Penn State Harrisburg vs. JMU

Should I go to Penn State Harrisburg or James Madison University? Compare the two schools' costs, SAT, ACT, GPA, admissions criteria and outcomes to help you determine if Penn State Harrisburg or JMU is the better college for you.

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Penn State Harrisburg vs. James Madison University comparison
Penn State Harrisburg James Madison University College 3 College 4
James Madison University
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Location Middletown, PA Harrisonburg, VA
Setting Large Suburban Small City
Students 4,933 21,751
Type Public 4 Year Public 4 Year
Religious Affiliation - - - -
Status Non-profit Non-profit


Tuition (In State) $14,214 $7,250
Tuition (Out of State) $23,466 $23,064
Room & Board $11,570 $10,512
Avg Net Price $21,499 $16,154
Avg Grant Aid $6,998 $8,556
% Receiving Grant Aid 50% 28%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 87.8% 71.1%
Avg High School GPA 3.08 3.57
Admissions Standards Difficult Difficult
Applicant Competition Low
ACT Range 23/27 23/28
SAT Range 1050/1290 1120/1290
Application Deadline Jan 15, 2020


Graduation Rate 63% 81%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $55,300 $60,300
Making Student Loan Payments 69% 83%
Median Student Loan Debt $26,818 $20,899
Median Loan Payment $277 $216
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Comparable Facts

  • Penn State Harrisburg is larger than than JMU based on total student enrollment (4,933 students vs. 21,751 students)

Penn State Harrisburg vs. JMU Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, Penn State Harrisburg or JMU?

  • Penn State Harrisburg is 96.1% more expensive to attend than JMU for in-state tuition ($14,214.00 vs. $7,250.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 1.7% higher at Penn State Harrisburg than James Madison University ($23,466.00 vs. $23,064.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at James Madison University than Penn State Harrisburg ($16,154 vs. $21,499)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at James Madison University are 10.1% lower than costs at Penn State Harrisburg ($10,512 vs. $11,570)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at Penn State Harrisburg than James Madison University (50% vs. 28%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by James Madison University students is 22.3% larger than aid received Penn State Harrisburg ($8,556 vs. $6,998)

Penn State Harrisburg vs. JMU Admissions Difficulty Comparison

Which college is harder to get into, Penn State Harrisburg or JMU? Average SAT and ACT scores plus acceptance rates offer good insight into the difficulty of admission between JMU or Penn State Harrisburg .

  • The average SAT score at James Madison University (1134) is 91 points higher than at Penn State Harrisburg (1043)
  • Incoming JMU students have a 2 point higher average ACT score (25) than students at Penn State Harrisburg (23)
  • Penn State Harrisburg has a higher acceptance rate (87.8%) than JMU (71.1%)

Penn State Harrisburg vs. JMU Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, Penn State Harrisburg or JMU? Graduation rate, salary and amount of student loan debt are indicators of a college which offers better outcomes for its graduates. Compare the following outcomes facts between JMU and Penn State Harrisburg.

  • The graduation rate at JMU is higher that Penn State Harrisburg (81% vs. 63%)
  • Graduates from James Madison University earn on average $5,000 more per year than Penn State Harrisburg graduates after ten years. ($60,300 vs. $55,300)
  • James Madison University students graduate with a $5,919 lower median federal student loan debt than Penn State Harrisburg graduates. ($20,899 vs. $26,818)
  • JMU graduates are paying $61 less per month on federal student loans than Penn State Harrisburg graduates. ($216 vs. $277)
  • More JMU graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former Penn State Harrisburg students, three years after graduation. (83% vs. 69%)

Sources: U.S. Department of Education IPEDS and College Scorecard