- Complete Campus List, The State University of New York, Accessed April 2017, https://www.suny.edu/attend/visit-us/complete-campus-list/
- About CICU, The Commission on Independent Colleges & Universities in New York, Accessed April 2017, https://www.cicu.org/about
- SUNY Transfer Policies, The State University of New York, Accessed April 2017, https://www.suny.edu/attend/get-started/transfer-students/suny-transfer-policies/
- Grants, Scholarships and Loan Programs, Higher Education Services Corporation, Accessed April 2017, https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/financial-aid/types-of-financial-aid.html#horizontalTab2
- Colleges & Schools, The City University of New York, Accessed April 2017, http://www2.cuny.edu/about/colleges-schools/
- About Stony Brook, Stony Brook University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.stonybrook.edu/about/
- About Baruch, Baruch College, April 2017, https://www.baruch.cuny.edu/about/
- Our History, Fashion Institute of Technology, Accessed April 2017, http://www.fitnyc.edu/about/history.php
- Degree Programs, University at Buffalo, April 2017, https://www.buffalo.edu/academics/degree_programs.html
- Academics, Brooklyn College, Accessed April 2017, http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/web/academics.php
- Academics, The City College of New York, Accessed April 2017, https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/academics
- Binghamton at a Glance, Binghamton University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.binghamton.edu/about/at-a-glance.html
- Extending Learning, Oswego SUNY, Accessed April 2017, https://www.oswego.edu/extended-learning/
- Academic Programs, Farmingdale State College, Accessed April 2017, http://www.farmingdale.edu/academics/index.shtml
- College Camp, SUNY Oneonta Accessed April 2017, http://www.oneonta.edu/oas/collegecamp/
Students in New York have literally hundreds of schools from which to choose. These include community colleges, universities, technical schools and online institutions. However, the two most prominent systems are The State University of New York and The City University of New York.
The State University of New York, known as SUNY, is a system that includes 64 schools scattered across the state. Member institutions are broken into the following four categories:
- University Centers and Doctoral Degree Granting Institutions
- University Colleges
- Technology Colleges
- Community Colleges
Meanwhile, The City University of New York, often referred to as CUNY, has 25 schools spread throughout New York City's five boroughs. These schools include:
- Senior Colleges
- Community Colleges
- Graduate Schools
Within these systems, students can easily transfer from community colleges to four-year schools. Many institutions may also accept credits earned at schools outside their system.
In addition to the public university systems, New York has more than 100 independent colleges and universities that are part of The Commission on Independent Colleges & Universities in New York. Beyond that, additional schools may operate independently, be affiliated with religious organizations or serve as online colleges for New York.
Best 4-Year Colleges in New York
For this survey, we ranked 126 of the most prominent institutions in New York. After analyzing their costs, program availability and graduation rates, among other things, these schools rose to the top as the best four-year colleges in the state.
As a SUNY institution, Stony Brook University has been serving students on its campus near the Atlantic shore for 60 years. It was originally intended to prepare secondary school teachers to teach math and science but has since grown to include 15 colleges and schools that cover virtually all subjects.
The comprehensive programs offered at Stony Brook University are one reason the university ranks first in New York. With more than 200 undergraduate programs and 140 graduate programs, the university ranks sixth for the number of educational options offered. Those looking for online New York degrees will also find them here. The school ranks third in the state for the number of distance education programs it provides.
More than 25,000 students were enrolled at Stony Brook University in 2015, and health services and allied health programs are among the most popular degrees offered.
The Bernard M. Baruch College is an affordable option within The City University of New York. More than 18,000 people study within what has been called one of the most ethnically diverse student bodies in the nation.
Often referred to simply as Baruch College, the school lets students create their own ad hoc major or study in a defined business, public affairs or liberal arts program. Given its campus's close proximity to Wall Street, it's not surprising finance was the most popular degree awarded by the school in 2015.
CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College ranks fourth for its low tuition and fees. It is also generous with financial aid, coming in 10th for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees. Perhaps as a result, Baruch College is seventh in the state for the low median debt carried by its graduates.
Also part of The State University of New York, the Fashion Institute of Technology offers specialized education in the areas of fashion, design, art, business and communications. Known as F.I.T., the school opened in 1944 and currently calls Seventh Avenue in New York City its home.
If you are looking to earn an online bachelor's degree in New York, you won't be able to do so here. F.I.T. doesn't have any distance education degrees. However, you will find unique on-campus degrees in fields such as toy design, fabric styling and cosmetics and fragrance marketing. In 2015, the most popular degree awarded to graduates was in fashion merchandising.
The Fashion Institute of Technology ranks 10th for the affordable cost of its tuition and fees. Its average net price is the 11th best in the state. More than 9,500 students were enrolled at the school in 2015.
The University at Buffalo is the flagship school for the SUNY system. It was founded in 1846, and from humble beginnings has grown into one of the largest and most comprehensive institutions in the state. It includes three campuses and 13 schools and colleges, including the only schools of architecture and law in the SUNY system.
Students enrolled at the University at Buffalo can choose from 110 undergraduate degrees and more than 300 graduate, professional and certificate programs. What's more, there is an option to work with UB faculty to create a customized major. All those choices help the University at Buffalo rank fourth in the state for the number of programs offered.
To help navigate those degree programs, UB offers academic counseling. Once they've got their degree, alumni may be able to return to the University at Buffalo for career placement services.
For more than 85 years, Brooklyn College has been educating students in New York City. Part of The City University of New York, the school boasts that its campus is one of the most beautiful in the nation.
However, the scenic campus is only one reason students are drawn to Brooklyn College. Its affordable tuition is another attractive feature of the school. Out of 126 institutions surveyed, Brooklyn College ranks sixth for its low tuition and fees. It also ranks sixth for its average net price, average net price for low income students and low median debt carried by graduates.
Brooklyn College is home to five schools offering more than 125 programs. Business administration was the most popular degree awarded by the college in 2015. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are also available in education, the humanities, behavioral sciences and the arts.
The City College of New York was the first institution founded within The City University of New York. It can trace its roots back to 1847 when it was created as the Free Academy of the City of New York. Now, 170 years since its founding, City College continues to provide affordable education to residents of New York City and beyond.
The school ranks first in the state for low tuition and fees. Meanwhile, it has the third best average net price and the fourth best average net price for low-income students. City College is generous with its financial aid as well. The college ranks eighth in the state for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees.
CUNY City College may offer credit for some life experiences. Academic advising and career placement are among the students services offered.
As one of the research institutions within SUNY, Binghamton University has its campus in Vestal. The school was founded in 1946 as Triple Cities College to serve veterans returning home from World War II. In 1950, it became a part of The State University of New York. Then, in 1965, the school formally became SUNY at Binghamton although it's usually referred to simply as Binghamton University.
The university has solid graduation and retention rates. Of the 126 schools included in this analysis, Binghamton University ranks 15th for its retention rate. Its graduation rate ranks the school in the 18th spot.
With seven colleges and schools, SUNY at Binghamton offers a wide variety of degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It ranks 11th for the large number of programs is offers students. Of these, psychology was the most popular degree awarded by the university in 2015.
Originally founded in 1861, SUNY Oswego is one of the university colleges within The State University of New York. At its start, the college trained teachers. Now, it awards bachelor and master's degrees along with certificates in 110 majors and minors.
Students don't have to travel to the college's lakeside campus to get a degree. SUNY Oswego is one of the best online colleges for New York. Its distance learning program includes online master's degrees and undergraduate completion degrees. These allow those with an associate degree to earn an online bachelor's degree in New York by taking their upper level classes through the online learning platform Open SUNY.
SUNY Oswego may offer some students credit for life experiences. It also has remedial support services and academic advising as well as career placement assistance for graduates.
Farmingdale State College started as an institution for agricultural study in 1912. Today, it enrolls more than 8,600 students and is the largest college of technology within The State University of New York. The school has 38 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. These are offered through four schools: arts and sciences, business, engineering technology and health sciences.
Students looking for an affordable education may find Farmingdale State College fits their needs. The school ranks first in the state for its affordable net price for low-income students. Nationwide, it ranks sixth best for this metric. For students with higher incomes, Farmingdale ranks fifth in the state for its average net price.
The college also offers flexible learning options. There are night and weekend classes, remedial support services and even the possibility of credit for life experiences. All students have access to career counseling while enrolled and placement services are offered to graduates.
Located in central New York, SUNY Oneonta is a mid-size college offering 70 majors and 62 minors. It's come a long way from its early years when it was established as a state normal school in 1889. It includes a main campus, biological field station and College Camp. The latter is 276 acres of former farm and woodland that has been transformed into an educational and recreational space for students.
SUNY Oneonta has solid scores in a variety of metrics. It has strong retention and graduation rates and affordable tuition and fees. Out of 126 New York colleges and universities, SUNY Oneonta ranks 22nd for the cost of its tuition and fees and 19th for the average net price for low income students.
Students at SUNY Oneonta have access to academic counseling and remedial support services. The school may also offer credits for some life experiences.
Most Popular Degree Programs in New York
Just as there are numerous colleges and universities in New York, there are also plenty of different degree programs. However, between on-campus and online New York degrees, these are the most popular.
In-Demand Careers in New York
The whole point of earning a degree for most people is to get a job after graduation. With that in mind, you may want to pick a field of study that prepares you for one of these in-demand occupations.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Gaming Cage Workers||77.5%||260||$28,400|
|Home Health Aides||45.3%||173,830||$24,150|
|Gaming Change Persons and Booth Cashiers||42.3%||880||$34,840|
|Gaming and Sports Book Writers and Runners||38.4%||680||$28,710|
|Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians||37.2%||1,930||$28,680|
|Interpreters and Translators||34.4%||2,720||$55,180|
|Physical Therapist Aides||33.8%||2,940||$28,220|
|Personal Care Aides||31.1%||156,830||$25,510|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||30.4%||4,200||$53,470|
|Operations Research Analysts||30.2%||5,710||$106,260|
|Computer Systems Analysts||30.1%||38,220||$98,090|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||29.5%||2,300||$58,030|
|Software Developers, Applications||29.3%||49,350||$113,120|
|Environmental Engineering Technicians||29%||1,220||$51,530|
|Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics||29%||14,740||$41,140|
|Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food||28.5%||158,160||$21,770|
|Law Teachers, Postsecondary||28.3%||2,820||$150,090|
|Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers||28.3%||750||$84,690|
|Self-Enrichment Education Teachers||27.7%||34,010||$53,220|
|First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers||27.5%||46,410||$39,190|
|Sheet Metal Workers||27.5%||8,130||$64,900|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in New York
New York State offers several financial aid programs to help its residents offset the cost of tuition. The Tuition Assistance Program, known as TAP, is the largest grant program offered by the state and is need-based. There are also a number of other grants and scholarship programs including the Excelsior Scholarship for CUNY and SUNY students and the Enhanced Tuition Award which covers students at private, not-for-profit schools.
- The State University of New York
- The City University of New York
- The Commission on Independent Colleges & Universities in New York
- New York Office of Higher Education
- New York Higher Education Services Corporation