Colleges in NYC: All 33 Schools

The city that never sleeps is also home to sleepless students. Explore some of the finest colleges in NYC to see if the city is a fit for you.
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Updated on December 19, 2023
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People from around the world move to NYC to pursue their dreams. The Big Apple also attracts students who want a world-class education in a city teeming with culture, entertainment, and opportunities.

New York City colleges include Ivy League schools and top research institutions dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders. From NYU to a CUNY college, NYC likely has something for anyone.

We've featured some of the most popular and prestigious NYC colleges for your consideration. You can also review the fastest-growing jobs and cost of living information for the country's largest city.

5 Popular New York City Colleges

These five NYC colleges are some of the most popular in the city and the world. The famous city and these prestigious schools draw global attention.

The following school data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and is updated for 2022.

1. Columbia University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $66,139
  • Acceptance Rate: 4%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 34,782

Renowned for rigorous academic programs, Columbia is one of the most popular colleges in the country. High-performing students from around the world attend Columbia and study at the Ivy League college's Morningside Heights campus.

The private institution operates three undergraduate schools, 13 graduate and professional schools, and more than 100 research centers and institutes. Columbia's Irving Medical Center is a prestigious hub for clinical research and patient care.

Once enrolled at Columbia, you can participate in 500 student organizations and root for over 30 Division I NCAA teams. Columbia is very selective, with just 4% of first-year applicants receiving acceptance.

2. New York University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $58,168
  • Acceptance Rate: 12%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 59,144

Founded in 1831, NYU is the nation's largest private college and ranks as one of the best schools in NYC. NYU students study on campuses in Greenwich Village and Brooklyn.

More than 400 programs offer rigorous academics and instruction from accomplished faculty. A rich campus life awaits you with 300 student organizations and arts, entertainment, and cultural events scheduled throughout the year.

NYU attracts high-achieving students who want to attend a prominent and respected college with a global appeal. Admission is selective, with NYU accepting only 12% of applicants.

3. Barnard College

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $62,525
  • Acceptance Rate: 9%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 3,442

Affiliated with Columbia University, Barnard is a private women's liberal arts college in Morningside Heights. Barnard is one of the Seven Sisters colleges, established to educate women at a time when they were excluded from higher education.

Barnard's students explore various disciplines during the required foundational curriculum and declare one of 50 majors. Once enrolled, you also have access to Columbia's degree programs, amenities, and resources.

A buoyant life awaits you outside the classroom with 80 student clubs and even more at Columbia. Barnard appeals to students interested in a top-tier education delivered in women-centered classes. Only 9% of applicants get accepted to Barnard.

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4. Fordham University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $58,467
  • Acceptance Rate: 54%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 16,556

Fordham is a comprehensive research institution recognized as the only Jesuit college in New York. Undergraduates study primarily on campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, receiving an education that encourages excellence in all areas of life.

All undergraduates complete a foundational curriculum before they declare one of the school's 60 majors. Fordham encourages studying abroad as part of an emphasis on whole-person development.

Students engage in extracurricular activities and build community with more than 170 student organizations on the Rose Hill campus. You have a good chance of getting admitted to Fordham with a 54% acceptance rate.

5. CUNY City College of New York

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $7,340 (in-state), $15,290 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 67%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 14,489

CCNY specializes in rigorous and affordable programs and is the only public school in our list of the most popular colleges in NYC. It is the founding school of the CUNY system, which now has 25 colleges in New York City's five boroughs.

CCNY's enrollees study on a 37-acre main campus located in Harlem. In addition to degrees in the arts and sciences, CCNY administers strong engineering and architecture programs.

If you're looking for a world-class education that's accessible, the odds are in your favor: CCNY accepts 67% of applicants.

List of All NYC Colleges

Here is a complete list of all four-year nonprofit universities in New York City. Use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.

All data comes from NCES. Schools that enroll fewer than 500 undergrads were not included in this table.

Colleges in New York City
School Total Student Enrollment Avg. Annual Net Price Acceptance Rate Number of Applicants
Alliance University 1,595 $22,184 100% 285
Barnard College 3,442 $26,009 9% 12,009
College of Mount Saint Vincent 2,877 $17,084 89% 3,465
College of Staten Island CUNY 10,248 $7,217 100% N/A
Columbia University in the City of New York 34,782 $22,058 4% 60,879
CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College 19,854 $4,991 50% 25,693
CUNY Brooklyn College 14,195 $5,972 55% 28,890
CUNY City College 14,489 $5,181 67% 33,648
CUNY Hunter College 22,970 $4,848 48% 33,944
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice 13,921 $5,001 51% 18,807
CUNY Lehman College 13,015 $4,974 55% 22,455
CUNY Medgar Evers College 3,640 $8,250 88% 11,553
CUNY New York City College of Technology 13,087 $6,406 82% 21,335
CUNY Queens College 17,001 $6,434 69% 22,324
CUNY York College 6,446 $6,670 59% 16,112
Fashion Institute of Technology 8,125 $20,900 53% 4,669
Fordham University 16,556 $43,943 54% 47,203
Manhattan College 3,575 $29,535 82% 9,930
Manhattan School of Music 1,115 $51,278 55% 1,027
Marymount Manhattan College 1,608 $39,442 72% 7,636
New York University 59,144 $29,499 12% 100,662
Pace University 13,609 $33,363 83% 26,613
Pratt Institute 5,494 $47,326 50% 10,129
Sarah Lawrence College 1,696 $42,781 50% 5,186
St. Francis College 2,661 $18,602 84% 4,272
St. John's University 19,663 $26,052 85% 24,607
St. Joseph's University, New York 4,348 $18,001 77% 4,306
SUNY Brockport 6,424 $16,261 68% 7,683
The Juilliard School 986 $43,151 11% 2,083
The New School 10,108 $55,480 57% 9,524
Touro University 11,111 $23,960 71% 1,530
Wagner College 1,949 $29,710 69% 2,645
Yeshiva University 6,056 $35,912 63% 1,615
Source: NCES

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The 10 Fastest-Growing Careers in NYC

NYC's 10 fastest-growing careers, according to the New York Department of Labor, are in the entertainment and service industries.

Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers take the top spot with a 135.8% projected growth rate for 2020-2030. Other top careers include cooks, museum technicians and conservators, and agents and business managers.

All of these jobs provide the staff needed to run NYC's lively entertainment scene. Students can get one of these jobs to help pay for their education while attending one of the 33 colleges in NYC.

NYC's Fastest-Growing Careers, 2020-2030
Job Projected Growth Median Annual Wage
Ushers, Lobby Attendants, and Ticket Takers 135.8% $38,295
Cooks, Restaurant 132.8% $41,174
Museum Technicians and Conservators 125.4% $69,216
Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes 124.6% $95,467
Manicurists and Pedicurists 112.3% $33,018
Curators 108.8% $99,269
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors 104.1% $60,949
Skincare Specialists 101.8% $45,655
Dancers 99.0% N/A
Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers 98.4% $38,277
Source: New York Department of Labor

Cost of Living in NYC

According to Redfin, NYC (Manhattan) will cost you 127% more in living expenses than the national average. For starters, NYC's notoriously high rent will cost 384% more than the national average, while groceries will cost 29% more.

Students can help reduce their cost of living by getting roommates to split the rent and taking advantage of student discounts. Colleges also typically provide subsidized services such as healthcare and transportation, which could help you reduce the cost of pursuing a degree in NYC.

Average Cost of Living in NYC
Cost of Living Category Average Price
Home Price $1,200,000
Apartment Rent $4,630
Energy Bill $184.87
Gasoline $4.06
Phone Bill $196.72
Doctor Visit $126.96
Dentist Visit $140.13
Haircut $73.39
Movie Ticket $18.68
Coffee $6.78
Bread Loaf $4.11
1 Dozen Eggs $3.50
Pizza $13.27
Beer $12.47
Wine $11.82
Veterinarian Services $12.47
Source: Redfin

Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in NYC

How many colleges are in NYC?

There are 33 nonprofit four-year universities in New York City. This diverse list includes large research institutions, mid-sized colleges, and schools for specialized skills such as fashion design and the performing arts.

What is the No. 1 college in NYC?

Columbia University is considered the top college in NYC. The Ivy League institution enrolls undergraduate and graduate students in a comprehensive catalog of programs. Students receive instruction from distinguished faculty and have access to the vast resources this research institution has at its disposal.

What Ivy League colleges are in NYC?

Columbia is NYC's only Ivy League college. The league consists of eight prestigious institutions located in the Northeast, each with a storied history, an impressive list of alumni, and highly selective admissions. Cornell, located in Ithaca, is the only other Ivy League college in New York State.

What is the hardest CUNY to get into?

Hunter College is the hardest CUNY school to get into, with a 48% acceptance rate, according to NCES data. Of the 33,944 applicants to Hunter, 22,970 students received acceptance letters.

What is the cheapest college in NYC?

Getting into Hunter College ensures you pay the cheapest net cost of all the schools in the city. The school's net cost of $4,848 is the average annual cost of attendance minus gift aid such as grants and scholarships. Hunter is much cheaper than other schools in the CUNY system and a drop in the bucket compared to schools such as Columbia and Fordham. 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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