2022 Best Community Colleges in New York

Community colleges in New York offer programs in disciplines from nursing and art to engineering. Use this guide to find the best school for you.

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Published on May 26, 2022 · Updated on June 2, 2022

Edited by Taylor Gadsden
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New York has a lot to offer prospective students, including one of the best selection of schools in the country. The state also offers extensive financial support for students, such as scholarships, waivers, and tuition assistance programs. New York also appeals to learners seeking a meaningful life outside of school, offering cultural opportunities and attractions for people with all interests.

The state's diverse economy is also a draw for many learners, with multiple growing sectors and expanding workforces. Many of the top online community colleges target these industries, creating programs that prepare graduates for promising entry-level positions. Here, we delve into the best community colleges in New York, ranking the best institutions and programs and exploring some of the most desirable careers.

Why Study in New York?

Educational Opportunities

With hundreds of four-year universities and two-year colleges, New York offers students some of the best educational opportunities in the country. The State University of New York (SUNY) system includes 30 community colleges that prepare students to transfer to a four-year program after graduation.

Community colleges in New York offer many programs of study, including in some of the state's most in-demand fields, such as business, finance, communications, and the arts.

Economy

The New York metropolitan area has the country's largest economy and one of the largest in the world. Featuring a steadily decreasing unemployment rate and many thriving industries, the state's employment outlook appears quite strong, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). New York's three largest industries include the financial sector, professional and business services, and transportation.

These three industries combine to make up more than 56% of the state's gross domestic product (GDP). Other major industry contributions come from the government, education and health services, and manufacturing.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in New York is considerably higher than in the rest of the country, with housing and transportation costing more than in most other states. Much of this stems from the high cost of living in New York City. According to PayScale, the city's cost of living exceeds the national average by 129%.

While the state's high cost of living can create challenges for many, employers help balance this out by paying some of the nation's highest wages.

Cultural and Community Offerings

One of the most diverse states in the country, New York features many different cultural and community centers, activities, and events. For example, the state offers one of the most vibrant arts communities in the world, countless museums and historical sites, and a leading culinary sector.

The incredible diversity within the state provides something for everyone. In New York City alone, people can visit centers honoring Hispanic, German, Japanese, and French cultures.

Climate

According to Climate-Data.org, New York has a warm climate with an above average amount of rainfall for its region. The World Travel Guide suggests that the best time to visit New York is between May and October when the weather is warmest and sunniest. The state's winters can be especially cold, and the lake effect from Lake Erie causes heavy snowfalls.

New York has forests, mountains, lakes, and 180 state parks, which makes it appealing to visitors and vacationers year round. The state features six state borders, along with a shared international border with Canada.

Top Degree Programs in New York

Best Online Administrative Assistant Associate Programs Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education Programs Best Online Associate in Computer Science Programs Best Online Associate in Healthcare Administration Programs Best Online Associate in Liberal Arts Programs Best Online Associate in Web Development Programs

New York Employment Outlook

New York has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the workforce has suffered. However, state numbers gradually improved throughout 2021. According to the New York Department of Labor, the state's workforce passed 7.5 million in August 2021, and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.4%. State economic forecasts projected employment growth in 2022, but projections are changing rapidly as the omicron variant spreads.

The industry clusters with the highest projected growth are healthcare, technology, and media. Other booming industries include agribusiness, biotech, renewable energy, and homeland and cybersecurity. For many of these sectors, New York boasts some of the largest workforces and wages available in the country.

5 New York Jobs in Demand for 2022


Home Health Aides

Home health aides help patients with illnesses and disabilities, providing daily living assistance. They may also help patients with medication, day-to-day tasks, scheduling, and other medical needs.


Medical Assistant

Medical assistants handle many of the administrative tasks in healthcare offices, such as maintaining patient records and schedules. They may also take patient vitals and administer medications in some cases.


Registered Nurse

Registered nurses provide care and support to patients in various healthcare settings. They observe and monitor patients, administer medications and treatments, and perform and analyze tests.


Social and Human Service Assistant

Social service workers assist clients and social workers in various ways, including researching available client services, completing application paperwork, and setting up meetings and collaborations.


Protective Service Workers

Protective service workers work in policing, security, firefighting, and corrections. These professionals maintain the safety of people and property for organizations and communities, upholding the law and maintaining order where necessary.


Popular Career Paths in New York

Business Administration Healthcare Administration Nursing Education Public Policy Mechanical Engineering Organizational Psychology Biology

2022 Best Accredited Community Colleges in New York

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1 Online College in New York

CUNY Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

School Information
Location New York, New York
Graduation Rate 40%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $210
Out of State | $320

CUNY Guttman requires new students to pursue a degree and take full-time classes. Students must complete an application and attend a group information session. They can also attend an optional individual meeting with an admissions team member. 

Learners may choose a program of study such as business administration, information technology, human services, or urban studies. The college provides academic support resources, including peer mentoring, group study sessions, and one-on-one appointments with a librarian. 

CUNY Guttman offers in-person classes and online-asynchronous, online-synchronous, and hybrid courses.  

#2 Online College in New York

CUNY Queensborough Community College

School Information
Location Bayside, New York
Graduation Rate 28%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $210
Out of State | $320

CUNY Queensborough has one of the most diverse student populations in the U.S., with over 12,000 students enrolled each year. Learners must fill out an application, send official transcripts, and fulfill any program-specific requirements. 

Over half of Queensborough students transfer to a CUNY four-year university after earning an associate degree through a dual or joint degree program. The school also offers career and certificate programs, including music, acting, visual art, and film and media production. 

In addition, the Office of Educational Technology provides online student support services.

#3 Online College in New York

Suffolk County Community College

School Information
Location Selden, New York
Graduation Rate 24%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $228
Out of State | $456

SUNY Suffolk enrolls around 21,000 students each year, making it the largest community college in the SUNY system. Learners over 18 need a high school diploma or an equivalent diploma. Applicants without a diploma can use an alternate admissions process and get counselor review.  

The school offers about 100 degree and certificate options, including engineering and technology, business and paralegal studies, and hospitality management. Some majors have additional admission requirements. 

SUNY Suffolk also offers free online programs in electronic assembly, health information and management systems, and ophthalmic technician assistant training. 

#4 Online College in New York

Nassau Community College

School Information
Location Garden City, New York
Graduation Rate 23%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $242
Out of State | $484

SUNY Nassau enrolls nearly 20,000 day and evening students each year and is one of the largest single-campus community colleges in the state. Students may need to take placement tests to determine math or English classes.

The school offers diverse program options, including health information technology, foreign languages, legal studies, nursing, mortuary science, and social work. Each program has specific admission requirements and deadline dates. 

SUNY Nassau also offers online and hybrid courses using the Blackboard learning environment. Students need to take a readiness survey and online student orientation. 

#5 Online College in New York

CUNY Kingsborough Community College

School Information
Location Brooklyn, New York
Graduation Rate 34%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $210
Out of State | $320

CUNY Kingsborough has various admission requirements depending on the student's status. For example, first-time college students may apply through the main CUNY website and can select up to six college choices.  

CUNY Kingsborough offers majors that aren't available at other CUNY community colleges, including sleep technology and maritime technology. There are over 50 academic programs, from business and liberal arts to criminal justice.

The school provides in-person, 100% online KCC FLEX programs, and hybrid instruction. In addition, the college offers student services online and on campus. 

#6 Online College in New York

Orange County Community College

School Information
Location Middletown, New York
Graduation Rate 23%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $112
Out of State | $224

SUNY Orange provides admissions information via links on its admissions home page. New students and transfer students can apply through the online application system. 

The college's Middletown campus offers over 40 degree and certificate programs, such as computer networking and floriculture. The Newburgh campus offers complete degree programs, including criminal justice and human services transfer degrees. 

SUNY Orange provides online and hybrid courses using the Blackboard learning system and support through the My Institution page. 

#7 Online College in New York

CUNY Hostos Community College

School Information
Location Bronx, New York
Graduation Rate 23%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $210
Out of State | $320

CUNY Hostos is a small college, and 58% of enrollees are first-generation college students. The school provides admissions services through a virtual office visit and online application. 

There are two certificate programs and 28 associate degrees that transfer to CUNY and other four-year universities. CUNY Hostos also offers award-winning workforce training programs. 

Additionally, the college provides in-person classes, 100% online synchronous instruction, and asynchronous courses. Students will find support through student services, including tutoring and career services.

#8 Online College in New York

Ulster County Community College

School Information
Location Stone Ridge, New York
Graduation Rate 26%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $190
Out of State | $380

SUNY Ulster requires undergraduate students to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Learners must submit official transcripts and scores from placement exams. 

The college offers over 60 programs, small classes, and transfers to four-year institutions. Programs include in-person associate of science (AS) degrees in communication and media arts, and an online individual studies AS program.  

Students will find resources to develop their career and educational plan through Career & Transfer Services. 

#9 Online College in New York

Niagara County Community College

School Information
Location Sanborn, New York
Graduation Rate 30%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $206
Out of State | $412

SUNY Niagara has two Western New York locations and programs available online. New students may need placement testing to determine reading, writing, and math courses. 

Niagara Falls Culinary Institute campus houses the school's culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and hospitality programs. The Sanborn campus offers programs ranging from theater arts and environmental studies to surgical technology. 

Student services include a student success center, wellness center, and child development center. In addition, SUNY Niagara has a premier junior-college athletics program.  

#10 Online College in New York

Columbia-Greene Community College

School Information
Location Hudson, New York
Graduation Rate 36%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $207
Out of State | $414

SUNY Columbia-Greene provides an online application. Undergraduates need to submit an official high school diploma or the equivalency and official college transcripts. They may also need to take program-specific tests. 

The school features programs in automotive technology, computer technology, and five business degrees, including an online applied associate of science. The nursing program also holds agreements with hospitals and health facilities, providing clinical practice for students. 

The Office of Student Development oversees health services, athletics, accessibility services, and student activities. The Student Development office offers learning resources. 


Best Online Colleges in New York

Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in New York

Are community colleges worth it? true

Yes. Many students find community colleges a more suitable option than four-year universities and colleges. Community college graduates can secure various entry-level positions with associate degrees and certificates. The more practical and career-driven training may match their learning styles and career goals better as well.

Community colleges in New York can also prepare students well for further study. Learners may pursue a degree from one of the most affordable online community colleges and then transfer into a four-year program. This can save learners money as tuition at two-year colleges costs considerably less than at four-year schools.

Does New York have good community colleges? true

Yes. New York's 65 community colleges position the state as one of the most robust educational centers in the country. The SUNY system is the largest educational system in the nation and features more than 30 community colleges. Students in these schools benefit from a shared pool of resources and seamless transfer pathways.

Community colleges in New York often work with surrounding businesses to provide opportunities for graduates from many different disciplines and educational levels. Prospective students should ensure their school holds accreditation from the appropriate organization, such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

How much does it cost to go to community college in New York? true

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average overall cost per year at two-year schools in 2018-2019 was $11,389. The average tuition at community colleges in New York was $5,390, higher than the $3,400 national average, as per EducationData.org.

While out-of-state tuition rates in New York are some of the highest in the country, in-state learners pay an average tuition of $9,430 per year, which comes in closer to the national average. Prospective students should expect to pay higher tuition rates in New York because of the higher expenses in general, but the higher wages and professional opportunities can help offset those costs.

What is the cheapest community college in New York?

The cheapest community colleges in New York vary depending on the student and program. Some of the most affordable schools include SUNY Broome Community College, Duchess Community College, and Genesee Community College. These colleges all charge a yearly tuition of about $4,500-$5,000.

The state also offers numerous scholarships, tuition waivers, and financial aid programs to help students cover the cost of training. Some schools may not make a list of the lowest tuition rates in the state, but they still provide low-cost training after the tuition discounts and support.

Is New York a good place to live and study?

Yes. New York is one of the most desirable places to live and study. In 2018, the state saw over 319,300 students enroll in two-year schools. According to the NCES, more than 43,000 nonresidents attended a New York state school the same year, more than any other state by nearly 10,000 students.

New York features a great selection of schools and neighborhoods for learners. The active, diverse, and growing workforce gives students plenty to look forward to after graduation, and the availability of entertainment and cultural activity options make the state welcoming and attractive for many.

Feature Image: Andy Ryan / Stone / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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