Colleges and Universities in New York

College in NYC and Beyond

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that New York has more to offer than what’s found in “The Big Apple.” As one of the original thirteen colonies, and home some of the first universities including The Collegiate School, founded in 1628 and Columbia University founded in 1754, New York state is brimming with rich and diverse histories that are still relevant today. The fourth most populous state in the nation has to serve a diverse 19.8 million residents through higher education opportunities. Institutions must speak to both highly concentrated residents in New York, Rochester, Yonkers, Syracuse, and Buffalo, and the greater New York areas are made up of rural and suburban populations.

New York: Diversity and Responsibility in Higher Education

Even before the state was colonized, the Algonquain and Iroquoan-speaking tribes inhabited the region. During colonization, was the premiere gateway for immigration, and it still is today. In fact, New York City alone is one of the most diverse and heavily populated cities in the entire world, making up about 40% of the state’s entire population, and institutions must find ways to include these diverse populations appropriately.

New York has a strong history and still thriving record as a major manufacturing, trade, transportation, and finance center. Home to economic marvels Such as Wall Street, Tech Valley, Silicon Alley, and with booming Tourism and Media and Entertainment businesses, economically the state is in perpetual need for innovative minds trained in areas like business, finance, technology, and media. Another major hub of New York, especially seen in New York City, is the business of Exports, and schools like Clarkson University, Niagara University, and the State University of New York all offer degrees Supply Chain Management.

Higher Education in New York

New York’s higher education network is made up of over 200 diverse degree-granting colleges and universities, with nearly half of these found in New York City. Additionally, two-year institutions and Community Colleges, four-year-institutions, and professional and graduate schools are scattered across the state. Some of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the nation are found in New York, including New York University, Cornell University, Rockefeller University, and Columbia University, all of which have been ranked among the top 35 universities in the world.

Community Colleges in New York

New York has been finding ways to increase college and university attendance for residents with a New York state issued High School diploma or GED, and their efforts are paying off. High school graduation and college enrollment rates have both gone up. In 2014 studies showed that enrollment in two-year colleges across the state had boosted enrollment overall, with students primarily enrolling in CUNY community colleges. Today those numbers are still rising, especially with a boost statewide in offering accredited online degree programs and The Excelsior Scholarship.

New York’s Online Degree Programs

Online programs through New York state colleges make earning a degree from top tier schools like SUNY and CUNY accessible and affordable for students who may not be able to attend otherwise. Many of the schools have achieved national recognition for their programs and even Ivy League institutions, such as Columbia University, have jumped on board with online education, many offering degrees at the bachelor, master, and professional levels.

Best Online Colleges in New York

Paying for College in New York

Legislation passed in 2017 making New York the first state in the country to offer free tuition for students at New York State’s public colleges and universities. The program is called The Excelsior Scholarship and is expected to cut the cost of earning a degree at a four-year State University of New York college by about $26,000 annually for an eligible family making $100,000 a year. However, students who are eligible must complete their degrees in two to four years, depending on the type of degree they are seeking.

Lower income students often have to interrupt their studies for work, meaning they may not be eligible––at the community colleges, some 90% of the students would not qualify for the free tuition based on those requirements. Additionally, attending a private institution means higher costs and The Excelsior Scholarship doesn’t apply, but private and publish scholarships and grants are still available at the local, state, and national levels.


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