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Top New York State Online Colleges

Review the top 30 schools in New York State that offer a variety of completely online programs. Learn what to look for when choosing a school and how to find financial aid to pay for your program.

Best New York State Colleges for Online Programs

When determining the best colleges in New York State for online programs, you should consider factors such as programs offered, flexibility, admissions requirements and cost. The top 30 New York State colleges with online programs are listed below.

1. SUNY Empire State College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Saratoga Springs $7,405 94%

SUNY Empire State College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and has been providing flexible education options to students since 1971. The school offers some of the most affordable tuition in New York and is committed to recognizing the value of academic and professional practice by awarding credit for qualifying life experience. Undergraduate students can pursue online programs in 12 fields of study, including business, education and nursing, and have a tuition rate of $295 (in-state) or $353 (out-of-state) per credit hour. Graduate students can choose from 15 online and hybrid programs that have tuition rates of $471 to $750, depending on the program selected and student residency.

2. Mercy College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Dobbs Ferry $19,042 97%

Mercy College was founded in 1950 and currently offers a nationally recognized program of student mentoring that gives students individual success coaches. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and has more than 50 online and hybrid program options. Undergraduate students can choose from programs such as behavioral science, business administration and computer science and most students have flat-rate tuition of $9,467 per semester for everything above 12 credit hours. Graduate students can select from programs in education, nursing, cybersecurity and more, and they have tuition rates of $897 to $1,030 per credit hour (depending on program).

3. Stony Brook University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Stony Brook $9,625 78%

Stony Brook University was originally founded in 1957 and is considered a flagship of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers more than 20 online certificate and degree programs. Online programs include undergraduate options in engineering and nursing, and graduate options in nutrition, education and physician assistant studies. Tuition rates vary by program and residency, but many in-state students have tuition rates of around $295 (undergraduate) or $471 (graduate).

4. University at Buffalo

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Buffalo $10,099 83%

The University at Buffalo is the largest college in the SUNY system and is a member of the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of research-focuses institutions. Founded in 1846, the school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers almost 30 hybrid and online programs. Undergraduate students have an estimated cost of $3,535 per term (in-state) and can pursue programs in counseling, information studies and education. Graduate tuition varies, but can cost around $5,655 per semester for in-state residents.

5. Utica College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Utica $21,382 97%

Utica College was officially founded in 1946 but originally began offering courses in the 1930s. Today the school offers more than 50 programs online and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Utica is a private university and prides itself on offering more personalized attention to both online and on-campus students. Tuition for all students varies by program but is not affected by residency; undergraduate tuition ranges from $395 to $475 and graduate tuition ranges between $650 and $895 (per credit hour).

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Niagara University Niagara University $33,180 99%
7 SUNY College at Brockport Brockport $8,412 90%
8 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester $42,345 98%
9 Houghton College Houghton $32,488 99%
10 St. Joseph's College-Long Island Patchogue $41,760 100%
11 Nyack College Nyack $25,350 100%
12 Molloy College Rockville Centre $31,490 99%
13 St John's University-New York Queens $41,760 100%
14 Canisius College Buffalo $28,488 99%
15 The Sage Colleges Troy $30,857 100%
16 SUNY College of Technology at Canton Canton $8,389 96%
17 Pace University New York $45,280 97%
18 SUNY College of Technology at Alfred Alfred $8,570 96%
19 SUNY at Albany Albany $10,011 83%
20 SUNY Polytechnic Institute Utica $8,238 97%
21 Adelphi University Garden City $38,740 91%
22 St. Joseph's College-New York Brooklyn $27,830 96%
23 SUNY College at Oswego Oswego $8,440 96%
24 Roberts Wesleyan College Rochester $31,568 98%
25 SUNY College of Technology at Delhi Delhi $8,360 91%
26 St Bonaventure University Saint Bonaventure $34,331 100%
27 Syracuse University Syracuse $51,853 79%
28 St. Thomas Aquinas College Sparkill $31,950 97%
29 New York Institute of Technology Old Westbury $36,890 99%
30 Marist College Poughkeepsie $39,600 92%

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents the 2018-2019 undergraduate school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Choosing a College in NY State for an Online Program

As you look for the right school in New York State for your online program, you should consider factors such as program length and flexibility, accreditation, faculty and cost.

Faculty

Faculty play a huge role in your program, so it's important to review faculty experience and availability at each of your candidate schools. Knowledgeable faculty can provide more guidance than faculty without experience, and having readily available faculty can mean receiving an answer to your inquiry within hours rather than within days.

Type of School

There are both public and private colleges throughout New York State that offer online programs, each of which has its own benefits. There are 64 public colleges in the SUNY system, which offers substantial resources to students and lower tuition rates. Private schools are smaller, giving students more individual attention, but often have higher program costs.

Program Flexibility

Before deciding on a school, you should consider your time commitments and availability. Discuss this with each of your candidate schools to see if the program you are interested in will work with your schedule. While many online programs enable you to study at your desired pace, some programs are only offered in full-time or part-time formats.

Accreditation

Accreditation can be a necessary part of your educational pursuit or simply be an overall benefit. As you narrow down your school choices, check that the schools are properly accredited as well as the program that you are interested in pursuing (if applicable).

Graduation Rates

Although graduation rates may not directly affect your success in your program, they indicate the percentage of undergraduate students who completed their programs within 150% of the normal time (4 years). The national average graduation rate is 31.6%, so schools with a rate above that may be providing better support to their students.

Cost

Online program costs vary drastically and can include tuition and various fees. Ask your candidate schools for a comprehensive list of program expenses to effectively compare total program costs for each. Also, ask about any flat-rate and other types of discounts that may be available.

Residency Requirements

Most online programs in New York can be completed completely online, without the need to go to a campus. There are schools/programs that require students to attend on-site components once or multiple times during programs. These can be on-campus learning or networking sessions, or on-site practice at preceptor sites.

Transfer Credits

If you have earned credits at another college, you can usually transfer them into a new program. Many schools require credits to have been completed with a specific grade, such as a B. Undergraduate programs may allow up to 75% of the required curriculum to be transferred in and graduate programs may allow up to 50%.

Credit for Experience

If you have any type of work or professional experience, ask your schools if you can earn credit for that experience. Many schools offer credits for work experience (such as nursing), allowing students to waive courses they may have mastered in the real world.

How Much Do Online Programs Cost in New York State?

The cost of online programs in New York State varies by degree level, school and student. Many of the key costs and discounts available to online students are discussed below.

Tuition

The largest part of an online program's cost is tuition, which is typically charged per credit hour. Tuition can range from less than $300 per credit to more than $1,000 per credit, and is usually higher for graduate programs. The more credit hours that a student needs, the more tuition they'll pay over the course of their program. The table below summarizes what the total tuition cost of online programs might be based on an estimated rate and number of credits needed.

Degree Program Credit Hours Needed Tuition Per Credit Total Program Tuition
Associate's Degree 60 $400 $24,000
Bachelor's Degree 120 $400 $48,000
Master's Degree 40 $600 $24,000
Doctoral Degree 60 $700 $42,000

Other Fees

Online students usually have other fees associated with their programs and schools. These can include various expenses, such as:

  • Technology fees
  • Registration fees
  • Distance education fees
  • Course fees
  • Student services fees

These fees can be charged per semester or by credit hour/course, and can add up to $1,000 to more than $5,000 over the course of an online program.

Ways to Save

Online students in New York State can save on the cost of the college program a few different ways, such as transferring or earning credits and utilizing flat-rate costs (where available).

  • Transferring Credits - Students that have previously earned college credits can often have these credits transferred into their programs, as long as they meet certain criteria. For example, a student that has previously earned 20 credit hours may only need to complete 100 of the 120 credits required for a bachelor's degree program.
  • Credit for Life Experience - Some schools allow students to earn credits for qualifying life experience, such as a certain number of years working in their field of study. The limits and allowances for these credits vary by school, but qualifying students can have some of their required courses waived by utilizing this option.
  • Flat-Rate Costs - Many schools offer flat-rate tuition to students who are taking a specific number of credit hours during a semester; this is usually 12 to 18 credits but some schools offer flat rates to students over 12 credits (without the ceiling). By paying a flat rate, students can take more courses and decrease their cost-per-credit and their overall program expense.

Financial Aid for Online Students in NY State

Online students in the state of New York can qualify for a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships and loans. Interested students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as their first step. The FAFSA allows students to send their application results directly to schools of their choosing, and also shows some types of federal aid students qualify for upon submission.

Work-Study

Work-study is offered by some employers and schools that participate in the federal work-study program. Work-study means students work part-time while in school to earn funds for their college program. When available, students can work in positions that are related to their fields of study, gaining valuable experience.

Student Loans

Students can obtain loans for their program through private or government lenders, although private lenders should only be used as a last resort. Government loans are more regulated and offer flexible, long-term repayment options. In addition, government loans typically have better interest rates and are income-based.

Loan Forgiveness

Loan forgiveness is offered by the government and is available to students who pursue public-service positions. In order to qualify, graduates need to work a certain number of years while making their required loan payments. For example, teachers can have up to $17,500 in loans forgiven after 5 years of teaching full-time in a qualifying setting.

Tuition Reimbursement

Many companies in the United States, including New York, offer tuition reimbursement to employees. These programs consist of employers paying a predetermined amount of money towards their employee's college programs so that they can advance their expertise and careers.

Scholarships

There are countless scholarships available to online students in New York State, which can be found through multiple sources. Students should check with their financial aid office to see if there are any scholarships offered by their school. In addition, scholarships can be found online through sites such as the NY Higher Education Services Corporation and the U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

  • Enhanced Tuition Awards - Students attending private colleges can apply to receive up to $3,000 in financial assistance for their program.
  • Excelsior Scholarship - Available to students of CUNY and SUNY colleges, these scholarships are awarded to students based on household income.
  • New York State Part-Time Scholarship Award - CUNY and SUNY community college students who are studying part-time can apply to receive $1,500 per semester (2 years maximum).
  • NYS Scholarships for Academic Excellence - New York State high school graduates with outstanding academic performance can earn awards for up to 5 years of study.
  • NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program - Available to students pursuing an undergraduate STEM degree at a SUNY college.
  • Senator Patricia K. McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarship - Assists students in pursuit of careers as nursing educators in the state of New York.

Accreditation for Online Students in NY State

Online students in New York State should be aware of two different types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Institutional applies to an entire school, while programmatic accreditation applies to specific college programs. Intuitional accreditation means that a school has meet quality criteria set by an outside organization. Students interested in financial aid must enroll at an accredited school to qualify for federal aid.

Programmatic accreditation does not affect all types of programs. Technical programs and those leading to licensed roles often have this type of accreditation. Students pursuing careers in nursing, education and similar fields often need to graduate from accredited programs to qualify for their relevant licensure/certification.

Jobs for NY Online Program Graduates

Online programs provide the same preparation as on-campus programs, preparing students for a variety of careers. Some of the fastest-growing careers that are available to graduates of online programs in New York State are shown in the table below with state salaries.

Job Title Mean Annual Salary (2018, New York State) Typical Education Level
Computer Systems Analysts $106,320 Bachelor's degree
Financial Examiners $115,980 Bachelor's degree
Industrial Engineering Technicians $57,200 Associate's degree
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors $51,380 Bachelor's degree
Coaches and Scouts $56,320 Bachelor's degree
Software Developers, Systems Software $115,120 Bachelor's degree
Industrial Engineers $94,700 Bachelor's degree
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists $77,230 Bachelor's degree
Actuaries $150,950 Bachelor's degree
Training and Development Specialists $69,910 Bachelor's degree
Nurse Practitioners $120,970 Master's degree

All career data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics