Which Pennsylvania state university is cheapest? We ranked them all by cost

Kutztown University commencement in O'Pake Field House on campus. (Photo By Jeremy Drey/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

By Ashley Adams

February 14, 2024

According to US News and World Report, the average cost of in-state tuition for a public university is $10,662. Most of Pennsylvania’s state universities cost more than that.

Pennsylvania’s higher education system ranks among the worst in the nation for affordability.

Gov. Josh Shapiro noted that in his recent budget proposal, announcing a plan for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) which includes lowering tuition, coordinating their degree programs with community colleges, and funding institutions based, at least in part, on performance metrics. It also would mean more grant money for students.

Pennsylvania is currently ranked 49th in the country when it comes to funding higher education and Shapiro’s proposal, a 15% increase in spending, would bring Pennsylvania in line with the rest of the country.

Nationally, the average cost of tuition and fees for a public university is $10,662, according to US News and World Report. Only one of Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities falls below the national average.

We gathered tuition and fees (not including housing and meal plan costs) data for full-time undergraduate students taking at least 12 credits to count down 14 state-owned universities from most to least expensive.

Millersville University

In-state tuition: $11,784

Out-of-state tuition: $21,504

Acceptance rate: 92%

Millersville University was established in 1855 as an institution for the training of qualified teachers. Originally known as the Lancaster County Normal School, it was renamed the Millersville State Normal School in 1859, and achieved university status in 1983. The state university has earned its place among US News & World Report’s top 10 public universities in the North and is recognized for its academic excellence in Martin Nemko’s book “How to Get an Ivy League Education at a State University.”

Kutztown University

In-state tuition: $11,617

Out-of-state tuition: $13,994

Acceptance rate: 96%

Kutztown University was founded in 1866 as the Keystone State Normal School, became the Kutztown State Teachers College in 1928, and achieved university status in 1983. It has a total undergraduate and graduate enrollment of more than 7,400 students. The state university offers more than 100 majors, minors, and concentrations as well as close to two dozen graduate programs. The college campus features a planetarium, observatory, and radio station.

East Stroudsburg University

In-state tuition: $11,559

Out-of-state tuition: $20,097

Acceptance rate: 93%

Founded in 1893, East Stroudsburg University is a small institution with an enrollment of 3,844 undergraduate students. The state university offers 58 undergraduate programs, 21 master’s programs, and two doctoral programs. Popular majors at the school include psychology, business, and criminal justice and safety studies.

Shippensburg University

In-state tuition: $11,472

Out-of-state tuition: $15,624

Acceptance rate: 88%

Founded in 1871, Shippensburg University is a comprehensive state university, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in the school’s College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Services, and John L. Grove College of Business. Shippensburg is the only state university to offer Bachelor of Science degrees in civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and software engineering. The university also has one of only eight Bachelor of Science in criminal justice programs in the US certified by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and one of only three programs in the commonwealth accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Pennwest – California campus

In-state tuition: $11,442

Out-of-state tuition: $16,198

Acceptance rate: 97%

Founded in 1852, Pennwest California is located in California, a borough in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. The state university offers more than 100 undergraduate majors, degrees, and certificates as well as more than 90 graduate and professional degree and certificate programs. The university has a total enrollment of close to 7,000 students, with more than 4,700 undergraduates and 2,100 graduate students.

Pennwest – Clarion campus

In-state tuition: $11,442

Out-of-state tuition: $16,198

Acceptance rate: 93%

Among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania is PennWest Clarion, home to more than 3,000 students. Clarion prepares its students in business, education, health, science, and the arts with a small student-to-faculty ratio and nationally and internally accredited programs. The state university offers more than 175 academic programs for students.

Pennwest – Edinboro campus

In-state tuition: $11,442

Out-of-state tuition: $16,198

Acceptance rate: 92%

Founded in 1857 as a private training school for teachers, Pennwest Edinboro has grown into one of the northwestern Pennsylvania region’s largest and most comprehensive institutions of higher education. Acclaimed artists, medical professionals, Disney and Pixar animators and leaders in business, education, criminal justice, and many other fields have graduated from Edinboro. The state university offers more than 100 areas of academic study.

Commonwealth University – Bloomsburg campus

In-state tuition: $11,400

Out-of-state tuition: $23,580

Acceptance rate: 95%

Founded in 1839 as Bloomsburg University, the Bloomsburg campus of the Commonwealth University was built on the vision that higher education should be available to anyone who is ready to work for a better life. The state university offers 57 undergraduate degree programs with more than 66 minors and 19 graduate degree programs. Its nursing program is ranked fourth in the state and 51st in the nation by RNCareers.org.

Commonwealth University – Lock Haven campus

In-state tuition: $11,400

Out-of-state tuition: $23,580

Acceptance rate: 93%

Founded in 1870 as the Central State Normal School, Lock Haven has a long history of excellence in training the commonwealth’s educators. The state university located in central Pennsylvania has since expanded its academic programs to include sciences, business, and humanities. The school boasts about 2,900 total students, 2,500 undergraduates, and 400 graduate students.

Commonwealth University – Mansfield campus

In-state tuition: $11,400

Out-of-state tuition: $23,580

Acceptance rate: 94%

Originally called Mansfield Classical Seminary, the Mansfield state university opened its doors in 1857. Over the next 157 years, the institution has thrived, experiencing five name changes in three centuries. Nestled in north central Pennsylvania, Mansfield is located near thousands of acres of state land, lakes, and mountain views and offers numerous liberal studies majors.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP)

In-state tuition: $11,380

Out-of-state tuition: $16,297

Acceptance rate: 92%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is a public institution that was founded in 1875. Students at IUP can choose from more than 140 bachelor’s programs and more than 60 graduate degrees, including those in Business, Technology, Education, and Criminology. The state university has a total undergraduate enrollment of more than 7,000 students.

Cheyney University

In-state tuition: $10,904

Out-of-state tuition: $18,870

Acceptance rate: 85%

Cheyney University in Southeastern Pa. was the nation’s first historically Black institution of higher learning, originally established in 1837. The state university offers 24 undergraduate majors, with the most popular being biology, sociology, and business. US News and World Report ranked Cheyney University 23rd in the nation for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and 182nd in National Liberal Arts Colleges.

West Chester University

In-state tuition: $10,686

Out-of-state tuition: $22,510

Acceptance rate: 88%

Founded in 1871 as an institute for teacher preparation, West Chester University is a comprehensive public institution, offering more than 118 undergraduate, 120 graduate programs, and four doctoral programs in more than 50 fields of study. Total enrollment is more than 17,500, with more than 14,500 undergraduates, and close to 3,000 graduate students.

Slippery Rock University

In-state tuition: $10,506

Out-of-state tuition: $18,472

Acceptance rate: 79%

Slippery Rock University was founded in 1889 and has an enrollment of more than 8,300 students, including more than 6,800 undergraduates and 1,500 graduate students. The state university offers more than 150 undergraduate majors and 40 graduate degrees and certificates, with the popular majors being occupational safety and health technician, special education and teaching, and public health.

Author

  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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