated students looking to earn a degree online in as little as two years. Furthermore, the flexibility and convenience of its distance learning programs allow students to achieve education goals while balancing demands of work and family.
Admission to an online program requires a completed application, official transcripts from any college or university attended, a resume, letters of recommendation, and proof of English language proficiency for non-native English speakers. Online degree programs are offered through the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, including associate and bachelor’s degrees in business administration and nursing. Online graduate degree programs available include educational administration and school counseling. GMU also offers a doctorate in nursing practice and educational leadership. GMU’s online programs also allow students to earn their degree at an accelerated pace, allowing for quicker career entry and advancement.
|20||Rosemont College||Rosemont||$$$$$||1400 Montgomery Ave|
Rosemont, PA 19010-1699
Rosemont College is known among online schools in PA for offering accelerated, high-quality degree programs coupled with convenience and affordability. Like traditional classroom courses, Rosemont’s online programs promote knowledge building through critical thinking skills and moral decision-making, the latter of which reflecting the school’s Catholic heritage.
The college offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice to prepare students for entry-level careers after program completion, which can be achieved in two years due to the program’s accelerated pace. It requires 120 credits, although enrollees can transfer up to 84 credits from other institutions. Courses are five weeks long and ideal for working students. Rosemont also offers master’s degree programs in business administration, healthcare administration, and strategic leadership. Each degree level and program maintains its own requirements for degree completion and may include a capstone project and/or thesis. The school also offers graduate certificates in entrepreneurship, forensic psychology, healthcare administration, or leadership studies.
|21||Clarion University of Pennsylvania||Clarion||$$$$$||840 Wood St|
Clarion, PA 16214
One of the top online schools in PA, Clarion University offers online degree programs allowing students to balance professional, personal, and academic responsibilities through convenient course scheduling. Whether pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees, Clarion’s online programs allow students to earn credentials needed to either enter the workforce or advance within it.
Students can pursue an associate degree in arts and sciences, allied health, business administration, criminal justice, and early childhood education. Those seeking a bachelor’s degree can select a major like accounting, English, nursing, real estate, sociology, and psychology and minor in subjects like history and information sciences. Graduate program options include a master’s degree in education, library science, and mass media arts and journalism. Clarion also offers a doctorate in nursing practice.
Clarion delivers several of its online courses over seven weeks to accommodate working professionals. Tuition and fees vary by course, and students are encouraged to review the school's database of scholarships, which include many available specifically for online learners.
|22||Eastern University||Saint Davids||$$$$$||1300 Eagle Rd|
Saint Davids, PA 19087-3696
A Christian university that integrates faith, reason, and justice into its curriculum, Eastern University is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and located just outside of Philadelphia in St. Davids. Known among online colleges in Pennsylvania for preparing learners to lead thoughtful, productive lives exemplifying their faith and commitment to service, Eastern offers undergraduate and graduate online degree programs. Some require short-term, on-campus residency to fulfill necessary requirements. Associate degree offerings include liberal arts and general studies and bachelor’s degree major options include business, criminal justice, early childhood education, and nursing. EU's bachelor’s degree in youth ministry includes field placement experiences and residency course requirements, like ministry in the urban setting and youth ministry in the wilderness.
Most online classes require 42 instructional hours and 84 hours of class reading and assignments. Students are given access to online tutoring services to support academic success and can access the university’s library databases for reference materials.
|23||Geneva College||Beaver Falls||$$$$$||3200 College Ave|
Beaver Falls, PA 15010-3599
Geneva College encourages service to God despite its student-focused mission and is dedicated to providing a high-quality quality, comprehensive education. A founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, its adult degree programs allow working professionals to complete studies in just 16 months thanks to an accelerated degree pace.
Highly regarded among online colleges in Pennsylvania, Geneva’s bachelor’s degree programs offer majors in aging services, child and family services, criminal justice, general studies, human resources, management, organizational leadership, and public relations. Designed for busy adults balancing career and family, students can complete coursework at their own pace and in their own home.
Those previously enrolled at another institution can transfer credits, though Geneva’s online core and elective courses allow first-time college students to satisfy the same requirements. Earning 84 credits in these courses allows students to enter the accelerated bachelor’s degree program of their choice. Enrollees should possess five years of work experience obtained since high school, earned at least a 2.0 GPA at any college previously attended, and demonstrate writing competency by having at least a C- in an English composition course.
|24||Elizabethtown College||Elizabethtown||$$$$$||One Alpha Drive|
Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2298
The Elizabethtown College School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers accelerated undergraduate and graduate degree programs that allow learners to pursue academic goals with flexibility and convenience. A leading institution among online schools in PA, Elizabethtown online programs accommodate working adults wishing to enter the workforce or advance their career by earning credentials that demonstrate the intellectual aptitude necessary in today’s competitive workplace.
The college’s undergraduate degree programs include business administration, criminal justice, health care administration, and human services. Each discipline blends theory and practice to prepare graduates for professional success and a sense of personal accomplishment. MBA programs in finance, corporate social responsibility, leadership, and marketing are available, allowing students to earn a degree in just two years on a part-time basis. Students can complete bachelor’s and master’s degree programs online, and also opt to blend distance learning courses with in-person classes taught at one of Elizabethtown’s four campus locations.
|25||Point Park University||Pittsburgh||$$$$$||201 Wood St|
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1984
Known as Pittsburgh’s only downtown university and a leader among online schools in PA, Point Park University offers a personalized educational experience for distance learners. Small class sizes, convenient and highly flexible scheduling, and affordable tuition are just a few reasons 93% of the school's online students recommend its online degree programs. Like its campus-based classes, Point Park’s online courses promote intellectual rigor, encourage innovation, and focus on student needs, ensuring individuals graduate prepared for professional and personal success.
Some of Point Park's online bachelor’s degree programs include accounting, information technology, organizational leadership, and public relations and advertising. Its online master’s degree programs include adult learning, business administration, curriculum and teaching, and intelligence and global security. In addition to an online application, those seeking undergraduate degrees must submit official transcripts from either high school or a postsecondary institution verifying a minimum of either 12 credits or six months of training. Those seeking graduate degrees must have completed a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.75 GPA as verified by an official transcript. They must also submit two letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a 500-word statement articulating how graduate studies will allow achievement of career goals.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Pennsylvania
Below you’ll find another list of the top colleges in Pennsylvania, this time sorted by tuition rate.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||University of Valley Forge||Phoenixville||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Mansfield University of Pennsylvania||Mansfield||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||California University of Pennsylvania||California||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||Clarion University of Pennsylvania||Clarion||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||Temple University||Philadelphia||School profile||$$$$$|
|6||Pennsylvania College of Technology||Williamsport||School profile||$$$$$|
|7||Peirce College||Philadelphia||School profile||$$$$$|
|8||Geneva College||Beaver Falls||School profile||$$$$$|
|9||Chatham University||Pittsburgh||School profile||$$$$$|
|10||Cedar Crest College||Allentown||School profile||$$$$$|
|11||Pennsylvania State University - World Campus||University Park||School profile||$$$$$|
|12||Mount Aloysius College||Cresson||School profile||$$$$$|
|13||Keystone College||La Plume||School profile||$$$$$|
|14||Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences||Lancaster||School profile||$$$$$|
|15||La Roche College||Pittsburgh||School profile||$$$$$|
|16||Robert Morris University||Moon Township||School profile||$$$$$|
|17||Point Park University||Pittsburgh||School profile||$$$$$|
|18||Eastern University||Saint Davids||School profile||$$$$$|
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Pennsylvania
Clarkston Scholars Program
$10,000; Applicants must be sophomore students attending a life science program through a college or university in Pennsylvania. Additional requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA and status as a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
Champion Scholarship Program
$5,000; Candidates must be Pennsylvania high school seniors planning to attend college. Students should have a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply.
Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program
Up to $4,378; This program assists Pennsylvania residents pursuing a degree related to energy, diverse manufacturing, or agriculture. Candidates must hold a high school diploma or GED and enroll in a PHEAA-approved postsecondary institution.
Beulah Frey Environmental Scholarship
$3,000; This scholarship helps graduating seniors in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Beaver, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. Recipients should major in an environmentally related field.
Roothbert Fund Scholarship
$3,000; This scholarship provides funding to Pennsylvania residents who demonstrate commitment to living spiritual life.
Pennsylvania Engineering Foundation Scholarship
$2,000; Candidates must be Pennsylvania residents with a minimum 3.6 GPA and a 1300 SAT score in reading and math.
Pennsylvania State Grant Program
Amount varies; Applicants must be high school graduates, enroll in a PHEAA-approved college or university, and attend school at least half time.
Jack E. Barger Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund
$1,000; This fund assists active duty service members, veterans, and military dependents who reside in Pennsylvania. Applicants must enroll in a nursing program.
Pennsylvania Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program
Award varies; The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency issues this grant to children of deceased police officers, firefighters, emergency responders, or National Guard members. Applicants must be under the age of 25 and enroll in a state college or university.
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