Accredited online colleges meet the same high standards as on-campus schools. In fact, many top-ranked colleges in New York, including SUNY and CUNY schools, offer online degrees. For example, SUNY Online offers over 500 online degrees.
A college degree expands career opportunities and earning potential. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that professionals with a bachelor's degree make $26,000 more per year, on average, than workers with only a high school diploma.
Our list ranks the best online colleges in New York for 2021. Prospective students can use the rankings to find the right fit for their schedule, interests, and professional goals. This article also introduces common requirements and scholarship opportunities for students at New York online colleges.
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Top Online Programs
Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.
Yes, distance learners can choose from over 500 programs offered through SUNY Online, including bachelor's degrees and master's degrees.
The cost of online college varies depending on the program and school. For example, online programs at in-state public schools generally cost less than programs at private schools.
New York residents who attend a CUNY or SUNY school and make less than $125,000 per year qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship, which covers the cost of in-state public education.
New York hosts over 200 colleges and universities, including 64 SUNY schools and 25 CUNY schools.
Best Online Colleges in New York 2021
A residential college of technology located in the town of Alfred, New York, Alfred State provides a career-focused, liberal arts education with nearly 80 major options. The school provides over 100 organizations and clubs available for students, and Division III athletics such as baseball, basketball, and football to enjoy.
Alfred State offers both associate and bachelor's degree programs online. In 2018, AffordableColleges.com ranked Alfred State in the top 40 for Online RN-to-BSN Degrees. The same year, U.S. News & World Report recognized two of Alfred State's online associate degree programs: Court and real-time reporting ranked number one nationwide, and health information technology ranked number two nationwide.
Alfred State's Online programs hold accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Students can choose to participate in a full load of four to five online classes per semester or choose to take only one or two classes at a time if that better fits their schedules. Degree-seekers can commence non-credit courses at any time.
A short three-hour drive to New York City, SUNY Delhi nestles in the scenic Catskill Mountains. Established in 1913, the college enrolled over 3,000 students in the fall of 2020 and boasts 19 athletic teams, a 625-acre campus, and a 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school confers associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees, certificates, and non-credit or non-matriculated courses and programs. Prospective students can choose between over 60 majors and programs.
Courses at SUNY Delhi function best for working professionals. These online majors allow for more flexibility and can be completed part-time or full-time with no residency requirement. The college recently initiated its Middle States Self-Study process for MSCHE accreditation. Individual programs hold accreditation by relevant industry agencies.
SUNY Delhi was recognized as a top online learning institution in 2020, providing the best online bachelor’s programs in criminal justice, hospitality management, and nursing RN-to-BSN.
The University at Albany (UAlbany), a public research university with over 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students, comprises nine schools and colleges. UAlbany offers over 50 undergraduate majors and 150 graduate programs. SUNY at Albany also provides students with access to over 1,200 experienced faculty members, 300 clubs and organizations, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic teams.
UAlbany's online course catalog contains more than 150 fully online courses, and nearly 30 online graduate degrees and certificates in education, information science, and public health. The school features a unique, fully online bachelor's program in informatics that blends in-demand IT and computing skills.
Chartered by the Board of Regents of New York State, UAlbany holds full accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. UAlbany counts itself a member of the Council of Graduate Schools in the U.S. and holds a variety of specialized program accreditations.
With 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students and 110 on-campus and online programs, SUNY Oswego offers options for all schedules and career paths. Founded in 1861, the campus and home to 24 NCAA Division III athletic teams, sprawls by the shore of Lake Ontario.
Degree-seekers can obtain online bachelor's completion degrees in broadcasting and mass communication, business administration, criminal justice, public relations, and wellness management. A variety of online master's degrees and post-baccalaureate certificate programs round out the course catalog.
Online courses can supplement an in-person degree study at SUNY Oswego’s main or Syracuse campuses. Students can also complete programs entirely online. SUNY Oswego holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Founded in 1870, private research institution Syracuse University boasts 13 schools and colleges, 200 majors, 100 minors, and numerous online degree and certificate options. Each year, the central New York-located Syracuse enrolls nearly 22,000 students globally and offers more than 300 organizations and clubs for students.
Online students at Syracuse learn from the same faculty who teach on-campus classes: top scholars, innovators, and leaders in their respective fields. Sixty-nine programs, from business to journalism to computer science, pack the degree offerings. Many degrees allow for completion entirely online, while some may require in-person residencies. Recently, the university ranked first in the nation for its online joint JD/MBA program, the first degree program of its kind in the nation and a collaboration between the Syracuse University College of Law and Whitman School of Management.
Syracuse University holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
What Are the Goals of an Online Degree?
Earning a college degree helps professionals specialize their skills, qualify for more job opportunities, and increase their salaries. The online learning format also gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.
Online colleges in New York offer degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and graduate levels. Distance learners may pursue degrees in fields like business, education, social work, and engineering.
Why Get an Online Degree?
An online college degree offers several personal and professional benefits, including flexibility and increased earning potential.
- Flexibility: Online learning formats give students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.
- Increased Earning Potential: According to BLS data, people with a bachelor's degree make $26,000 more each year, on average, compared to those with only a high school diploma.
- Major Options: Online students can pursue degrees in fields like the liberal arts, business, education, social work, and engineering.
- Accessibility: Distance learners can attend top programs around the country without relocating.
- Tuition Discounts: New York residents qualify for tuition discounts at in-state public schools, including CUNY and SUNY schools. Additionally, many schools allow all online students to pay in-state tuition regardless of residency.
What Are the Requirements for an Online School?
Students applying to New York online colleges must meet certain requirements. Most programs require a high school diploma or the equivalent. Applicants may also need to submit SAT or ACT scores, a statement of purpose, recommendation letters, and/or a resume.
After gaining admission, undergraduates complete courses in their major, general education requirements, and electives. Some students also complete minor courses. Students may also complete an internship, capstone project, and/or thesis.
Scholarships for Online Students
In New York, the Higher Education Services Corporation connects students with state-sponsored scholarships and grants. In addition to the following opportunities, online students should research scholarships based on factors like their school, major, and career goals.
Who Can Apply: New York residents attending an approved college in New York qualify for this tuition assistance program. Recipients do not need to repay the grant.
Amount: Up to $5,165
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports New York residents attending a CUNY or SUNY college. Applicants must meet income requirements and enroll in at least 12 credits per term.
Amount: Up to $5,500
Who Can Apply: Students enrolled part time at a SUNY or CUNY college qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must be New York residents in an approved undergraduate program.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship awards up to $1,500 per year to graduates from New York State high schools who attend college in New York. Applicants must be New York residents.
Who Can Apply: New York State offers merit-based scholarships to graduates from New York high schools. Recipients must attend a college in New York and demonstrate legal residency in the state for at least 12 months.