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2022 best colleges in Pennsylvania best-colleges

Pennsylvania holds a few gems among its public, private, and religious institutions, including Penn State University, nicknamed one of the “Public Ivies” for the exceptional quality of its academics. Beyond academics, Penn State holds several national titles for football, boxing, and other sports. One of only nine colleges founded before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the University of Pennsylvania is known just as much for its Ivy League status as its social scene. To keep with the state’s historic theme, Pennsylvania is also home to the nation’s oldest art school and museum – The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

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Net cost: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

Earnings: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

Payback: The amount of time in years it takes to pay off the median net cost by the median earnings. For this calculation, the median earning of high school graduates (in the school’s home state) are deducted from the median earnings.

Degree premium: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state. This is called “Vs. state average” in school profiles below.

Ranking: The payback rate is divided by the degree premium (set as a percentage), the lower the number the higher the rank. (i.e. payback=1, degree premium 20% higher than state school median: 1/120% = .883.

Net cost
Earnings
Payback
Degree premium
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 9%

Grad rate: 97%

Net cost: $25,802

Payback: 1.4 Years

Earnings: $103,246

Vs. state average: + $49,668

Economic score: 0.71

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#2 in Pennsylvania

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 50%

Grad rate: 88%

Net cost: $29,301

Payback: 1.8 Years

Earnings: $95,033

Vs. state average: + $41,455

Economic score: 0.99

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#3 in Pennsylvania

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 18%

Grad rate: 87%

Net cost: $34,508

Payback: 2.0 Years

Earnings: $99,998

Vs. state average: + $46,420

Economic score: 1.05

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#4 in Pennsylvania

University of the Sciences

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 72%

Grad rate: 73%

Net cost: $33,637

Payback: 2.3 Years

Earnings: $98,779

Vs. state average: + $45,201

Economic score: 1.27

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#5 in Pennsylvania

Lafayette College

Easton, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 36%

Grad rate: 87%

Net cost: $32,551

Payback: 2.2 Years

Earnings: $84,939

Vs. state average: + $31,361

Economic score: 1.40

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#6 in Pennsylvania

Villanova University

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 31%

Grad rate: 89%

Net cost: $41,027

Payback: 2.5 Years

Earnings: $90,613

Vs. state average: + $37,035

Economic score: 1.51

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#7 in Pennsylvania

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 10%

Grad rate: 95%

Net cost: $19,184

Payback: 2.1 Years

Earnings: $72,637

Vs. state average: + $19,059

Economic score: 1.53

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#8 in Pennsylvania

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 38%

Grad rate: 89%

Net cost: $42,502

Payback: 2.8 Years

Earnings: $88,154

Vs. state average: + $34,576

Economic score: 1.68

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#9 in Pennsylvania

Haverford College

Haverford, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 19%

Grad rate: 92%

Net cost: $22,991

Payback: 2.2 Years

Earnings: $69,192

Vs. state average: + $15,614

Economic score: 1.68

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#10 in Pennsylvania

Holy Family University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 78%

Grad rate: 64%

Net cost: $14,362

Payback: 1.9 Years

Earnings: $58,844

Vs. state average: + $5,266

Economic score: 1.69

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#11 in Pennsylvania

Franklin and Marshall College

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 37%

Grad rate: 83%

Net cost: $30,281

Payback: 2.6 Years

Earnings: $72,227

Vs. state average: + $18,649

Economic score: 1.96

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#12 in Pennsylvania

Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 70%

Grad rate: 77%

Net cost: $25,162

Payback: 2.5 Years

Earnings: $67,807

Vs. state average: + $14,229

Economic score: 2.00

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#13 in Pennsylvania

Saint Joseph's University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 81%

Grad rate: 78%

Net cost: $33,375

Payback: 2.9 Years

Earnings: $73,428

Vs. state average: + $19,850

Economic score: 2.08

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#14 in Pennsylvania

Dickinson College

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 52%

Grad rate: 85%

Net cost: $29,452

Payback: 2.7 Years

Earnings: $69,562

Vs. state average: + $15,984

Economic score: 2.09

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#15 in Pennsylvania

Gettysburg College

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 49%

Grad rate: 82%

Net cost: $26,513

Payback: 2.7 Years

Earnings: $65,926

Vs. state average: + $12,348

Economic score: 2.17

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#16 in Pennsylvania

Saint Vincent College

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 73%

Grad rate: 78%

Net cost: $16,634

Payback: 2.3 Years

Earnings: $55,543

Vs. state average: + $1,965

Economic score: 2.20

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#17 in Pennsylvania

Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 78%

Grad rate: 69%

Net cost: $34,914

Payback: 3.2 Years

Earnings: $76,378

Vs. state average: + $22,800

Economic score: 2.27

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#18 in Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh-Bradford

Bradford, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 80%

Grad rate: 45%

Net cost: $18,906

Payback: 2.5 Years

Earnings: $57,961

Vs. state average: + $4,383

Economic score: 2.32

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#19 in Pennsylvania

La Salle University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 77%

Grad rate: 66%

Net cost: $24,763

Payback: 2.8 Years

Earnings: $63,561

Vs. state average: + $9,983

Economic score: 2.35

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#20 in Pennsylvania

Duquesne University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 78%

Grad rate: 80%

Net cost: $29,309

Payback: 3.0 Years

Earnings: $66,207

Vs. state average: + $12,629

Economic score: 2.41

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