Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

OnlineSchools.org

Pennsylvania offers a wealth of opportunity for potential students and graduates alike. The labor force and major industries continue showing record growth, bringing a demand for new graduates with an education and marketable skills to fill positions. In fact, Pennsylvania hosts some of the largest workforces and best wages for skilled professions in the country.

For residents looking for cheap online colleges in Pennsylvania, the state offers resident tuition discounts and scholarships. State alumni can also gain networking opportunities and school recognition that out-of-state graduates do not.

Higher Learning Initiatives in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Initiative

The Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Initiative launched a pilot program in the fall of 2011 to help personalize instruction for K-12 students. As a new coalition in the state, the program helps both students and teachers across Pennsylvania gain access to the best resources and tools for learning. The initiative was designed by Education Elements, a private organization that helps school systems design blended learning solutions.

PA Universities Online

PA Universities Online is an online resource provided by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), one of the state's comprehensive university systems. The site provides information about the online programs offered at each of its campuses. Website visitors can use the search engine to quickly find schools that offer both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses and programs. Once a visitor has narrowed their search, additional information about each online course or degree program can be found by linking to each institution's official website.

Cyber Charter Schools

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School became one of the first of 13 cyber charter schools to form within the state. Founded in 2000 and inspiring other cyber charter schools in the state to follow suit, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School provides high-quality education to all Pennsylvania students, regardless of school district. Although each of the state's cyber charter schools offer different courses and program types, they all operate with a similar mission that includes preparing students to take the Pennsylvania state standardized test required by all traditional public schools. Today, thousands of Pennsylvania students receive their education through these online schools.

Popular Degree Programs in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, students often choose degrees that permit them entry into the fastest growing industries and those with the most positive job outlooks. But Pennsylvania also boasts the unique distinction of hosting some very reputable and distinguished academic programs, which also influences student decisions.

  • Business Management and Administration: Like most states across the country, Pennsylvania hosts more graduates of business management and administration than any other major. While the broad and diverse skill set earned by graduates in this major makes it extremely popular nationwide, Pennsylvania also boasts a thriving business and professional services industry.
  • Neuroscience: The strength in Pennsylvania's medical and science programs leads to a disproportionate number of students majoring in this field when compared to national averages. Industry, however, also plays a role in the educational spike, as Pennsylvania hosts the fifth-largest workforce of healthcare practitioner and technical professionals in the country.

Paying for College in Pennsylvania

Tuition prices represent one of the primary considerations for students from any state. Since the average four-year Pennsylvania tuition of $14,770 ranks considerably higher than the national average, Pennsylvania students should pay close attention to individual program costs. With the information below, students can determine how cheap online colleges in Pennsylvania compare to the average national and state schools.

Tuition Prices

While the following tables compare the average two- and four-year programs in Pennsylvania to the national averages, these prices do not include additional costs, such as rent, transportation, or books.

Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18

  Public Two Year Public Four Year
Pennsylvania $5,840 $14,770
U.S. Average $4,234 $9,978

Source: College Board

Employment Outlook in Pennsylvania

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Pennsylvania ranks close to average for both the unemployment rate and the annual mean wages when compared to other states. However, despite the state's slightly higher-than-average unemployment rate, Pennsylvania's workforce experienced substantial growth and saw record highs in November 2018. For new graduates, the employment landscape looks promising financially as well. While the average occupation pays wages close to the national average, highly trained professionals in fields like business, healthcare, management, and technology earn exceptional wages compared to most states.

Unemployment rate, August 2018
Pennsylvania 4.2%
United States 3.8%

Source: BLS

Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
Pennsylvania $48,760
United States $50,620

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Colleges in Pennsylvania

With a wide variety of colleges and programs available, students can find it challenging to determine which deliver top quality programs. Regional accreditation helps with that decision process, as only the schools that meet the highest educational standards receive the stamp of approval. In Pennsylvania, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education grants accreditation, assuring students that the school meets the regional standards as set by the agency. The U.S. Department of Education offers an institutional accreditation database for students to verify that their prospective schools received the proper accreditation.

While regional accreditation represents the most popular and common form, many programs across the country receive accreditation from national associations and organizations. Since many states, organizations, and industries require accreditation, particularly in highly regulated professions like healthcare or law enforcement, students should ensure their program received the necessary accreditation. Online schools receive the same regional and national accreditations as their campus counterparts.

Scholarships for Pennsylvania Online College Students

While education costs may seem daunting, students benefit from different types of financial aid, including scholarships from various sources. Scholarship funding originates from state funding and in-state organizations, along with specific schools and programs. The following list highlights some of the best scholarships available to Pennsylvania students.

Pennsylvania State Grant Program

Who Can Apply: The state grant program provides funding for Pennsylvania high school graduates who demonstrate financial need, academic progress, and plan to attend an in-state college or university. While distance education students may apply for the grant, the program may decrease the amount of funding awarded.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

The Pennsylvania Society Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The Pennsylvania Society and The Maguire Foundation team up to award Pennsylvania high school seniors with this annual scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate community leadership and academic proficiency while also planning to attend a four-year university in Pennsylvania.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

The Foundation for Enhancing Communities Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Presenting more than 100 scholarships to Pennsylvania high school seniors attending Pennsylvania schools, the Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC) rewards students who demonstrate academic excellence and community leadership.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

Horatio Alger State Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Presented to Pennsylvania students who demonstrate a community commitment and dedication to postsecondary education, the Horatio Alger State Scholarship requires applicants to display excellence in extracurricular activities, financial need, and academic proficiency.
Amount: Up to $10,000

Apply Here

Arthur Williams Phillips Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Presented by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to students who demonstrate academic proficiency and financial need, this scholarship rewards students from Pennsylvania while giving preference to specific counties.
Amount: Up to $1,000

Apply Here

The Philadelphia City Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Presented to Pennsylvania high school seniors who plan to attend a four-year college within one of the major Philadelphia counties, this scholarship program requires applicants to boast a 3.0 GPA and apply to a four-year college in one of the major counties in Philadelphia.
Amount: $1,000 for each year of schooling

Apply Here

Champion Energy Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Presented by Champion Energy, this scholarship supports students from the communities supported by the organization. Pennsylvania applicants must demonstrate a 3.0 GPA and submit a winning essay on the topic of community.
Amount: $1,000-$5,000

Apply Here

Fitz Dixon Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Presented by the State System of Higher Education, this scholarship rewards applicants who demonstrate academic excellence, financial need, and community involvement. Applicants enrolled in a college or university must boast a 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $500

Apply Here

Ready to Succeed Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Presented as part of the Pennsylvania State Grant, this scholarship rewards students with financial need who completed at least 24 college or university credits and boast a 3.5 GPA.
Amount: $500-$2,000

Apply Here

Bunton-Waller Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Presented by Pennsylvania State University, the Bunton-Waller Scholarship rewards those students who demonstrate extreme financial need. Applicants should present a 2.5 GPA.
Amount: $3,200 per year

Apply Here

Resources for Students in Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency: PHEAA primarily provides financial aid resources, offering FAFSA application assistance and highlighting state grant opportunities. It also helps students locate work-study placements and acts as a college planning resource. Overall, PHEAA helps students identify the professional field and educational program that best suits their interests and personalities.
  • Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education: This resource provides students with useful information about Pennsylvania's state system of colleges and universities, including data on the programs, students, and faculty. Learners may also find information on Pennsylvania's job outlook and financial aid opportunities.
  • Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators: Providing financial aid information, applications, and support for students and providers, PASFAA offers access to training, events, and leadership to promote the need for financial aid and advocate for more funding opportunities.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Education: The Department of Education provides a higher education section to offer students information on the state's academic programs, including data on graduates, academic progress, and faculties. This information helps students make informed decisions on their education.
  • Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Pennsylvania: AICUP supports the faculties and students of Pennsylvania's private higher education institutions. The association aims for lower tuition, improved funding, and better overall educational standards for all. The association also offers scholarships and internship opportunities, along with work and research options.

Online Schools in Pennsylvania

Alvernia University

Reading, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Average Net Price: $25,483

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Cairn University-Langhorne

Langhorne, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 63%
  • Average Net Price: $17,516

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California University of Pennsylvania

California, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Average Net Price: $18,167

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Carlow University

Pittsburgh, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Average Net Price: $18,677

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Cedar Crest College

Allentown, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Average Net Price: $18,517

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Chatham University

Pittsburgh, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Average Net Price: $11,790

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Chestnut Hill College

Philadelphia, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Average Net Price: $24,488

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Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Clarion, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Average Net Price: $17,430

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Clarks Summit University

South Abington, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Average Net Price: $16,377

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DeSales University

Center Valley, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Average Net Price: $25,465

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Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Average Net Price: $32,836

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Duquesne University

Pittsburgh, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 74%
  • Average Net Price: $24,039

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Eastern University

St. Davids, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Average Net Price: $21,912

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Saint Francis University

Loretto, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Average Net Price: $22,310

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Gannon University

Erie, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Average Net Price: $19,787

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Geneva College

Beaver Falls, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Average Net Price: $17,580

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Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Valley, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Average Net Price: $23,132

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Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

Harrisburg, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 18%
  • Average Net Price: $12,450

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Immaculata University

Immaculata, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Average Net Price: $29,722

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Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus

Indiana, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Average Net Price: $18,067

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Keystone College

La Plume, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Average Net Price: $17,743

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La Roche College

Pittsburgh, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Average Net Price: $21,676

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La Salle University

Philadelphia, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Average Net Price: $24,364

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Lancaster Bible College

Lancaster, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Average Net Price: $17,421

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Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Millersville, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Average Net Price: $15,780

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Misericordia University

Dallas, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Average Net Price: $23,756

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Mount Aloysius College

Cresson, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Average Net Price: $21,338

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Neumann University

Aston, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Average Net Price: $23,128

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Pennsylvania College of Technology

Williamsport, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Average Net Price: $23,900

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Peirce College

Philadelphia, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 31%
  • Average Net Price: $11,082

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Philadelphia University

Philadelphia, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Average Net Price: $27,274

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University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

Pittsburgh, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 79%
  • Average Net Price: $26,273

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Point Park University

Pittsburgh, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Average Net Price: $21,713

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Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Average Net Price: $24,328

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Robert Morris University

Pittsburgh, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Average Net Price: $23,350

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Rosemont College

Rosemont, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Average Net Price: $22,308

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Seton Hill University

Greensburg, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Average Net Price: $21,909

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Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Shippensburg, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Average Net Price: $18,865

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Saint Joseph's University

Philadelphia, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 79%
  • Average Net Price: $29,703

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Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Average Net Price: $17,081

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Temple University

Philadelphia, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Average Net Price: $19,181

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University of Valley Forge

Phoenixville, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Average Net Price: $22,651

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Villanova University

Villanova, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Average Net Price: $28,183

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Widener University

Chester, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Average Net Price: $26,169

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Wilkes University

Wilkes-Barre, PA


  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Average Net Price: $25,141

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