Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PA) Colleges and Universities
There are over 25 colleges and universities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Read about the schools with the most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.
School Ranking Overview
The area around Philadelphia is home to many 2-year and 4-year public schools as well as private not-for-profit colleges and universities. This article looks at these types of schools that offer a variety of academic tracks and disciplines rather than a single field of study. The schools are compared and then the top three are ranked in the following four categories:
- Most Program Variety
- Lowest Net Price
- Highest Graduation Rate
- Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Most Program Variety
Schools that offer a wide variety of programs may help students find the best fit for their specific academic and career goals. Philadelphia has many colleges and universities from which students can choose, five of which offer more than 100 programs. The three schools listed below offer the most program variety among all schools within a 15-mile radius of Philadelphia.
1 - University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in Philadelphia is a private research university that offers more than 280 academic programs through 12 schools. Students can pursue certificates as well as associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Penn awarded 2,841 bachelor's degrees, 3,565 master's degrees, 1,189 doctoral degrees and 252 postgraduate certificates in 2011-2012. The most popular bachelor's degrees that year were in business, social sciences and engineering. U.S. News & World Report ranked Penn 8th among national universities in 2013.
2 - Temple University
With more than 270 academic programs, Temple University in Philadelphia ranks second in terms of program variety. This public university, which includes nine campuses and 17 schools and colleges, offers associate through doctoral degree programs, as well as certificate programs at different levels. For the 2011-2012 school year, according to the NCES, Temple awarded 8,627 certificates and degrees; of this total, 5,866 were bachelor's degrees. The most popular bachelor's degrees were in visual and performing arts, business and communication/journalism. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Temple University 125th among national universities.
3 - Drexel University
Philadelphia-based Drexel University - one of America's 15 largest private universities - offers more than 185 programs through 14 schools and colleges. Drexel University encourages undergraduates to participate in internships and offers one of the largest cooperative-education programs in the country. Many of Drexel's academic programs are available online. The NCES reported that the university awarded 6,240 certificates and degrees in 2011-2012. Of the 2,820 bachelor's degrees awarded, the most popular were in business, health professions and engineering.
The most popular master's-level fields of study in 2011-2012 were in business, education and health professions. U.S. News & World Report ranked Drexel University 83rd among national universities in 2013.
Lowest Net Price
The cost of attending college as well as the amount of debt a student may incur can play a big part in choosing a school. The NCES determines a college's net cost by subtracting the amount of government or institutional scholarships and grants the average student receives from the total cost of attending the college. Traditional schools in the Philadelphia area have net costs that range from under $6,200 to more than $35,000. The three schools listed below had the lowest 2011-2012 net prices among traditional, not-for-profit colleges in the Philadelphia area.
1 - Community College of Philadelphia
Community College of Philadelphia, which is located in Philadelphia, is the most affordable school in the area among traditional schools with a 2011-2012 net price of $6,139. For 2012-2013, estimated tuition and fees were $4,800 for in-district students and $9,120 for in-state students, according to the NCES. Out-of-state students paid a much higher amount at $13,440. The NCES also reported that 64% of students received grant or scholarship aid in the average amount of $4,044; the 46% who were recipients of federal student loans received $4,414 on average.
2 - Montgomery County Community College
With a 2011-2012 net price of $7,979, Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell is another affordable option in the Philadelphia area. During that same year, 32% of the students received grant or scholarship aid, and 27% received federal student loans, according to the NCES. The average award amounts were $3,230 for grants/scholarships and $5,351 for federal student loans. The estimated tuition and fees for 2012-2013 were $4,050 for in-district students, $7,710 for in-state students and $11,370 for out-of-state students.
3 - Delaware County Community College
Delaware County Community College, a public school in Media, had a net price of $8,407 for 2011-2012. The NCES reported that 53% of students received grant or scholarship aid during the 2011-2012 school year in the average amount of $7,316, while the 31% who received federal student loans received $6,140 on average. The estimated 2012-2013 tuition and fees were $4,660 for in-district students, $7,870 for in-state students and $11,080 for out-of-state students.
Highest Graduation Rate
Schools in Philadelphia report relatively high graduation rates. The overall graduation rates posted by the NCES are based on the number of students who completed their studies in 150% of the 'standard time' it takes to complete the programs (e.g., six years for a bachelor's degree program). The three schools below have the highest overall graduation rates in the Philadelphia area.
1 - University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania boasts a high graduation rate, with 96% of students completing their programs within six years. The 4-year graduation rate for students who began their bachelor's degree studies in 2005 was still high at 87%, according to the NCES. The NCES also reported that Penn had a 2010-2011 retention rate of 97% for full-time students and 83% for part-time students.
2 - Swarthmore College
Swarthmore College, which is located in Swarthmore, is a private liberal arts college with an overall graduation rate of 95% for students who began their studies in 2005 and graduated in 150% of normal time. Only slightly lower at 91% was the 4-year graduation rate for students who began pursuing bachelor's degrees in 2005, according to the NCES. The retention rate, an indication of student satisfaction, was 97% for full-time students for 2010-2011.
3 - Haverford College
Haverford College, located in the large suburb of Haverford, is another private liberal arts college in the Philadelphia area with an outstanding graduation rate. This school boasts an overall graduation rate of 93% for students who began their programs in 2005. The 4-year graduation rate was slightly less at 91%, according to the NCES. Of the full-time students who began pursuing bachelor's degrees in Fall 2010, 98% returned in Fall 2011.
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Students often look for schools with small classes so they can get more individual attention. Student-faculty ratios serve as a primary indicator of class sizes at schools. The following three schools have the lowest student-faculty ratios among traditional 2- and 4-year not-for-profit schools in the Philadelphia area, based on data from the NCES.
1 - University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania has a student population of almost 25,000 students; despite its size, the school boasts a 6:1 student-faculty ratio. The NCES reported that Penn employed 4,751 full-time and 1,888 part-time faculty members as well as 72 graduate assistants in Fall 2012. According to U.S. News & World Report, 72% of Penn classes had fewer than 20 students in 2011.
2 - Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr is a private women's school that U.S. News & World Report ranked 26th among national liberal arts colleges in 2013. It has almost 1,800 students and a student-faculty ratio of 8:1. According to the NCES, the college had 174 full-time and 86 part-time faculty members, as well as 15 graduate teaching assistants in Fall 2012. In 2011, 74% of classes at Bryn Mawr had fewer than 20 students, according to U.S. News & World Report.
2 - Swarthmore College
In a 2-way tie for second-lowest student-faculty ratio is Swarthmore College, which has about 1,500 students and an 8:1 student-faculty ratio. According to the NCES, there were 197 full-time and 39 part-time faculty members employed at Swarthmore College in Fall 2012. U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Swarthmore College 3rd among national liberal arts colleges in 2013, reported that 74% of classes at the college had fewer than 20 students in 2011.
Philadelphia Area Schools at a Glance
|School Name||Location||School Type||Programs Offered||Area Ranking|
|Bryn Mawr College||Bryn Mawr, PA (8.4 miles from Philadelphia)||4-year, private not-for-profit||Postbaccalaureate certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees||2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio|
|Community College of Philadelphia||Philadelphia, PA||2-year, public||Less than 1-year certificates and 1-year but less than 2-year certificates; associate degrees||Lowest Net Price|
|Delaware County Community College||Media, PA (11.7 miles from Philadelphia)||2-year, public||Less than 1-year certificates and 1- but less than 2-year certificates; associate degrees||3rd Lowest Net Price|
|Drexel University||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, private not-for-profit||Less than 1-year, 1- but less than 2-year, postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates; associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees||3rd Most Program Variety|
|Haverford College||Haverford, PA (7.1 miles from Philadelphia)||4-year, private not-for-profit||Bachelor's degrees||3rd Highest Graduation Rate|
|Montgomery County Community College||Blue Bell, PA (13.9 miles from Philadelphia)||2-year, public||Less than 1-year certificates and 1- but less than 2-year certificates; associate degrees||2nd Lowest Net Price|
|Swarthmore College||Swarthmore, PA (9 miles from Philadelphia)||4-year, private not-for-profit||Bachelor's degrees|| 2nd Highest Graduation Rate,|
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
|Temple University||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, public||Less than 1-year, 1- but less than 2-year, 2- but less than 4-year, postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates; associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees||2nd Most Program Variety|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, private not-for-profit||Less than 1-year, 1- but less than 2-year, 2- but less than 4-year, postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates; associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees|| Most Program Variety,|
Highest Graduation Rate,
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
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