With some of the top performing school districts in the state, Lancaster County offers a wide variety of primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational opportunities, Lancaster County truly has something for everyone. For two years in a row, six of the sixteen public school districts in the county have ranked in the top 500 schools nationwide on the U.S. News & World Report list of the Best High Schools.
For those interested in private education, the county is also home to a large number of private, independent, day and boarding schools, as well as parochial schools, Montessori, charter, and alternative learning schools.
Lancaster County also boasts some of the oldest educational institutions in the nation, two that trace their founding back to the 18th century are the Linden Hall School for Girls in Lititz, PA and Franklin & Marshall College, located in Lancaster City.
Linden Hall, located in the heart of historic Lititz is the oldest boarding and day school for young women in continuous operation in the United States. Founded by the Moravian Church in 1746, the school is home to boarding students from around the world as well as local students who also attend as day students. The iconic Mary Dixon Chapel, built in 1883, is considered an architectural landmark within the historic Moravian Church Square.
Franklin & Marshall College is a private liberal arts college located in Lancaster city. As one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States, the college was established in 1787 as Franklin College with a gift of 200 British pounds from founding father, Benjamin Franklin. With a diverse student body of 2,350 undergraduate students, Franklin & Marshall enrolls students from across the nation and around the world.
There are a variety of post-secondary educational institutions in Lancaster County, offering many different options for continuing education from certificate programs to two-year technical and associate degree programs to post-graduate programs, including:
- Elizabethtown College
- Franklin & Marshall College
- Lancaster Bible College
- Lancaster County Career & Technology Center
- Lancaster Theological Seminary
- Millersville University
- Pennsylvania College of Art & Design
- Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, and
- Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
As one of the most highly regarded public universities in the region, Millersville University offers a wide range of graduate and undergraduate majors in science and mathematics, education, humanities, and the social sciences on their picturesque 250-acre campus. The U.S. News and World Report Best College Rankings issued for 2017 ranked Millersville within the top 30 “Top Public Schools” - Regional Universities (North).
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology offers two-year technical degree programs and has been named one of the top two-year colleges in the nation for the fourth consecutive time by the Aspen Institute. Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology is a premier residential, two-year, accredited technical college that educates Pennsylvania’s economically and socially disadvantaged as well as other qualified students for skilled employment in a diverse, ever-changing workforce. The school is Pennsylvania’s only state-owned two-year college in the Commonwealth.
In addition to the colleges and universities located in Lancaster County, many other institutions of higher learning operate satellite campuses locally.
By Kristina Martin