Private Colleges in New York: A Complete List

New York is home to exceptional private universities, including two Ivy League schools. We'll help you find the best private college in New York for you.
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Updated on October 2, 2023
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Attending a private university in New York can lead to high salary potential and excellent career opportunities.

Some of New York's most impressive universities include Columbia, Cornell, and NYU. But not every premier private institution is based in New York City — you can also choose from schools in some of the state's most scenic towns, including colleges in Syracuse and Ithaca.

If you value prestige, forming connections and networking, and proximity to booming industries, consider a private college in New York.

5 Popular Private Colleges in New York

Before we present the full list of schools, here are five popular private universities in New York to help you compare options. We chose these schools based on criteria like number of applicants, academic rigor, and general prestige.

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

1. Columbia University

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

With a Manhattan campus, students at Columbia can enjoy the hustle and vibrance of one of the world's largest cities. The Ivy League university is incredibly competitive and prestigious and boasts an impressive 95% graduation rate.

Columbia offers a unique core curriculum structure for undergrads. Here, you'll take small seminar classes across six areas: art humanities, contemporary civilization, frontiers of science, literature humanities, music humanities, and university writing.

2. Cornell University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $63,200
  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 25,898

Located in Ithaca, Cornell flaunts one of the Ivy League's most stunning campuses. The university is known for its niche and specialized programs. It's also one of the only U.S. institutions with a four-year hospitality management bachelor's program and a veterinary school.

Rather than applying to the university as a whole, prospective first-year students must apply to one of Cornell's individual colleges.

In terms of majors, you can choose from a wide array of subjects, such as agriculture, architecture, arts and sciences, bachelor's in business administration, engineering, human ecology, and industrial and labor relations.

3. New York University

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

With buildings dispersed around New York City, NYU's unique campus is often called the campus without walls.

If you're interested in drama, dance, or cinema, you've likely heard of NYU's Tisch School of Arts. Admission here is competitive, and the school boasts a long list of celebrity alums.

NYU also offers specialized study abroad programs. For example, music students can travel to NYU Prague to learn more about Czech musical heritage.

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4. Syracuse University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $60,135
  • Acceptance Rate: 52%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 22,698

Syracuse is known for its architecture and public affairs programs, with its Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs focusing on public policy research and community impact.

Within six months of graduation, 93% of recent Syracuse graduates are employed, attending grad school, or enrolled in the military. Additionally, more than 4 in 5 undergrads receive grants or scholarships.

Perhaps most impressive, however, is Syracuse's mascot — an orange ball named Otto.

5. Vassar College

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $64,800
  • Acceptance Rate: 19%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 2,459

Vassar is a small college in Poughkeepsie, where a whopping 97% of students live on campus. The school has an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, with classes typically consisting of 10-17 students.

Vassar uses an open curriculum structure, meaning there are few core course requirements for undergrads. Beyond your major, there are just a few general education expectations: one first-year writing seminar, one quantitative analysis course, and foreign language coursework.

List of All Private Colleges in New York

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

All data comes from NCES. We did not consider schools with fewer than 500 undergraduates for this list.

All Private Colleges in New York
School Total Student Enrollment Avg. Annual Net Price Acceptance Rate Number of Applicants
Adelphi University 7,252 $26,953 73% 17,301
Alfred University 1,813 $26,183 51% 7,091
Alliance University 1,595 $22,184 100% 285
Bard College 2,706 $25,214 46% 6,482
Barnard College 3,442 $26,009 9% 12,009
Canisius College 2,492 $19,635 78% 4,131
Cazenovia College 745 $17,238 75% 1,490
Clarkson University 3,719 $32,450 78% 6,594
Colgate University 3,141 $27,074 12% 21,109
College of Mount Saint Vincent 2,877 $17,084 89% 3,465
Columbia University in the City of New York 34,782 $22,058 4% 60,879
Cornell University 25,898 $26,060 7% 69,195
Culinary Institute of America 3,124 $33,499 95% 1,887
D'Youville University 2,518 $21,755 84% 3,115
Daemen University 2,642 $20,273 80% 2,752
Dominican University New York 1,407 $23,747 89% 1,614
Elmira College 657 $24,040 96% 1,456
Excelsior University 15,833 N/A 100% N/A
Fordham University 16,556 $43,943 54% 47,203
Hamilton College 2,072 $24,503 12% 9,899
Hartwick College 1,103 $22,396 60% 3,553
Hilbert College 877 $16,930 95% 1,354
Hobart and William Smith Colleges 1,607 $34,259 68% 5,082
Hofstra University 10,238 $35,036 69% 23,577
Houghton University 833 $21,550 77% 974
Iona University 3,621 $28,827 96% 6,228
Ithaca College 5,054 $35,858 75% 12,446
Keuka College 1,250 $28,397 93% 1,734
Le Moyne College 3,203 $23,309 78% 7,066
Long Island University 15,737 $25,802 93% 14,332
Manhattan College 3,575 $29,535 82% 9,930
Manhattan School of Music 1,115 $51,278 55% 1,027
Manhattanville College 2,240 $24,702 84% 3,338
Marist College 6,464 $39,364 63% 10,966
Marymount Manhattan College 1,608 $39,442 72% 7,636
Medaille University 1,727 $14,992 69% 1,689
Mercy University 8,615 $15,879 86% 7,891
Molloy University 4,807 $27,243 77% 5,412
Mount Saint Mary College 1,918 $23,439 88% 2,604
Nazareth College 2,522 $31,620 84% 3,911
New York Institute of Technology 6,906 $22,494 76% 11,537
New York University 59,144 $29,499 12% 100,662
Niagara University 3,858 $18,165 90% 3,836
Pace University 13,609 $33,363 83% 26,613
Pratt Institute 5,494 $47,326 50% 10,129
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 6,968 $39,127 65% 16,863
Roberts Wesleyan University 1,573 $23,341 100% 1,006
Rochester Institute of Technology 16,615 $39,600 67% 23,976
Russell Sage College 2,159 $22,456 74% 1,737
Sarah Lawrence College 1,696 $42,781 50% 5,186
Siena College 3,648 $30,842 80% 8,344
Skidmore College 2,758 $33,389 26% 13,183
St. Bonaventure University 2,602 $26,004 81% 3,774
St. Francis College 2,661 $18,602 84% 4,272
St. John Fisher University 3,621 $28,312 73% 4,200
St. John's University 19,663 $26,052 85% 24,607
St. Joseph's University, New York 4,348 $18,001 77% 4,306
St. Lawrence University 2,175 $33,283 63% 5,172
St. Thomas Aquinas College 2,033 $21,745 89% 1,861
Syracuse University 22,698 $43,651 52% 41,489
The College of Saint Rose 2,786 $23,294 78% 2,456
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
Union College 2,107 $41,136 47% 8,458
University of Rochester 12,197 $39,775 39% 19,966
Utica University 3,861 $22,372 81% 3,367
Vassar College 2,459 $30,603 19% 11,412
Wagner College 1,949 $29,710 69% 2,645
Yeshiva University 6,056 $35,912 63% 1,615
Source: NCES

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How Much Do Private Colleges in New York Cost?

The average tuition cost for private universities in New York is $42,631, according to 2020-2021 NCES data. That's about $10,000 more than the national average for private college tuition.

Meanwhile, at $8,416, average in-state tuition for public New York colleges is about $1,000 less than the U.S. average.

Attending a prestigious private college in New York is likely to be more expensive than in many other states. For many students, however, the price is worth it. Private colleges often offer more financial aid assistance and have impressive employment outcomes.

Cost of College in New York 2020-2021
Institution Type Avg. Tuition & Required Fees
Private 4-Year $42,631
Public 4-Year (In-State) $8,416
Public 4-Year (Out-of-State) $20,113
Source: NCES

Fastest-Growing Industries in New York

The New York State Department of Labor has projected huge job growth for six industries between 2020 and 2030. Most of this growth lies in the entertainment, hospitality, and tourism industries.

Employment is projected to grow by 159% in the entertainment industry, 132% at museums and historical sites, and 111% in the amusement and gambling industry.

6 Most In-Demand Industries in New York
Job Projected Growth 2020-2030
Performing Arts, Spectator Sports, and Related Industries 159%
Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar Institutions 132%
Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries 111%
Personal and Laundry Services 101%
Accommodation, Including Hotels and Motels 99%
Food Services and Drinking Places 94%
Source: New York DOL

Frequently Asked Questions About Private Colleges in New York

How many private colleges are in New York?

There are over 50 four-year nonprofit private colleges in New York. If you include small religious colleges and niche medical schools, the number is closer to 100.

What Ivy League schools are in New York?

New York is home to two Ivy League colleges: Cornell University and Columbia University. All eight Ivy League schools are located in the Northeast. Students can travel just hours to visit each Ivy.

What is the hardest college to get into in New York?

Columbia University boasts the lowest acceptance rate in New York at just 4%. In the fall of 2022, the university received over 60,000 undergraduate applications. Currently, the undergrad population at Columbia is just under 9,000 students.

Is it expensive to go to college in New York?

While average New York tuition rates are comparable to those in the rest of the U.S., the cost of living in New York — particularly in New York City — can make the state an expensive place to attend college.

According to Payscale, the cost of living in New York City is 128% higher than the national average. However, many smaller college towns in New York have a lower cost of living than New York City. 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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