Best Online Colleges in New York

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New York has one of the largest and most well-respected higher education systems in the United States. The state provides significant financial aid to local students, and the State University of New York (SUNY) system is dedicated to growing and supporting its distance learning community.

Students attending online colleges in New York benefit from the state’s membership in the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE). Distance learners at NEBHE-member schools enjoy tuition breaks, streamlined transfer processes, and the opportunity to take online courses from different schools. Additionally, the State University of New York’s Open SUNY offering is a collaboration program that provides academic support and resources from all sixty-four SUNY campuses for online learners.

Students who are interested in pursuing an online education in New York enjoy the flexibility of attending class wherever and whenever it is most convenient for them. They will learn from experience professors dedicated to their academic success, and can explore a variety of opportunities throughout the state’s many online schools.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Stony Brook University 76.25 3/5 70% Stony Brook, NY

With an internationally respected research branch and a commitment to academic excellence, it’s easy to see why Stony Brook University is one of the best online colleges in New York. With nearly 26,000 students taking advantage of 200 undergraduate programs, the Center for World University Rankings places SBU in the top one percent of all colleges and universities in the world, with Nobel laureates, Guggenheim fellows, and MacArthur Genius grant recipients among its ranks. Online courses are provided via the School of Professional Development in an asynchronous format to help students with existing careers and responsibilities find time to complete degree coursework. All programs are delivered via Blackboard, an intuitive learning platform used and respected by thousands of learning institutions across the world. Online students can are taught by the same qualified and experienced professors leading campus-based classes.

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2 New York University 76.00 5/5 83% New York, NY

Located in the heart of the Big Apple, New York University is an internationally revered institution and unquestionably one of the best online colleges in New York. Founded by the former Secretary of the Treasury under President Thomas Jefferson, New York University grew from humble beginnings in 1831 to become one of the largest private institutions in the nation. As one of only 60 schools distinguished by the Association of American Universities, it should be no surprise that nearly 50,000 students elect to enroll at NYU, either at the NYC campus or online. The Paul McGhee Division of the School of Professional Studies oversees 12 bachelor’s degrees currently available fully online. These programs include studies in areas ranging from applied general studies to real estate, with options in technology, communications healthcare, marketing, and leadership.

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3 Syracuse University 71.83 4/5 82% Syracuse, NY

Offering the “quintessential college experience” to students interested in attending one of the best online colleges in New York, Syracuse University has both the experience and esteem needed to attract learners from every corner of the nation. As the first school in the U.S. to offer a bachelor of fine arts, the school is always working diligently to be on the frontline of change and progress. Nearly 16,000 undergraduates currently take advantage of more than 200 degrees, including two offered fully online. As of 2017, the two Bachelor’s of Professional Studies available include programs in Creative Leadership and Knowledge Management. Aside from online courses, the University College’s Professional Development also offers a range of lecture series and academic services to ensure every student has the support they need to succeed. Seminar subjects include computing services, internship assistance, The Math Clinic, tutoring, writing assistance, library support services, and information on study abroad options.

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4 Rochester Institute of Technology 69.00 4/5 63% Rochester, NY

With 12 Pulitzer Prizes awarded to alumni from the photography department alone, it’s safe to say that the Rochester Institute of Technology is doing something right. During the previous year, the institute also saw three students gifted with Fulbright scholarships, all-the-while hosting 40 international recipients on its campus. As one of the best online colleges in New York, RIT started in 1829 as the brainchild of a few residents of Rochester who wanted to get together and talk about literature, science, and the arts. Today, the school is home to more than 15,000 undergraduates and nearly 3,300 graduate students. The school offers two online bachelor’s of science in applied arts and science or applied technical leadership, while the School of Individualized Study allows students to create their own courses of study from more than 300 online courses.

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5 Saint Joseph's College-New York 67.17 3/5 68% Brooklyn, NY

Students at Saint Joseph’s College can take advantage of two brick-and-mortar campuses or the highly successful online offerings. With a commitment to being a small, liberal arts school – with approximately 1,200 current students – SJC has been unwavering in that commitment since 1916. Although there are many New York online colleges, only SJC offers the support of one faculty member for every three students. These numbers also hold true for online students taking advantage of one of the five fully online bachelor’s degrees available. In addition to these programs, the school has two additional dual B.S./M.S. programs in Human Services Leadership and Healthcare Management. The school is supportive of military students, be they active service members or veterans, and currently has a Student Veterans of America organization for both campus-based and online students.

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6 SUNY College at Oswego 64.58 3/5 58% Oswego, NY

As one of numerous New York online colleges operating within the State University of New York (SUNY) system, SUNY College at Oswego currently serves more than 8,000 students annually, with 7,000 of them working toward undergraduate degrees. Originally founded to train future primary school teachers in 1861, today the school offers three online bachelor’s degrees in broadcasting and mass communication, public justice, and vocational teacher preparation. Chosen as one of the first SUNY colleges to take part in Open SUNY, the school is on the frontline of providing the best and latest in distance education. Students log-in to myOswego to access courses, interact with peers and professors, and turn in assignments. The school is well-regarded for its commitment to making education affordable for all learners: during the previous academic year, the school provided nearly $6 million in merit scholarships and more than $80 million in need-based grants, loans, and work-study awards.

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7 Davis College 64.17 3/5 48% Johnson City, NY

Operating as one of the many online colleges in New York with a biblical heritage, Davis College is a private, nonprofit institution in Johnson City that caters to the academic interests and spiritual lives of thousands of students each year. Created at the turn of the 20th century, the college began as a bible training school before being renamed Davis College in 2004. Students at Davis are fortunate to have three different ways of attending, no matter which degree they choose. More traditional options allow students to learn on campus or at a satellite teaching site, while the school’s online learning division has taken every degree and translated it into an effective and engaging online program. The college currently offers 10 different bachelor’s degrees, the majority focused on preparing future Christian leaders. Programs in this arena range from intercultural ministries and pastoral studies to Christian counseling and Christian ministries with a teacher preparation emphasis. Outside of religious studies, the school also has degrees in organizational leadership and teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).

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8 The New School 61.33 5/5 65% New York, NY

As one of the most progressive online colleges in New York, The New School has a nearly 100-year history of constantly rethinking the purpose of higher education and how it is provided to students. Even TNS’s structure is unique, combining a world-renowned design school, a leading liberal arts college, an applauded performing arts department, and a leading school in social research. Every class is taught asking how to instill creative problem solving, thereby enabling students to tackle anything life brings to them, regardless of their major. While the vast majority of programs are still limited to the school’s New York City campus, the institution does offer either a BA or BS in Liberal Arts, with several majors available, including environmental studies, food studies, global studies, media studies, psychology, urban studies, and musical theatre (limited to students who have completed the integrated program provided by the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.)

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9 The Sage Colleges 58.67 3/5 52% Troy, NY

With campuses in Albany and Troy, The Sage Colleges provides educational opportunities to 3,000 students at all levels of higher education. A unique feature of this school is the Russell Sage College, which provides four-year degrees exclusively to women seeking programs in the liberal arts, sciences, or professional fields. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, the online New York colleges comprising TSC provide myriad opportunities for learning. Whether a student wants to be part of the honors program, study abroad, or work with one of the many Centers of Inquiry, experiential learning opportunities abound. TSC currently offers three different fully online bachelor’s degrees in business administration, accounting, and information technology with an emphasis in cybersecurity. Students looking to fast-track their learning may be able to complete these degrees at an accelerated pace.

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10 Roberts Wesleyan College 58.58 3/5 59% Rochester, NY

When compared to New York online colleges, Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester is unique in its approach to online learning. Rather than offering full, four-year degrees, the college focuses on providing online bachelor’s completion programs for students who have already completed an associate degree at a community college or other accredited institution. From the colleges of business, health administration, and nursing, students can choose from programs in organizational management, health administration, or an RN to BSN program for nurses looking to further their educations. Although RWS was started as a seminary in 1866, the school obtained a charter in 1949 to offer four-year degrees and subsequently changed to its current name. Still maintaining its Wesleyan heritage, today the college appeals to students of the Wesleyan faith and beyond.

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11 Mercy College 55.67 3/5 34% Dobbs Ferry, NY

Founded in the years after World War II, Mercy College has always held true to one guiding principle: to get the most out of life, it’s important to get the most out of education. Today students can take advantage of more than 90 degrees via campus offerings and online degree programs. As part of The PACT Advantage program, every student is assigned a PACT (Personalized Achievement Contract) mentor to help them navigate college and beyond. For cost-conscious students, MC is proud to offer one of the lowest tuition rates amongst private colleges in the nation alongside substantial scholarship and grant opportunities. Once an online learner is enrolled, they’ll use Blackboard to navigate asynchronous lessons, communicate with faculty and classmates, and turn in assignments or exams. At present, learners can choose from 10 fully online bachelor’s degrees in areas ranging from corporate and homeland security management to psychology. Some programs – including behavioral science and business – also have numerous concentrations available to help students further hone their studies.

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12 SUNY College of Technology at Delhi 55.50 3/5 57% Delhi, NY

As a member-school of the prestigious SUNY system, it’s no wonder that the Delhi campus ranks amongst the best online colleges in New York. First chartered in 1913, the university has morphed into a flourishing student body of 3,600 learners taking advantage of more than 50 degree programs. CTD also has the distinction of being part of an elite group of institutions to receive the Carnegie Foundation Elective Community Engagement Classification, while also being part of the President’s National Honor Role for Community Service for nine years running. As of 2017, online learners can take advantage of three fully online bachelor’s programs: a BA in Hospitality Management, a BS in Criminal Justice, or the RN to BSN degree path. Courses are delivered via Moodle, and are offered in an asynchronous format and class sizes average 12 students.

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13 St John's University-New York 55.17 4/5 59% Queens, NY

While there are many quality online colleges in New York, few boast a Vincentian heritage. Taking St. Vincent’s conviction that God is found in oneself when in service to others, St. John’s University is committed to inspiring learners to use their educations to improve the world. The 147-year-old school currently has seven worldwide campus locations: Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, and Oakdale in New York; Rome, Italy; and Paris, France. Students can choose from more than 100 degree programs ranging from associate to PhD, including three online bachelor’s degrees. These currently include administrative studies, criminal justice, and liberal studies. Virtual courses are conducted via Blackboard and, although students are always welcome to visit campus, they are never required to do so. While all classes are taught asynchronously, professors and administrators are always on hand for a real-time discussion if a student needs advising or extra support.

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14 Medaille College 55.08 3/5 45% Buffalo, NY

Operating as one of the few online colleges in New York exclusively devoted to four-year degrees, Medaille College was founded in 1875 as a teacher preparation program before growing into the dynamic, innovative institution it is today. With the motto “where college meets career”, every program, extracurricular, internship, and field experience is designed to help students gain both the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in any field they pursue. The school currently has five online bachelor’s degrees available for distance students, including business administration, information systems, health information management, homeland security, and general studies. Because online learners receive the exact same educations as their campus-based counterparts – including being taught by the same professors, completing the same assignments, taking part in the same student organizations, having access to the same support services and resources, and receiving the exact same degrees – they can rest assured knowing their experience of an online education at Medaille will be a rewarding one.

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15 Pace University-New York 53.92 4/5 56% New York, NY

When a student enrolls at Pace University, they are put on what the school deems the PACE Path, a four-year plan for ensuring every graduate is prepared for finding success in the classroom and beyond. Each year, students and their advisors focus on a different goal; in chronological order, these include purposeful planning, academic excellence, coaching and mentoring, and experiential learning. The plan seems to be effective, as nearly 13,000 students choose to call Pace their academic home. Unlike other New York online colleges, Pace has decided to exclusively offer degree completion programs for students seeking options for online bachelor’s degrees. Ideal for students who have already completed an associate degree or a significant number of courses at another accredited institution, these programs are typically completed in two years of full-time study. These programs, delivered via the iPace Degree Completion Department, include options in business studies, nursing, professional communication studies, and professional technology studies.

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16 SUNY College of Technology at Canton 53.75 3/5 32% Canton, NY

As the final SUNY school to make the list of the best online colleges in New York, the College of Technology at Canton provides focused and career-driven educations to more than 3,200 students from New York and further afield. Canton Online, the arm of the college devoted to distance education offers nine online bachelor’s degrees currently, with the addition of two “2+2” programs - for learners who have already completed an associate degree – in nursing and veterinary service administration. While the majority of students are comprised of recent high school graduates (the average student age is 20), hundreds of adult learners also find what they’re looking for at CTC. For those seeking a reasonably priced education, the college offers one of the lowest rates for public education in the state; meanwhile, 85% of students received some type of financial aid – be it scholarship, grant, loan, or work-study program – during the previous academic year.

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17 Adelphi University 52.58 5/5 66% Garden City, NY

With an undergraduate population of more than 5,200 students – in addition to 2,500 graduate learners – opportunities for students seeking a four-year degree abound at Adelphi University, one of the many online colleges in New York. Degree programs are divided into seven different schools covering topics ranging from liberal arts and business to science and social work. In addition to other distance learning degrees, Adelphi currently offers one fully online degree: a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Services Management for students looking to be on the cutting edge of today’s emergency services workforce. Throughout their academic career, students can lean on the university when they need support in planning their futures, bettering their writing skills, finding internships, preparing for the job search, and transitioning to the life of a graduate. Students can also take part in a number of online student clubs and organizations, both around their degree area and outside hobbies, interests, or leadership programs.

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18 Utica College 44.42 4/5 47% Utica, NY

Originally created by the older Syracuse University when it wanted to offer extension courses in and around Utica, today the college operates completely independently as an accredited institution providing undergraduate and graduate courses. More than 5,000 students are currently enrolled at the college, with a significant portion of that student body electing to complete their degrees via distance education. Students looking to attend one of the best online colleges in New York, can choose from online bachelor’s degrees in fraud and financial crime investigation, cyber security, or the innovative RN to BSN completion program for nurses who want to expand their existing education. For students wondering what it’s like to be an online learner at Utica College, a number of student bloggers chronicle their experiences, triumphs, failures, and learning moments regularly on the Utica College Student Blog.

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19 Dominican College of Blauvelt 43.67 4/5 33% Orangeburg, NY

Providing education taught in the Dominican tradition has been the guiding tenet of Dominican College since its founding in 1952. As one of only a handful of colleges providing educations from this branch of Catholicism, DC takes its mission and history seriously while also maintaining a forward-focused mentality that allows for innovative and modern degree programs. A small liberal arts college, the nearly 2,100 learners at Dominican receive a personalized education taught by faculty who are attuned to their learning styles and administrators ready to provide support and resources along the way. Students electing to complete their degrees online receive the same levels of support as their campus-based peers but have the flexibility to complete classes at times best suiting their busy schedules. At present, the school offers five bachelor’s degrees online in social sciences, communication studies, management, criminal justice, and psychology. Each is provided as an accelerated adult program for students looking to complete their degree quickly.

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20 Nyack College 40.58 3/5 42% Nyack, NY

Created by one of the most influential Christian orators of the 19th century, A.B. Simpson, Nyack College has been providing educations to students from every walk of life since 1882. Today the school operates as a college, seminary, and graduate school for students seeking a blend of Christian and mainstream learning opportunities. As of 2017, the school was home to more than 2,500 learners, including nearly 1,500 undergraduates completing degrees in both Rockland and online. Speaking of distance learning, this institution – recognized as one of the best online colleges in New York – currently offers three online bachelor’s degrees: a BS/BPS in Organizational management, a BS in Church Management, and a BS in Healthcare Management. Ideal for students aspiring to leadership positions, these degrees instill foundational knowledge of the discipline and the skills needed to lead others.

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More About Online Colleges in New York

Tuition costs in New York have increased recently. In-state tuition in public 4-year schools has jumped 18% over the past decade, while funding for higher education has plummeted 11% since 2008. College students interested in New York’s schools are increasingly pursuing online options, where tuition and auxiliary costs are lower than at traditional programs.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in New York for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

According to an NCES report from 2012, over 82,000 of New York’s postsecondary students (6.1%) were enrolled exclusively in distance education programs or courses. Additionally:

  • 83.9% of those students were undergraduates
  • 19.8% were attending public 4-year institutions
  • 60.9% enrolled in private, not-for-profit schools
  • 47.5% of these online students were living in New York at the time

College students pursuing online education in New York are supported by the state legislature and the New York’s Department of Education. New York launched a distance learning initiative in 2014, and it has successfully expanded distance learning options statewide, even branching into regional high schools.

Another visible example of departmental support is the Open SUNY program. Unlike any other program in the country, Open SUNY brings online learning options to students registered at any of the 64 campuses in the SUNY system. SUNY students can access a rich catalog of high-quality courses developed and delivered by faculty from all over the state. Online classes complement classroom-based degree programs and, in many cases, help students complete their degree. The comprehensive online study options in New York make it one of the most attractive places to learn in the U.S.

Best Online Colleges in New York of 2016
Rank School Location
1 New York University New York, NY
2 St. Joseph's College - New York Brooklyn, NY
3 SUNY College of Technology at Alfred Alfred, NY
4 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
5 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
6 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
7 St. John Fisher College Rochester, NY
8 CUNY Lehman College West Bronx, NY
9 SUNY at Plattsburgh Plattsburgh, NY
10 The Sage Colleges Troy, NY
11 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
12 SUNY at Fredonia Fredonia, NY
13 Roberts Wesleyan College Rochester, NY
14 SUNY College of Technology at Delhi Delhi, NY
15 Houghton College Houghton, NY
16 SUNY at Oswego Oswego, NY
17 Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology Flushing, NY
18 D'Youville College Buffalo, NY
19 St. John's University Queens, NY
20 The New School New York, NY
21 SUNY at Canton Canton, NY
22 Touro College New York, NY
23 Medaille College Buffalo, NY
24 CUNY College of Staten Island Staten Island, NY
25 Dominican College of Blauvelt Orangeburg, NY