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Private Higher Education Institutions

Private two-year and four-year colleges, universities and seminaries have specific degree-granting authority based on the laws in effect at the time of approval and on the type of operation. 

To operate as degree-granting institutions in Pennsylvania, private institutions must obtain a certificate of authority. The earliest Pennsylvania institutions of higher education were founded by virtue of specific acts of the state legislature. Currently, the Secretary of Education, as head of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, is the legal entity to approve new institutions, to approve institutional changes  and to approve additional degrees and programs at previously approved institutions.

Private Higher Education Institutions


For additional information, please contact:

Division of Higher & Career Education |
Pennsylvania Department of Education - Postsecondary and Adult Education
333 Market Street, 12th Fl | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.783.8228 | Fax: 717.722.3622
ra-collunivseminfo@pa.gov | www.education.state.pa.us