Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

Find your perfect value college 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.

Many careers require a college degree in this day and age. Unfortunately, those who never attended college or who want to further their careers and make more money may need a degree but can’t attend a physical brick-and-mortar school. PA online colleges can make an education possible for those who didn’t think they could attend college. For example, working adults can benefit from Pennsylvania online colleges because they can attend school on a schedule that fits into their life. An adult can finish coursework before or after work. Plus, he or she doesn’t have to waste any time commuting.

Rural students can benefit from PA online colleges. For many rural students in the “Keystone State,” school is a long commute. For those with other obligations or who don’t have a car, trying to get back and forth to school can be challenging, if not impossible. Going to school online eliminates the long commute time, the nuisance of being stuck in traffic, and the hassle of traveling in severe weather. 

Featured Programs

Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Online Colleges in Pennsylvania

The colleges and universities in the Value Colleges ranking of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania offer degrees that students can obtain 100% online. While programs are ranked according to how many online bachelor’s degrees they offer, Value Colleges’ basic standards still apply. With strong ROIs and fully accredited, Value Colleges features only institutions that offer value, quality education, flexibility and fully online degree or certificate programs.

1. Pennsylvania State University

Penn State University has 200 online programs. These programs range from associate’s degrees all the way up to doctoral degrees and graduate certificates. Penn State’s flexibility lets students balance their work, home, and academic lives. Of course, the online campus provides just as much academic rigor as the physical campus does. Because of this combination of flexibility and academic challenge, Penn State is one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania. 

Penn State University is a widely-recognized and highly challenging school. At Penn State, students can take advantage of plenty of opportunities. They learn from some of the most talented faculty members in the world. The Penn State name looks great on a resume, and the school instills leadership skills as well as academic skills. Penn State was ranked among the top 10 online bachelor’s programs by US News and World Report. 

Number of Online Programs: 81

2. DeSales University

DeSales University’s online programs are designed for adults and other nontraditional students. These 20 programs are crafted for career advancement. Students can use their knowledge and experience from these programs to help them obtain raises and promotions. DeSales has had a distance learning program for more than 40 years, so teachers are well-versed in online learning techniques. This fast-paced program is one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania for those who want acceleration. 

DeSales University is a Catholic school with a deep academic focus. This school has a small student-to-faculty ratio, so students can get personalized attention and extra help when they need it. The school also has a service focus, teaching students how they can use their knowledge to help other people. This career-centered school helps students determine and reach their goals. US News and World Report ranked DeSales as one of their Best Value schools for 2020. 

Number of Online Programs: 20

3. Drexel University

Drexel University has several online programs. Designed for those with busy schedules, this program provides lots of flexibility. It’s one of the top choices for students who want to earn their degrees online. Within this program, faculty are determined to provide top-level education. Drexel Online also partners with a lot of employers, giving students plenty of networking opportunities. As a result, it’s one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania. 

Drexel University helps students turn their ambitions into personalized plans. Founded by a financial expert, this school was designed to create real results. It combines research and academics for the perfect amount of innovation. Students here get opportunities to engage in the world around them while taking their careers to the next level. One year after graduation, Drexel graduates earn 18.5% more money than the national average. 

Number of Online Programs: 19

4. Point Park University

Point Park University’s online program combines innovation with an excellent education. This program was designed to be as convenient as possible for adult learners and other non-traditional students. Students can choose from 14 programs. Each one is taught by dedicated faculty members who are experts in online education. Whether you want to advance your current career or step into a new one, Point Park is one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania. 

Point Park University’s urban location informs the educational process. At this private university, students get a dynamic education with lots of professional opportunities. The faculty members here have real, relevant experience in their fields, so they provide education with professional insight. Point Park has been named a College of Distinction, both among Pennsylvania colleges and colleges across the United States. 

Number of Online Programs: 14

5. Clarion University

Clarion University’s online programs are purpose-driven and straightforward. These 7-week courses help students move forward with their careers. However, the online format lets them do so in a way that doesn’t interrupt their already busy lives. Online students get all of the same resources that on-campus students get, making Clarion one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania. 

Clarion University has a strong liberal arts focus. Classes are designed to help students build confidence and boldness in their skills. This confidence can take people far in their careers long after they graduate. A well-rounded approach to education means that students also gain flexibility and critical thinking skills. College Consensus ranked Clarion as one of the best undergrad business schools for online learning. 

Number of Online Programs: 14

6. Misericordia University

Misericordia University is dedicated to helping online students. In these online programs, students get lots of help and resources. Learners can choose from a fully online program or a hybrid program that combines online and on-campus courses. These online programs also provide lots of resources to help adult learners. The programs offer a flexible credit transfer program as well as credit for relevant life experience. As a result, it’s one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania for efficiency. 

Misericordia Dallas is a Catholic university that combines caring and education. Students here become fully engaged in the world around them, learning how to serve others with their unique talents and knowledge. This school provides a challenging and meaningful education. Passionate students come here to further their educations and grow deeper in their faith tradition at the same time. Misericordia has a higher than average pass rate of nursing students who take the licensure exam. 

Number of Online Programs: 13

7. Pennsylvania College of Technology

Pennsylvania College of Technology has a dozen online programs. Students here get the same amount of challenge and support that their peers receive on campus. However, they get an added convenience and flexibility that on-campus learning doesn’t provide. These online programs are designed to help adult learners take their careers to the next level. These programs are also quite affordable, making Pennsylvania College of Technology one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania. 

Pennsylvania College of Technology is an affiliate of Penn State. As such, it provides a challenging education that can take students far in their careers. This school values innovation in education. Students participate in some of the latest research. Here, students take practical steps to create the careers that they want, and they get lots of support from faculty while they do it. Pennsylvania College of Technology provides the in-state tuition rate for all students, regardless of location. 

Number of Online Programs: 12

8. Immaculata University

Immaculata University has ten online programs. In each one, students get one-on-one support from their advisors and other faculty. These classes are fully online, so students can still keep up with their busy lives outside of the virtual classroom. Meanwhile, they can apply what they learn to their careers and propel themselves forward. These programs are flexible, challenging, and meaningful, making Immaculata one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania. 

Immaculata University is a Catholic school that accepts students of all faiths. Here, students learn how to blend faith, academics, and service to others. This school has a rich liberal arts tradition. As a result, students get a well-rounded education. No matter where their lives and careers take them, Immaculata alumni can apply what they’ve learned to their everyday lives. Immaculata has a 9:1 student to faculty ratio, so students get to know their professors personally. There’s no shortage of one-on-one attention for students who need it. 

Number of Online Programs: 10

9. Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson University has a thriving online community of learners. In these online programs, students gain career-relevant skills. They learn what they need to pursue new careers, promotions, or other types of career advancement. They gain all of these skills with the flexibility that only an online program can provide. Thomas Jefferson is one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania, both for affordability and for flexibility. 

Thomas Jefferson University is an exciting and innovative place to learn. This research-based school puts students at the forefront of exciting global changes. This school combines the liberal arts with the most up-to-date knowledge and career preparation. This school is accessible, diverse, and affordable. 95% of Jefferson graduates either secure jobs or get accepted into a graduate school. 

Number of Online Programs: 9

10. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is a leader when it comes to online learning. With nine online programs, this school provides lots of flexibility for busy students. Penn Online students come from all around the world, and they all receive the support and resources that they need. Penn offers online programs in everything from English to Engineering, so students get a lot to choose from. Between its array of choices and the support that it offers students, Penn is one of the best online colleges in Pennsylvania. 

The University of Pennsylvania is dedicated to exciting innovation in learning. Students get some of the most up-to-date career knowledge, so they’re ready to compete in the workforce once they graduate. Overall, this school provides a challenging and meaningful education. Students become well-rounded people, but they also get the career focus that they need to move forward. Penn excels when it comes to the sciences, especially with medical innovation and research. 

Number of Online Programs: 8

What is the Value of Online College in Pennsylvania?

Today more than ever higher education through distance learning is considered a viable and respected avenue for obtaining degrees from associates to doctorates. More and more students are choosing the online route knowing that the flexibility afforded with online education is invaluable. In particular, students who are required to work full or part-time, who have families to care for, or who have a homeschool background rather than high school, find the flexibility and value of an online education their best option.

PA colleges give nontraditional students, such as parents, the opportunity to attend college. They can complete their schoolwork while their kids are in school, when their kids are asleep, or while their children play. In online degree programs, there’s no need to stress over finding a babysitter or missing special moments of the children’s lives when a person is in school. 

With online classes, you can choose asynchronous courses that you can complete on your own time.

What Kinds of Degrees Can I Earn Online in Pennsylvania?

Prospective students can choose between a wide array of PA online degrees. A person can choose a major as well as a minor in some schools. A student may earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate in PA online degree programs. Instead of earning PA online degrees, a person may opt to earn a certificate as well. These programs aren’t as long but can give students the skills necessary to enter or advance in a field. 

The types of majors vary from school to school. Some examples of PA online degree programs a prospective pupil can apply for include

  • criminal justice
  • accounting
  • nursing
  • information technology
  • human resources,
  • healthcare administration
  • business administration
  • dental hygiene
  • engineering
  • organizational leadership

Some PA online degrees are only available once a student has an associate’s degree or higher. For instance, a person will have to attend a dental hygiene program at an undergraduate degree level before advancing and earning master’s degrees and other graduate degrees online. This kind of program requires a person to have one-on-one, hands-on, first-hand experience.

Another program that’s only available as a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate is nursing. As one of the online degree programs in PA, a person must first earn his or her LPN or RN to qualify for a bachelor of science in nursing program. This is because nursing students must complete clinicals when completing their initial nursing degree. Full-time students in master’s programs and similar graduate programs can finish in two years or less. An online Master of Science in Nursing can help your career.

How Can I Save Money on an Online Degree in Pennsylvania?

It’s not a surprise to anyone that getting a college education in any state is expensive. Financial aid can cost a lot to pay back. On average, it costs over $30,000 to earn a four-year degree. However, a person can take steps to reduce the cost of earning a degree online. 

One way to save money is by finding cheap online colleges in PA. Ultimately, a person may want to opt for a public school rather than attending a private school. A public school can provide the same quality of education, and generally, the cost of tuition is cheaper. A person will notice that regional public schools tend to cost less than the main campuses.

Nonprofit online schools keep costs low for online college students. In-state tuition is usually lower than out-of-state, but many schools keep distance education the same price regardless of residency. Education programs that use online courses have lower enrollment requirements, though their graduation rate may be lower because of it.

A prospective student may be able to better afford a college education if he or she chooses to complete courses or a degree at one of the online community colleges in PA first or solely. A person can still receive a quality education from online community colleges in PA. Plus, the price is significantly cheaper. A person doesn’t have to complete their entire degree program from a community college, either. The student may opt to earn general credits. It’s also possible to earn an undergraduate degree from the community college and then transfer to a public or private school. 

Cheap online colleges in PA like regional public schools and community colleges aren’t the only ways a person can make an online education more affordable. Another option a student should consider is an employer reimbursement program. Sometimes, employers will pay for part of a student’s tuition. In return, the pupil must agree to work with the company for a certain length of time after graduation. It’s important to understand that an employer will only cover designated programs. 

Are There Online Public Universities in Pennsylvania? 

Several public universities in Pennsylvania offer online programs. These schools are highly reputable and well known. In fact, many public universities are known for their ability to thoroughly prepare a student for his or her career path.

Public universities also benefit students because these schools tend to offer the same programs on-campus. The student can take the courses online, and they’re very similar to the education the student would receive in a traditional school setting. The format of the class is just different. 

Another perk of public online programs is that these are from accredited online colleges in PA. These Pennsylvania schools are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education which is approved by the Department of Education. Many of these schools have a long history of providing education to students. Not only are these schools accredited online colleges in PA, but often their programs have received accreditation as well. Penn State World Campus is one of the world’s top online colleges.

Private institutions include Saint Joseph’s University, Duquesne University, Villanova University, Temple University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), Slippery Rock University, and California University of Pennsylvania.

Related Rankings: 

Featured Programs

Aya Andrews


Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.

Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.

In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.

With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.

Find your perfect value college 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.

Enter a search word or phrase