Online Colleges in Pennsylvania 2021

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The best colleges in Pennsylvania cater to students looking to advance their education and career. Both in-state and out-of-state students benefit from attending online colleges in Pennsylvania. The state provides out-of-state degree-seekers with educational opportunities that may not exist where they live. 

Students in Pennsylvania can pay in-state tuition at public schools if they live in the state for 12 consecutive months before enrolling. However, the state waives this requirement for select groups, including active-study service members, veterans, and U.S. Department of Defense contractors. Additionally, many online programs allow students to pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live.

Advertisement 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.

Accredited Online College Programs

Choosing a school represents one of the biggest decisions any aspiring college student can make. Some students may emphasize affordability while others may weigh program flexibility and graduation rates more heavily. Our rankings are based on a series of qualifications and metrics, all focused on quality and affordability. Scroll down to see the list of top online schools in Pennsylvania.

See Our Rankings Methodology

Top 10 Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Rank School Location
1 Cairn University-Langhorne Langhorne, PA
2 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
3 Clarks Summit University South Abington Township, PA
4 La Roche University Pittsburgh, PA
5 Wilson College Chambersburg, PA
6 University of Valley Forge Phoenixville, PA
7 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
8 Peirce College Philadelphia, PA
9 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA
10 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA


  • Do online credits cost more or less in Pennsylvania?

    Pennsylvania ranks as one of the top 10 most expensive states for college tuition. However, online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur.

  • What is the most affordable college in Pennsylvania?

    Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania ties for the most affordable college in Pennsylvania with nine other postsecondary institutions.

  • How long do you have to live in Pennsylvania to get in-state tuition?

    Prospective students must live in Pennsylvania for 12 consecutive months to qualify for in-state tuition. However, some schools allow all online students to pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live.

Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania 2021

  1. Cairn University-Langhorne

    Langhorne, PA

    Anyone interested in attending a Catholic university may find their community at Cairn University. At this college,there are six schools of education: Business, Divinity, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Music, and Social Work. Students can earn a master's degree while they also earn their undergraduate degree through Cairn's dual-level degree program, which will allow them to graduate with a higher-level degree in as few as five years. There is an emphasis on the biblical perspective in all undergraduate majors, and graduate students study the Bible and theology in addition to pursuing their professional development. For students who want to complete a degree in Bible studies, Christian ministry, counseling, or liberal studies, there are degree completion programs for these specific fields. Students looking to earn online degrees in Pennsylvania can enroll in Cairn's nbsp;online graduate and degree-completion programs, which also provide a strong emphasis on Catholic values. At Cairn, on-campus and online students alike will learn to apply their beliefs to everyday life, their education, and their careers.

  2. Temple University

    Philadelphia, PA

    Temple University is a great choice for students seeking undergraduate, graduate, or professional degrees in Pennsylvania, and students who are interested in exploring international education opportunities. With 17 schools and colleges across seven different campuses located in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Rome, and Tokyo, students can find their place within the larger Temple student body. Temple also offers online, distance, and blended courses for students seeking to earn a graduate degree through online colleges in Pennsylvania.Accelerated degree programs allow students to earn both a bachelor's and advanced degree in a shorter amount of time—between five and seven years, depending on the program. Several of Temple's colleges offer dual degrees as well, which have a deeper focus on aspects of law, medicine, theater and media, public health, and business. Adult learners and professional development-seekers are also welcome to take continuing education courses at Temple.

  3. Clarks Summit University

    South Abington Township, PA

    Previously known as the Baptist Bible College and Seminary of Pennsylvania,;Clarks Summit University;is a Baptist college for undergraduate, graduate, and seminary students in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Clarks Summit offers online and on-campus programs that focus on ministries, Bible and theology studies, and counseling, in addition to traditional majors like business and literature. Students seeking online degree programs in Pennsylvania with a curriculum based in the Bible will find that Clarks Summit offers associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree programs through;distance learning.;There are also;a range of study abroad experiences;to explore through this university. Students can develop an understanding of other cultures while exploring different ministries around the world in places like Germany, South Africa, Italy, and Peru. Ten percent of students at Clarks Summit come from;homeschool backgrounds,;and the college works to create a community environment that supports these students. Undergraduate students;live on-campus;in one of seven residence halls, sharing a three-bedroom suite with up to five other students. Graduate and seminary students can also;stay in dorms on-campus or visit campus dorms;during the course of their studies.

  4. La Roche University

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, La Roche College is a private, Catholic institution that offers over 50 majors in the fields of education and nursing, management, natural and behavioral sciences, the humanities, and design. The design program at La Roche provides internship opportunities and potential minors in visual communications or sustainable interdisciplinary studies, which provide deeper attention to creative problem solving and environmental concerns. Ministry opportunities at this college focus on service to Pennsylvania communities as well as global service, and there is a strong international studies program committed to peace and justice. Students seeking to complete degrees through online colleges in Pennsylvania will find that La Roche offers several business, nursing, and criminal justice degree completion programs for remote learners. There are also individual courses available online for students who would like to combine on-campus classwork with online learning. On-campus students may live in the apartment-style dorms, or commute from the nearby area.

  5. Wilson College

    Chambersburg, PA

    While Wilson College offers a range of undergraduate majors, they have specialized programs for students interested in working with horses. They have several equine-based courses of study, including Equine Facilitated Therapeutics, which also reflects Wilson's emphasis on educational training. Students in this major learn therapy techniques that use horses, encouraging physical improvement and emotional development in people with special needs. Graduate students can choose to earn a master's in business, education, the arts and humanities, or nursing. Adult learners are welcome to enroll in any of Wilson's programs, including adult learners who wish to earn a degree through online colleges in Pennsylvania; there are hybrid programs available as well as entirely online degree programs. Wilson offers a Masters of Education online and several online nursing programs. Students who choose to attend classes on-campus exclusively wil ;live on-campus for all four years in several different housing options: with roommates, in a single, or in a suite-style dorm.

  6. University of Valley Forge

    Phoenixville, PA

    The University of Valley Forge is a private Christian and interdenominational college that offers undergraduate, graduate, and associate degrees in the arts, sciences, and various professions, including ministry leadership and theology. The are accelerated online programs for both undergraduate and graduate degrees, which work well for students looking to attend online colleges in Pennsylvania and quickly earn their degree. There are also traditional degree programs available online for students. All Valley Forge students, whether they take classes online or in-person, complete the equivalent of a dual degree program; Biblical World View is a required course of study, and then students choose from over 50 other majors. The college has a very strong Department of Intercultural Studies program, including courses for Deaf students and students who wish to minster in the Deaf community. High school juniors and seniors can also take college courses online for credit through Valley Forge's Dual Enrollment program, getting a jump-start on college credits. This can save students a lot of money, whether they choose to attend Valley Forge for their undergraduate degree or attend a different college with these early credits out of the way.

  7. University of Pittsburgh

    Pittsburgh, PA

    The second-largest city in Pennsylvania hosts the main campus of University of Pittsburgh, which offers over 100 different undergraduate majors. Students can earn a degree in the liberal arts, a professional degree program, STEM fields, medicine, or take one of 20 distance learning courses that allow students to earn a certificate or degree from a nationally ranked online college in Pennsylvania. Most of the University of Pittsburgh's online courses are graduate certificates or graduate degrees, but the college's school of nursing also offers both undergraduate and doctoral degree programs to online students. High school students and graduate students who have clear professional goals can apply for the University of Pittsburgh's Guaranteed Admissions program, which ensures students are admitted to the specific program that will help them achieve their intended career path. The college also offers personal growth and development experiences to on-campus students through the Outside the Classroom Curriculum. This curriculum incorporates classes, experiences, and self-reflection to help students gain skills to prepare them for employment or graduate school.

  8. Peirce College

    Philadelphia, PA

    At Peirce College, students can earn an undergraduate or master's degree in business, healthcare, legal studies, or technology. Peirce values students' life experiences and previous educational milestones, offering transfer credits for passing exams, previous certifications or credits, and military and work experience. Adult learners who want to earn their degree faster can also enroll in an intensive program that allows students to take additional course credit during weekends, the college's winter break, or through an online class. Students can earn online degrees in Pennsylvania through Pierce's online learning programs, which have the same level of high-quality instruction as their on-campus programs. Because Peirce's degree programs are structured in the same ways, students can earn their degree online, on-campus in Philadelphia, or in a hybrid program. Peirce also offers competency-based education, which is self-paced and fully online. This program is ideal for students with previous experience who only want to learn and pay for what they need to know to progress and earn a degree in their field.

  9. California University of Pennsylvania

    California, PA

    California University of Pennsylvania encourages students to get the most out of their education with over 100 undergraduate programs, 95 graduate programs, and additional certificate programs that offer even more experiences to students earning undergraduate or master's degrees. The college's Four-Year Graduation Plan ensures undergraduate students feel supported and succeed with advising, counseling, and individual attention. Members of the U.S. military and their families interested in earning further degrees will find scholarships and discounts along with flexible education opportunities at this college. California University offers over 75 distance learning programs for students looking to earn online degrees in Pennsylvania. Adult learners seeking continuing education on-campus or online are also welcome, as are high school students and visiting undergraduate students from other universities who want to earn college credits. On-campus students can enjoy SAI Farm, a repurposed beef and dairy farm adjacent to campus that now hosts a garden, an environmental studies habitat, various recreation areas, and an open-air amphitheater.

  10. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

    University Park, PA

    Pennsylvania State University's World Campus offers the same degrees and programs that an on-campus student attending Pennsylvania State University would have access to. Students can earn certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees, or doctoral degrees, all through online self-study, peer interaction, and instruction from top professors. The World Campus Military Team works with active service members and veterans to incorporate individual educational goals with military responsibilities and benefits, and there are a range of scholarships and services available to students in the military and their spouses. Students who previously attended Pennsylvania State University, either on-campus or online, can easily apply their previous credits to a World Campus program.International students with English language proficiency are also welcome to enroll and earn an online degree in Pennsylvania through this program.

Why Choose Pennsylvania for Online Higher Education?

The best colleges in Pennsylvania feature undergraduate and graduate programs aligning with the state’s key industries, such as natural gas, life sciences, and plastics. Prospective students can visit the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development website to learn more about the state’s many employment opportunities. 

Students can also explore different Pennsylvania careers by speaking with their college or university’s career counselors. These counselors can provide learners with information on growing fields throughout the state.

Common Online Bachelor’s Programs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania online colleges offer many programs that set students up for career success. The following list outlines several common online bachelor’s programs in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s growing agribusiness sector requires highly trained biologists to maintain the state’s forests and farms. Undergraduate biology students analyze life’s origins, function, and diversity. They also gain hands-on skills in laboratory settings.
Tourism accounts for nearly 500,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, which graduates with a business degree can capitalize on. Business degree-seekers study topics like microeconomics analysis and policy, accounting, and marketing.
Pennsylvania engineers often use the latest technologies to create cutting-edge medical devices and advanced materials. Students can prepare for an engineering career by earning a degree in areas like electrical, nuclear, or software engineering.
Bachelor’s in finance programs cover topics like corporate finance, effective business communication, and investment and portfolio analysis. Some programs allow students to complete an internship.
Online bachelor’s in marketing programs train students to advertise and promote Pennsylvania’s many goods and services. Learners study topics like business strategy, corporation finance, and the principles of marketing.

Online Guide to Accredited Colleges and Universities

Cost of Attending an Online College in Pennsylvania

Students may choose to learn online for multiple reasons, such as financial benefits. Some public online colleges charge in-state tuition to all online students, regardless of residency. Online students also save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs.

The following table outlines the average tuition price for different types of Pennsylvania colleges.

Average Undergraduate Tuition in Pennsylvania
Public Four-Year College Private Four-Year College Public Two-Year College
In-State $14,812 $41,703 $5,284
Out-of-State $28,527 N/A $14,111

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Career and Salary Outlook for Students in Pennsylvania

A college degree plus professional experience prepares professionals for managerial roles. Managers in most fields oversee and train new hires, make decisions affecting their employer’s long-term success, and earn more than less senior employees. The following list outlines several management-related careers.

  • Financial Managers

    Financial managers prepare financial reports, advise senior managers, and develop new ways to increase profits. They also develop plans for long-term financial success. Many financial managers possess a bachelor’s degree and an MBA.

  • Sales Managers

    Companies selling goods or services hire sales managers to oversee one or more sales teams. These professionals research consumer preferences and set sales quotas. They may also collaborate with human resources to hire and train new employees.

  • Marketing Managers

    Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers develop online, television, radio, and print advertisements. They work with clients to create advertising campaigns and negotiate contracts. These managers often attain this position after gaining many years of professional experience.

  • Computer and Information Systems Managers

    Computer and information systems managers determine their employer’s technology requirements, purchase new hardware and software, and set goals for other workers. Some managers specialize in IT security, protecting data and investigating breaches when they occur. Many of these professionals possess a graduate degree in computer science.

  • General and Operations Managers

    Also known as top executives, general and operations managers create policies affecting their company or organization. They appoint middle managers and department heads, collaborate with other executives, and approve contracts. The profession also involves cutting costs and creating initiatives to improve efficiency.

Highest Paying Careers With a Bachelor’s Degrees in Pennsylvania
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2018-2028)
Financial Managers $153,350 16%
Sales Managers $150,210 5.1%
Marketing Managers $148,610 8.1%
Computer and Information Systems Managers $144,390 11.3%
General and Operations Managers $132,110 6.9%

Source: BLS, ProjectionsCentral

Pennsylvania Scholarships and Grants

Learners attending online colleges in Pennsylvania can take advantage of financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of a degree. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines scholarship and grant opportunities for learners studying at online colleges in Pennsylvania.

  • National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Foundation Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: The NIADA Foundation Scholarships support academically gifted high school seniors planning to attend college in the fall. Application materials include a 1,200-word essay and up to five recommendation letters.
    Amount: $3,500


  • Northern Tier Hardwood Association Community Forest Scholarship for High School Seniors

    Who Can Apply: High school seniors living in select Pennsylvania counties can apply to this competitive scholarship. Application requirements include three recommendation letters and a commitment to major in forestry or a related topic.
    Amount: $1,500


  • Pennsylvania State Grant Program

    Who Can Apply: The Pennsylvania State Grant Program supports Pennsylvania residents with financial need. Applicants must submit FAFSA results. Other eligibility requirements include maintaining satisfactory academic progress and taking at least six credits per semester.
    Amount: $500-$800


  • Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education Foundation Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: This scholarship program offers several awards to students enrolled in public Pennsylvania universities. Application requirements vary by scholarship.
    Amount: Varies


  • Road to Safety Scholarship Contest

    Who Can Apply: Pennsylvania high school seniors can apply to the Road to Safety Scholarship Contest. Applicants must submit a poster, painting, video, or other advertisement detailing the risks involved with drunk or distracted driving.
    Amount: $500-$1,000


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Advertisement 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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