Fast Facts

Fast Facts

Facts About PennWest California

Discover why PennWest California is consistently listed among the best colleges in the Northeast by The Princeton Review. From athletics to majors and more, here are some fast facts to help you get to know PennWest California.

A map of Pennsylvania with California, PA marked. 

Founded in 1852, PennWest California is located in California (pop. 6,800), a borough in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, about 35 miles from Pittsburgh. In 2015, Safewise ranked California, Pa. among the top 50 Safest College Towns in America.

Our 294-acre campus includes top recreation facilities, best-in-class housing options, plenty of green space and an on-campus farm used for recreation and learning activities.

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Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

PennWest California is a public university, a proud member of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education, and one of Pennsylvania's most affordable options for higher education.

The University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

PennWest California offers 100+ undergraduate majors, degrees and certificates; 90+ graduate and professional degree and certificate programs, and 75+ programs delivered 100% online.

Average composite SAT score for incoming freshmen
Average ACT score for incoming freshmen 


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Students from All 50 States

PennWest California welcomes students from the country and around the world. Our students come from all 50 states, three U.S. territories and about 30 countries.

Total enrollment: 6,885 students (2020-2021)

  • Undergraduates: 4,785
  • Graduate students: 2,100

Our most recent class is 56% female and 44% male; 19.6% of PennWest California students represent minority populations.

About 6% of undergraduate students are on active military service; members of the reserves or national guard; or veterans and their dependents.


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100% Committed to Your Success

PennWest California has a variety of resources dedicated to helping you succeed academically and make the most of your educational experience. These include the University Honors Program, Career and Professional Development Center, Internship Center, Office of International Programming, study abroad options, academic support services, Center for Undergraduate Research and more.

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  StopwatchVulcan Pride

PennWest California students show their school spirit by wearing black and red, our school colors, and cheering for the Vulcans. The University has 18 NCAA Division II athletics teams - eight men's and 10 women's teams - and more than 100 student clubs and organizations. The Vulcan mascot, Blaze, is a popular figure at campus and community events.

Many of PennWest California's 62,000 living alumni visit campus for cultural activities, sports events and alumni gatherings. About 80% of PennWest California graduates live in Pennsylvania. 

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Average Tuition & Costs

A PennWest California education is a great value - especially for students who follow the Four-Year Graduation Plan.

Tuition: $7,716 per year (on campus undergraduate, in-state resident, 2020-2021)
Fees:  $3,392
Housing: $6,822
Meal plan: $3,594 (14 meals)
Total average costs: $21,524

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Top Rankings


    • The Princeton Review
      • Best Colleges in the Northeast (16 consecutive years as of 2021).
    • Colleges of Distinction
      - Colleges of Distinction, 2019, 2020
      - Pennsylvania Colleges of Distinction, 2019, 2020
      - Public Colleges of Distinction, 2019, 2020
      - Business Colleges of Distinction, 2019, 2020
      - Education Colleges of Distinction, 2019, 2020
      - Engineering Colleges of Distinction, 2019, 2020
      - Career Development Colleges of Distinction, 2019, 2020
    • Money
      • Best Colleges 2017-2019
    • U.S. News and World Report
      • Best Online Programs, Bachelor's Degree Programs 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
      • Best Online Programs, Graduate Education Programs 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
      • Best Online Programs, Graduate Nursing Program 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019
      • Best Online Programs, Graduate MBA Program 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
      • Best Online Programs, Graduate Criminal Justice Program 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
      • Best Online Programs, Bachelor's Degree Programs for Veterans 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019
    • Guide to Online Schools
      • Top U.S. schools for online degree programs (annually since 2010).

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