Accredited By: NCAHLC
Pennsylvania is home to 44 public four-year universities and colleges, 127 private universities and colleges, and 249 community and technical colleges. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is the agency responsible for monitoring higher education in the state, as well as for planning and implementing programs. Given the increase in online education popularity, the PASSHE works to increase students’ ability to finance college. In 2011, Pennsylvania had a policy in effect that limited students’ ability to receive state grants if more than 50% of their courses included those in online formats. As this ultimately hindered the ability of those students with flexible education needs to pay for and sometimes attend college, the PASSHE began working to change this policy. However, the policy is still in effect and many students lose their grant eligibility every year because of it. Nonetheless, the demand for online education grows annually, with hundreds of courses being added to private and public institutions educational offerings. Some of the state’s best online colleges can be found below.
Pennsylvania State University (PSU) was originally an agriculture college when it was founded in 1863. Today, it is a land-grant university considered to engage in “very high research activity,” according to the Carnegie Foundation. PSU is known throughout the U.S. as the 45th best university in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. In recent years, PSU has also become known for its online degree programs and is one of the state’s top ranked online colleges; it is ranked on U.S. News & World Report for its online bachelor’s, graduate business, engineering, and computer information technology degrees, as well as its entire graduate program. PSU offers online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, certificates, and minors. Online students at PSU typically take asynchronous courses, have the same instructors as on-campus courses, and can communicate with their instructors and peers for academic and personal purposes via Skype, email, forums, clubs, academic societies, social media, and much more.
Founded in 1921 in Pittsburgh, Robert Morris University was originally the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy. A private university, it has about 5,000 students today and offers both undergraduate and graduate education opportunities. Robert Morris is ranked No. 82 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Regional Universities of the North list. It is also ranked by the same source on the top online colleges list for its bachelor’s and graduate business, computer information technology, and education programs. The university began offering online education options to students in 1999, and today offers fully online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a wide range of disciplines. Some of its offered disciplines include business, cyber forensics and information security, nursing, engineering management, and organizational leadership.
Another of the top online colleges in PA is the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, which is a member of the Art Institute (A.I.) System. The A.I. System is comprised of campuses located all throughout the nation. A.I. Pittsburgh’s Online Division is the only online division in the A.I. system and offers degrees in, but not limited to, those in culinary management, photography, and media arts and animation. Students can also earn their degree from one of Pennsylvania’s top online colleges game design programs. Through this division, A.I. offers students the opportunity to gain the education they need from experienced industry professionals. Students interested in A.I. Online can observe online course samples and online classroom demos to get a better idea the online education experience.