Lancaster, Pennsylvania (PA) Colleges and Universities

There are about 13 schools in the Lancaster area. Read about the schools with most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

In addition to business, beauty and career schools, the city of Lancaster, PA, and its immediate surrounding areas provide educational options at only a few 2- and 4-year public and private colleges and universities. To help students make an informed decision about which of these schools would be the best fit for them, the following article compares and ranks four of these institutions in the following categories:

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

Most Program Variety

Although Lancaster has 10 schools, only a few are traditional, not-for-profit institutions. However, students have additional school options less than 10 miles away in Millersville and Willow Street. The three schools with the most program variety in the area all have more than 50 options.

1 - Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Millersville University of Pennsylvania is a public school with a 250-acre campus, and it features about 57 program options. The institution was ranked on the U.S. News and World Report 2013 list for 'Best Regional Colleges - North' at #86 and 'Top Public Schools' at #24. The school offers associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs, as well as graduate certificates. In the 2011-2012 academic year, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that the program with the most completions was the major in elementary education and teaching, which had 263 conferred awards. The school also features distance learning and continuing education options.

2 - Lancaster County Career and Technology Center

Located in Willow Street, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center is a public school that has six locations. There are around 54 programs offered, and all of the options lead to a certificate. The certificate program in licensed practical/vocational nurse training was the most popular program at this school in 2011-2012, according to the NCES. Other areas of study available include construction trades, dental assisting, cabinetmaking and child care/support services management.

3 - Franklin and Marshall College

Residing in Lancaster, Franklin and Marshall College is a private school that has approximately 51 programs and over 200 study abroad options. This school only awards bachelor's degrees. U.S. News and World Report ranked this school at #46 on the 2013 list of 'National Liberal Arts Colleges'. In 2011-2012, the NCES reported that popular majors included business administration/management, multi-/interdisciplinary studies and political science/government.

Lowest Net Price

The NCES determines the net price for a school by subtracting the amount of financial aid an in-state student receives from the total estimated cost of attendance. Below are the traditional, not-for-profit universities and colleges close to Lancaster that had the lowest net prices, according to the NCES in 2010-2011.

1 - Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster is a public school that featured a net price of $2,883, which was the lowest figure among all schools in the region. The undergraduate students who attended this 2-year institution in 2012-2013 paid an estimated $7,030 in tuition and fees. The NCES found that 63% of all undergraduates received an average of $10,098 in grants or scholarships in 2010-2011.

2 - Lancaster County Career and Technology Center

This school's net price of $6,429 is significantly higher than the price for the first-place institution, but Lancaster County Career and Technology Center still has the second-lowest figure out of all schools near Lancaster. In 2010-2011, the NCES reported that 68% of undergraduates received grants or scholarships, with each student receiving an average of $4,051. Tuition and fees for 2012-2013 varied between programs; for example, the NCES noted that the 9-month dental assisting program cost $7,600, while the 12-month licensed practical nursing program was estimated at $11,275.

3 - Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Millersville University of Pennsylvania appears a second time with a net price of $12,899. According to the NCES, 48% of the undergraduate students were awarded scholarships or grants in 2010-2011; each student was awarded an average amount of $5,111. The NCES also reported that tuition and fees in 2012-2013 were $8,600 for in-state undergraduates and $18,426 for out-of-state undergraduates.

Highest Graduation Rates

A school's overall graduation rate is calculated by determining how many students completed their programs within 150% of 'normal time'. For example, six years would be 150% of the 'normal time' it takes to complete a bachelor's degree program. The following three schools had the highest graduation rates among traditional, not-for-profit institutions, according to NCES figures from 2011.

1 - Franklin and Marshall College

This school had an 85% graduation rate, which was tops among all schools in the area. The NCES also reported that 81% of students who began in fall 2005 were able to finish their bachelor's degree programs within four years. Franklin and Marshall College also had a high retention rate from fall 2010 to fall 2011, with 93% of students returning to the school, according to the NCES.

2 - Lancaster County Career and Technology Center

The NCES found that 71% of students who came to the school in 2008-2009 were able to graduate within 150% of 'normal time', and 64% were able to finish within their program's 'normal time'. From fall 2010 to fall 2010, the school was able to retain 81% of full-time and 76% of part-time students.

3 - Millersville University of Pennsylvania

This school places third with an overall graduation rate of 64%. However, the NCES noted that just 39% of bachelor's students who started in fall 2005 graduated in four years. Millersville University of Pennsylvania was reported by the NCES to have an 81% retention rate for full-time students and a 57% retention rate for part-time students from 2010 to 2011.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

The student-faculty ratios for the colleges and universities found near Lancaster ranged from 7:1 to 25:1. The following list shows the three traditional, not-for-profit schools in the area that had the lowest student-faculty ratios, according to NCES figures from 2011.

1 - Franklin and Marshall College

Franklin and Marshall College appears again, this time for its student-faculty ratio of 10:1. The 231 full-time and 50 part-time faculty members instructed the school's 2,363 students in 2011. U.S. News and World Report found that 50.3% of classes at this school featured fewer than 20 students in 2011.

2 - Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

Students at this college enjoy a student-faculty ratio of 15:1, which was second-lowest among qualified institutions. Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology had 22 part-time and 49 full-time instructional faculty members to teach its 838 students in 2011, according to the NCES.

3 - Lancaster County Career and Technology Center

Lancaster County Career and Technology Center features a student-faculty ratio of 20:1, placing it third on the list. The NCES reported that the school employed 98 full-time and 101 part-time faculty members in 2011, all while only having 410 students enrolled.

Lancaster Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster, PA 4-year, private, not-for-profit Bachelor's degrees Highest Graduation Rate,
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Most Program Variety
Lancaster County Career and Technology Center Willow Street, PA (8.0 miles from Lancaster) Less than 2-year, public Between 1- and 2-year certificates 2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
2nd Lowest Net Price,
2nd Most Program Variety,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Millersville University of Pennsylvania Millersville, PA (5.4 miles from Lancaster) 4-year, public Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates Most Program Variety,
3rd Highest Graduation Rates,
3rd Lowest Net Price
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Lancaster, PA 2-year, public Between 1- and 2-year certificates; associate's degrees Lowest Net Price,
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

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