Best Online Colleges in New York

Search Colleges

Online or Campus

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.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

New York University

 5/583.01%New York, NY


NYU’s online programs include a mix of undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and professional certificates that prepare students for careers in a variety of rewarding fields. Because the school has a strong commitment to delivering technology-enhanced courses, all course materials are available from any computer with Internet access.

Distance students can pursue undergraduate programs in dental hygiene, digital communications and media, leadership and management studies, healthcare management, and social sciences. Graduate programs include bioinformatics, engineering, human resources management and development, management and systems, and real estate. All online students have access to ServiceLink for help with financial aid, course registration, tuition payments, and technical issues.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

St. Joseph’s College – New York

 4/568.03%Brooklyn, NY


St. Joseph’s College-New York has 15 online programs for first-time college students and adult learners, including undergraduate programs in criminal justice practice and policy, general studies, health administration, human services, and organizational management. Online graduate students can pursue an executive MBA, as well as programs in human services leadership and management (health care and human resources).

Any student who enrolls in an online program has remote access to the on-campus library, increasing the number of resources available for studying and writing papers. Every student also has a dedicated academic advisor and support from the school’s IT department to ensure a positive experience. Saint Joseph’s even offers test courses to help prospective students determine if online courses suit their needs.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

 2/547.91%Alfred, NY


At Alfred State, each online course is developed based on input from local employers, giving graduates the tools they need to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. The school offers four degree programs that are fully online, including court and realtime reporting, health information technology, nursing, and technology management. Dozens of online courses and two online certificate programs are also available.

One of the benefits of enrolling in an online program at Alfred State is that some courses have several start dates each year, giving students the flexibility they need to complete a degree while working full-time or part-time. Every online student has access to the Online Education Offers, which provides online tutoring sessions and other types of academic support.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Marist College

 5/578.19%Poughkeepsie, NY


Marist College uses a collaborative learning environment called iLearn to deliver online courses to students all over the world. The system has built-in tools to help students communicate with instructors and get feedback on assignments and assessments. Before starting online coursework for the first time, students use the iLearn orientation site to familiarize themselves with all of the tools available.

Most courses are offered in the traditional 15-week format, but there are also accelerated courses available to students who want to complete their core requirements quickly. Undergraduate students can pursue an online program in liberal studies. Online graduate programs include business administration, communications, information systems, integrated marketing communication, and public administration.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Stony Brook University

 2/568.57%Stony Brook, NY


Stony Brook University has been offering distance-learning programs since 1996. Online students can complete undergraduate programs in electrical engineering and nursing, while online graduate students can pursue higher education administration, human resources management, liberal studies, and nutrition.

All online programs are asynchronous, which means there are no scheduled lectures or group chats. Students can log in and respond to discussion posts, submit assignments, or view course materials at any time of the day or night. Although each course is meant to offer maximum flexibility, students do have to log in at least three times per week to complete a course successfully. Stony Brook’s online course, which take 10 weeks to complete, are available to both matriculated and non-matriculated students.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Rochester Institute of Technology

 5/562.53%Rochester, NY

Rochester Institute of Technology conducts in-depth research to determine which online programs are the most valuable for students. The school develops online programs by mining millions of job advertisements to see which skills are in demand. This information is also used to design online courses for adult students interested in professional development.

RIT offers several bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and advanced certificate programs to suit the needs of online learners. Undergraduate students can complete applied arts and science programs and applied technical leadership programs. Online graduate studies include applied statistics, health systems administration, imaging science, manufacturing leadership, and networking and system administration. All students have access to the E-Learning Zone, which offers training on professional topics such as personal wellness, digital literacy, and leadership. Online programs are open to all students, but RIT representatives work closely with displaced workers and members of the military.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

St. John Fisher College

 4/571.53%Rochester, NY

St. John Fisher College offers several online programs designed for recent high school graduates as well as adult learners interested in returning to the classroom. Of note is the school’s online RN to BSN bridge program.

Online courses follow the same academic calendar as on-campus courses, but students have a lot of flexibility with regard to when they complete assignments and participate in course discussions. In most courses, instructors post course content on a weekly basis. This gives students time to focus on one topic before a new topic is introduced. St. John Fisher College uses the Blackboard system to deliver all course content.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

CUNY Lehman College

 2/537.08%West Bronx, NY

Lehman College offers a combination of fully online and hybrid programs, giving students a great deal of flexibility in completing required courses and electives. Fully online courses are available in subjects such as accounting, economics, ancient history, dietetics, American studies, political science, and linguistics. The college also offers hybrid courses in chemistry, African-American studies, childhood education, computer information systems, dance, and foreign languages.

Employees of the IT Help Desk are available to help online learners with any problems related to course technology. In addition to individual courses, the college also has an RN to BSN nursing program that is entirely online.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

SUNY at Plattsburgh

 2/561.17%Plattsburgh, NY

SUNY at Plattsburgh offers one undergraduate degree, an RN to BSN program, and two master’s degrees, including expeditionary studies and fitness and wellness leadership. A variety of individual courses in an online format are also available to students.

SUNY Plattsburgh uses the Moodle platform to create and deliver all courses, giving students a consistent experience as they move from one course to another. All online students have access to services offered by the branch campus at SUNY Adirondack, making it easy to access academic support and job-search resources. SUNY Plattsburgh caters to two types of students: enrolled students who want to supplement classroom learning with online courses, and adult learners who want to advance their careers.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

The Sage Colleges

 4/558.51%Troy, NY

The Sage Colleges offer online degrees, certificate programs, and professional development courses to students who are interested in the flexibility of online learning. Undergraduate programs are available in accounting, business administration, and cybersecurity. Graduate programs are offered in applied behavior analysis, applied nutrition, business administration, health services administration, and organization management.

Each program has specific admission requirements that all students must meet before enrolling. The Sage Colleges uses extensive research to determine which programs are best-suited to preparing students for rewarding careers. As a result, many certificate programs are available in on-demand fields such as cybersecurity and information technology. Financial aid is available to students who meet all of the requirements of the Department of Education.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Adelphi University

 4/5N/AGarden City, NY

Adelphi University offers several programs that are entirely online and have no on-campus requirements. The school also offers courses that are 80-99% online or a hybrid of online learning and classroom requirements. Students can pursue undergraduate programs in emergency services administration and graduate programs in healthcare informatics, nutrition, and sports management, among others.

Adelphi uses several state-of-the art tools to deliver online programs, including the Moodle course management system and Adobe Connect for class meetings. Skype, podcasting, online journals, Google Apps, and online assessment tools are also used for delivering course content and supplementing required course materials. All faculty members strive to create media-rich courses that help students understand new material and communicate easily with peers and teachers.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

SUNY at Fredonia

 2/566.95%Fredonia, NY

Students at SUNY at Fredonia have access to all of the resources of the State University of New York system, making it easier to complete degree requirements on a flexible basis. SUNY Fredonia also offers career training via Ed2go, a platform that has instructor-led courses that are available at any time.

Training is available in health care, business, software development, and sustainable energy. Students also have the opportunity to enroll in courses that provide preparation for CompTIA and Microsoft professional certifications. SUNY Fredonia is part of OpenSUNY, a platform that offers access to credit-bearing courses offered by most online colleges in the SUNY network.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Roberts Wesleyan College

 4/562.93%Rochester, NY

Online students at Robert Wesleyan can pursue undergraduate programs in health administration, organizational management, and an RN to BS nursing program. Online graduate programs include healthcare informatics administration, nursing leadership administration, an RN to MS program, and strategic leadership.

All of the school’s online programs are designed to help students connect with their peers and enter the workforce after graduation. Roberts Wesleyan has a dedicated online course portal for reading assignments, course resources, discussion boards, and assessments. The school offers several start dates each year for maximum flexibility. All online students have plenty of opportunities for one-on-one interaction with faculty members, creating a positive educational experience in a digital learning environment.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

 2/539.48%Delhi, NY

SUNY Delhi offers several online degrees designed to meet the needs of students with full-time jobs, family commitments, and other obligations. Undergraduate programs online include criminal justice, electrical construction and instrumentation, hospitality management, and an RN to BSN program. Graduate students can complete an online program in nursing education.

The school uses Moodle to publish course content, giving students the ability to access course materials from almost any device. Students also have online access to the college bookstore, online tutoring, library databases, and academic advising, eliminating the need to travel to campus for help. Technical assistance is available from the college IT department, and Moodle also has several resources available for students having difficulty accessing course content.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Houghton College

 4/575.84%Houghton, NY

Houghton College’s summer online program is ideal for high-school juniors and seniors who want to earn college credit before they graduate. Taking college classes online makes it possible to complete several general education requirements before graduating, which may help students attain sophomore standing when they enroll in college courses.

Students already enrolled at Houghton College may sign up for online courses as part of their degree programs. Course offerings vary each semester. Houghton College also has online courses for adult learners who want to learn new professional skills.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

SUNY at Oswego

 2/563.28%Oswego, NY

As one of the first schools to participate in OpenSUNY, SUNY at Oswego offers access to hundreds of online courses via the State University of New York System. Students at the undergraduate level can complete programs in broadcasting and mass communication, public justice, and vocational teacher preparation. Graduate programs include a master of business administration (MBA) and an MBA in health services administration.

All of the online degrees and programs offered by SUNY Oswego are flexible, but every instructor uses a syllabus to keep students on track with their course materials. Each faculty member also provides additional instructions on earning points for course participation. Students enrolled in an on-campus degree program may also fulfill some of their course requirements by enrolling in one of more than 50 online courses.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology

 4/538.65%Flushing, NY

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology offers several online programs for students interested in airport management, aviation maintenance, and airline management. Students use online video streaming and videoconferencing tools to access course materials and interact with faculty members and fellow students.

Lectures are also available in DVD format for students who are unable to stream content on their laptops or mobile devices. The college uses the SAKAI learning platform to deliver all course content, making it easy for students to access learning assessments, lecture notes, and discussion posts. All online programs are asynchronous, so students can log in and complete their assignments at any time of day.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

D’Youville College

 4/543.98%Buffalo, NY

D’Youville College has a dedicated e-Learning Services department to support students enrolled in online courses. Faculty members use the learning-management system to supplement in-class lectures, giving students an opportunity to explore topics of interest.

The college also offers a nursing program that is delivered entirely online. The program is designed specifically for registered nurses who want to earn a bachelor’s degree in the field. Course topics include evidence-based nursing practice, community-based nursing, professional issues in nursing, and nursing leadership. Unlike many RN-to-BSN programs, the D’Youville online program does not require previous work experience to enroll. All nursing faculty members are experienced nurses.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

St. John’s University

 5/558.75%Queens, NY

All of the online courses at St. John’s University are taught by experienced faculty members, making them just as interesting and challenging as the school’s on-campus classes. Distance students can complete undergraduate programs in administrative studies, business administration, criminal justice, and liberal studies.

Award-winning faculty members use their experience to give students real-world insight into career-related topics and to help students make valuable career connections. Every student enrolled in an online program has access to online registration, library research tools, academic advising, career services, and financial aid. There is also a campus ministry available for students who want to learn more about the faith. Staff members are trained to help students with issues specific to online learning, creating a supportive environment for all enrollees.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

The New School

 5/560.21%New York, NY

The New School offers online degree and certificate programs for learners who want to advance their education on a flexible schedule. Media programs are available through the School of Media Studies, while the Parsons School of Design offers programs in fashion marketing and strategic design.

Individual courses are available to supplement classroom learning for students enrolled in degree programs that are not available entirely online. All online students are given access to MyNewSchool, a portal that offers access to library tools, course materials, school announcements, and a New School email account. The e-learning system has tabs for announcements, lecture notes, discussion posts, assignments, and course requirements to help students stay organized.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

SUNY at Canton

 2/529.35%Canton, NY

SUNY Canton has 10 online majors in a variety of disciplines, giving students the flexibility they need to pursue higher education without commuting or committing to a particular schedule. Classes are delivered in a convenient learning environment to ensure all students are able to access the course materials at home or in the office.

The school employs several staff members dedicated to developing and publishing excellent online courses. As a result, SUNY Canton is nationally recognized for its online curriculum. Students enrolled in on-campus degree programs are free to enroll in one of the 400 individual courses offered online, increasing flexibility for everyone.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Touro College

 3/541.14%New York, NY

Touro College offers more than a dozen online degree programs through Touro University Worldwide. All online programs are designed to help students learn the professional skills they need to succeed in a variety of careers. Undergraduate programs include business administration and management, general studies, health education, psychology, and social work. Graduate students can pursue online programs in business administration, industrial and organizational psychology, marriage and family therapy, public health, and social work.

Faculty members encourage students to develop communication skills, take on leadership roles, and focus on personal and professional growth. Touro College also offers an advanced-placement online master’s degree in physician assistant studies. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation, hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, and submit transcripts from all colleges attended.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Medaille College

 4/544.36%Buffalo, NY

Medaille College offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs that are entirely online. The school has an online learning survey and online course demo available for prospective students who want to make sure online learning is right for them before enrolling.

Students can pursue online undergraduate programs in business administration, general studies, and homeland security. Graduate programs include business administration, clinical mental health counseling, organizational leadership, and psychology. Medaille College uses Blackboard Instant Messenger to help students communicate with instructors and peers, making it easier to collaborate on group projects and ask questions about course materials.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

CUNY College of Staten Island


College of Staten Island CUNY offers project-oriented online courses that take six weeks to complete, reducing the amount of time it takes to complete a training program or certificate. Each course includes hands-on assignments, lessons, quizzes, and links to supplementary materials that help students develop a deeper understanding of the material.

The school has monthly start dates to make it easy for students to fit online coursework into their busy schedules. College of Staten Island CUNY also offers online real-estate courses for students interested in becoming agents, brokers, and appraisers. Online training programs are available in business, IT and software, hospitality and gaming, healthcare and fitness, and media and design.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Dominican College of Blauvelt

 4/538.82%Orangeburg, NY

Dominican College offers online programs in six sessions each year, reducing the amount of time it takes to complete a degree. Students are allowed to enroll in 54 credits per year, which is nearly 20 credits more than students typically take in a traditional degree program. Students can complete online undergraduate programs in communication studies, criminal justice, management, psychology, and social sciences.

All online students have access to tutoring services, career services, and services for students with disabilities, enhancing the online learning experience. Online students are also allowed to use the campus gym, fitness center, library, dining center, computer labs, and bookstore. Every student must take an English placement exam before enrolling, and some programs also require a math placement exam.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

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.