Online Schools & Colleges
in New York

Key Questions, Financial Aid and the Best Universities in New York State

The state of New York has 271 institutions of higher education, with a majority part of the state system, city system or independent. The State University of New York (SUNY) operates 34 campuses statewide, serving nearly 222,000 students in fall 2010. The sheer size of New York college enrollment has made blended and online learning a major benefit for both the schools and the students. For schools, it’s an affordable way to scale enrollment, and for students, it’s a flexible way to earn a degree. Learn more about online colleges and universities in New York, and how these schools and students are taking advantage of fast-growing learning model.

Best Online Colleges in New York

2-Year Colleges

With one of the largest student bodies in the U.S., New York has a higher education landscape prime for online learning growth. In 2012, just 9 percent of college students in the state took an online class. However, more and more New York online schools are adding blended and online programs and classes to their curricula, giving students the chance to earn credits in a more flexible setting. But which of these schools have the top programs? Which have affordable tuition, regional accreditation, faculty trained in online delivery and tech platforms that facilitate collaboration between cohorts? We profile the online colleges in New York stand out in 2018 below.

Rank University Title Tuition # of Online Programs Expand Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Description
1 Genesee Community College $3,950 9 26% 5% Yes Yes Yes
2 Erie Community College $4,733 13 22% 7% Yes Yes Yes
3 Herkimer College $4,270 16 36% 7% Yes Yes Yes
4 Onondaga Community College $4,570 11 20% 16% Yes Yes Yes
5 Jefferson Community College $4,392 5 27% 12% Yes Yes Yes
6 Finger Lakes Community College $4,368 9 24% 4% Yes Yes Yes
7 Monroe Community College $4,100 5 23% 9% Yes Yes Yes
8 Tompkins Cortland Community College $4,790 14 26% 11% Yes Yes Yes
9 Mohawk Valley Community College $4,084 6 28% - Yes Yes Yes
10 Niagara County Community College $4,080 7 28% 2% Yes Yes Yes
11 Cayuga County Community College $4,499 7 24% 12% No Yes Yes
12 SUNY Adirondack $4,176 4 24% 4% No No Yes
Rank University Title Tuition # of Online Programs Expand Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit for Experience Placement Services counselling-services University Description
1 Utica College $19,446 11 82% 44% 97% Yes Yes Yes

Located in the middle of the state, Utica College is a smaller, more focused school that offers many of the benefits of a larger institution. Aside from their already prestigious on-campus courses, Utica has since expanded into the online sphere, bringing the same quality and respect that they've earned over their past 70 years to their online programs. Currently, Utica College offers 6 online programs, most of which are entirely online and are structured to be completed in the traditional 4-year period. The only exceptions to this are the bachelor's in fraud and financial crime, the RN-BSN program and the accelerated bachelor's in nursing program. Through the 2 nursing programs, students will either be required to be a registered nurse, or they will be required to partake in a hybrid program of online and on-campus courses. No matter which program students apply to, they will also be required to complete clinical hours to gain nursing certification in New York. Students should note that some of the online programs offered by the school are technically degree completion programs, such as the bachelor's in fraud and financial crime, and will require students to already have a minimum of 57 credits. Credits can be earned either through Utica's on-campus courses, through an associate degree or via transfer credits. Also, students in other programs can reduce the number of courses necessary to graduate if their credits apply. In terms of affordability, Utica College charges a flat rate per credit, making it easier for students to budget for their education.

  • Admissions Requirements
  • Application Deadline: 01-15-2018
  • Standardized Test: SAT and ACT
  • Contact Information
  • Phone: 1 (800) 782-8884
  • Email:
  • Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
2 Niagara University $29,500 6 83% 65% 99% Yes Yes Yes

Niagara University is a private institution that draws from the teachings of St. Vincent de Paul, an advocate of charity, teaching and service. With this in mind, Niagara has established itself as a top location for students who want to earn a degree in education, as well as a destination for students who want to partake in a service learning mission-based program. Niagara might not have the most extensive list of online opportunities, but they are all high-quality. There are currently 6 programs offered by Niagara that are entirely online, along with online courses and certificates that students can use to specialize their education. While the programs offered are entirely online, some students should expect to spend time working in-person. As an example, students studying toward a bachelor's degree in special education online will have to spend time in the field gaining clinical experience in order to become teaching certified (if that's what they are pursuing). Other programs, like their bachelor's in educational leadership, won't require students to study in-person or on-campus unless they choose to. Online education through Niagara doesn't leave students to their own devices. Working through Canvas, students will spend time learning on their own while having video conferences with other students and the professor. Online students can expect to be engaged in other ways as well, all via the internet. Aside from any scheduled meetings or video calls, students will be able to study materials at their own pace. This unique model is part of the reason why so many online Niagara students are successful after graduating.

  • Admissions Requirements
  • Application Deadline: Fall (rolling deadline)
  • Standardized Test: None
  • Contact Information
  • Phone: (716) 286-8700
  • Email:
  • Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
3 Canisius College $33,948 11 78% 69% 99% Yes Yes Yes

Canisius College is set apart from other schools because of their Jesuit tradition and their emphasis on master's level programs. That being said, the college does offer over 140 different undergraduate programs to complement their 35 graduate level degrees. Canisius offers 11 different online master's degree programs. These programs can all be completed entirely online, and some through a hybrid format if students want to combine their studies online with on-campus courses. The length of these programs can vary, and some programs may also require some in-person work to earn certification, if that's what a student is aiming for. Their Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program stretches from first-year undergraduate to an 18 credit master's certification. While some of the coursework and professional experience needs to be completed in person, parts of this comprehensive program

  • Admissions Requirements
  • Application Deadline: 01-15-2018
  • Standardized Test: SAT or ACT
  • Contact Information
  • Phone: (716) 888-2300
  • Email:
  • Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
4 State University of New York at Oswego $6,470 3 55% 64% 92% Yes Yes Yes

Part of the larger State University of New York system, SUNY College at Oswego is one of the best at offering affordable online options. Offered through Blackboard, their online school takes some of the resources offered by the SUNY system and adds some that are specific to the College at Oswego. The College at Oswego also offers internship opportunities for students in some programs, setting it apart from many other online schools. The online undergraduate programs offered by the College at Oswego are degree completion, meaning students should have some form of previous school credit before applying. School credit is accepted through either associate degrees or transfer credits. Also, different online degree completion programs will require different credits prior to entry. For example, the online bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication requires at least 60 credits prior to entry while the online bachelor's in career and & technical education requires only 30 credits. Credits earned on-campus can be used toward the degree completion programs as well. For students who don't want to apply to one of the College at Oswego's 4 degree completion programs, there are over 100 online courses that can be used to supplement a hybrid degree during traditional semesters. Students who want to earn their degree faster can access 50 online courses during the winter and 180 online courses during the summer. There are also a variety of online master's degrees and certificates for students who want to continue or specialize their education.

  • Admissions Requirements
  • Application Deadline: 01-15-2018
  • Standardized Test: SAT or ACT
  • Contact Information
  • Phone: (315) 312-2250
  • Email:
  • Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
5 Stony Brook University $6,470 14 41% 71% 66% No Yes Yes

Located not far outside of New York City, Stony Brook University is a younger school in the state, but they've made in impression in their 60 years. Known for their combination of quality education and affordability, Stony Brook has been pushing to continue improving its already impressive reputation. Their most recent push has been into distance education through their online program. Stony Brook's online school may not be as large as other institutions, but they do an excellent job of making their online programs just as rigorous and challenging as their on-campus versions, helping students get a better education and preparing them for their future professions. Of the undergraduate programs, one of the most popular is their online electrical engineering program. One of the only online electrical engineering programs in the nation, this entirely online 4-year program is designed for students who are also working full-time. The electrical engineering program is taught by faculty members from 3 different universities as well, giving students access to more resources than similar programs might offer. Unlike many other online engineering programs, this program is offered entirely online. Stony Brook also offers an online biology undergraduate degree that can be specialized with one of two majors and 8 different online master's degrees. On top of that, Stony Brook has certificates that students can earn online to specialize their degree. Courses are offered year-round, and online students have access to advisory groups and other online resources.

  • Admissions Requirements
  • Application Deadline: 01-15-2018
  • Standardized Test: SAT or ACT
  • Contact Information
  • Phone: (631) 632-6868
  • Email:
  • Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
6 The Sage Colleges $27,405 7 58% 59% 98% Yes Yes Yes

The Sage Colleges are a united collection of multiple colleges scattered across New York. Their main campus, located in Troy, was founded in 1916, and is recognized for its undergraduate and graduate level liberal arts programs. One of their newest campuses is online

  • Admissions Requirements
  • Application Deadline: 12-01-2018
  • Standardized Test: None
  • Contact Information
  • Phone: (518) 244-2217
  • Email:
  • Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
7 The College at Brockport $6,470 4 55% 69% 72% No Yes Yes

Among the top public schools in New York, SUNY College at Brockport has built a school culture of engagement, both in and out of the classroom. College at Brockport students have access to opportunities outside of school, giving them a more rounded education and helping them stand out against the competition when applying for jobs. Also helpful is the College at Brockport's extensive alumni network that reaches around the world, although many grads remain in New York. The College at Brockport currently has one main undergraduate program offered fully online: their RN-BSN fast track program. In this program, students will take courses online whenever they choose

  • Admissions Requirements
  • Application Deadline: Not yet available
  • Standardized Test: SAT or ACT
  • Contact Information
  • Phone: (585) 395-2751
  • Email:
  • Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
8 St. Joseph's College-New York $24,500 13 67% 69% 95% Yes No Yes

St. Joseph's College is a New York based institution that has three main campuses: Brooklyn, Long Island and online. They offer a slew of undergraduate options, including dual degree and accelerated degree programs, as well as opportunities to gain professional experience while in school. Currently, St. Joseph's College offers over 20 online programs, 6 of which are at the undergraduate level. The bachelor's degrees offered are available entirely online, but students are allowed to study in a hybrid of online and on-campus for some courses. There are no online minors available, but St. Joes has 4 certificates designed specifically for undergraduate students. These are useful for supplementing a student's education while giving them extra skills and experience when they look for a job in their new field. To keep the cost of education lower for online students, St. Joseph's charges a flat rate per credit. Because this is lower than the cost of attending the school in a traditional way, they don't provide any additional financial support

  • Admissions Requirements
  • Application Deadline: Fall (rolling deadline)
  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Test: SAT or ACT
  • Contact Information
  • Phone: (718) 940-5300
  • Email:
  • Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
9 Rochester Institute of Technology $38,024 15 55% 70% 90% Yes Yes Yes

With 5 campuses scattered across the globe, Rochester Institute of Technology is no stranger to non-traditional education. Based primarily out of Rochester, New York, RIT has grown into a 9 college university with over 15,000 students. But not all students are able to study in the traditional, on-campus format. To help, RIT created their online school, building off their decades of experience with distance education. While RIT does offer different undergraduate and graduate level programs that can be completed entirely online, they set themselves apart through the additional benefits offered through their online school. Job placement is an emphasis for RIT, and they pride themselves on helping place online students with jobs around the world. To make sure that students do end up in the role they want, RIT also gives online students access to advisors to help steer their education toward their career goals. Students with previous credits from another institution can transfer their credits toward their degree, and some credits can be awarded through work experience. Students who do choose to study online also receive a financial benefit. RIT discounts their traditional part-time undergraduate tuition rate by 36% for all new online students, keeping education affordable. Combined with other forms of financial aid, studying online can be much more affordable than earning an education the traditional way. Also, RIT's online school doesn't' follow the traditional semester or quarter systems. Courses start at 5 different points each year, allowing students to jump in whenever they're ready.

  • Admissions Requirements
  • Application Deadline: 01-15-2018
  • Standardized Test: SAT or ACT
  • Contact Information
  • Phone: (585) 475-6631
  • Email:
  • Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
10 Marist College $34,550 5 41% 78% 86% Yes Yes Yes

Whether students are looking to finish their education or are just starting out, the online school at Marist College offers several opportunities. Like many online schools, Marist has structured their 10 bachelor's degree programs to fit the busy schedules of non-traditional students, allowing them to study at their own pace but still complete a degree in 4 years. However, Marist College separates itself by offering a unique accelerated online course option. The online accelerated courses are for undergraduate students only, and they satisfy the core courses needed to graduate. Accelerated courses last 8 weeks in the spring, summer and fall and last only 4 weeks in the winter. The current bachelor's degree programs are actually meant to be degree completion programs, meaning Marist expects that many of their online students will come in with previous school credit. Students are not required to have previous credit upon applying, though. All of the degrees currently offered are available entirely online, but students are allowed to study in a hybrid format of online and on-campus, giving students flexibility to study in whatever way works best for them. Because Marist's online degrees are also designed for degree completion, transfer students are more than welcome to apply, and their previously earned credit can go toward completing their online degree. All tuition and fees are the same for students regardless of which state they live in and whether they are studying in an entirely online or hybrid format.

  • Admissions Requirements
  • Application Deadline: 02-01-2018
  • GPA: 3.3-3.7
  • Standardized Test: SAT or ACT
  • Contact Information
  • Phone: (845) 575-3226
  • Email:
  • Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
11 Roberts Wesleyan College $28,486 7 65% 64% 100% Yes Yes Yes
12 St. Thomas Aquinas College $28,800 6 79% 64% 96% Yes Yes Yes
13 St John's University-New York $38,162 11 63% 60% 100% Yes Yes Yes
14 University at Buffalo $6,470 5 59% 73% 60% No Yes Yes
15 Columbia University in the City of New York $47,442 14 7% 95% 52% No Yes Yes
16 Syracuse University $43,440 9 52% 82% 66% Yes Yes Yes
17 Touro College and University System $16,380 3 62% 59% 88% Yes Yes Yes
18 Fordham University $47,850 5 45% 81% 91% Yes Yes Yes
19 Yeshiva University $39,070 5 51% 82% 84% No Yes Yes
20 Adelphi University $34,000 6 70% 64% 90% Yes Yes Yes
21 Clarkson University $45,132 5 68% 72% 99% No Yes Yes
22 New York University $46,590 33 32% 84% 49% Yes Yes Yes
23 Pace University-New York $41,120 13 84% 56% 94% Yes Yes Yes
24 Nyack College $24,500 11 100% 42% 99% Yes Yes Yes
25 Mercy College $17,772 37 78% 32% 83% Yes Yes Yes
26 University at Albany $6,470 4 54% 67% 61% No No Yes
27 Dominican College $26,578 6 75% 39% 100% Yes Yes Yes
28 State University of New York at Canton $6,470 10 83% 33% 85% Yes Yes Yes
29 New York Institute of Technology $33,920 11 73% 48% 95% Yes Yes Yes
30 SUNY Polytechnic Institute $6,470 6 64% 45% 90% No No Yes
31 Medaille College $27,276 7 69% 40% 82% Yes Yes Yes
32 The New School $44,555 6 60% 64% 94% Yes Yes Yes
33 SUNY Empire State College $6,470 24 - 17% 74% Yes No Yes
34 Hofstra University $41,100 5 62% 61% 95% No No Yes
35 Upstate Medical University $6,470 3 - - - Yes Yes Yes
36 Graduate Center, CUNY $6,330 11 - - - No Yes Yes

How can I find which online colleges offer the degree I’m looking for in New York?

The first place to look may be OpenSUNY, which has information on every online degree offered from the State University of New York’s accredited institutions, such as SUNY Empire State College. You might also use the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator and the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities’ New York website, which provides information on private institutions in the state.

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Which online schools in New York will accept my transfer credits or work/life experience?

Most online programs in New York accept course credits earned at other accredited schools. To get credit for a course already taken, acquire your transcript. To obtain credit for skills and knowledge learned from work, take a College-Level Examination Program computer-based test, which costs $65. The test center may also require a separate, non-refundable administration fee, usually $15.

Institutions vary on the number of credits they accept, so check with a transfer adviser at the schools in which you’re interested to maximize the time and money you’ve already invested in your education. An online search might also reveal policies on transfer credits at different New York colleges and universities.

How Much More Do College Grads in New York Make?

Everyone has heard that a college degree can boost earnings power, and that holds true for professionals in New York. Let’s see how salaries look for occupations based on their minimum degree requirement.

Mean Annual Salary for All Occupations in New York, by Degree Level:

No Formal
High School
$37,455 $49,892 $64,935 $92,003 $84,844 $124,523

The data shows a clear monetary benefit when it comes to higher education. A bachelor’s degree means a fairly substantial increase in salary for those who hold the credential. However, it’s important to note that CEOs and other executives may only have a bachelor’s degree, but they’ve built their salaries on years of management and leadership experience. Still, the four-year degree was a great starting point, allowing them to build their careers with a stable foundation.

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The Impact of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in New York

Whether studying online, on campus or with a combination of both, accreditation is the key to ensuring you’re getting a quality, affordable education. Proper accreditation shows prospective students that a school and its programs have been vetted by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. But what does proper accreditation mean? It’s not as straightforward as you might think—learn more about how accreditation really works.

Regional Accreditation

Regional accreditation is the only school-wide stamp of approval that matters. The Department of Education recognizes six regional accrediting bodies, each of which cover their own group of states. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education covers all colleges and universities in New York. If you’re looking at schools in New York state, make sure each candidate has Middle States accreditation.

Specialized Accreditation

If your interests lie in highly specialized areas like design or art, there are schools in New York with specialized and subject-specific accreditations. For example, The New School’s Parsons School of Art and Design is accredited by the aforementioned Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Further, its architectural program has the National Architectural Accrediting Board‘s stamp of approval and is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.

Paying for Online College in New York: Tuition & Financial Aid

Tuition rates have continued to rise in New York, which can be difficult considering the power of a degree in earning a higher salary. While online programs may have similar costs to campus-based programs, students can save money on things like room, board, parking and more. In some cases, this can make online colleges in New York a more affordable learning option. Here’s a quick look at in-state tuition in New York, followed by some important FAQs on paying for online college.

In-State Tuition, Public Colleges & Universities: $7,647

Change from 2015 $375

National Average:$8,778

In-State Tuition, Private Colleges & Universities: $36,361

Change from 2015 $1,266

National Average:$27,951

What are New York’s requirements to qualify for in-state university tuition?

Pursuing an online degree can provide significant savings if you live in or out of the state. Many institutions in New York provide one flat rate for online students, whether you are an in-state resident or not. For example, the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Professional Studies charges all online students in-state tuition of $295 per credit hour, compared with an on-campus non-resident’s rate of $600 per credit hour.

Are online credits more affordable in New York than other places?

Prices for online credits differ more from school to school than state to state in New York. For example, New York University students enrolled at the College of Arts and Science pay $24,628 in annual tuition for 12 credits, while CUNY School of Professional Studies students pay $3,540.

When it comes to undergraduate costs per credit, take a look at some rates for 2018-2019 below:

$343 per credit hour
$555 per credit hour
$717 to $1,548 per credit hour
$510 to $1,370 per online credit hour

The best thing to do is decide which programs you are interested in and compare them to find the most affordable one for your budget.

How can I get help paying for online college in New York?

Financial aid is a great way to pay for online college in New York. Scholarships and grants also help students tackle tuition and work toward their degrees. Take a look at a few of the top scholarship opportunities in the state.

The most notable award is the Excelsior Scholarship Program, which in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows New Yorkers to attend a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free. It is the nation’s first attempt at providing students with free college. To be eligible for up to $5,500 per year, you must have a combined federal income of $110,000 or less, enroll in at least 12 credit hours per semester, complete at least 30 credits successively each year towards a degree, and promise to live in New York for the length of time the award is received.

Other programs include the NYS Aid to Native Americans Award for members of a NYS tribe or their children who reside in New York for up to $2,000 per year for full-time students. Aid for part-time study is also available for $2,000 per year or tuition costs at participating New York State colleges. In addition, $231 million is granted through the Tuition Assistance Program at New York’s private colleges and universities. A list of awards can be found at Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities.

Additionally, New York schools offer their own scholarships, which can be found at the schools’ financial aid offices. Check with each institution for need- and merit-based aid forms. Finally, U.S. citizens can also apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by at least March 15 of the year before you plan to attend college.

Most applications for aid have strict deadlines and require proof of residency or citizenship as well as transcripts. Some will also require an essay and others a recommendation.

Online Education & Adult Education in New York

Enrolling in adult education programs can be the first step towards a college degree for many New York students. These programs are designed to prepare students for the academic and technical rigors of college life, whether attending an online program or taking classes on-campus. Often, these students have jobs and veer towards more flexible means of learning such as night, weekend, and online programs, providing a perfect segue into earning an online college degree.

Here are some ways adult learners can prepare for college through adult education in New York:

  • Literacy and language assistance Learning or brushing up on basic literacy and comprehension skills can be essential for adults who haven’t been in the classroom for a long time, or those who are non-native English speakers learning a new language.

  • High school equivalency testing In New York, the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) is replacing more commonly known GED programs for earning a high school diploma. Operation Recognition is a Veteran-specific program offered to help credit those who served in WWII, Korea and the Vietnam war.

  • Study materials for Basic Education classes The state offers a library of instructional materials for basic adult education in the form of videos.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Reporting System for Adult Education, women in the state take the most advantage of adult education opportunities, making up nearly 67,000 of the roughly 106,500 served between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. Almost 65 percent had acquired measurable skill gains, too.

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