Best Colleges in New York

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Home to some of the biggest attractions in the country, New York state is filled with colleges and universities that offer high-quality education and an adventurous time outside the classroom. Prospective students can choose from undergraduate colleges in New York City, just a walk away from Central Park, or schools upstate that are known for their visual and performing arts programs. New York has an unlimited number of options for students to choose from, all affordable and flexible to cater your priorities and academic needs.

The college search may be daunting, but New York has top-ranked universities and colleges in the city and outside of it that can provide the well-rounded experience you're looking for. Whether you're looking for an online program or a master's degree in biomedical sciences, New York universities and institutions of higher learning can set on the right path to succeed.

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Best colleges in New York

#1 Cornell University - Ithaca, NY. Founded in 1865, Cornell University is a private Ivy League and land-grant research university that serves over 23,000 students across 16 colleges and schools. 50% of Nobel laureates are Cornell faculty members or alumni, and about 30% of students come from New York State.

#2 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Troy, NY. with six main schools and 37 departments, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university with faculty members and alumni that are members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, are National Medal of Science winners, and belong to the American Academy of Arts. Students can choose from 200 clubs at RPI, and participate in research at one of its 30 research centers.

#3 Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY. As a private research university in the heart of Central New York, Syracuse University that offers more than 200 majors and 200 advanced degrees. Last fall, Syracuse enrolled a total of 21,322 full-time students and granted 83% of undergraduates some form of financial support, which totaled $411 million.

#4 Colgate University - Hamilton, NY. As a private liberal arts college, Colgate University with 56 undergraduate programs, over 200 student organizations, and a 9:1 student-faculty ratio. For the 2022-23 school year, tuition and fees sit at $63,904 and the average total award for financial aid recipients is $59,297.

#5 Vassar College - Poughkeepsie, NY. Vassar College was the second degree-granting institution for women in the U.S., but now operates as private, coeducational liberal arts college and offers 51 undergraduate majors. Students also have the option to design their own course of study with the independent major, and the average aid award is $54,000.

Best colleges in New York City

#1 Columbia University - New York, NY. Originally established as King's College, Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university with a 7% acceptance rate and over 100 research centers and institutes. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and grants students an average aid package of $46,516.

#2 New York University - New York, NY. As one of the largest private universities in New York and the country, New York University serves over 65,000 students and engages in over $1 billion in research annually. NYU has two campuses outside of New York in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and undergraduate tuition fees are approximately $54,880.

#3 Barnard College - New York, NY. Founded in 1889, Barnard College is a private women's liberal arts college that has a partnership with Columbia University as one of its undergraduate schools. At Barnard, over 60% of faculty are women and 95% of graduates are employed or attending graduate school six months after graduation.

#4 Fordham University - New York, NY. Established in 1841, Fordham University is a private Jesuit research university that serves almost 17,000 students, and is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the northeastern U.S. Students have access to over 2 million physical and digital books at the university libraries, and Fordham has a six-year 83.2% graduation rate.

#5 Yeshiva University - Wilf, NY. Yeshiva University has 4 online and in-person campuses in New York, including Yeshiva College — a undergraduate liberal arts college for men. Yeshiva offers a dual curriculum inspired by Modern-Centrist-Orthodox Judaism and has a total of 11 undergraduate and graduate schools, plus affiliates and Israel programs.

Best community colleges in New York

#1 CUNY Kingsborough Community College - Brooklyn, NY. Operating as the only community college in Brooklyn, Kingsborough Community College is a two-year public community college that serves around 14,000 students, 70% of which are enrolled in a liberal arts or science degree program. Kingsborough offers 38 associate degree programs across its 14 academic departments.

#2 CUNY LaGuardia Community College - Long Island City, NY. Named after former mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, LaGuardia Community College is a public two-year college that has been nationally recognized for pioneering innovative programs and offers a welcoming environment for immigrants. LaGuardia has a student body of approximately 26,626 and offers 60 majors, certificates, and programs.

#3 CUNY Queensborough Community College - Bayside, NY. As a public two-year college, Queensborough Community College serves as a valuable educational and cultural hub for Queens and the surrounding community. QCC has an enrollment of over 12,000 students and offers associate degrees and certificate programs across its 17 academic departments.

#4 SUNY Jamestown Community College - Jamestown, NY. Jamestown Community College is a public two-year college with a liberal arts focus that is one of 30 community colleges that belongs to the SUNY system. JCC serves 1,291 a full-time students, and roughly 75% of graduates were employed or pursuing higher education within six months of graduation.

#5 Herkimer County Community College - Herkimer, NY. At Herkimer County Community College, students have over 40 associate and certificate programs to choose from, as well as 21 more associate and 4 certificates that can be done entirely online. At Herkimer there are 3 on-campus housing complexes available to students, and both in-state and out-of-state students pay the same rate of $5,116.

Best business colleges in New York

#1 Cornell University - Ithaca, NY. Founded in 1865, Cornell University is a private Ivy League and land-grant research university that serves over 23,000 students across 16 colleges and schools. 50% of Nobel laureates are Cornell faculty members or alumni, and about 30% of students come from New York State.

#2 New York University - New York, NY. As one of the largest private universities in New York and the country, New York University serves over 65,000 students and engages in over $1 billion in research annually. NYU has two campuses outside of New York in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and undergraduate tuition fees are approximately $54,880.

#3 Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY. As a private research university in the heart of Central New York, Syracuse University that offers more than 200 majors and 200 advanced degrees. Last fall, Syracuse enrolled a total of 21,322 full-time students and granted 83% of undergraduates some form of financial support, which totaled $411 million.

#4 University of Rochester - Rochester, NY. Founded in 1850, Rochester University is a private research university that enrolls over 12,000 students annually and is located within driving to Toronto and New York City. Annually, Rochester spends more than $438 million on research funding, and about 77% of undergraduate students engage in research.

#5 Skidmore College - Saratoga Springs, NY. As a private liberal arts school with approximately 2,650 students, Skidmore College offers bachelor degrees in 44 academic programs and has a student-faculty ratio of 8:1. 20% of Skidmore's campus is electricity-powered by its own solar field and hydroelectric dam, and 37% of campus is geothermally heated and cooled.

Best acting colleges in New York

#1 New York University - New York, NY. As one of the largest private universities in New York and the country, New York University serves over 65,000 students and engages in over $1 billion in research annually. NYU has two campuses outside of New York in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and undergraduate tuition fees are approximately $54,880.

#2 Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY. As a private research university in the heart of Central New York, Syracuse University that offers more than 200 majors and 200 advanced degrees. Last fall, Syracuse enrolled a total of 21,322 full-time students and granted 83% of undergraduates some form of financial support, which totaled $411 million.

#3 Binghamton University-SUNY - Binghamton, NY. As a public research university and one of the four universities in the SUNY college system, Binghamton University is home to state-of-the-art facilities like S3IP, and offers 400+ student clubs and organizations. Best Value Schools named Binghamton the 2nd Best Accounting School in New York, and participates in NCAA Division I Intercollegiate Athletics.

#4 The New School - New York, NY. The New School is a world-renowned, private research university that offers 126 degrees and diploma programs to over 10,000 students. Originally, the New School's mission sought to create a home for progressive thinkers and ignite intellectual inquiry and academic excellence.

#5 Pace University - New York, NY. As a private university that serves over 12,800 students, Pace University offers 135 undergraduate degree programs and has an average class size of 20. Pace has a 90% undergraduate post graduation job placement rate, and 4,841 graduate students.

Best art colleges in New York

#1 The Copper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - New York, NY. Established in 1859, The Cooper Union is a private college that offers academic programs in three schools, and previously granted all students a full-tuition scholarship until 2014. Currently, they award all admitted undergraduates a half-tuition scholarship, and also provide opportunities to help cover remaining expenses.

#2 The New School - New York, NY. The New School is a world-renowned, private research university that offers 126 degrees and diploma programs to over 10,000 students. Originally, the New School's mission sought to create a home for progressive thinkers and ignite intellectual inquiry and academic excellence.

#3 New York University - New York, NY. As one of the largest private universities in New York and the country, New York University serves over 65,000 students and engages in over $1 billion in research annually. NYU has two campuses outside of New York in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and undergraduate tuition fees are approximately $54,880.

#4 Pratt Institute - Brooklyn, NY. Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is a private university with three campuses that serve a student body of over 5,000. Pratt is known for its nationally ranked programs in architecture, interior design, and industrial design, and offers over 25 programs across its five undergraduate schools.

#5 The School of Visual Arts - New York, NY. The School of Visual Arts is a private for-profit art school that offers 31 programs to its student body of 7,000. Prioritizing freedom of expression and professionalism, SVA has been a leading name in educating the next generation of artists, designers and creative professionals.

Best engineering colleges in New York

#1 Columbia University - New York, NY. Originally established as King's College, Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university with a 7% acceptance rate and over 100 research centers and institutes. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and grants students an average aid package of $46,516.

#2 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Troy, NY. with six main schools and 37 departments, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university with faculty members and alumni that are members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, are National Medal of Science winners, and belong to the American Academy of Arts. Students can choose from 200 clubs at RPI, and participate in research at one of its 30 research centers.

#3 University of Rochester - Rochester, NY. Founded in 1850, Rochester University is a private research university that enrolls over 12,000 students annually and is located within driving to Toronto and New York City. Annually, Rochester spends more than $438 million on research funding, and about 77% of undergraduate students engage in research.

#4 The Copper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - New York, NY. Established in 1859, The Cooper Union is a private college that offers academic programs in three schools, and previously granted all students a full-tuition scholarship until 2014. Currently, they award all admitted undergraduates a half-tuition scholarship, and also provide opportunities to help cover remaining expenses.

#5 Fordham University - New York, NY. Established in 1841, Fordham University is a private Jesuit research university that serves almost 17,000 students, and is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the northeastern U.S. Students have access to over 2 million physical and digital books at the university libraries, and Fordham has a six-year 83.2% graduation rate.

Best colleges in New York for psychology

#1 Columbia University - New York, NY. Originally established as King's College, Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university with a 7% acceptance rate and over 100 research centers and institutes. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and grants students an average aid package of $46,516.

#2 Cornell University - Ithaca, NY. Founded in 1865, Cornell University is a private Ivy League and land-grant research university that serves over 23,000 students across 16 colleges and schools. 50% of Nobel laureates are Cornell faculty members or alumni, and about 30% of students come from New York State.

#3 New York University - New York, NY. As one of the largest private universities in New York and the country, New York University serves over 65,000 students and engages in over $1 billion in research annually. NYU has two campuses outside of New York in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and undergraduate tuition fees are approximately $54,880.

#4 Binghamton University-SUNY - Binghamton, NY. As a public research university and one of the four universities in the SUNY college system, Binghamton University is home to state-of-the-art facilities like S3IP, and offers 400+ student clubs and organizations. Best Value Schools named Binghamton the 2nd Best Accounting School in New York, and participates in NCAA Division I Intercollegiate Athletics.

#5 Stony Brook University - Stony Brook, NY. Founded in 1957, Stony Brook University is a public research university and one of the State Universities of New York system's institutions. Stony Brook offers more than 60 majors and over 80 minors, and was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a Top 40 Public University.

Best colleges in New York for computer science

#1 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Troy, NY. with six main schools and 37 departments, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university with faculty members and alumni that are members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, are National Medal of Science winners, and belong to the American Academy of Arts. Students can choose from 200 clubs at RPI, and participate in research at one of its 30 research centers.

#2 University of Rochester - Rochester, NY. Founded in 1850, Rochester University is a private research university that enrolls over 12,000 students annually and is located within driving to Toronto and New York City. Annually, Rochester spends more than $438 million on research funding, and about 77% of undergraduate students engage in research.

#3 Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY. As a private research university in the heart of Central New York, Syracuse University that offers more than 200 majors and 200 advanced degrees. Last fall, Syracuse enrolled a total of 21,322 full-time students and granted 83% of undergraduates some form of financial support, which totaled $411 million.

#4 Fordham University - New York, NY. Established in 1841, Fordham University is a private Jesuit research university that serves almost 17,000 students, and is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the northeastern U.S. Students have access to over 2 million physical and digital books at the university libraries, and Fordham has a six-year 83.2% graduation rate.

#5 Yeshiva University - Wilf, NY. Yeshiva University has 4 online and in-person campuses in New York, including Yeshiva College — a undergraduate liberal arts college for men. Yeshiva offers a dual curriculum inspired by Modern-Centrist-Orthodox Judaism and has a total of 11 undergraduate and graduate schools, plus affiliates and Israel programs.

Best colleges in New York for medicine

#1 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Troy, NY. with six main schools and 37 departments, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university with faculty members and alumni that are members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, are National Medal of Science winners, and belong to the American Academy of Arts. Students can choose from 200 clubs at RPI, and participate in research at one of its 30 research centers.

#2 Hofstra University - Hempstead, NY. Founded in 1935, Hofstra University is a private university and the largest university in Long Island. Students can choose from 165 undergraduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, health professions, and engineering, and attend classes with a student-faculty ratio of 13:1.

#3 Binghamton University-SUNY - Binghamton, NY. As a public research university and one of the four universities in the SUNY college system, Binghamton University is home to state-of-the-art facilities like S3IP, and offers 400+ student clubs and organizations. Best Value Schools named Binghamton the 2nd Best Accounting School in New York, and participates in NCAA Division I Intercollegiate Athletics.

#4 New York University - New York, NY. As one of the largest private universities in New York and the country, New York University serves over 65,000 students and engages in over $1 billion in research annually. NYU has two campuses outside of New York in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and undergraduate tuition fees are approximately $54,880.

#5 Fordham University - New York, NY. Established in 1841, Fordham University is a private Jesuit research university that serves almost 17,000 students, and is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the northeastern U.S. Students have access to over 2 million physical and digital books at the university libraries, and Fordham has a six-year 83.2% graduation rate.

Frequently asked questions about New York Colleges

How many colleges are in New York?

There are 473 colleges and universities in New York, 81 of which are public institutions. New York is also home to two Ivy League universities — Cornell University and Columbia University.

How many colleges are in New York City?

Currently, there are 110 colleges and universities in New York City. Approximately 594,000 students attend school in the city. New York University has the largest enrollment with 34,500 full-time students.

Columbia University is the oldest college in New York City, which was originally established as King's College.

Is public college free in New York?

There are several colleges in New York that let students attend free of cost. The Excelsior Scholarship allows eligible students to attend college for free at any City University of New York (CUNY) or State University of New York (SUNY). The scholarship covers any remaining costs after the Pell Grant and Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) are applied, but doesn't cover room and board or transportation fees.

Is college in New York free?

A few colleges will award students enough financial aid to attend college free of cost. As previously mentioned the the Excelsior Scholarship grants individuals four years of college for free, covering the remaining costs that Pell grants and New York's TAP awards didn't. The Excelsior is a state-wide program and the first of its kind in New York. Students must complete the Excelsior application on top of the state TAP grant application and the FAFSA.

How much does community college cost in New York?

On average, community college in New York costs $5,400 for in-state students, and $9,430 for out-of-state students. Compared to other states, New York's community colleges are more expensive to attend than the national average. However, New York is one of 17 states that offers a tuition-free scholarship program, which can cover remaining costs.