Online Colleges in New York

New York is home to some of the country's oldest and most prestigious universities, including the largest public university system in the country. However, budget cuts may soon make these reputable institutions unaffordable for a large number of students. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that funding has been cut for many New York college degree programs and tuition at public institutions has been raised. So what options do prospective students with limited finances have?

Below you'll find a list of useful information about online colleges in the state as well as a list of schools ranked by several factors, including affordability.

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As of August 2014, Open SUNY offers thousands of online courses along with more than 300 online degree programs. As the largest online distance learning initiative in the U.S., Open SUNY hopes to enroll as many as 100,000 students by 2017.

Along with the many programs offered through the State University of New York's online learning initiative, many national colleges offer online programs to students in New York. In many cases, these colleges and universities have been in the business of higher education for many years but chose to add online courses and degree programs in order to meet consumer demand. From fashion to technology and everything in-between, it is not difficult for aspiring students to find an online degree program in New York that meets their unique needs.

And people looking to attain a college degree in the state of New York are not alone; 18.6 percent of the state's residents age 25 or older have earned a Bachelor's degree and 14.1% have earned a graduate or professional degree, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition to those figures, some 45.2% of adults ages 18 to 24 have some college or an Associate's degree.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates from 2013, there are 8,635,400 individuals employed in the state of New York earning an annual mean wage of $54,580. The average mean wage in New York can serve as a snapshot, but digging deeper shows a great disparity among incomes when you consider educational attainment. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau figures show that the median income for the state's residents age 25 and older were as follows from 2008-2012:

  • Less than high school graduate: $20,101
  • High school graduate or equivalency: $29,933
  • Some college or Associate's degree: $37,161
  • Bachelor's degree: $53,643
  • Graduate or professional degree: $69,562

When faced with numbers like these, it becomes hard to deny the fact that a college degree generally leads to higher earnings. And that's why New York residents have flocked to online degree programs, knowing they can provide a path towards their goals.

In addition to fully-online degree programs, it is also important to note that some programs require a minimum amount of classroom attendance. Students who crave a balanced approach can also choose from a variety of hybrid degree programs, which allow students to attend class both online and on campus.

The Top 10 List of Online Colleges in New York

If you're looking for more information on specific online schools in New York, here is a list of online colleges brought to you by the OnlineColleges' Top Colleges tool, ranked by affordability. This list includes key data points for potential students, such as the number of programs offered, tuition costs, and important accreditation information.

#1 - Jamestown Community College

  • In-state Tuition: $4,810 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of Online Programs: 7 undergraduate programs (Associate's level)
  • Notable Alumni: Singer Natalie Merchant

As a two-year community college, Jamestown Community College currently offers Associate's degrees in 35 areas as well as 20 certificate programs. At the moment, the school's online students can choose to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration, Computer Science, Individual Studies, Accounting, Computer Information Systems, Office Technology, and Professional Piloting. Students can also pursue online certificate programs in Information Technology, Individual Studies, or Entrepreneurship.

#2 - SUNY Ulster

  • In-state Tuition: $4,942 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of Online Programs: 4 undergraduate programs (Associate's level)
  • Notable Alumni: Photojournalist Renee Byer

With the support of the statewide Open SUNY system, the State University of New York at Ulster is able to offer several online undergraduate and certificate programs that can be completed entirely online. SUNY at Ulster students can currently choose to earn an online Associate's degree in Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Liberal Arts, and Individual Studies, or an online Certificate in Entrepreneurship or General Education. The school also offers several credit and noncredit courses as additional options for its online learners.

#3 - SUNY at Oswego

  • In-state Tuition: $7,181 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of Online Programs: 1 undergraduate and 2 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Journalist Ken Auletta, Sportscaster Linda Cohn, Today Show's Al Roker

The State University of New York at Oswego is part of the statewide Open SUNY system. The school's online offerings currently include an undergraduate degree in Public Justice and a graduate programs in Business Administration and Health Services Administration. In addition, SUNY at Oswego also offers an online Vocational Teacher Preparation Program that can lead to professional teacher certification.

#4 - DeVry University (Visit School Site)

  • Tuition: $16,010 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of Online Programs: 4 undergraduate programs and 5 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Video Game Designer Steve Cartwright

At DeVry, students can explore online educational opportunities in a wide range of career fields. Options currently offered to online students can vary due to location, but can include Associate's degree programs in Accounting and Bachelor's degree programs in Business Management, Technical Management, and Management. Students can choose to specialize in a certain field during their online education at DeVry as well, with current options including everything from Project Management to Accounting. Graduate students can also find several advanced online degree options to choose from, with current options including Accounting, Business Administration, Human Resources Management, Project Management, and Public Administration.

#5 - Mercy College

  • Tuition: $17,576 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of Online Programs: 8 undergraduate programs and 8 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Novelist Joan Wolf

With a focus on making high quality education attainable, Mercy College has gone out of its way to boost the number of online undergraduate and graduate programs offered through its five schools. Mercy College now offers fully-online undergraduate programs in topics such as Behavioral Science, Business Administration, Cybersecurity, English, Nursing, Criminal Justice, History Psychology, and Mathematics. Online graduate programs offered through Mercy College include Business Administration, Childhood Education, Counseling, Cybersecurity, Literature, Health Services Management, Human Resources, and Nursing.

#6 - Saint Joseph's College

  • Tuition: $21,878 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of Online Programs: 1 undergraduate and 1 postgraduate

Saint Joseph's College is a small liberal arts school who prides itself on its diversity and ability to help students reach their full potential. In honor of that goal, Saint Joseph's currently offers an online undergraduate degree program in Organizational Management as well as an Executive M.B.A. Students can also choose to pursue several online certificates in topics such as Leadership and Supervision and Human Resources.

#7 - Utica College

  • Tuition: $33,320 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of Online Programs: 2 undergraduate, 4 postgraduate, and 2 doctoral
  • Notable Alumni: Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, Former U.S. Inspector General for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission David P. Weber

Located in the heart of Central New York, Utica College offers regionally accredited Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degree programs that can be completed entirely online. Currently, those offerings include Bachelor's degree programs in Economic Crime Investigation and Cybersecurity, an RN to BSN Nursing Completion Program, and Master's programs in Economic Crime Management, Fraud Management, Health Care Administration and Cybersecurity. Online Doctoral degree programs and certificates are also offered in Physical Therapy and Finance Crimes Investigation, respectively.

#8 - Rochester Institute of Technology

  • Tuition: $34,424 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of Online Programs: 1 undergraduate program and 13 postgraduate programs.
  • Notable Alumni: Artist Ralph Avery and New York State Supreme Court Justice David Egan

With 30 years of experience within the field of online learning, The Rochester Institute of Technology offers students an unmatched learning experience within a wide range of degree programs that include transfer-friendly programs that can shorten a student's timeline for completion. The school currently offers online undergraduate degrees in Applied Arts & Science, and graduate degrees in Applied Statistics, Business Administration, Environmental Health & Safety Management, Health Systems, Human Resources, Facility Management, Imaging Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Manufacturing Leadership, Networking and Administration, Product Development, Professional Studies, and Service Leadership and Innovation.

#9 - University College of Syracuse University

  • Tuition: $40,458 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of Online Programs: 6 undergraduate and 7 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Model Emme Aronson, Actor James Brown, and Sports Announcer Bob Costas

University College of Syracuse University builds upon the hundreds of degree programs offered through Syracuse University to bring you a diverse array of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that can be completed partially or completely online. Undergraduate degrees offered in a partially or fully-online format include Liberal Arts, Creative Leadership, Knowledge Management, Psychology, Social Work, Information Management and Child and Family Studies. Students interested in earning an advanced degree online can choose from Accounting, Business Administration, Communications Management, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Social Science.

#10 - New York University

  • Tuition: $44,848 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of Online Programs: 4 undergraduate and 4 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Actress Kristen Bell, and Actors Billy Crystal and John Cusack

New York University boasts a variety of high-quality undergraduate and graduate degree programs, both online and on campus. Currently, online NYU students can earn a B.S. in Leadership and Management Studies with a concentration in International Business, Human Resource Management, or Organizational Management and Development or a B.A. in Social Sciences with a concentration in Organizational Studies. Through its school of continuing and professional studies, students can also pursue online Master's degrees in Human Resource Management and Development, Management and Systems, Professional Writing, and Translation. In addition to these innovative online programs, New York University also offers hybrid programs that provide students with the best of both online and on-campus programs.

Snapshot of New York Cities

The following paragraphs provide a breakdown of New York's economic and demographic landscape by metro area. All economic data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the 2014 Cost of Living Index published by The Council for Community and Economic Research. All demographic data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau and the latest Labor Force Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New York City

The largest metropolitan area in the state of New York is comprised of New York City and the surrounding areas. With 8,416,800 working in the New York City, Northern New Jersey, and Long Island area and making an annual mean wage of $58,010, students who live and work in this region have solid prospects for a long-term career. The Cost of Living index in this area ranges from 220.3 in Manhattan to 163.4 in Brooklyn, and the value of homes averages from $1,355,865 in Manhattan to $922,003 in Brooklyn.

The New York City area includes 8,175,133 residents and 40 percent of the state's labor force as of April 1, 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
New York City is known for its diversity in culture and in ethnicity, but few people know that as many as 800 different languages are spoken within its confines, making it the most linguistically-diverse geographic region in the world.

Buffalo-Niagara Falls

The Buffalo-Niagara Falls region is the second-largest in the state of New York, and is home to 532,880 workers making an annual mean wage of $43,010. The Cost of Living index is 101.5, with home prices averaging $378,923.

Based on 2010 census data, the Buffalo-Niagara falls region boasts a total population of 1,135,509 inhabitants.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
Because of its low cost-of-living and wide range of industries, the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area was named as the 10th best place for working mothers in ForbesWoman Magazine.


The U.S. Census Bureau defines six counties in western New York, including the city of Rochester, as the Rochester Metropolitan area. This area is comprised of 493,990 workers making an annual mean wage of $44,500. With a Cost of Living index of 99.6, the average home prices are $250,823.

As of the 2010 Census, the Rochester, New York metropolitan area had a population of 1,149,653.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
The Rochester Metropolitan area is the second-wealthiest metropolitan area in the state of New York and includes a number of prominent colleges and universities including Bryant and Stratton College, Rochester Institute of Technology, and St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. The University of Rochester is the area's biggest employer with 22,500 employees as of 2014.

Helpful Resources

There are several tools that can help match aspiring students to an online school that meets their needs. The Open SUNY education portal, for instance, connects students with the many State University of New York campuses currently offering online degree options to students. The National Center for Education Statistics is another resource that can help students compare potential degree programs based on factors such as affordability, retention, and graduation rates.


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13. Saint Joseph's College,
14. SUNY at Oswego,
15. SUNY at Ulster,
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17. "The United States Census Bureau" The America Community Survey,
18. University College of Syracuse University,
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20. "U.S. Census Bureau," American Fact Finder,
21. "U.S. Census Bureau," American Fact Finder,
22. "U.S. Census Bureau," American Fact Finder,
23. "U.S. Census Bureau," Quick Facts, Rochester, New York,
24. U.S. Department of Education, The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs,
25. Utica College,
26. "What is Open SUNY?" Open SUNY,

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