Best New York Colleges & Universities

Become Team
Become Team
December 16, 2019

Although small geographically, New York is one of the country's most populous places. It boasts a wide range of colleges to meet its residents' diverse needs and interests, so students will need to do their research to find the right fit. This page offers tools and resources to help prospective students choose schools that match their academic and personal needs. Learn how the state's best colleges are ranked, explore outreach and assistance programs for New York students, find out the real cost of attending school, and see how New York colleges compare with those nationwide.

Best New York Colleges: Rankings

New York hosts an overwhelming 325 public and private nonprofit universities, and picking the right one is no easy task. Prospective students can take a look at this list of best colleges in New York to get an idea of what to look for in a high-quality college. Rankings are determined by a combination of factors, like the cost of tuition, availability of financial aid, graduation rate and student-to-teacher ratio.

Rankings Methodology Minimum Qualifications
  • Located in New York
  • Public or private not-for-profit
  • Institutionally accredited
  • At least 10 total programs
Ranking Metrics
  • Median annual alumni earnings 10 years after entering the college
  • In-state tuition and fees for undergraduates
  • Student/teacher ratio
  • 6-year graduation rate
  • % of students receiving institutional financial aid (first-time, full-time undergrads)
  • Average amount of institutional aid awarded per student (first-time, full-time undergrads)
  • Availability of placement services upon completion
  • Availability of academic/career counseling services
  • Availability of employment services
  • 3-year student cohort loan default rate
Data Sources

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): National Center for Education Statistics

Latest 'Final Release' data available as of Fall 2016 College Scorecard: U.S. Department of Education

2-Year Programs

Monroe Community College View School Profile $ 22% 99.71 $31,200 22:1 8% N/A 2 102 Yes Yes
Hudson Valley Community College View School Profile $ 24% 99.48 $36,200 20:1 7% N/A 3 86 Yes Yes
Niagara County Community College View School Profile $ 26% 98.46 $31,000 17:1 5% N/A 5 82 Yes Yes
SUNY Westchester Community College View School Profile $ 14% 98.44 $38,300 16:1 2% N/A 1 69 Yes No
Genesee Community College View School Profile $ 24% 98.37 $29,700 17:1 14% N/A 6 66 Yes Yes
Dutchess Community College View School Profile $ 24% 97.67 $31,600 23:1 6% N/A 0 49 Yes Yes
Jefferson Community College View School Profile $ 25% 97.23 $30,100 18:1 9% N/A 4 33 Yes Yes
SUNY Broome Community College View School Profile $ 26% 97.14 $31,000 20:1 14% N/A 2 65 Yes Yes
SUNY Orange View School Profile $ 18% 96.65 $32,700 17:1 3% N/A 1 34 Yes No
Columbia-Greene Community College View School Profile $ 31% 96.47 $31,700 17:1 6% N/A 0 25 Yes Yes
Suffolk County Community College View School Profile $ 20% 96.17 $36,700 24:1 1% N/A 1 77 Yes Yes
Erie Community College View School Profile $ 24% 95.92 $31,800 20:1 6% N/A 0 70 Yes Yes
Jamestown Community College View School Profile $ 33% 95.86 $29,300 17:1 15% N/A 6 44 Yes Yes
Adirondack Community College View School Profile $ 19% 95.79 $32,300 20:1 5% N/A 0 27 No No
Herkimer County Community College View School Profile $ 27% 95.77 $30,300 21:1 6% N/A 23 49 Yes No
Corning Community College View School Profile $ 25% 95.6 $31,000 20:1 5% N/A 2 33 Yes Yes
Onondaga Community College View School Profile $ 19% 95.4 $32,100 25:1 10% N/A 0 56 Yes Yes
SUNY Ulster View School Profile $ 25% 95.37 $30,600 20:1 18% N/A 4 35 Yes Yes
Rockland Community College View School Profile $ 27% 95.36 $36,100 22:1 3% N/A 0 47 Yes Yes
Tompkins Cortland Community College View School Profile $ 22% 95 $29,900 17:1 7% N/A 6 55 Yes Yes
Mohawk Valley Community College View School Profile $ 21% 94.84 $30,300 18:1 N/A N/A 2 68 Yes Yes
Fulton-Montgomery Community College View School Profile $ 27% 94.78 $28,500 19:1 4% N/A 2 48 Yes Yes
Finger Lakes Community College View School Profile $ 26% 94.54 $29,800 21:1 4% N/A 8 69 Yes Yes
Nassau Community College View School Profile $ 19% 94.2 $36,800 20:1 N/A N/A 0 62 Yes Yes
Schenectady County Community College View School Profile $ 15% 93.77 $29,700 25:1 4% N/A 0 59 Yes Yes
SUNY Sullivan View School Profile $ 22% 93.77 $29,600 18:1 10% N/A 0 32 Yes Yes
Bramson ORT College View School Profile $$ 37% 92.83 $28,800 13:1 74% N/A 6 18 Yes No
Queensborough Community College View School Profile $ 19% 92.49 $35,900 22:1 1% N/A 0 31 Yes Yes
Cayuga County Community College View School Profile $ 22% 92.16 $30,400 26:1 8% N/A 6 18 Yes No
CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College View School Profile $ 15% 91.21 $34,900 26:1 1% N/A 1 27 Yes No
North Country Community College View School Profile $ 20% 90.25 $27,000 16:1 N/A N/A 1 26 No No
Clinton Community College View School Profile $ 18% 89.83 $29,500 18:1 N/A N/A 0 29 No Yes
CUNY LaGuardia Community College View School Profile $ 17% 89.58 $33,000 24:1 N/A N/A 0 43 Yes Yes
Kingsborough Community College View School Profile $ 19% 89.53 $35,300 24:1 N/A N/A 0 40 Yes No
Bronx Community College View School Profile $ 11% 89.4 $31,900 20:1 N/A N/A 0 34 Yes No
Professional Business College View School Profile $$ 33% 88.37 $18,400 N/A 10% N/A 0 12 Yes No
Hostos Community College View School Profile $ 12% 87.5 $29,800 19:1 N/A N/A 1 27 Yes No
Stella and Charles Guttman Community College View School Profile $ N/A 86.22 N/A 15:1 N/A N/A 0 7 No No
New York Methodist Hospital Center for Allied Health Education View School Profile $$ 93% 86 N/A 9:1 N/A N/A 0 5 No No

4-Year Programs

Columbia University in the City of New York View School Profile $$$$ 95% 99.8 $72,900 6:1 46% 7% 15 216 Yes No
Cornell University View School Profile $$$$ 93% 99.46 $70,900 9:1 47% 14% 2 206 Yes No
Yeshiva University View School Profile $$$$ 84% 99.31 $55,600 7:1 85% 82% 0 60 Yes No
University of Rochester View School Profile $$$$ 85% 99.04 $55,500 10:1 86% 36% 0 167 Yes No
New York University View School Profile $$$$ 83% 98.62 $58,800 10:1 52% 35% 10 299 Yes Yes
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art View School Profile $$$$ 81% 98.35 $53,700 8:1 100% 15% 0 12 Yes No
Molloy College View School Profile $$$$ 62% 97.77 $57,500 10:1 88% 75% 0 62 Yes No
Nazareth College View School Profile $$$$ 73% 97.74 $43,900 9:1 100% 70% 0 78 Yes No
Barnard College View School Profile $$$$ 90% 97.69 $57,400 10:1 45% 24% 0 63 Yes No
Colgate University View School Profile $$$$ 90% 97.66 $61,500 9:1 42% 26% 0 60 Yes No
Manhattan College View School Profile $$$$ 75% 97.43 $63,600 12:1 92% 67% 0 54 Yes No
Ithaca College View School Profile $$$$ 77% 97.31 $50,400 11:1 91% 59% 1 108 Yes No
Canisius College View School Profile $$$$ 68% 97.25 $45,700 12:1 99% 80% 21 116 Yes No
Hamilton College View School Profile $$$$ 91% 97.07 $57,300 9:1 53% 26% 0 42 Yes No
Adelphi University View School Profile $$$$ 66% 97.01 $50,600 11:1 90% 72% 3 86 Yes Yes
Saint Joseph’s College-New York View School Profile $$$ 68% 96.95 $51,800 11:1 91% 71% 2 45 No Yes
Rochester Institute of Technology View School Profile $$$$ 63% 96.94 $56,900 13:1 90% 57% 9 136 Yes Yes
University at Buffalo View School Profile $$ 71% 96.9 $49,700 13:1 61% 58% 1 190 Yes No
Siena College View School Profile $$$$ 73% 96.84 $55,100 11:1 97% 66% 0 27 Yes Yes
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute View School Profile $$$$ 84% 96.83 $81,700 15:1 92% 38% 0 102 Yes No
Pace University-New York View School Profile $$$$ 56% 96.75 $58,400 14:1 97% 85% 11 152 Yes Yes
Fordham University View School Profile $$$$ 81% 96.71 $55,400 14:1 89% 48% 3 114 Yes Yes
Union College View School Profile $$$$ 83% 96.66 $61,800 10:1 73% 41% 0 40 Yes No
Stony Brook University View School Profile $$ 70% 96.65 $55,500 16:1 67% 41% 6 143 Yes No
Clarkson University View School Profile $$$$ 70% 96.59 $68,400 14:1 99% 62% 13 47 Yes No
Saint John Fisher College View School Profile $$$$ 74% 96.42 $44,800 12:1 100% 68% 3 56 Yes Yes
Syracuse University View School Profile $$$$ 82% 96.39 $56,600 16:1 66% 53% 10 240 Yes Yes
Le Moyne College View School Profile $$$$ 69% 96.35 $48,800 13:1 100% 66% 0 43 Yes No
St Bonaventure University View School Profile $$$$ 64% 96.29 $45,200 11:1 100% 70% 1 56 Yes No
Hofstra University View School Profile $$$$ 61% 96.11 $53,200 14:1 93% 62% 6 189 Yes No
Niagara University View School Profile $$$$ 67% 96.01 $44,000 13:1 98% 66% 6 74 Yes Yes
D’Youville College View School Profile $$$ 40% 95.97 $48,300 9:1 99% 69% 1 42 No Yes
Vassar College View School Profile $$$$ 91% 95.92 $47,100 8:1 56% 24% 0 48 Yes No
SUNY at Binghamton View School Profile $$ 79% 95.8 $58,400 20:1 45% 44% 2 136 Yes No
Iona College View School Profile $$$$ 65% 95.77 $52,700 15:1 98% 87% 0 70 Yes Yes
St John’s University-New York View School Profile $$$$ 59% 95.6 $54,100 17:1 98% 63% 15 125 Yes Yes
CUNY Hunter College View School Profile $ 46% 95.57 $44,800 11:1 5% 35% 0 129 Yes No
Manhattanville College View School Profile $$$$ 58% 95.55 $46,300 12:1 97% 74% 0 79 No Yes
Alfred University View School Profile $$$$ 63% 95.38 $42,300 12:1 100% 69% 0 53 Yes No
CUNY Queens College View School Profile $ 55% 95.28 $48,000 14:1 3% 40% 0 123 Yes No
Marist College View School Profile $$$$ 80% 95.26 $54,400 16:1 87% 39% 7 64 Yes Yes
LIU Post View School Profile $$$$ 42% 95.02 $46,000 11:1 92% 83% 3 165 Yes Yes
St Lawrence University View School Profile $$$$ 80% 95 $45,500 11:1 96% 48% 0 37 Yes No
CUNY City College View School Profile $ 42% 94.85 $44,500 11:1 6% 38% 0 97 Yes Yes
Hobart William Smith Colleges View School Profile $$$$ 76% 94.85 $48,600 11:1 84% 48% 0 48 No No
CUNY Bernard M Baruch College View School Profile $ 63% 94.82 $54,000 16:1 13% 28% 0 55 Yes No
Daemen College View School Profile $$$ 48% 94.8 $42,900 13:1 100% 55% 0 74 Yes Yes
Hartwick College View School Profile $$$$ 56% 94.8 $46,100 11:1 100% 90% 0 31 Yes Yes
Houghton College View School Profile $$$$ 67% 94.77 $39,200 11:1 100% 94% 0 49 Yes Yes
College of Mount Saint Vincent View School Profile $$$$ 57% 94.75 $51,900 13:1 98% 95% 0 30 Yes Yes

Search & Compare Colleges in New York

With so many options, prospective students may want to see the pros and cons of the schools on their shortlists of potential colleges. Using the tool below, students can tailor their search to find schools that not only fulfill their academic goals, but also accommodate their finances and lifestyles. Users can filter by variables such as student population, cost, school type and available degrees, and compare schools side-by-side.

College Planning, Assistance and Outreach Programs in New York

Not only do individual colleges in New York offer financial aid and other student support programs, the state as a whole has a variety of programs and initiatives designed to help current and future college students prepare, budget, and succeed in college. From helping high schoolers understand the ins and outs of state and federal financial aid to boosting enrollment of minorities, New York is working to make postsecondary education attainable.

Start Here Get There

This comprehensive financial aid awareness website, created by New York's Higher Education Services Corporation, aims to help students understand the FAFSA and other aspects of financial aid. Start Here Get There gives students step-by-step instructions on filling out the FAFSA so they can get the most federal aid with as little stress as possible. Students can also get helpful advice on specific questions such as filling out parent information if a parent has remarried, and can find local events to attend if they want in-person help. Information on financial aid specific to New York students is also available through Start Here Get There.

My Brother's Keeper

The My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Task Force was originally created at the federal level by President Obama in 2014, but in 2016, New York became the first state to enact the MBK initiative into law. The purpose of MBK is to provide support to boys and young men of color to improve their educational outcomes. At the national level, MBK has six primary goals, including elementary and secondary academic success, and college and career readiness for all children and young adults. New York has added other goals to the list, including access to high quality education; expansion of early warning, prevention and intervention programs; and breaking down structural and institutional racism.

Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program

CSTEP was put into place to help historically underrepresented and low-income postsecondary students who were interested in careers in science, health, math and technology. CSTEP helps students with services such as career development, admissions counseling and applications, access to standardized test prep courses, and internships and other practical training. New York has 44 CSTEP programs throughout the state, and participation is competitive, so interested students need to complete an application.

Cost of College in New York

To get an accurate picture of college costs in New York, it's imperative to look beyond the sticker price of tuition. Financial aid is another big part of the equation, and schools vary with how many students receive awards and how large the average financial aid package is. Check out the following charts to learn about tuition and financial aid of New York colleges and see how the state compares with the national average.

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Most Affordable Colleges in New York

New York offers colleges for many budgets, but the bottom line is just simple math: tuition minus financial aid. Although certain schools may have higher tuition, costs can be offset with extensive financial aid packages, putting them within reach. Based on these factors, the six colleges below ranked as New York's most affordable.

New York College Net Price vs. National Average

Average Annual Net Price
NEW YORK $17,565
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

New York Colleges With Highest-Paid Alumni

For many students, a primary goal of earning a degree is to get a high-paying job upon graduation, and some schools do better than others in producing well-paid alumni. Here we look at the average earnings for New York graduates, along with the six colleges that yield the highest paid alumni 10 years after starting college.

New York Alumni Salaries vs. National Average

Annual Median Earnings 10 Years After Entering College
NEW YORK $48,946
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Colleges in New York With Least Alumni Debt

Even with help from scholarships and grants, students often have to take out loans to pay for college. See where New York stands in terms of student debt after graduation, and check out the New York schools that leave their students with the least amount of debt upon program completion.

New York College Grad Debt Vs. National Average

Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
NEW YORK $21,209
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

New York Cost of Living: College Expenses Beyond Tuition

Comparing tuition rates and financial aid packages is a start when figuring out the costs of college, but students also need to account for living expenses like rent, utilities, transportation and food. Costs of living for the state as a whole come in well above the national average, but they vary widely between cities. The table below reviews New York's overall cost of living, as well as the numbers for the state's five largest metro areas.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 129% 175% 110% 110% 116% 103% 111%
Buffalo 96% 102% 92% 95% 102% 86% 91%
New York (Brooklyn) 173% 290% 131% 133% 126% 114% 125%
New York (Manhattan) 227% 456% 127% 130% 134% 116% 148%
New York (Queens) 151% 219% 124% 133% 122% 106% 125%
Rochester 101% 94% 99% 97% 115% 99% 104%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

Accreditation for New York Colleges

Students can begin to narrow their list of potential New York colleges by looking for accredited institutions. Accreditation is a voluntary process; schools may undergo these quality-assurance evaluations to demonstrate that they meet specific standards. Only accredited schools qualify for federal funding, so they often have more financial resources for teachers, facilities and research. Furthermore, students who attend unaccredited colleges do not qualify for federal financial aid, and may not be able to transfer course credits should they move to an accredited institution later.

Accredited can be both regional and programmatic. Regional accreditation, granted in New York by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education applies to an institution as a whole. Programmatic accreditation is granted to individual schools or programs within a larger college, such as in the following examples

Popular College Cities in New York

New York City

New York City is home to nine public colleges and 44 private ones, offering study options ranging from intensive technological research to niche programs in the performing arts. Many are recognized throughout the country and even globally, so the Big Apple's student population reaches far beyond local residents.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

New York CityColumbia University Private not-for-profit $22,672 $72,900
Columbia University is a private, not-for-profit Ivy League university and is the oldest college in New York. Consistently ranked in the top ten colleges nationwide, it has 21 different schools with an array of majors and minors within each. About 6,000 undergraduates attend Columbia; the college focuses more on graduate education and has an additional 20,000 grad students.
New York CityNew York University Private not-for-profit $37,971 $58,800
NYU is one of the largest private universities in the country. Founded in 1831 with only 158 students, NYU's 4,500 faculty members now serve over 50,000 students between campuses and study sites around the world, including degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. Undergraduates can choose from 25 different degree programs, and some 2,500 individual courses.
New York CityCUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College Public $6,778 $34,900
Part of New York's community college system, BMCC offers over 30 academic programs to more than 26,000 students. Students can earn associate degrees and certificates in a variety of subjects, from accounting to video arts. Along with its academic programs, BMCC also offers internship and study abroad opportunities, access to an advanced media center, and childcare services.
Syracuse

Syracuse has an even distribution of private and public colleges to serve students. The city's four public colleges include both subject-specific institutions, like the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and those with a broad range of degree programs, like Onondaga Community College. Its four private colleges function similarly, with nursing colleges, religiously affiliated schools and colleges with an array of degree options. Below is a sampling of what prospective students can find in Syracuse.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

SyracuseSyracuse University Private not-for-profit $28,912 $56,600
Syracuse University is a private research university with more than 21,000 students, about a quarter of whom are from minority populations. SU undergraduates can choose from over 200 majors and 100 minors, and graduate students can earn degrees in some 200 areas of study. Students can also take advantage of study abroad opportunities, online learning options, sports teams, and student clubs and organizations.
SyracuseOnondaga Community College Public $12,064 $32,100
A two-year public institution that is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, Onondaga Community College offers over 40 degrees and certificates and has more than 80 transfer agreements, making it easy for students to transition to four-year institutions. Students can pursue associate degrees and certificates both on-campus and online. OCC also provides students with over 55 scholarship opportunities, on-campus housing and a variety of student clubs and organizations.
SyracuseLeMoyne College Private not-for-profit $22,351 $48,800
LeMoyne College is a private Jesuit college with undergraduate, graduate and continuing education opportunities. Students can choose from over 30 majors while being immersed in the college's Catholic and Jesuit core curriculum. Lemoyne's largest school is its College of Arts and Sciences, but students can pursue degrees from the Madden School of Business and the Purcell School of Professional Studies, as well. Students can also take advantage of campus housing and dining, several school organizations and the campus ministry.

Source: College Scorecard

New York College Resources

Prospective students can continue researching colleges in New York by checking out these resources.

New York State Education Department

Find information about New York's education system, including higher education resources and news.

New York State Higher Education Services Corporation

New York's higher education financial aid agency provides students with information about finding and applying for financial aid. The site also offers tips for college prep and the loan repayment process.

New York State Office of Higher Education

Learn about colleges and scholarships for New York students at the Office of Higher Education's website.

NY's 529 College Savings Program

The site offers information about starting one of these state-sponsored savings plans to help cover college costs.

NYSED Adult Career and Continuing Ed Services

Get information about adult education services in New York.

State University of New York

The hubpage for New York's state university system is the portal for information about New York's public community colleges and universities.

Become Team
Become Team
Contributing Writer