Best Online Colleges in New York 2021

Find a program that’s right for you.

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.

Table of Contents

Top 10 Online Bachelor Colleges in New York

Rank School Location
1 Utica College Utica, NY
2 Niagara University Niagara County, NY
3 Canisius College Buffalo, NY
4 SUNY College at Oswego Oswego, NY
5 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
6 The Sage Colleges Troy, NY
7 SUNY College at Brockport Brockport, NY
8 St. Joseph's College-New York Brooklyn, NY
9 Rochester Institute of Technology-RIT Online Rochester, NY
10 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY

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.


FAQ

  • Does SUNY offer online degrees?

    Yes, distance learners can choose from over 500 programs offered through SUNY Online, including bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees.

  • What is the average cost for online college?

    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.

  • Is college free in New York?

    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.

  • How many colleges does New York have?

    New York hosts over 200 colleges and universities, including 64 SUNY schools and 25 CUNY schools.


Best Online Colleges in New York 2021

  1. Utica College
    Location

    Utica, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in the middle of the state, Utica College is a smaller, more focused school that offers many of the benefits of a larger institution. Aside from their already prestigious on-campus courses, Utica has since expanded into the online sphere, bringing the same quality and respect that they've earned over their past 70 years to their online programs. Currently, Utica College offers 6 online programs, most of which are entirely online and are structured to be completed in the traditional 4-year period. The only exceptions to this are the bachelor's in fraud and financial crime, the RN-BSN program and the accelerated bachelor's in nursing program. Through the 2 nursing programs, students will either be required to be a registered nurse, or they will be required to partake in a hybrid program of online and on-campus courses. No matter which program students apply to, they will also be required to complete clinical hours to gain nursing certification in New York. Students should note that some of the online programs offered by the school are technically degree completion programs, such as the bachelor's in fraud and financial crime, and will require students to already have a minimum of 57 credits. Credits can be earned either through Utica's on-campus courses, through an associate degree or via transfer credits. Also, students in other programs can reduce the number of courses necessary to graduate if their credits apply. In terms of affordability, Utica College charges a flat rate per credit, making it easier for students to budget for their education.

  2. Niagara University
    Location

    Niagara County, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Niagara University is a private institution that draws from the teachings of St. Vincent de Paul, an advocate of charity, teaching and service. With this in mind, Niagara has established itself as a top location for students who want to earn a degree in education, as well as a destination for students who want to partake in a service learning mission-based program. Niagara might not have the most extensive list of online opportunities, but they are all high-quality. There are currently 6 programs offered by Niagara that are entirely online, along with online courses and certificates that students can use to specialize their education. While the programs offered are entirely online, some students should expect to spend time working in-person. As an example, students studying toward a bachelor's degree in special education online will have to spend time in the field gaining clinical experience in order to become teaching certified (if that's what they are pursuing). Other programs, like their bachelor's in educational leadership, won't require students to study in-person or on-campus unless they choose to. Online education through Niagara doesn't leave students to their own devices. Working through Canvas, students will spend time learning on their own while having video conferences with other students and the professor. Online students can expect to be engaged in other ways as well, all via the internet. Aside from any scheduled meetings or video calls, students will be able to study materials at their own pace. This unique model is part of the reason why so many online Niagara students are successful after graduating.

  3. Canisius College
    Location

    Buffalo, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Canisius College is set apart from other schools because of their Jesuit tradition and their emphasis on master's level programs. That being said, the college does offer over 140 different undergraduate programs to complement their 35 graduate level degrees. Canisius offers 11 different online master's degree programs. These programs can all be completed entirely online, and some through a hybrid format if students want to combine their studies online with on-campus courses. The length of these programs can vary, and some programs may also require some in-person work to earn certification, if that's what a student is aiming for. Their Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program stretches from first-year undergraduate to an 18 credit master's certification. While some of the coursework and professional experience needs to be completed in person, parts of this comprehensive program ? such as the master's degree and the advanced certification ? can be completed online. While their TESOL program is one of their most comprehensive to be offered online, other online master's degrees are available, ranging from Catholic studies to biology.

  4. SUNY College at Oswego
    Location

    Oswego, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Part of the larger State University of New York system, SUNY College at Oswego is one of the best at offering affordable online options. Offered through Blackboard, their online school takes some of the resources offered by the SUNY system and adds some that are specific to the College at Oswego. The College at Oswego also offers internship opportunities for students in some programs, setting it apart from many other online schools. The online undergraduate programs offered by the College at Oswego are degree completion, meaning students should have some form of previous school credit before applying. School credit is accepted through either associate degrees or transfer credits. Also, different online degree completion programs will require different credits prior to entry. For example, the online bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication requires at least 60 credits prior to entry while the online bachelor's in career and & technical education requires only 30 credits. Credits earned on-campus can be used toward the degree completion programs as well. For students who don't want to apply to one of the College at Oswego's 4 degree completion programs, there are over 100 online courses that can be used to supplement a hybrid degree during traditional semesters. Students who want to earn their degree faster can access 50 online courses during the winter and 180 online courses during the summer. There are also a variety of online master's degrees and certificates for students who want to continue or specialize their education.

  5. Stony Brook University
    Location

    Stony Brook, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located not far outside of New York City, Stony Brook University is a younger school in the state, but they've made in impression in their 60 years. Known for their combination of quality education and affordability, Stony Brook has been pushing to continue improving its already impressive reputation. Their most recent push has been into distance education through their online program. Stony Brook's online school may not be as large as other institutions, but they do an excellent job of making their online programs just as rigorous and challenging as their on-campus versions, helping students get a better education and preparing them for their future professions. Of the undergraduate programs, one of the most popular is their online electrical engineering program. One of the only online electrical engineering programs in the nation, this entirely online 4-year program is designed for students who are also working full-time. The electrical engineering program is taught by faculty members from 3 different universities as well, giving students access to more resources than similar programs might offer. Unlike many other online engineering programs, this program is offered entirely online. Stony Brook also offers an online biology undergraduate degree that can be specialized with one of two majors and 8 different online master's degrees. On top of that, Stony Brook has certificates that students can earn online to specialize their degree. Courses are offered year-round, and online students have access to advisory groups and other online resources.

  6. The Sage Colleges
    Location

    Troy, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Sage Colleges are a united collection of multiple colleges scattered across New York. Their main campus, located in Troy, was founded in 1916, and is recognized for its undergraduate and graduate level liberal arts programs. One of their newest campuses is online at the Russell Sage Online school. Like most online schools, Russell Sage Online offers flexibility in scheduling. But what sets Sage apart is their option to accelerate all of their online programs. Of the 2 fully online bachelor's degrees offered, the most interesting is the bachelor's of science in information technology with a focus on cybersecurity. This 4-year program prepares students for a role in cybersecurity. To help prepare students to their job search upon graduation, the program prepares all graduates to take and pass 12 different IT certifications. Their other bachelor's degree program in business administration also takes 4-years and can be specialized with a certificate in IT. Transfer students with over 90 credit hours can likely reduce the time it takes to earn either of these degrees. The Russell Sage Online program has gained renown in New York for its affordability. Instead of charging students based on the program they study or the state they currently reside in, this program charges a flat rate per credit. Prior to beginning online classes, students will get a one-on-one meeting with a tuition counselor to completely understand the cost of an online education. Also, Sage has opted to waive the application fee for all online applicants, keeping costs low.

  7. SUNY College at Brockport
    Location

    Brockport, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Among the top public schools in New York, SUNY College at Brockport has built a school culture of engagement, both in and out of the classroom. College at Brockport students have access to opportunities outside of school, giving them a more rounded education and helping them stand out against the competition when applying for jobs. Also helpful is the College at Brockport's extensive alumni network that reaches around the world, although many grads remain in New York. The College at Brockport currently has one main undergraduate program offered fully online: their RN-BSN fast track program. In this program, students will take courses online whenever they choose ? but they will be required to spend time in-person for clinical experience, as is required for certification. For students who prefer a hybrid option, the RN-BSN fast track program has that available as well. The length of the program depends on how many credits students come in with. The College at Brockport currently only allows up to 64 transferrable credits for the program. Along with their undergraduate program, there are also a variety of graduate degrees available entirely online, particularly through their school of education & human development. Aside from online degree programs, the College at Brockport offers a variety of online courses, so students can easily earn a degree through a combination of online and on-campus courses. Online courses are taken through the Blackboard Learning Management System, and students can access their coursework as long as they have a computer and internet access.

  8. St. Joseph's College-New York
    Location

    Brooklyn, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    St. Joseph's College is a New York based institution that has three main campuses: Brooklyn, Long Island and online. They offer a slew of undergraduate options, including dual degree and accelerated degree programs, as well as opportunities to gain professional experience while in school. Currently, St. Joseph's College offers over 20 online programs, 6 of which are at the undergraduate level. The bachelor's degrees offered are available entirely online, but students are allowed to study in a hybrid of online and on-campus for some courses. There are no online minors available, but St. Joes has 4 certificates designed specifically for undergraduate students. These are useful for supplementing a student's education while giving them extra skills and experience when they look for a job in their new field. To keep the cost of education lower for online students, St. Joseph's charges a flat rate per credit. Because this is lower than the cost of attending the school in a traditional way, they don't provide any additional financial support; however, many students earn state and federal grants to further reduce their tuition costs. Many of the students that apply to St. Joseph's online are new to college, but some will come in with credit from other schools. If students have already earned 24 transferable college credits, they won't have to supply as much information during the application process. Also, this will speed up the timeline for graduation, reducing the total cost of the program.

  9. Rochester Institute of Technology-RIT Online
    Location

    Rochester, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    With 5 campuses scattered across the globe, Rochester Institute of Technology is no stranger to non-traditional education. Based primarily out of Rochester, New York, RIT has grown into a 9 college university with over 15,000 students. But not all students are able to study in the traditional, on-campus format. To help, RIT created their online school, building off their decades of experience with distance education. While RIT does offer different undergraduate and graduate level programs that can be completed entirely online, they set themselves apart through the additional benefits offered through their online school. Job placement is an emphasis for RIT, and they pride themselves on helping place online students with jobs around the world. To make sure that students do end up in the role they want, RIT also gives online students access to advisors to help steer their education toward their career goals. Students with previous credits from another institution can transfer their credits toward their degree, and some credits can be awarded through work experience. Students who do choose to study online also receive a financial benefit. RIT discounts their traditional part-time undergraduate tuition rate by 36% for all new online students, keeping education affordable. Combined with other forms of financial aid, studying online can be much more affordable than earning an education the traditional way. Also, RIT's online school doesn't' follow the traditional semester or quarter systems. Courses start at 5 different points each year, allowing students to jump in whenever they're ready.

  10. Marist College
    Location

    Poughkeepsie, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Whether students are looking to finish their education or are just starting out, the online school at Marist College offers several opportunities. Like many online schools, Marist has structured their 10 bachelor's degree programs to fit the busy schedules of non-traditional students, allowing them to study at their own pace but still complete a degree in 4 years. However, Marist College separates itself by offering a unique accelerated online course option. The online accelerated courses are for undergraduate students only, and they satisfy the core courses needed to graduate. Accelerated courses last 8 weeks in the spring, summer and fall and last only 4 weeks in the winter. The current bachelor's degree programs are actually meant to be degree completion programs, meaning Marist expects that many of their online students will come in with previous school credit. Students are not required to have previous credit upon applying, though. All of the degrees currently offered are available entirely online, but students are allowed to study in a hybrid format of online and on-campus, giving students flexibility to study in whatever way works best for them. Because Marist's online degrees are also designed for degree completion, transfer students are more than welcome to apply, and their previously earned credit can go toward completing their online degree. All tuition and fees are the same for students regardless of which state they live in and whether they are studying in an entirely online or hybrid format.

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.

How Does College Accreditation Work?

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.

  • New York State Tuition Assistance Program

    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

    See Scholarship

  • Excelsior Scholarship

    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

    See Scholarship

  • NYS Part-time Scholarship

    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.

    Amount: $1,500

    See Scholarship

  • NYS Scholarships for Academic Excellence

    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.

    Amount: $1,500

    See Scholarship

  • NYS Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship

    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.

    Amount: $500

    See Scholarship

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.


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