Best Online Colleges in New York 2021

| TBS Staff

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Online colleges in New York allow students in the fourth most populated state to pursue the college experience that best suits their needs.

Online colleges in New York offer affordable, flexible options for earning a bachelor's degree. Working professionals, adult learners, and first-year students alike can pursue an online degree while staying close to home.

Many online schools in New York offer specialized programs, opening up educational opportunities for students interested in fields previously inaccessible to them. Reciprocity agreements may provide reduced tuition for learners living in neighboring states, such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. In- and out-of-state students alike also benefit from State University of New York (SUNY) system's online offerings, which facilitate transfers between member institutions.

Featured Online Schools

Our ranking provides insight into the variety of programs offered by the best online colleges in New York. The rankings incorporate data about the quality of programs, types of courses and degrees offered, faculty highlights, tuition rates, financial aid availability, and overall reputation.

Top 10 Online Colleges in New York 2021
#1 SUNY College of Technology at Alfred Alfred, NY
#2 SUNY College of Technology at Delhi Delhi, NY
#3 SUNY College at Oswego Oswego, NY
#4 SUNY College of Technology at Canton Canton, NY
#5 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY

The Best Online Colleges in New York

SUNY College of Technology at Alfred View School Profile $$$ Alfred, NY 56% 71% 25% Alfred State College of Technology is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Alfred State ranked as the number one State University of New York in 2021 by U.S. News and World Report and boasts a 17-to-1 student to teacher ratio.

Students can choose from a total of 10 online major paths offered through the online College of Technology. Areas of study include construction management, court reporting, healthcare information, and individual studies at a cost of under $300 per credit. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent, with other criteria evaluated on an individual basis.

SUNY College of Technology at Delhi View School Profile $$ Delhi, NY 44% 60% 41% SUNY Delhi is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Founded in 1913 in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, SUNY Delhi currently serves over 3,000 students annually and boasts a 15-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

The institution offers 10 bachelor's and master's programs completely online, including bachelor of science in criminal justice, bachelor of business administration in business and technology management, and bachelor of business administration in hotel and restaurant management.

Admission requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent and any collegiate transcripts for transfer students. Standardized test scores fall under SUNY Delhi's test-optional policy.

SUNY College at Oswego View School Profile $$$ Oswego, NY 64% 66% 23% SUNY Oswego is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Founded in 1861 on the banks of Lake Ontario, SUNY Oswego currently serves about 8,000 students annually with a 17-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

Online baccalaureate offerings include bachelor of science in business administration, bachelor of arts in criminal justice, bachelor of science in wellness management, and bachelor of arts in public relations. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent and a minimum GPA. Online program availability spans all four terms (spring, summer, fall, and winter).

SUNY College of Technology at Canton View School Profile $$ Canton, NY 40% 72% 61% SUNY Canton is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Founded in 1906, SUNY Canton currently serves over 3,000 undergraduate students annually and boasts a 17-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

SUNY Canton offers 22 majors completely online, including bachelor of science in crime analysis, bachelor of business administration in e-sports management, bachelor of science in applied psychology, and bachelor of science in emergency management.

Admission requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent, while standardized test scores are optional. Cost of attendance for in-state students runs about $300 per credit, while out-of-state students pay about $350 per credit.

Syracuse University View School Profile Syracuse, NY 83% 47% 13% Syracuse University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Syracuse was founded in 1870 and currently supports over 200 majors, 100 minors, and 200 advanced degrees across 13 schools and colleges. Almost 23,000 students attend Syracuse annually.

Syracuse offers seven undergraduate bachelor and associate degrees completely online, including bachelor of professional studies in computer programming, bachelor of arts in liberal studies, and bachelor of professional studies in cybersecurity administration.

Admission requirements include completion of or enrollment in secondary school, two academic recommendations, and counselor evaluation. Syracuse currently operates under a test-optional policy regarding standardized test scores.

Online Colleges in New York Ranking Guidelines

We selected the online schools in New York based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, and faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.

The motto of is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:

The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.

To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):

1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]

  • Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
  • Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
  • Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
  • Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
  • Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
  • Considers range of electives within that discipline
  • Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline

2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]

  • Considers education background of the faculty
  • Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
  • Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
  • Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
  • Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources

3. Reputation [weight = 20%]

  • Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
    • Faculty
    • Curriculum
    • “Freshness” of academic knowledge
    • Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
    • Suitability of graduates for the workplace

4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]

  • Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
  • Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants

5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]

  • Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
  • Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business

6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]

  • Considers the following of the online classes:
    • Types of online technology used to deliver content
    • Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
    • Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
    • Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
  • Considers the following of instructors:
    • Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
    • Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
    • Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
    • Ratio to number of students in a class
  • Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees

Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.

To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:

  • Accreditation
  • Public or private status
  • Acceptance rate
  • Retention rate
  • Graduation rate
  • ACT/SAT requirements
  • Cost in-state / out of state
  • Undergrad, grad, or both offered
  • Region
  • State
  • City

Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s advantage!

If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.

Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!

Employment in New York

Education, health services, and government industries accompany information services as the largest employers in New York. The unemployment rate in New York, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), rose to 4.5% in March 2021.

Healthcare occupations dominate the top paying careers in New York, offering both high salaries and opportunities for job growth. Students in New York earning a bachelor's degree in the natural sciences establish a strong foundation for pursuing advanced degrees and becoming anesthesiologists, orthodontists, and surgeons.

Similarly, the projected job growth for healthcare occupations bodes well for students with bachelor's degrees in nursing and human services. Home health and personal care aides will see an estimated growth of more than 52% and 40%, respectively.

The cost of living in New York varies significantly by location. In New York City, the cost of living exceeds the national average by 129%, while housing costs nearly 370% above the national average. Payscale indicates that cities like Albany, Ithaca, and Buffalo are all more affordable options, with cost of living estimates at about 10% above the national average.

Highest Paying Careers
Career Salary Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)
Anesthesiologists $212,730 22.1%
Orthodontists $194,590 N/A
Surgeons $230,890 19.3%
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons $230,720 21.5%
Obstetricians and Gynecologists $216,760 26.4%
Source: BLS, ProjectionsCentral
Fastest Growing Careers
Career Salary Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)
Solar Photovoltaic Installer $51,330 104.8%
Home Health Aides $29,290 52.4%
Physician Assistants $123,080 43.4%
Nurse Practitioners $122,550 41.6%
Personal Care Aides $36,560 40.6%
Source: BLS, ProjectionsCentral

Associate and Graduate Degrees

Individuals seeking entry-level positions in health services, public administration, tourism and hospitality, or education can earn an online associate degree by attending an online university in New York. The Open SUNY website offers comprehensive lists of associate degrees available to students online. Other public colleges and universities and private institutions similarly offer associate degrees for online students.

Individuals seeking entry-level positions in health services, public administration, tourism and hospitality, or education can earn an online associate degree by attending an online university in New York.

Online associate degrees in New York are pathways to continued study. Many community and technical colleges offer online associate degrees and maintain articulation agreements with four-year institutions. This facilitates easy transfers to bachelor's degrees for learners studying disciplines like nursing, information technology, and business.

Colleges and universities in New York also provide online programs for graduate learners, offering a flexible option for working professionals in fields like education, the sciences, and criminal justice.

Online graduate programs often mirror degrees offered on campus, although online learners often complete coursework asynchronously, meaning they don't have to log in at a set time. In an on-campus classroom, students have face-to-face interaction with classmates and instructors. In online programs, discussion forums, chats, and team assignments bring together peers and faculty alike for mentorship, collaboration, and guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Online College Cheaper in New York?

With comparable tuition and fees to their counterparts around the United States, online schools in New York provide an affordable path to a postsecondary degree, eliminating many on-campus costs.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Degree in New York?

Traditional bachelor's degrees span four years, but online programs often allow students to take classes in an accelerated format, which means they can graduate in as few as three years. Part-time learners typically complete a bachelor's degree in 4-8 years.

What Is the Most Popular Degree in New York?

According to SUNY, popular degrees in New York include health and related fields, social and behavioral science, and business and management.

Does an Online Degree Have the Same Value as an On-Campus Degree?

Institutions do not designate whether an earned degree was completed online or on campus when they issue degrees. Because students who attend online university in New York complete the same coursework, assessments, and activities as on-campus learners, they receive the same educational qualifications.

Is New York a Good State For Higher Education?

Government agencies are dedicated to ensuring affordable, quality programs. The Office of Higher Education oversees colleges and universities throughout the state, while the Higher Education Services Corporation is the student financial aid agency for New York.

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