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Pennsylvania Universities, Accredited Colleges, and Degrees

Pennsylvania's higher education system includes the 14 universities of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, as well as Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University. The state is also home to numerous private for-profit and nonprofit colleges and universities, such as the University of Phoenix, Drexel University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Many of these institutions offer accredited online college degrees on the undergraduate and graduate levels to students in Pennsylvania and out of the state.

Accredited Colleges & Universities in Pennsylvania

Some of the top colleges in Pennsylvania are the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Pittsburgh. The University of Pennsylvania, a private institution, was founded in 1740 as a charity school for the children of working-class families in Philadelphia. Since then, the university has evolved to being one of the best colleges in Pennsylvania and in the country. It serves more than 24,000 students at its 279-acre campus, which includes 180 buildings and 165 research centers and institutes. In its 2012 Best Colleges publication, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Pennsylvania No. 8 in its ranking of the top national universities. Other public and private colleges in Pennsylvania, including Drexel University, Lehigh University, and Pennsylvania State University, ranked within the top 100 of national universities as well.

There are also many online colleges in Pennsylvania. For example, the University of Phoenix offers associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in a wide range of subjects, including business, criminal justice, education, psychology, and technology. Drexel University also has an extensive set of online degrees, and its online graduate nursing and education programs are among the best in the country, according to U.S. News. Pennsylvania's Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education (OPHE) oversees the state's colleges and universities. It evaluates program approval requests from undergraduate and graduate degrees, works with organizations seeking approval to grant degrees, works with the State Board of Education to develop regulations that ensure the quality of academic programs, and more.

Accredited Community Colleges in Pennsylvania

The largest junior colleges in Pennsylvania are the Harrisburg Area Community College, Community College of Allegheny County, and Community College of Philadelphia. These colleges serve more than 62,000 students at their campuses in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, respectively. The three colleges offer fully online certificate and associate degree programs for students who are working professionals or who may not live in the area. However, some of these programs may require students to attend on-campus meetings on occasion.

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