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Colleges in New York

Why go to College in New York?

New York is a diverse state with a range of environments, including remote mountain areas in the Adirondacks, the beaches of Long Island, and the largest city in the country. Public four-year tuition in the state is several thousand dollars below the national average, and the average median wage is significantly higher. Industries in New York feature finance and healthcare, and the unemployment rate is similar to the average across the U.S. With over 630 public and private colleges and universities, students looking for both on-campus and online schools in NY will find a number of options that fit their educational needs.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New York has a population of over 19.7 million people and is one of the most populous states in the country. The largest city in both the state and the nation is New York City, which has over eight million inhabitants. Other large cities include Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse, with populations ranging from around 250,000 (Buffalo) to 140,000 (Syracuse). These cities are home to many of the colleges and universities in the state.


The climate varies widely, with portions of the state in the Adirondack and Catskill mountains, bordering the ocean, and adjacent to Great Lakes. The lowest temperatures in the state vary from 16 to 31 degrees Fahrenheit, while summer daytime temperatures usually stay in the upper-70s and mid-80s.

Number of Higher Learning Institutions

New York State has 632 public and private colleges and universities. Included in this number are two large college systems: SUNY and CUNY. The State University of New York (SUNY) is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States; it contains 64 state-supported institutions, including online schools in New York. There is also the City University of New York (CUNY) system, which includes 24 institutions in New York City.

Sporting Events

New York has many professional sports teams, including two MLB teams, three NHL teams, and two NBA teams. While two MLS teams represent the area, one plays in New Jersey. Of New York’s three NFL teams, only the Buffalo Bills play in the state; the New York Jets and Giants play in New Jersey. Colleges known for their athletics programs include Syracuse University, the University of Buffalo, and St. John’s University.


New York City offers near-endless opportunities for nightlife. However, there is also ample entertainment across the state, including live music and events like Buffalo Beer Week in Buffalo and numerous pubs and comedy clubs in Syracuse.

What Options are Available for Colleges in New York?


Students interested in interacting with classmates, getting involved in student activities, and going to classes in-person should consider attending a traditional, on-campus college in New York. Some students find it easier to remain on top of their schoolwork by attending weekly classes, as they are constantly reminded of upcoming assignments. Additionally, many learners prefer to listen to lectures in person where there are fewer distractions; this is one of the benefits of on-campus courses. However, traditional colleges may be limited in their night and weekend class choices, so students must have the availability to attend courses during weekdays.

Online Programs

Students who require more flexible course times might be better-suited for online programs. Distance learning does not require students to attend class on campus. Instead, students take classes through an online learning platform. Many courses allow students to log into class at their convenience and follow along asynchronously. Students at online schools in NY typically learn by watching lectures, videos, or PowerPoint presentations. Depending on the format, they complete readings, respond to questions from their professor, and conduct group projects. Participation in online discussions is often monitored and there may be weekly assignments.

Students who are organized and self-motivated often do well in online environments. While online faculty have office hours and are available to answer questions, interactions with professors and classmates at online colleges in New York differ significantly from those in traditional, on-campus courses. One of the other big benefits of online programs is the chance to enroll in courses anywhere in the world; students are not limited to the colleges in their immediate area.

Hybrid Programs

While online programs don’t require students to attend classes on campus, hybrid programs require both online and on-campus participation. There are many different styles of hybrid programming. For example, a hybrid business program might be primarily online but require one or two on-campus classes, while a medically-oriented hybrid program might require most courses and labs to be completed on campus and feature only a few online courses.

The on-campus courses in a hybrid program may also be formatted differently. While some hybrid programs might require students to complete regular semester courses on campus, others might offer summer or January intensives that can be completed in just a week or two. Hybrid programs may also require students to come to campus on the weekends.

Popular Degree Programs in New York

The most popular majors in each state vary considerably and are usually related to popular local industries. Because New York is a visual and performing arts mecca, the corresponding degree program is one of the most popular in the state. Additionally, with one of the largest populations in the country and a proportionally large healthcare industry, psychology is New York’s most popular degree.

  • Visual and Performing Arts

    With the large number of major visual and performing arts organizations in New York, this major is the most disproportionately popular degree in the state. Visual artists focus on subjects such as painting, ceramics, fashion, or photography, and performing artists tend to focus on theater, dance, or music.

  • Psychology

    The most commonly held degree in the state is psychology. With almost 20 million residents, healthcare is one of the biggest industries in New York. Several of the largest employers in the state are healthcare providers. The healthcare sector includes state hospitals and services for the elderly. Many of New York’s colleges and universities, including SUNY and CUNY institutions, offer this popular major. It is also offered by several online colleges in New York.

Source: Business Insider

What are the Best Online Colleges in New York?

Colleges are not one-size-fits-all; every student has different educational needs and goals. There are many online colleges in NY, each offering various degrees at different price points. As a result, the search process can feel overwhelming, especially as the number of colleges and universities offering online and hybrid programs continues to increase. This resource helps students learn more about the online colleges in NY that best align with their needs and preferences.


Stony Brook UniversityStony Brook, NY

Admissions Rate 41%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 68%
Online Enrollment 7%

Offering innovative programs and plentiful opportunities for learners to expand their horizons, Stony Brook University is an educational institution where students learn by doing. Located in Stony Brook (60 miles east of New York City), the school offers a variety of programs that feature courses that students can complete online. SBU conducts its electrical engineering online bachelor’s degree entirely online and its nursing degree 50% online (with residency and other lab requirements).

With asynchronous course scheduling, and both on campus and off campus support from SBU faculty and staff, the school's programs provide an academically rigorous education while giving students the flexibility that many of today's learners need. SBU's nursing program consists of a two year degree. The school tailors the program for learners with an associate degree. SBU's many positives rank it as one of the very best online schools in New York.


Syracuse UniversitySyracuse, NY

Admissions Rate 48%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 91%
Graduation Rate 81%
Online Enrollment 4%

A private research university located upstate and one of the best online colleges in New York, Syracuse University administers 200 majors from its 13 schools. SU's bachelor of professional studies degree offers two programs that learners may complete entirely online, creative leadership and knowledge management. Students who desire to complete courses part time are ideal candidates for these programs. Learners can expect to focus on career building and gaining skills necessary for today’s workplace.

The school places no residency requirement on the degree, however, students may elect to participate in on-campus courses when available. Other undergraduate programs, from the liberal arts to the sciences offer online, synchronous, and asynchronous courses that apply toward a bachelor’s degree. Learners can look at the course catalogue and select the online campus to find remote courses.


New York UniversityNew York, NY

Admissions Rate 32%
Default Rate 3%
Retention Rate 93%
Graduation Rate 84%
Online Enrollment 1%

Its main campus located within the heart of New York City, New York University is the largest private university in the United States. Many of the school's colleges and schools offer online and hybrid programs, making acquiring an education at NYU highly flexible. The School of Professional Studies is one of the best online schools in New York, and offers two undergraduate degrees entirely online. NYU's bachelor of science in leadership and management studies features three concentrations: international business, human resource management, and organizational management and development. The school's bachelor of science in social sciences offers a concentration in organizational behavior and change.

NYU is registered with the Maryland Higher Education Commission to offer online education to Maryland residents as well, and virtually all courses within the university have an online component (including learning management systems and other online tools).


Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester, NY

Admissions Rate 57%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 68%
Online Enrollment 3%

Located in Rochester, the Rochester Institute of Technology administers campuses around the world, including one of the best online schools in New York. The school offers learners a variety of technology-centric degrees and programs in nearly every academic field. The university conducts two undergraduate degree programs entirely online. RIT offers its bachelor of science in applied arts and science through the School of Individualized Study, and the school's bachelor of science in applied technical leadership is offered through the College of Applied Science and Technology.

RIT awards online master’s degrees, certificate programs, and bachelor programs in the arts, business, computing and information sciences, engineering, sciences, and the humanities. Each program encourages group interactivity and provides the flexibility of remote learning.


The Sage CollegesTroy, NY

Admissions Rate 54%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 60%
Online Enrollment 9%

Located in Troy, the Sage Colleges opened its doors as a women’s college in the early 20th century. The school has since expanded to offer co-educational degrees through the Sage College of Albany, and the Russell Sage College. The Sage Colleges' online division, Russel Sage Online (RSO), offers online options that include a variety of bachelor, certificate, and master’s programs that students can pursue entirely online.

Learners can earn a bachelor of business administration, a bachelor of science in accounting and information technology (with a focus on cybersecurity), all through RSO. Adding to the reasons that Sage Colleges ranks among the best online colleges in New York is the fact that some RSO programs offer an accelerated schedule option for learners who wish to complete their degree faster than typical (providing additional flexibility and affordability). The Sage Colleges does not require standardized tests for undergraduate admittance. Instead, the school relies on the strength of application materials.


Saint Joseph's College-New YorkBrooklyn, NY

Admissions Rate 68%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 68%
Online Enrollment 5%

Located in Brooklyn, Long Island, as well as online, St. Joseph’s College’s motto is esse non videri — 'to be, not to seem.' The school makes its online programs through SCJOnline available to students worldwide, including a total of 15 degree programs. SCJ's bachelor degree offerings include studies in organizational management and business, criminal justice, general studies (a unique program that allows student to learn horizontally across multiple disciplines and areas), health administration, and human services.

Featuring a generous transfer policy, St. Joseph’s College accepts up to 90 college credits (with certain letter grade requirements). Among the best online schools in New York, SJC makes its online programs available at a lower tuition rate than the school's on-campus programs, and places an emphasis on designing courses around the needs of busy student who work while earning an education.


SUNY College at OswegoOswego, NY

Admissions Rate 51%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 66%
Online Enrollment 5%

Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, north of Syracuse, SUNY College at Oswego is an extension of the State Universities of New York system. Regularly ranked among the best online colleges in New York, SUNY College at Oswego offers eight bachelor degrees that learners pursue entirely online. The programs train future educators in a variety of fields, including agricultural education, family and consumer sciences education, health career education, communication studies, and public justice.

OpenSUNY provides an online directory of all online programs within the SUNY network of universities, including SUNY Oswego's bachelor programs. Online courses offered by SUNY are asynchronous, meaning students can access course lectures and materials whenever it is convenient for them, with virtual group meetings taking place periodically.


Roberts Wesleyan CollegeRochester, NY

Admissions Rate 66%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 62%
Online Enrollment 6%

A Christian institution located in Rochester and one of the best online colleges in New York, Roberts Wesleyan College offers learners a total of 99 programs, including a variety of online bachelor programs. Program fare includes options such as studies in organizational management, health administration, and an RN-to-bachelor of science program tailored to the needs of working RNs who would like to pursue a bachelor degree in the field.

The school makes a bachelor’s completion program available to applicants who have completed at least 60 college credits but do not currently hold a degree. Students can transfer in college credits along with other training and life-experiences the school deems transferable. To earn their bachelor degree, learners complete courses online or on-campus, along with additional course requirements.


Adelphi UniversityGarden City, NY

Admissions Rate 72%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 67%
Online Enrollment 2%

Located in Long Island, Adelphi University has provided learners with a rigorous academic experience for 120 years, earning the school a reputation as one of the best online schools in New York. Online and blended courses are available in all areas of study. Learners can earn a variety of degrees at AU completely online, including the school's bachelor of science in emergency services administration,a program designed for current and former police officers, Firefighters, EMT’s, veterans, and other public safety professionals, all of whow gain advanced standing in the program.

Online students enjoy access to the school's writing center (where they receive online tutoring) and the office of technology help desk. On-campus, student can utilize benefits like the school's career center, library, and health services. AU makes additional services available for individuals within commuting distance, including academic clubs and meal plans.


SUNY College of Technology at DelhiDelhi, NY

Admissions Rate 54%
Default Rate 13%
Retention Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 43%
Online Enrollment 26%

Located in the foothills of the Catskill mountains and a member of the State Universities of New York system, SUNY Delhi is widely considered one of the best online schools in New York. SUNY Delhi online offers an RN to bachelor of science program (which learners may earn entirely online), a bachelor of business administration in hospitality management, and a bachelor of science in criminal justice.

Designed for students who work while earning their degree, these programs offer the flexibility of taking the courses whenever enrolled learners want and feature no residency requirement. The school welcomes part-time or full-time enrollments. Online students receive the same benefits and access to student services that on-campus students enjoy, including advising, tutoring, library, and dining services, as well access to health and fitness centers.


The New SchoolNew York, NY

Admissions Rate 67%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 65%
Online Enrollment 3%

Long before many schools began offering online programs, Manhattan's New School offered students remote opportunities to earn a degree. Today, the New School remains one of the most celebrated online colleges in New York. Learners pursue many programs in the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts online, including bachelor of arts degrees in global studies, urban studies, liberal arts, and psychology.

Courses meet asynchronously, and class size remains on par with the on-campus courses, both being small with an emphasis on discussions. Online tools enhance the learning experience and bring the class together, regardless of the student location. Overall, the New School offers over 200 courses online, both for degree and non-degree-seeking seeking students.


Utica CollegeUtica, NY

Admissions Rate 83%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 42%
Online Enrollment 45%

Located in central upstate New York, Utica College has provided learning opportunities in a private school environment since 1946. Integrating liberal and professional studies, UC offers a variety of degrees that learners can complete entirely online, including bachelor of science programs in criminal justice, cybersecurity, fraud and financial crime investigation, and an RN-to-bachelor of science in nursing. UC also offers an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing to interested students. These options add up to make the school one of the best online colleges in New York.

Per credit, tuition for online enrollment remains lower than on-campus enrollment, and online students enjoy access to all campus services (including library, health, and dining facilities). UC makes residency a requirement. However, residency benefits include opportunities to collaborate with peers and faculty, and generating a sense of community in one's studies.


Mercy CollegeDobbs Ferry, NY

Admissions Rate 66%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 37%
Online Enrollment 12%

Mercy College is one of the best online schools in New York. Located in the Bronx, the school offers 30 undergraduate and graduate degrees that learners can pursue entirely online. These include bachelor degrees in behavioral sciences, business administration, corporate and homeland security management, computer information systems, computer science, cybersecurity, english, mathematics, psychology, and nursing (including an RN-to-bachelor of science program).

Mercy College maintains the lowest tuition rate for a private school in New York, with international students paying the same as those from the United States. Online students benefit from a variety of resources, including online libraries, bookstores, and advising support. The school accepts a maximum of 75 transfer credits from two year colleges, and up to 90 credits from four year universities.


Dominican College of BlauveltOrangeburg, NY

Admissions Rate 71%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 46%
Online Enrollment 10%

Dominican College of Blauvelt is an independent, liberal arts college based in upstate New York that offers a small campus environment with an emphasis on community and campus enrichment activities. Offering a variety of bachelor programs that can be completed entirely online, the school is also one of the best online colleges in New York. Program options include studies in the social sciences, communication studies, management, criminal justice, and psychology.

The school accepts up to 70 transfer credits from two-year colleges, and up to 90 credits from four-year universities. Employees of the Rockland County government may be eligible for additional cost-saving tuition discounts. All online students enjoy access to on-campus benefits and services like the fitness and health centers, as well as counseling services, and tuition deferment may be available in certain industries and union associations.


Pace University-New YorkNew York, NY

Admissions Rate 84%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 53%
Online Enrollment 3%

Founded in 1906, Pace University is a New York City-based liberal arts college that provides students with all the benefits that come along with being based in the cosmopolitan city. A private school with an additional campus Westchester County and a strong online program, Pace University enrolls almost 13,000 students in its degree programs.

Pace offers a number of undergraduate degrees online, including business studies with a concentration in either marketing and management, accounting and internal auditing, professional technology and communication studies, and an RN-to-bachelor of science program. Among the best online colleges in New York, the school also administers a bachelor completion program aimed at helping learners who have not completed their degree to do so with the affordability, flexibility, and support they need.


SUNY College of Technology at CantonCanton, NY

Admissions Rate 85%
Default Rate 17%
Retention Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 30%
Online Enrollment 23%

Part of the State Universities of New York system, SUNY Canton is located in upstate New York, less than an hour from the Canadian border. The school offers 450 courses and 13 degrees enrolled learners can complete online. Among the best online colleges in New York, SUNY Canton's online bachelor program offerings include agribusiness management, criminal justice, emergency management, finance, health care management, homeland security, legal studies, management, nursing, and veterinary service administration.

The school makes remote student support a priority, and builds each of its online courses to include collaboration tools, social media integration, and discussion boards, emphasizing personal network connections among learners. All students, regardless of on-campus or online enrollment status, benefit from access to SUNY Canton's libraries, study abroad programs, career services, and tutoring and advisement services.


Medaille CollegeBuffalo, NY

Admissions Rate 69%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 43%
Online Enrollment 12%

Located in Buffalo, Medaille College is a small, private, liberal arts college providing quality education since 1875. Ranked as one of the best online colleges in New York, MC boasts 14 degrees that students pursue entirely online. These include a bachelor's of business administration, health information management, homeland security, and general studies.

The college encourages online students to take advantage of its Flex program, which features dynamic online courses and payment plans, and offers part or full time enrollment. The school makes accelerated options available for interested students, and students benefit from MC’s commitment to small class sizes. MC allows up to 72 transfer credits from two-year institutions, and up to 90 credits from four-year universities.


Davis CollegeJohnson City, NY

Admissions Rate 43%
Default Rate 14%
Retention Rate 56%
Graduation Rate 33%
Online Enrollment 19%

Located in Johnson City, a city in upstate New York, Davis College is a small and private Christian school that offers online degrees in religious education. Ranked among the best online colleges in New York, Davis makes its bachelor of religious education available with the following concentrations: music and worship, intercultural ministries, pastoral studies, Christian ministries, youth ministries, Christian counseling, organizational leadership, and teaching English as a second language.

With enrollment available to students residing in much of the United States and by way of providing resources such as tutorials and online textbooks, Davis tailors its online services to the needs of students in remote areas. According to the school, 87% of students receive some form of scholarship and nearly 98% of students receive financial aid, including enrollment in the school's FLEX program, a loan repayment assistance program.


Keuka CollegeKeuka Park, NY

Admissions Rate 77% Default Rate 7% Retention Rate 72% Graduation Rate 53%

Located in the finger lakes region of New York, Keuka College is a private, liberal arts school that offers bachelor, certificate, and graduate degrees. One of the best online colleges in New York, the college offers an accelerated studies for adults program through its School of Professional Studies. Keuka College students can complete four bachelor programs through the school, including its bachelor's in criminal justice systems, an RN-to-bachelor of science degree, organizational management, and a bachelor's in social work.

Students who cannot regularly make it to the school's campus but would like to attend a class in person at some point while earning their degree have options: Keuka College administers branch campuses and oversees partnership sites at 40 community colleges, hospitals, and businesses throughout the state. Keuka College also makes a particular effort to keep its accelerated studies for adults programs affordable.


Hilbert CollegeHamburg, NY

Admissions Rate 82%
Default Rate 13%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 51%
Online Enrollment 1%

A Catholic institution located in Hamburg, Hilbert College offers learners a wide array of undergraduate and graduate degree options in a private, liberal arts-focused Franciscan environment. Hilbert makes its adult and evening programs available to learners in a hybrid online format, including bachelor degrees in organizational development and business management.

Whether online or on-campus, all Hilbert College students enjoy benefits that include career and community engagement, the academic services center, the IT help desk, and health services such as the counseling center. A fitness and wellness center, bookstore, and campus ministry are available to all students as well. Aiming to provide specialized learning opportunities for all who served in the military, Hilbert College administers veteran educational programs in a particularly flexible, affordable format.

What are the Best Online Community Colleges in New York?

There are several differences between a community college and a university. While online schools in NY include both types of institutions, students typically earn different degrees at each type of school. At community colleges, students work to earn associate degrees (e.g., an associate of science or an associate of arts) or technical certification. Alternatively, at a university, students pursue bachelor’s degrees, which usually require twice as many credits as an associate degree. Community colleges often charge lower tuition rates than universities. As a result, many students attend community college to earn credits that can be transferred to a university. Students can use this resource to find the online community colleges in New York that best fit their educational needs.


Herkimer County Community CollegeHerkimer, NY

Default Rate 17% Retention Rate 61% Graduation Rate 36% Online Enrollment 23%

Based in the city of the same name on a 500-acre campus, Herkimer College counts itself as a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Among the many online community colleges in New York, Herkimer provides some of the best variety, offering 19 associate degree tracks in criminal justice and law, healthcare and service, STEM, liberal arts and sciences, and business. Noteworthy programs include small business management, ecotourism and adventure travel, and health services management technology.

Catering to working professionals, Herkimer delivers all online coursework asynchronously and provides distance students with support services that include academic advising, tutoring, technical support, library access, and disabilities assistance. Herkimer accepts transfer credits on a case-by-case basis, but students pursuing an associate degree must complete at least 30 credits at Herkimer.


SUNY Broome Community CollegeBinghamton, NY

Default Rate 18% Retention Rate 57% Graduation Rate 29% Online Enrollment 11%

Serving the area in and around Broome County in the southern portion of the state, SUNY Broome Community College hosts several distance learning offerings. In addition to individual distance courses, the school offers an online associate of arts degree in liberal arts as well as online associate of applied science degrees in computer security and forensics, clinical laboratory technician, and business information management. The college also hosts blended learning options in several other disciplines.

Aiming to provide working professionals with ample flexibility, SUNY Broome delivers online coursework asynchronously, making it one of the most accessible online community colleges in New York. SUNY Broome also participates in Open SUNY, which pools the knowledge and resources of SUNY schools to collaborate on more than 400 online programs. Distance learners at SUNY Broome gain access to tutoring, a 24/7 help desk, and a personal concierge.


Hudson Valley Community CollegeTroy, NY

Default Rate 16% Retention Rate 56% Graduation Rate 26% Online Enrollment 10%

Affiliated with the SUNY system and based in the city of Troy, Hudson Valley Community College primarily serves students in the local area. However, the college also caters to distance learners nationwide through its catalog of distance learning programs, which includes more than 15 associate degrees and several certificates. Students can earn online degrees in business, computer information systems, criminal justice, entrepreneurship, health information management, liberal arts, and public administration from HVCC, without ever needing to visit campus.

Because the college's online student population consists primarily of working professionals, HVCC delivers all online coursework asynchronously with no set class times. Students who only take online courses can pay in-state tuition, even if they hail from out of state. This in-state tuition makes HVCC one of the most affordable online community colleges in New York. HVCC also maintains a generous transfer policy, allowing students to transfer in up to 50% of the credits required for a degree.


Jamestown Community CollegeJamestown, NY

Default Rate 18% Retention Rate 61% Graduation Rate 35% Online Enrollment 4%

A member of the SUNY system, Jamestown Community College primarily serves individuals who reside in and around the city of Jamestown in Chautauqua County. The school also operates a campus in Olean and hosts a selection of online programs and individual online courses. Most of JCC's programs award associate of applied science degrees in hands-on fields, such as office technology and accounting. The school also offers associate of science degrees in business, computer science, and individual studies.

JCC also participates in Open SUNY, leveraging the resources of many online community colleges in New York to provide students with access to hundreds of online programs. The college delivers all online coursework asynchronously.


Cayuga County Community CollegeAuburn, NY

Default Rate 21% Retention Rate 56% Graduation Rate 24% Online Enrollment 15%

Primarily serving Oswego and Cayuga counties, Cayuga Community College also caters to distance learners across the nation through its slate of distance learning programs. A member institution of the SUNY system, Cayuga offers seven fully online associate degrees -- including degree tracks in event and tourism management, liberal arts, criminal justice, and business administration -- that students can complete without ever visiting the school's main campus in Auburn, New York. The college also offers partially online programs in computer information systems (36 of 67 credits online) and liberal arts (38 of 63 credits online).

This online community college in New York delivers distance coursework asynchronously through the Blackboard learning management system. Students must provide proof of a high school diploma or GED certificate to earn admission into an online program. All of Cayuga's distance students can access technical support and a 24/7 help desk.


Monroe Community CollegeRochester, NY

Default Rate 19% Retention Rate 61% Graduation Rate 23% Online Enrollment 9%

In addition to being a popular online community college in New York, Monroe Community College operates physical campuses in Brighton and downtown Rochester as well as extension sites and satellite centers in East Rochester, Webster, and Spencerport. Students need not visit any of these campuses to earn an associate degree; the college currently offers its business, criminal justice, liberal arts, mathematics, and sport management associate degrees online without any in-person requirements.

Additionally, students able to complete 25% of their coursework on campus can also earn degrees in fields such as accounting, health, and small business management. Furthermore, learners willing to complete half of their coursework on campus have even more options, including human services, golf management, and African-American studies degree tracks. No matter which discipline a student chooses, faculty deliver all online coursework asynchronously.


Genesee Community CollegeBatavia, NY

Default Rate 19% Retention Rate 57% Graduation Rate 26% Online Enrollment 9%

Genesee Community College operates a central campus in the city of Batavia in addition to satellite centers in Lima, Warsaw, Danville, Arcade, Medina, and Albion. Running on a model similar to other online community colleges in New York, Genesee offers associate and certificate programs that can be completed 100%, 75%, or 50% online. Students can earn associate degrees in business administration, liberal arts, and criminal justice without ever needing to visit any of GCC's campuses. Additionally, students willing to complete some on-campus coursework can access additional degree programs in teaching, human services, and information technology.

GCC also offers individual online courses to distance learners enrolled in other disciplines. The college delivers all online coursework asynchronously through Blackboard. To ease the transition for new online students, distance learners can access several tutorials and resources.


Jefferson Community CollegeWatertown, NY

Default Rate 17% Retention Rate 55% Graduation Rate 27% Online Enrollment 8%

Part of the SUNY system, Jefferson Community College primarily serves learners living near the city of Watertown; however, the college also caters to distance learners through several online associate programs. Students at JCC can earn associate degrees in several fields -- including criminal justice, business administration, liberal arts, and individual studies -- without ever visiting campus. Similar to many online community colleges in New York, JCC also offers several individual courses online.

Faculty at JCC deliver all online coursework asynchronously through Blackboard. Online classes last for eight weeks during the fall and spring terms and for four weeks during summer and winter sessions.


Clinton Community CollegePlattsburgh, NY

Default Rate 21% Retention Rate 65% Graduation Rate 29% Online Enrollment 4%

Located in the town of Plattsburgh, the main campus of Clinton Community College sits near the shores of Lake Champlain, about an hour south of Montreal. Offering small classes, CCC aims to provide its students with personalized attention from faculty. The school also hosts several distance learning options, including eight associate degrees that students can complete at least partially online. Among these offerings, distance learners can earn degrees in business, liberal arts, health services management, and computer information systems without ever traveling to Plattsburgh.

A member of the SUNY system, faculty at this online community college in New York deliver distance coursework asynchronously, making frequent use of discussion boards to host class conversations. The college also participates in Open SUNY.


Ulster County Community CollegeStone Ridge, NY

Default Rate 19% Retention Rate 58% Graduation Rate 31% Online Enrollment 6%

Also known as SUNY Ulster, Ulster County Community College operates campuses in the cities of Stone Ridge and Kingston. The school offers 60 on-campus programs in addition to five online associate degrees that distance learners can complete without attending any classes on campus. These programs include criminal justice, business administration, computer science, liberal arts, and individual studies. Learners can also earn online certificates in entrepreneurship and general education.

The population attending this online community college in New York includes working professionals, military members, homeschooled students, and students with familial obligations. To provide these individuals with increased flexibility, faculty deliver program coursework asynchronously and offer classes throughout the year, including accelerated options during winter and summer terms. The school's "Fast Finish" programs allow students to earn their degrees within 17 months, with some courses lasting only three weeks.


Tompkins Cortland Community CollegeDryden, NY

Default Rate 24% Retention Rate 53% Graduation Rate 26% Online Enrollment 11%

Known as "TC3" for short, Tompkins Cortland Community College primarily serves residents of Cortland and Tompkins counties. Although TC3 operates campuses in Dryden, Cortland, and Ithaca, the school also makes several of its programs accessible to distance learners. Running on a model similar to other online community colleges in New York, TC3 offers degree tracks that can be completed entirely or partially online. Students interested in earning associate degrees in accounting, criminal justice, or paralegal studies can do so without ever needing to visit campus.

Teachers at TC3 deliver all online program coursework asynchronously. Students willing to complete some on-campus coursework can access additional options, including degrees in education, entrepreneurship, and international business.


SUNY Westchester Community CollegeValhalla, NY

Default Rate 14% Retention Rate 64% Graduation Rate 15% Online Enrollment 3%

SUNY Westchester Community College operates a central campus in the city of Valhalla on the former estate of renowned businessman John A. Hartford. The school also operates a dozen satellite centers, in addition to a native plant center and an art gallery. Distance learners can also access WCC's academic offerings; the college hosts many of its programs at least partially online.

Although WCC does not currently offer any programs that completely eliminate on-campus requirements, students can finish up to 90% of the coursework for associate degrees in liberal arts and communications/media arts online. Learners able to complete more on-campus coursework through this partially online community college in New York can earn associate degrees in fields such as accounting and digital filmmaking. WCC delivers all online coursework asynchronously.


Finger Lakes Community CollegeCanandaigua, NY

Default Rate 19% Retention Rate 53% Graduation Rate 24% Online Enrollment 8%

Based in the city of Hopewell, Finger Lakes Community College is a SUNY system member institution that primarily serves Ontario County and the surrounding area. The college also maintains campuses in Newark, Geneva, and Victor, in addition to an extensive online presence. The school's online offerings include associate degrees in game programming and design, hotel and resort management, and kinesiology and human performance. All of the college's distance learning programs feature at least half of the coursework online.

Catering primarily to working professionals, this online community college in New York delivers all online coursework asynchronously through Blackboard. Distance students at FLCC can also access the school's online help desk and academic advising.


Onondaga Community CollegeSyracuse, NY

Default Rate 18% Retention Rate 57% Graduation Rate 20% Online Enrollment 5%

Operating two campuses in Onondaga County -- one in Syracuse and one in Onondaga Hill -- Onondaga Community College is a member institution of the SUNY system. The school is particularly well known in the region for its Lazers athletic teams, who have won junior college national championships in tennis, football, lacrosse, and basketball. The school also operates one of the most popular distance learning programs among the many online community colleges in New York.

OCC currently hosts seven online programs that can be completed without any visits to campus. These include degree tracks in criminal justice, business administration, human services, liberal arts, and early childhood. The school also provides its students with access to Open SUNY. OCC delivers all online coursework asynchronously.


Erie Community CollegeBuffalo, NY

Default Rate 21% Retention Rate 53% Graduation Rate 22% Online Enrollment 7%

Erie Community College joins several other online community colleges in New York as a member of the SUNY system. Based in the city of Williamsville, the college also operates campuses in Buffalo and Orchard Park. ECC currently hosts eight online associate programs that can be completed entirely online, including degrees in criminal justice, business administration, and liberal arts and sciences. Students who have the capacity to complete some on-campus coursework can also earn associate degrees in physical education studies and information technology.

Catering primarily to a working student body, ECC delivers coursework asynchronously through Blackboard, although the school also offers hybrid courses to interested students. First-time distance learners can participate in an online orientation, which covers the different demands of this delivery method.

How We Ranked the Schools

To determine the best programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in management information systems programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.

Education Trends in New York

New York state spends more money per full-time student than the country’s average, although the percentage of tax revenue allocated to higher education is below the national average. The population of New York state also holds a slightly higher percentage of associate and bachelor’s degrees than the U.S. average. The largest educational discrepancy between the state and the country is in graduate education; 14.8% of New York adults have a graduate degree or higher, which is much higher than the national average (11.2%).

  New York United States
Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census
Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student $8,830 $6,954
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education 3.5% 5.8%
Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree 8.5% 8.1%
Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree 19.4% 18.5%
Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher 14.8% 11.2%

Paying for College in New York

Whether you are considering a program at an on-campus or online school in New York, the price is likely to factor into your final decision. It’s important to weigh scholarships and financial aid against the total cost of tuition; this difference is usually made up with loans that must be repaid. While two-year tuition in New York is above the United States average, public four-year tuition is lower by several thousand dollars.

Tuition Prices

Tuition tends to be the largest factor that affects the price of higher education, although many other variables should also be considered. These include rent, transportation, books, and class or campus fees.

Financial Aid

All students applying to on-campus and online colleges in NY should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used to determine how much federal financial aid a student qualifies for, and it is also used by some colleges to determine whether or not learners are eligible for need-based scholarships. Many scholarships are awarded by colleges and universities, but private entities also offer scholarships to qualified applicants.

Some aid, including scholarships and grants, does not have to be repaid, while loans must be paid back after college. Because of this, students should always accept scholarships and grants first. If you’re planning to live on or near campus, another financial aid option is work study. Work study programs assign students jobs on campus to help them earn extra money.

Cost for Online Programs in New York

Similar to on-campus programs, scholarships, loans, and grants can all be applied to online schools in New York; therefore, online students should always make sure to complete the FAFSA. Online programs at private colleges tend to cost the same amount as on-campus programs. Alternatively, while some public colleges charge the same tuition rates for all online students, some charge different rates based on a student’s state of residency.

Online programs allow students to save money on transportation because there is no need to commute to campus. Additionally, some online programs allow students to use online resources instead of purchasing books. Furthermore, while on-campus students may have to pay student activity and other campus-related fees, these are usually waived for distance learners.

Cost of Living by Region

The cost of living fluctuates significantly across the state of New York. New York City is an incredibly expensive place, especially when compared with other cities in the state like Buffalo and Rochester. This increased cost of living means that rent, food, and entertainment are all likely to be higher. Living costs should be considered when thinking about the total cost of an education. Below, the rent and home prices in three New York cities are compared to other cities across the country.

Scholarships for New York College Students

New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

Maximum $5,165; must be a New York state resident attending an approved college in New York state.

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Excelsior Scholarship

Full tuition; must be a resident of New York state for at least one year, attending a SUNY or CUNY college, and have a family income of $100,000 or less.

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Enhanced Tuition Award

$6,000; must be a New York state resident attending a private college in New York with a family income of $100,000 or less.

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New York State Part-Time Scholarship Award Program

$1,500 per semester; must be a part-time student at a SUNY or CUNY community college and maintain a 2.0 GPA.

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NYS Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship (NY-AIMS)

$500; must be a graduate of a New York high school enrolling at any public or private college in New York immediately after graduation. Applicants must have demonstrated academic excellence in high school.

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New York Women in Communications

$2,500, $5,000, or $10,000; criteria vary with each award but requirements typically involve majoring in communications, writing, or digital media.

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David J. Moynihan Excellence in Accounting Scholarship

$2,500; must be a resident of New York who is a declared accounting major at a New York college with a 3.0 GPA.

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Debbie J. Tranello Memorial Scholarship

$1,000; must be a New York state high school graduate who is pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree full-time and preparing to enter an automotive parts management profession.

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Friends of Senator Jack Perry Migrant Scholarship

$500 to $1,000; awarded to migrant farmworkers in New York state who have graduated from high school and demonstrate financial need.

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Helen R. Mertens Educational Scholarship

$1,000; awarded to students with Spina Bifida or other spinal cord diseases who are pursuing a college degree.

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New York State Cheese Manufacturers’ Scholarship

$2,000; awarded to a New York resident who is a full-time undergraduate at a New York state college pursuing a bachelor’s degree in dairy science, agriculture, food science, or related majors. Applicant must have a 2.5 GPA.

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Nicholas J. Bartilucci Environmental Scholarship

$5,000; must be a New York resident enrolling full-time in a bachelor’s of science or bachelor’s of engineering degree program with an emphasis on public service.

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Environmental Career Scholarship

$10,000; awarded to a New York resident and high school senior enrolling full-time in a bachelor’s of science or bachelor’s of engineering degree program with an environmental emphasis.

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Olga Lindberg AAUW Scholarship

$10,000; awarded to a resident of Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Chautauqua, Orleans, or Wyoming counties of western New York. Applicant must be in their fourth year of college with a 3.7 GPA.

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Susan Miszkowicz Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship

$3,500; must be a female student enrolled full-time in a New York state college studying a transportation-related field, including engineering, urban planning, finance, logistics, or similar majors. Applicant must have a 3.0 GPA.

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Walter A. Hunt Jr. Scholarship Program

$10,000 per year for two years; must be a New York City public high school senior interested in architecture and enrolling at an NAAB-accredited college.

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Chamberlin & Funds for Education Loans and Grants

Varies; requirements vary but aid is generally awarded to students who are a resident of or attending college in western New York.

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AAUW Buffalo Branch, Inc. Grassroots Grants

$1,500; requirements vary but aid is generally awarded to women and girls in the Buffalo-Niagara region of western New York.

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Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship Fund

$2,500; must be a resident of New York or enrolled in a New York school and have a parent or guardian who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty (law enforcement or firefighter). Applicants must be full-time students and maintain a 2.6 GPA.

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Can all Scholarships be Used for Online Programs?

Many scholarships and grants have specific requirements, especially those that are offered by private foundations dedicated to certain interests. These requirements might mean maintaining a minimum GPA, enrolling in a specific major, or having certain career aspirations. Most scholarships can be used for both on-campus and online academic programs. However, it is always important to check with each scholarship directly to ensure that it applies to your learning style of choice (e.g., whether you plan to attend a residential or online college in New York).

Employment Outlook in New York

The unemployment rate in the state of New York is similar to the national average, while the annual median wage is much higher. Graduates looking for employment opportunities have a number of options in New York. The largest industries in the state by GDP growth are financial services, driven by the stock exchange’s location in New York City; healthcare, driven by the state’s large population; and professional and technical services, which are composed of a number of professionals. The largest employers in the state are the SUNY education system and healthcare systems.

  New York United States
Source: BLS and BLS
Unemployment Rate, May 2017 4.8% 4.3%
Annual Mean Wage, May 2016 $58,910 $49,630

Top Employers and Industries in New York

Top Industries in New York

  • Financial Services: The financial centers of New York City are dominant drivers of GDP growth in the state. There are over 330,000 financial service workers in New York, with 90% of these jobs located in New York City.
  • Healthcare: The state’s large population of nearly 20 million residents drives its sizeable healthcare industry, which includes hospitals, pharmaceuticals, and care for the elderly. High job growth is anticipated in this area. 1.2 million workers in the state fill healthcare-related jobs.
  • Professional and Technical Services: This area contains many different professionals, including lawyers, accountants, architects, and advertisers. This industry has grown faster than the overall average in the state.

Top Employers in New York

  • State University of New York: 90,033 employees
  • Northwell Health (formerly North Shore – Long Island Jewish Health System): 61,000 employees
  • Mount Sinai Health System: 38,000 employees

Accreditation for Colleges in New York

Colleges and universities can be regionally or nationally accredited. Additionally, specific programs or majors can be programmatically accredited. Regional accreditation in the U.S. is awarded by one of six agencies based on a school’s location. On-campus and online colleges in NY both receive accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Colleges can also be nationally accredited. National accreditors often focus on colleges related to a certain career. Additionally, the New York State Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education is a national accreditor for 16 institutions in New York that have various specialties, such as health professions, seminary, and art. All students, whether they plan to attend school online or on campus, should ensure that their college of choice is accredited.

Both regional and national accreditors must be recognized by the Department of Education (DOE); only students who attend accredited schools are eligible to receive federal financial aid. Regional accreditation tends to be more standardized and prestigious; it is often easier to transfer credits from a regionally-accredited college. Students considering a graduate program should keep in mind that some master’s programs require that students have a regionally-accredited college degree.

Resources for Students in New York

  • Directory of College and University Campuses in New York State: Students can use this resource to search for colleges that fall into several categories, including the State University of New York system, City University of New York system, independent schools, and proprietary institutions. Links are offered for each school to provide further information.
  • Apply for TAP: New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program can provide students with over $5,000 per year in tuition assistance at certain approved colleges. Students can use this site to apply for TAP, determine their eligibility, and estimate their award.
  • Higher Education Services Corporation: This website offers information about paying for college and applying to college, as well as a checklist for students based on their class year. Online chat options are available for students seeking additional assistance.
  • HESC Financial Aid Comparison Tool: Students can use the financial aid award comparison tool to compare different college aid award letters. Students enter their scholarship information, federal loan information, and a college’s cost of attendance to determine the final cost.
  • HESC Repay Your Loans: Loans are a big part of most people’s higher education journey. As such, this website aims to help students who are about to graduate or who are already in loan repayment deal with their debt. There is also a loan repayment advisor who can help students create a repayment action plan.
  • NYC Department of Education, College and Career Support: Students, parents, and families can find guidance related to high school graduation requirements, occupations, and College Now, which is a free dual-enrollment program run by the 17 CUNY colleges.
  • CUNY Requirements for New York State Aid: Students interested in attending a CUNY college will find this website helpful. It lists the requirements and conditions that a student must fulfill to be eligible for New York state aid.
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