Colleges Near State College PA

State College, Pennsylvania (PA) Colleges and Universities

The two postsecondary institutions located right in State College, PA, are both specialized for-profit schools. However, prospective students willing to travel a little further will find plenty of additional options. In this article, we take a closer look at the more traditional public or private non-profit colleges and universities within 50 miles of State College, allowing readers to see if any meet their academic needs. We compare and contrast these schools, then we ranked the top three in the categories below:

  • Most Program Variety
  • Lowest Net Price
  • Highest Graduation Rate
  • Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

The State College area is home to a diverse selection of large public colleges, universities and small private schools. Most have a strong liberal arts core and offer a range of academic offerings. The 3 schools listed below have the most program variety in the area.

1 - Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus

For most football fans and Pennsylvanians, State College is synonymous with Pennsylvania State University's main campus, located in University Park. Penn State is the largest university in the area and was ranked #46 on U.S. News and World Report's 2013 list of the Best National Universities. The university offers more than 215 academic programs, including those in computer information systems, finance, psychology, journalism, engineering and law, which were the most popular majors among students in 2011-2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). That year, the university conferred 42 associate's degrees, 10, 970 bachelor's degrees, 1, 314 master's degrees, 755 doctoral degrees, 137 undergraduate certificates and 6 postgraduate certificates.

2 - Juniata College

This private college, located in nearby Huntingdon, offers roughly 84 academic programs, placing second in this category. The NCES reported that in 2011-2012, the college awarded 366 bachelor's degrees, with majors such as biological and biomedical sciences, business and education being the most popular among degree earners. Juniata allows students to design their own academic programs, and roughly 29% of Juniata students take advantage of this option. U.S. News and World Report ranked Juniata #100 on its 2013 list of the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.

3 - Saint Francis University

Saint Francis University, in Loretto, offers around 74 academic programs. This small private university is the oldest Franciscan college in the United States, with a history dating back to 1847. It is ranked #61 on U.S. News and World Report's 2013 list of the Best Regional Universities (North). Based on information from U.S. News and World Report, some of the university's most popular programs include business administration and management, health professions and related programs, education, English language and literature, and biological and biomedical sciences. According to the NCES, during the 2011-2012 academic year, the university awarded 4 associate's degrees, 387 bachelor's degrees, 289 master's degrees and 36 doctoral degrees.

Lowest Net Price

Cost is another important consideration when evaluating potential schools. The NCES calculates the net price of a school by subtracting the average amount of grant or scholarship aid received by students from the total cost of attending a school. This gives prospective students a pretty good picture of what they'll need to finance. All of the traditional schools in the State College area have net prices above $10, 000. The 3 mainstream, not-for-profit schools with the lowest net prices near State College are profiled below.

1 - Lock Haven University

With an average net price of $13, 130, Lock Haven University in Lock Haven is among the most affordable options in the State College area. In 2012-2013, this public university's tuition and fees for in-state students totaled roughly $8, 564, according to the NCES. Out-of-state tuition and fees were nearly twice that much, totaling around $16, 390. Additionally, students could expect to spend approximately $8, 182 for room and board. The College Board reports that the average financial aid package for first-year students is around $8, 662, and that roughly 45% of students have their need fully met (no date given). Graduates typically have around $23, 840 in debt.

2 - Mount Aloysius College

Another relatively inexpensive option in the area is Mount Aloysius College, located in Cresson, which has an average net price of $19, 138. U.S. News and World Report ranked the college #39 on its list of the Best Regional Colleges (North). According to the College Board, 100% of freshmen who have need typically receive financial aid, and the average financial aid package for first-year students is around $14, 670 (no date given). The NCES reports that tuition and fees in 2012-2013 totaled $19, 520, with on-campus room and board expenses totaling approximately $8, 450. Off-campus room and board was estimated at $10, 000.

3 - Pennsylvania State University - Penn State Altoona

Pennsylvania State University's Altoona campus, known as Penn State Altoona, is the third largest of the university's 24 campuses. The NCES reported that the university had a net price of $19, 539 during the 2011-2012 academic year, and that roughly 83% of all undergraduate students received financial aid, with the average aid package totaling $4, 851. According to NCES estimates, 2012-2013 in-state tuition and fees came to $13, 900, while out-of-state tuition and fees were $20, 794. Room and board expenses for that year were estimated to be $9, 702.

Highest Graduation Rate

The NCES publishes graduation rates based on the number of first-time students who complete their degree or certificate program within 150% of 'normal time' (e.g. 6 years for a bachelor's degree). These rates can give prospective students a good idea of how successful a particular school is in helping enrollees achieve their academic goals. The majority of traditional schools in the State College area have graduation rates above 45%. The 3 schools profiled below have the highest graduation rates among non-profit, non-specialized schools in the area.


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