Top Pennsylvania Online Colleges

Explore the top schools in Pennsylvania that offer a variety of online programs to undergraduate and graduate students. Review considerations for choosing a program and school, and find out how to get financial aid to fund your program.

Top 50 Pennsylvania Colleges with Online Programs

When determining the best colleges in Pennsylvania with online programs, it's important to consider things like admissions requirements, program length, flexibility and cost. The top 50 schools with online programs in Pennsylvania are listed below.

1. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
University Park $13,988 72%

Pennsylvania State University has been offering distance education programs for over 125 years, and its world campus has been offering completely online programs since 1998. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers more than 200 programs online at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Online programs consist of asynchronous components, enabling students to work at their convenience and submit their assignments weekly. Tuition varies by program and number of courses taken each semester but can cost between $576 and $617 for undergraduate students and $900 and $1,200 for graduate students.

2. Drexel University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Philadelphia $53,244 100%

Drexel University is known for its commitment to innovative education and is considered to be a leader in experiential learning and research. The school was founded in 1891 and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Students can pursue more than 150 programs online, including undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates. Tuition varies by program, but can cost around $900 per credit (undergraduate) or $1,300 per credit (graduate).

3. DeSales University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Center Valley $37,400 100%

DeSales University is a Salesian, Catholic university that emphasizes community, morals and intellectual virtue. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers both synchronous and asynchronous online courses. Students can pursue more than 20 undergraduate programs completely online, including those in healthcare administration, accounting, business administration and education. Tuition for online undergraduate programs is $508 or $585, which is lower than the cost of the school's on-campus program options.

4. Temple University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Philadelphia $16,970 90%

Temple University was started in 1888 as Temple College and has more than 35,000 students today. Temple is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers almost 40 degree and certificate programs online. Students can choose from online programs in social work, business, education, information science and more. Tuition varies by program, residency and course load, ranging from $670 to $2,300 per credit.

5. West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
West Chester $10,412 79%

West Chester University of Pennsylvania offers several online graduate programs that lead to certificates as well as doctoral and master's degrees. The school has been continuously accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1946. Online graduate students have a tuition fee of $516 per credit hour, making West Chester University one of the most affordable options on our list for online graduate students. Students can study at their convenience and can pursue areas such as education, public administration, human resources and nutrition.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Robert Morris University Moon $30,300 98%
7 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock $30,300 98%
8 University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh $19,080 78%
9 Saint Joseph's University Philadelphia $44,974 98%
10 Misericordia University Dallas $33,240 100%
11 Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley $33,600 100%
12 Duquesne University Pittsburgh $38,178 100%
13 California University of Pennsylvania California $11,108 97%
14 Lock Haven University Lock Haven $10,878 94%
15 Immaculata University Immaculata $27,350 100%
16 Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus Indiana $12,979 92%
17 Carlow University Pittsburgh $29,454 100%
18 La Salle University Philadelphia $30,710 99%
19 Gannon University Erie $32,136 99%
20 Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion $11,175 93%
21 University of Scranton Scranton $44,532 99%
22 Mansfield University of Pennsylvania Mansfield $12,330 98%
23 Messiah College Mechanicsburg $35,160 100%
24 La Roche University Pittsburgh $28,564 76%
25 Millersville University of Pennsylvania Millersville $12,226 90%
26 Saint Francis University Loretto $36,410 100%
27 Point Park University Pittsburg $31,450 100%
28 Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Shippensburg $12,718 90%
29 Waynesburg University Waynesburg $24,820 100%
30 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Kutztown $10,802 93%
31 Cairn University-Langhorne Langhorne $10,802 93%
32 Rosemont College Rosemont $19,900 100%
33 Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Bloomsburg $10,958 89%
34 Villanova University Villanova $53,308 64%
35 Holy Family University Philadelphia $30,346 100%
36 Eastern University Saint Davids $32,947 100%
37 Wilson College Chambersburg $24,595 100%
38 Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre $36,194 93%
39 East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg $11,502 93%
40 University of the Sciences Philadelphia $25,000 100%
41 Mount Aloysius College Cresson $23,110 98%
42 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia $40,651 99%
43 Seton Hill University Greensburg $35,748 100%
44 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro $10,574 92%
45 Marywood University Scranton $34,910 100%
46 Geneva College Beaver Falls $27,230 99%
47 Lebanon Valley College Annville $43,650 100%
48 Manor College Jenkintown $17,179 98%
49 University of Valley Forge Phoenixville $21,341 98%
50 Westminster College New Wilmington $36,806 100%

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents the 2018-2019 undergraduate school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

How to Choose a School in Pennsylvania for an Online Program

When choosing a Pennsylvania school for an online program, you should consider several factors, many of which are listed below.

Cost

While costs vary by school and degree level, you should compare the overall program cost for each of your school candidates. Ask about any type of cost savings that may apply to your program, such as flat-rate tuition, and keep in mind that you can obtain several types of financial aid for most online programs in Pennsylvania (more on this below).

Degree Programs Available

Review the degree programs that are available online from your school choices, as not all programs are always offered online. For example, if you're interested in a Master of Education, some schools may only offer that degree on campus and a Master of Science in Education online. Confirm with your admissions advisors that the degree you're seeking is available through their distance programs.

Type of School

When choosing your school, you may want to consider the benefits of private and public schools. Private schools generally cost more but offer more individualized attention while public schools are usually cheaper, larger and sometimes have more resources available to students.

Transfer Credits

If you have earned any credits from previous college coursework, ask your schools about how many of those credits you can transfer into your intended program. Most schools will transfer a significant number of qualifying credits into programs. For example, undergraduate programs might transfer in up to 75% of the required curriculum and graduate programs may transfer up to 50%.

On-Site Requirements

While many programs in Pennsylvania can be completed entirely online, some programs and schools require students to attend one or more campus sessions. These can include orientations, networking and learning sessions. Ask if your program requires any on-campus components and when you will need to complete them.

Faculty

Online courses rely significantly on self-initiated learning, but course faculty can play a huge role in your success. Consult with your candidate schools to find out what type of experience the faculty have and how long they typically take to respond to student inquiries.

Structure and Flexibility

Many online programs allow students to take courses at their own pace, switching from full-time to part-time study as needed. However, some programs are offered in a specific structure and pace, sometimes running in a cohort model. Ask your schools about the structure and flexibility of your program and consider the time implications for your schedule.

What is Accreditation and Why is It Important for Online Programs in PA?

If you're considering an online program in Pennsylvania, you may need to look for both institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation, both of which are explained below.

Institutional Accreditation

Institutional accreditation is accreditation of an entire school and is awarded when a school meets quality criteria such as faculty experience and graduation rates. Institutional accreditation can be regional or national. Pennsylvania schools with regional accreditation are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Schools in Pennsylvania with national accreditation can be accredited by several different organizations. There are some differences between national and regional accreditation, which are highlighted in the table below.

Regional Accreditation National Accreditation
Schools Affected Schools within the accrediting organization's region (6 total in the U.S.) Schools across the U.S. that have similar programs or missions
Transferring Credits Credits earned at schools with regional accreditation can transfer to any accredited school Credits earned at schools with national accreditation can only transfer to schools with national accreditation
Quality Considered the most prestigious because of higher quality criteria for accreditation Because of broader scope for accreditation, standards aren't as high as regional accreditation
Admissions Admissions requirements may be more strict than national accreditation Usually more relaxed admissions requirements

Programmatic Accreditation

Some programs offered by colleges have separate accreditation, called programmatic or specialized accreditation. Programmatic accreditation is beneficial and voluntary for some programs, such as business, and preferred and sometimes required for some other programs, like those in education or nursing. Depending on your intended career, you may need to graduate from an accredited program. It's a good idea to see if any accrediting agencies are applicable to your field of study. Even if programmatic accreditation would be optional for your program, you may have better opportunities in your professional career if you've graduated from an accredited program.

How Much Do Online Programs Cost in Pennsylvania?

Online programs in Pennsylvania can vary from less than $20,000 to more than $100,000 based on several variables, which are discussed below.

Tuition

The largest part of online program costs is tuition. Tuition is often charged per credit hour, ranging from around $200 to more than $1,000. Some schools have flat tuition rates that might be set for specific ranges (such as 12 to 18 credits) or for full-time students in general (for example, 12 credit hours or more). For students whose tuition is charged per credit, the number of courses needed for their program determines their overall program tuition cost.

Degree Credits Needed (estimate)
Associate's Degree 60
Bachelor's Degree 120
Master's Degree 40
Doctoral Degree 60

It's important to note that graduate tuition is usually higher than undergraduate tuition. For example, a school may charge $500 per credit hour for undergraduate students and $900 per credit hour for graduate students.

Ways to Save

There are several ways to save on tuition for online programs in Pennsylvania. One of the most common is to transfer credits into the program. Students who have completed courses at the college level previously can often transfer those credits into their new program. For example, a student with an associate's degree can usually transfer around 60 credits into a bachelor's degree program, cutting their program cost and length in half.

Several schools also offer credit for qualifying experience. An example of credit for experience is someone pursuing a nursing degree who has some related work experience. These credits might be applied based on professional portfolios or knowledge assessments and allow students to bypass some of the required courses for their program.

Other Costs

Although some schools offer flat-rate costs that include tuition and applicable fees, many schools have fees in addition to the cost of tuition. These fees can include course fees, registration fees, technology fees and other school and program fees. Many are charged per semester, although some fees (such as course materials fees) might be charged by credit hour or course. Over the length of an online program, these fees often amount to a few thousand dollars.

Financial Aid for Online Programs in California

There are multiple avenues available for students interested in using financial aid to fund their education. Students should first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which shows some of the types of aid that they can qualify for. Students can additionally use the CareerOneStop website, provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, to search for scholarships and other aid offered by different types of organizations.

Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants should be used before utilizing other types of aid because they are awards that don't have to be repaid. Scholarships can be found through multiple sources, and students can also find both internal and external scholarships through their school's financial aid office. Some scholarships available to students in Pennsylvania are listed below.

  • AT&T STEM Scholarship - This $1,000 scholarship is awarded to Pennsylvania students pursuing a STEM degree that want to work in fields such as computer technology and energy.
  • Fitz Dixon Memorial Scholarship- This scholarship is awarded to students who show academic excellence, financial need and community involvement.
  • Highmark Healthcare Scholarship for Rising Juniors - Part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, this scholarship is awarded to students enrolled in healthcare programs.
  • Momentum, Inc. Healthcare Scholarship - $1,000 is awarded to qualifying students who are pursuing healthcare and related programs at Pennsylvania colleges.

Work-Study

Work-study programs allow students to earn funding for their college program by working part-time while in school. Interested students should consult with their school and employer to see if work-study is available to them.

Student Loans

Student loans are available from private and government lenders with varying interest rates and payment plans. Government loans are typically better because they have nationally set interest rates and flexible payment plans.

Loan Repayment

Graduates of online programs may be able to have some or all of their student loans repaid by their employer, as many organizations now offer loan repayment to new hires and existing employees.

Loan Forgiveness

Loan forgiveness is offered by the federal government to graduates who work a certain number of years (such as 10 years) in a qualifying public service position (such as teaching).

Careers for Graduates of Online Programs in Pennsylvania

Graduates of online programs in Pennsylvania are just as prepared and qualified as their on-campus counterparts. There are limitless career possibilities available to online graduates, although the specific degree earned often determines the area(s) that they are qualified for and ready to work in. Several fast-growing careers in Pennsylvania are shown in the table below with applicable education requirements and salaries.

Job Title Mean Annual Salary (2018, Pennsylvania) Typical Education Needed
Interpreters and Translators $50,100 Bachelor's degree
Occupational Therapy Assistants $54,580 Associate's degree
Nurse Practitioners $98,250 Master's degree
Operations Research Analysts $87,210 Bachelor's degree
Web Developers $72,030 Associate's degree
Management Analysts $90,670 Bachelor's degree
Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic $55,680 Certificate or diploma
Computer and Information Systems Managers $146,860 Bachelor's degree

All salary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Central Christian College of Kansas

    Central Christian College of Kansas responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Central Christian College of Kansas:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
      • DBA in Management
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
      • BS in Business Administration
      • BS in Accounting

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

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