Nassau Community College (Long Island)
Since admitting its first class of students in 1960, Nassau Community College has grown into the largest single-campus community college in the state. Around 225 acres of campus facilities and greenspaces await students who enroll at this Long Island school.
Academically oriented programs at NCC include biology, chemistry, Afro-American studies and foreign languages. Several technical degrees and certificate programs are available as well, in subjects like medical laboratory technology, culinary arts, information technology and mortuary science.
Nearly 30,000 students attend classes online or on-campus at this SUNY school. Hundreds of classes are available through distance education, and numerous campus-based coursework can be taken on an evening schedule if your days are dedicated to work or family.
Westchester Community College (Valhalla)
Westchester Community College may be one of the best community colleges in New York for students seeking an affordable path to a certificate or degree. This SUNY institution in the tiny hamlet of Valhalla posted the lowest in-state tuition rate of any school to make our top ten, charging an average of just over $4,800 for a year of instruction.
WCC also has one of the more intimate learning environments on our list. Despite educating around 11,500 students each semester, the student-faculty ratio here is a comfortable 14:1.
Students here can choose from a wide range of Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.) and Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees. Subjects of study include the performing arts, nutrition care, energy systems and mechanical technology.
Onondaga Community College (Syracuse)
This institution northwest of the Finger Lakes in the geographic heart of the state is one of the best New York community colleges for outgoing transfer students, according to the numbers. More than 21 percent of Onondaga Community College alumni go on to successfully complete their bachelor's degrees after transferring.
Around 50 training and education programs are offered at OCC, including short-term, career-ready certificates in warehouse operation, manufacturing and phlebotomy. The list of degree options includes several programs in the arts, such as A.S. plans in photography and music.
Fewer than 10,000 students attend courses at this SUNY institution each semester, giving it the comfortable feel of a mid-sized school. Around 82 percent of the student body receives some form of financial aid.
Rockland Community College (Suffern)
Rockland Community College is another prospective destination for students looking to save as much as they can on their college bills. Just one other school on our list charged a lower average amount for in-state tuition and fees in 2018 than this SUNY location.
The town of Suffern has a population under 5,000, according to U.S. Census Estimates, so students who like a quiet environment in which to study might enjoy going to school here. Around 6,800 students attend courses each semester at RCC, but more than 27 percent of them earn some or all of their credits via online study.
Tech-savvy students can earn a certificate in Web development or associate degrees in computer support, cybersecurity and computer information systems. Around 10 A.S. and A.A.S. plans are available fully online.
Tompkins Cortland Community College (Dryden)
Students hoping to pay for some of their education with financial aid programs might want to give Tompkins Cortland Community College some extra consideration. The Dryden institution reported that 92 percent of students enrolled in 2018-19 received some form of student aid.
Tompkins Cortland offers several unique hands-on learning and internship experiences, such as a Disney College Program that includes a full-time paid internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and a Farm to Bistro program for culinary students. An honors college and opportunities to study abroad also add value to the student experience at this SUNY school.
Flexible scheduling options are a mainstay of the catalog here. More than 20 hybrid degrees and certificates can be completed using between 50 and 80 percent online courses.
Erie Community College (Buffalo)
Also known as SUNY Erie, Erie Community College offers more than 100 education options that feature affordable tuition and flexible scheduling. Students can take classes at the main campus in Buffalo or two satellite campuses in Williamsville and Orchard Park, and around 25 percent of the student body takes at least some of their credits through distance education.
Several degrees and certificates can be earned through online courses at SUNY Erie, including an A.S. in sports and leisure studies and certificates in entrepreneurship and homeland security. Campus-based students have some rare and interesting study options to choose from, like certificates in brewing science and casino gaming machine repair.
Aspiring student athletes have several outlets for their sporting passions here, as well. SUNY Erie fields competitive teams in eight men's and nine women's sports.
Suffolk County Community College (Selden)
Student success was one of the top metrics at Suffolk County Community College. The Long Island school posted the second-highest retention rate among schools that made our list, suggesting that students here tend to stick with their degree programs past the first year, and students who transfer into university programs successfully complete their bachelor's degrees at the fifth-highest rate among all schools in the state.
Automotive technology students at Suffolk can enroll in T-TEN, the manufacturer-approved service education program for Toyota vehicles, as well as a standard A.A.S. program in automotive service and a certificate plan in automotive maintenance and light repair. Students of the culinary arts can study baking and pastry arts, restaurant management and hotel and resort management at the associate degree level.
Jefferson Community College (Watertown)
A close-knit learning environment is available at this northern New York school near the shores of Lake Erie. Jefferson Community College educates around 3,300 students each semester, and the average class size of 17 can keep you from feeling like an anonymous warm body in class. Jefferson also boasts a comfortable student-faculty ratio of 18:1.
The degree catalog here features two-year degree programs for job training or transfer purposes, as well as certificates and single courses designed to help students advance their careers. Students in select fields may be able to shift into bachelor's degree study while continuing to study on the Watertown campus, thanks to four-year programs in business administration and childhood education that are offered jointly with SUNY Potsdam.
Hudson Valley Community College (Troy)
Located northwest of Albany, Hudson Valley Community College welcomes nearly 11,000 students through its doors each term and could lay claim to being the most flexible school among the top community colleges in New York.
More than 20 degree and certificate programs, in subjects like marketing and health information management, are available in the virtual classroom at HVCC. The more than 60 percent of students taking classes online at this SUNY school was the highest in the state in 2018, and students have access to entire degree plans that can be completed through evening courses.
Campus-based students can train for career fields like computer-aided drafting, digital media and criminal justice, as well as study fine art, biological sciences, the humanities and more as academic disciplines.
Queensborough Community College (Bayside)
Queensborough Community College is the only two-year school from the CUNY system to make this year's list. This college of more than 15,000 credit-seeking students features one of the lowest average costs for in-state tuition and fees among our top ten schools, charging students a mean figure of just over $5,200 for a year of study.
The academic catalog here includes several joint degrees, such as an A.S. in forensic accounting offered in conjunction with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Creative students can pursue degrees in digital art and design, film and media production, dance, music and more.
Queensborough reports that more than half of associate degree completers here choose to transfer to four-year institutions. Roughly 90 percent of students here graduate without any federal student loan debt.