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Continuing our series of best online college by state rankings, we have examined all online colleges in New York state and chosen to showcase the top 20 schools, based on the methodology stated below.
We have evaluated all of the colleges and universities located within the state of New York and ranked the top 20 schools that offer online college courses for distance learning students.
We have ranked each of the New York colleges that offer students online academic programs. The criteria that we used to do the rankings was:
- 50%: Freshman Retention Rates and;
- 50%: Graduation Rates
A school’s freshman retention rate is a significant indicator of student satisfaction with the education that they are receiving and the school in general. A school’s graduation rate is another important thing to look at, as it shows that a school is both proficient with providing students with a quality education and is also capable of ensuring that attending students develop a strong understanding of the information that they are being provided by their instructors. To obtain these two rates, we utilized each school’s website whenever possible and, if we were unable to find the information we needed, we used U.S. News and World Report‘s database. In cases where two or more schools tied, we used the alphabetical ordering the school’s names to place them in the ranking.
We also consulted our own ranking of the top 100 best online colleges when ranking these colleges.
Top 20 Best New York Colleges Offering Online Classes
20: University of Rochester
The University of Rochester is a private and not-for-profit research university which is located in Rochester, New York. The University of Rochester was originally established in 1850 and, today is organized into six schools through which enrolled students can obtain an undergraduate degree, graduate degree or a professional certification program. Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics is home to the second most energetic fusion laser in the world, and the university is recognized for the quality of its Eastman School of Music, which is considered to be one of the top schools of music in the world. Additionally, Rochester is home to the Institute of Optics which, having been founded in 1929, is the educational program in the United States to be devoted exclusively to the area of optics. Rochester is home to the Memorial Art Gallery, which is a member institution art museum that holds numerous collections and pieces of work. Rochester is ranked as the 33rd best among national universities by U.S. News and World Report, and the Hajim School of Engineering’s graduate program was ranked as the 38th best of its kind in the nation by the same publication.
School’s Website https://www.rochester.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 63.0%
Graduation Rate: 46.8%
Final Score: 109.8/200
19: Hofstra University
Hofstra University is a private, not-for-profit and nonsectarian university which is located on Long Island in the village of Hempstead, New York. Hofstra University was originally established in 1935 as an extension of the New York University and was Long Island’s first private university. Today, Hofstra University is the largest private university in Long Island and is composed of ten different schools through which more than 11,000 students are enrolled in an academic program. Hofstra University is home to the Hofstra University Museum, which is an art museum which includes two galleries; the Emily Lowe Gallery and the David Filderman Gallery. The museum is home to more than 5,000 works of art and ethnographic specimens dating from 5,000 BCE to the contemporary period, and six continents are represented in the collections. Additionally, the campus features an Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, which has a diverse collection of trees and attracts many specimens of birds. Hofstra University offers to its attending students a wide selection of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certification programs from which to choose from, and many of which are available online.
School’s Website https://www.hofstra.edu/home/index.html
Freshman Retention Rate: 79.0%
Graduation Rate: 61.1%
Final Score: 140.1/200
18: City University of New York – Queens College
The City University of New York – Queens College is a public 4-year college and is a member of the City University of New York System. The college is located in the Queens borough of New York City, New York and was in established in 1937. CUNY Queens College is home to many academic institutes and centers, such as the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, the Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment, the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, the Michael Harrington Center for Democratic Values and Social Change and the Aaron Copland School of Music. The Aaron Copland School of Music is one of the oldest and most recognized departments of the college, having been founded when the Queens College originally opened. CUNY Queens College is also home to the Benjamin Rosenthal Library, which houses a collection of more than 800,000 books. Queens College offers to its students the choice of undergraduate degrees in 78 majors, Master’s degrees in 24 areas and 20 Doctoral degrees, in addition to numerous professional certification programs. A selection of these academic programs are also available in an online and asynchronous format to cater to distance learning students.
School’s Website https://www.qc.cuny.edu/Pages/home.aspx
Freshman Retention Rate: 86.0%
Graduation Rate: 56.5%
Final Score: 142.5/200
17: Adelphi University
Adelphi University is a private, not-for-profit and nonsectarian university which is located in Garden City, New York and which was originally established in 1896, making it the oldest university in the area. Adelphi University has obtained a Community Engagement University rating from the Carnegie Foundation and was named as a Best College in the Northeastern Region by The Princeton Review in 2010. Adelphi University is home to the Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program, which was established in 1980 as the Woman-to-Woman Hotline. The hotline is the second-oldest of its kind located in the United States and is operated by more than 100 trained volunteers. Adelphi University is composed of 8 schools and colleges, through which more than 8,000 students are enrolled in an academic program. Undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs, and professional certificate-granting programs are all available at the university, and many of the offered programs are available in an online and fully asynchronous format, allowing for a large amount of educational flexibility.
School’s Website https://www.adelphi.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 83.0%
Graduation Rate: 63.3%
Final Score: 146.3/200
16: Saint Joseph’s College, New York
Saint Joseph’s College, New York is a private, not-for-profit and Roman Catholic-affiliated liberal arts college which is located in Brooklyn, New York and which has a satellite campus in Patchogue, Long Island. SJCNY, as the college, is commonly referred to as, offers to its students 54 majors to choose from at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Additionally, numerous professional certification programs are also available from which students can choose. Many of the available academic programs are offered in an online and asynchronous format. SJCNY was originally established in 1916 as the St. Joseph’s College for Women and was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, a Roman Catholic congregation of women. The College was first accredited in 1928 by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). SJCNY is counted as a member of many respected groups, such as: the American Council on Education, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Association of Colleges of Sisters of Saint Joseph, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the National League for Nursing among others.
School’s Website https://www.sjcny.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 85.0%
Graduation Rate: 69.9%
Final Score: 154.9/200
15: State University of New York at Stony Brook University
The State University of New York at Stony Brook, which is commonly referred to simply as SUNY Stony Brook, is a public sea-grant and space-grant research university which is located in Stony Brook, New York. SUNY Stony Brook is a part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system and was originally established in 1957 as the State University College on Long Island. SUNY Stony Brook was elected to become one of the 60 member-institutions of the international and nonprofit organization of Association of American Universities in 2001 and is also a member institution of the Universities Research Association. SUNY Stony Brook operates Stony Brook Medicine which includes the Stony Brook University Hospital and the university co-manages the Brookhaven National Laboratory along with the Battelle Memorial Institute. The university is composed of twelve schools and colleges through which more than 25,000 total students can enroll in an undergraduate degree-granting program, a graduate degree-granting program or a professional certification program. Many of these are also available online, such as their popular Master of Science in Human Resource Management program or their Advanced Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management program.
School’s Website https://www.stonybrook.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 89.0%
Graduation Rate: 67.3%
Final Score: 156.3/200
14: Saint John Fisher College
Located in Pittsford, New York, Saint John Fisher College is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts college which was originally established in 1948 and which was named after John Fisher, a Catholic bishop and theologian that is venerated by the Roman Catholics as a Saint. SJFC, as the college is commonly referred to as, was founded as a men’s school by the Basilian Fathers (an apostolic community of priests and students seeking to obtain priesthood) with the financial aid and backing of James E. Kearney, the then-Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester. Today, SJFC is made up of five schools through which it offers to its more than 2,700 enrolled students the choice of 35 undergraduate majors, as well as a selection of Master’s degree programs, Doctoral degree programs, and professional certification programs. The five schools that SJFC is organized into are the School of Arts and Sciences, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education, the School of Business, the Wegmans School of Pharmacy and the Wegmans School of Nursing. The Wegmans School of Nursing is home to the college’s very popular and comprehensive online RN to BSN program. This program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the New York State Education Department and takes students between 12 and 18 months to complete due to the mostly asynchronous nature of the program.
School’s Website https://www.sjfc.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 85.0%
Graduation Rate: 72.0%
Final Score: 157.0/200
13: State University of New York at Oneonta
The State University of New York at Oneonta, which is commonly referred to simply as SUNY Oneonta, is a public, four-year liberal arts college and which is a member of the State University of New York System. SUNY Oneonta is located in Oneonta, New York and was originally established in 1889 as the Oneonta Normal School to train teachers and to expand public education in the area. SUNY Oneonta became a founding member of the State University of New York system in 1948 and was officially renamed to the State University College of Education in 1951. Today, SUNY Oneonta offers to its more than 6,000 attending students the option of 44 undergraduate degree-granting programs, eight pre-professional programs, five cooperative professional programs, six graduate degree-granting programs and three graduate certification programs from which to choose. Many of these academic programs are also available online in an asynchronous format and are taught by the same dedicated academic faculty as the programs’ on-campus counterparts, ensuring that distance learning students will receive a flexible but comprehensive education. Additionally, SUNY Oneonta has an active Greek Life and numerous student-ran organizations on campus, such as the Terpsichorean Dance Company and the acapella choir, Hooked on Tonics.
School’s Website https://suny.oneonta.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 86.0%
Graduation Rate: 72.0%
Final Score: 158.0/200
12: State University of New York at Buffalo
The State University of New York at Buffalo, which is commonly referred to simply as SUNY Buffalo, is a public sea-grant and space-grant research university which is located in Buffalo, New York. SUNY Buffalo was originally established in 1846 by the 13th President of the United States, Millard Fillmore. SUNY Buffalo is the largest campus of the State University of New York System based on student enrollment sizes, with a student enrollment size which exceeds more than 30,000 total students. According to the Carnegie Foundation, SUNY Buffalo is a Doctoral Research University with a Highest Research Activity rating and houses the largest state-operated medical school, dental school, education school, business school, engineering school. Additionally, SUNY Buffalo also features the only state-operated schools of law, architecture & urban planning and pharmacy in the state of New York. SUNY Buffalo offers more than 100 Bachelor’s degrees, 205 Master’s degrees, 84 Doctoral degrees and numerous professional certification programs through the 13 colleges into which the university is organized. SUNY Buffalo has garnered much national and international recognition over the years, and among the numerous accolades the university has received, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks SUNY Buffalo 1st on their “Green Power List” of the top colleges and universities in the nation. U.S. News and World Report has also ranked the university 10th in their 2016 “Best Online Graduate Education Programs” ranking.
School’s Website https://www.buffalo.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 88.0%
Graduation Rate: 71.9%
Final Score: 159.9/200
11: Clarkson University
Originally established in 1896 with funding from the sisters of Thomas S. Clarkson, Clarkson University is a private research university which is located in Potsdam, New York. Clarkson University is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as being a Research University with a High Research Activity rating. Additionally, it was ranked in Forbes magazine’s Top 50 list of the top entrepreneurial universities in the nation; and the university’s Entrepreneurship Program itself was ranked in 2014 as being one of the Top 15 Entrepreneurship Programs available in the country, according to both the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Clarkson University is organized into five schools. These include the School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Business, the Institute for a Sustainable Environment, the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering and the Clarkson School–through which more than 4,000 students pursue an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree or a professional certification, including many multidisciplinary degrees and certifications. Across these levels of study, students have the choice from 50 majors and minors, and many of the academic programs available on-campus are also available online in an asynchronous format. Clarkson University also participates in many student exchange programs with schools across Europe and Asia, such as their partnership with the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.
School’s Website https://www.clarkson.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 89.0%
Graduation Rate: 71.8%
Final Score: 160.8/200
10: Houghton College
With a variety of online programs available, such as a Psychology Bachelor of Arts program and a Management Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Business program, Houghton College makes for an excellent choice for any distance-learning student that needs both flexibility and affordability in an academic program. Houghton College–which is located in Houghton, New York–is a private, not-for-profit and Christ-centric liberal arts college. Houghton College maintains an affiliation with the Wesleyan Church and is a member of both the Christian College Consortium (CCC) and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). Houghton College was originally established in 1883 as the Houghton Seminary (a coeducational high school) and was founded by Willard J. Houghton, a Wesleyan Methodist minister. The college grants to students both 2-year and 4-year degrees which span across 46 different areas-of-study. Additionally, the college gives six different graduate degrees which are offered through the college’s Greatbatch School of Music. Houghton College first obtained accreditation in 1935 by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), which is the region’s United States Department of Education-approved institution accreditor.
School’s Website https://www.houghton.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 87.0%
Graduation Rate: 75.0%
Final Score: 162.0/200
9: Fordham University
Fordham University is a private, not-for-profit Jesuit-affiliated research university which is located in New York City, New York. Fordham was originally established in 1841 as St. John’s College. Since 2003, Fordham University has produced at least 102 Fulbright Scholars, making it a high producer of Fulbright Scholar-recipients. The university today is organized into four undergraduate schools; these are the Fordham College, the Fordham College at Lincoln Center, the Gabelli, the School of Business and the School of Professional and Continuing Studies. There are also six graduate schools; these are the School of Law, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education, the Graduate School of Social Service, the Gabelli School of Business and the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education. Through these schools, Fordham instructs more than 15,000 students in over 50 areas-of-study. One of the more popular academic programs offered through Fordham University is the Personalized Interdisciplinary Major option, which allows students to custom-build their course of study across various disciplines, allowing them to create a program which best suits their personal and professional goals.
School’s Website https://www.fordham.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 90.0%
Graduation Rate: 80.3%
Final Score: 170.3/200
8: Marist College
Marist College is a private, not-for-profit and Roman Catholic-affiliated liberal arts college which is located in Poughkeepsie, New York. Marist College also has a branch campus in Florence, Italy in addition to maintaining study sites in 26 countries around the globe. Marist College was originally established in 1905 by the Marist Brothers–a Roman Catholic congregation of men. Marist College has a selection of 56 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and 21 professional certificate programs for students to choose from, including a myriad of online programs. One of the college’s more popular online program is their comprehensive and asynchronous Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Marist College has a long-standing partnership with IBM, with numerous collaborations taking place between the two since 1988. Marist is also home to the Marist Institute of Public Opinion (a polling organization), the Hudson River Valley Institute (the educational branch of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area) and the Center for Applied Research in Collaborative and On-Demand Computing (which provides business and industries in New York with cutting-edge computing technology and research).
School’s Website https://www.marist.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 91.0%
Graduation Rate: 79.3%
Final Score: 170.3/200
7: State University of New York at Binghamton
The State University of New York at Binghamton, which is commonly referred to simply as SUNY Binghamton, is a public space-grant research university which is located in Binghamton, New York, and a satellite campus in Vestal, New York. SUNY Binghamton is a member-institution of the State University of New York System and was originally established in 1946 as the Triple Cities College. SUNY Binghamton is organized into eight colleges and schools through which the university instructs the nearly 17,000 students who are enrolled into one of the many available undergraduate degree programs, graduate degree programs or professional certification programs that are offered. Many of these academic program offerings are also available in an online and asynchronous format. The Carnegie Foundation classifies SUNY Binghamton as being a Research University with a High Research Activity rating. The university was ranked as the 10th best public university in the United States by Business Insider in 2016, as the 11th Up-and-Coming Schools by U.S. News and World Report in 2010 and in the same year as being home to the second-best Accounting program in the nation by BusinessWeek. SUNY Binghamton operates 33 research centers across the country, such as the Center for Development and Behavioural Neuroscience, the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture and the Institute for Materials Research among others.
School’s Website https://www.binghamton.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 91.7%
Graduation Rate: 80.9%
Final Score: 172.6/200
6: Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private, not-for-profit research university which is located in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse University was originally established in 1820, and the university’s campus buildings feature a variety of different architectural styles because of the university’s long history. According to the Carnegie Foundation, Syracuse University is a Research University with a Highest Research Activity rating. Today, Syracuse University is organized into 13 schools and colleges, through which more than 21,000 total students are enrolled in an academic program. The available academic programs include over 200 undergraduate majors, a number of both graduate degrees and 24 professional certification programs. Many these programs are also available in an online and asynchronous format, such as the university’s Bachelor of Professional Studies in Creative Leadership program. Syracuse is home to multiple libraries and museums, and the university maintains 29 research institutions across the nation, such as the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute, the Burton Blatt Institute, the Alan K. Campbell Public Affairs Institute and the Olivia and Walter Kiebach Center for International Business Studies. Additionally, Syracuse often collaborates with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, among many other nationally and internationally recognized institutes.
School’s Website https://www.syracuse.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 92.0%
Graduation Rate: 80.7%
Final Score: 172.7/200
5: New York University
New York University is a private, not-for-profit research university which is located in New York City, New York, and which is often referred to simply as NYU. NYU was originally established in 1831 by Albert Gallatin, the Secretary of Treasury under both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Today, New York University is highly regarded as being on of the most influential research universities in the entire nation and, arguably, in the world. NYU is what is known as a world-class university, which is a university which has campuses located in other countries. NYU operates NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, and the university also operates ten global academic centers in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv and an additional center in Washington D.C. New York University is organized into 18 schools and colleges, through which more than 50,000 total students are enrolled in one of the available academic programs. One of NYU’s most reputable and recognized schools would have to be the New York University School of Law, which is consistently ranked in the top 5 best law schools in the world by QS World University Rankings and was ranked as the 6th best law school overall in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News and World Report also ranks the school’s international law and tax law programs as the best of their kind in the nation.
School’s Website https://www.nyu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 92.0%
Graduation Rate: 83.2%
Final Score: 175.2/200
4: Yeshiva University
Commonly referred to simply as YU, Yeshiva University is a private, not-for-profit and Modern Orthodox Judaism-affiliated research university which is located in Washington Heights, New York. Yeshiva University was originally established in 1886 and is the oldest institution of higher learning located in the United States that combines a liberal arts studies with Jewish principles. In addition to its main campus in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, the university maintains three other New York City locations; the Resnick Campus which is located in the Morris Park neighborhood of the Bronx; the Brookdale Center in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan; and the Beren Campus in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. The university’s building in Jerusalem contains a branch of the rabbinical seminary and an office which coordinates the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program that enables students to incorporate study in Israel into their academic studies from YU. While participating in the study in Israel, students will study Jewish subjects while learning firsthand about Israel’s fascinating history and culture from those that make up the threads that create the area’s rich tapestry of life.
School’s Website https://www.yu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 90.0%
Graduation Rate: 85.3%
Final Score: 175.3/200
3: Rochester Institute of Technology
The Rochester Institute of Technology–which is commonly referred to simply as RIT–is a private and not-for-profit doctoral research university which is located in Henrietta, New York. RIT was originally established in 1829 as the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute. The school’s birth resulted from a merger between the Rochester AthenÊum (established 1829) and the Mechanics Institute (established 1885). RIT originally was located in Rochester, New York, but moved to its present-day location in 1968 due to outgrowing its former facilities and due to the area surrounding the university in Rochester being expensive due to scarcity. RIT is organized into nine colleges and three small academic divisions (the RIT Center for Multidisciplinary Studies, the Golisano Institute for Sustainability and the University Studies). Additionally, RIT operates four campuses which are located in Europe (the United States Business School Praha which is located in Prague, Czech Republic; RIT Croatia which has a location in Dubrovnik, Croatia and one in Zagreb, Croatia; and RIT Kosovo which is located in Pristina, Kosovo) and one school located in the Middle East (RIT Dubai, which is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates). RIT also maintains numerous international partnerships with schools from six countries, including India, Turkey, and Peru.
2: Cornell University
Cornell University is a private, not-for-profit Ivy League doctoral research university which is located in Ithaca, New York and which was originally established in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. Cornell offers to students a wide-variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certification programs both on-campus and online, with online programs such as CPR Advanced Life Support (ALS) certificate program, Organic Gardening certificate program and a Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering degree program being available. In addition to the university’s online degree programs and certification programs, there are many Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which are available and which are offered at no cost. For the 2016-17 year, Cornell was ranked as the 16th best private university in the world by QS World University Rankings and was ranked as the 19th best in the same category by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Cornell is ranked fourth in the world in producing graduates who go on to pursue a Ph.D. in engineering or in the field of natural sciences at an institute in the United States, as well as being ranked fifth in the world for the amount of graduates who go on to pursue a Ph.D. in any field from an institution located within the nation that graduate from Cornell.
1: Columbia University in the City of New York
Columbia University in the City of New York, which is commonly referred to simply as Columbia University, is a private and not-for-profit Ivy League research university which is located in New York City, New York. Columbia University was originally established in 1754 as the King’s College, a royal charter of George II of Great Britain. Columbia University is the oldest college in New York and was the fifth-chartered institution of higher learning in the nation; making it one of the nine Colonial Colleges which were founded before the Declaration of Independence was written. After the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War, King’s College briefly became a state entity and was renamed Columbia College (1784). The name was changed a final time in 1896 when Columbia was given the authority to confer graduate degrees. Columbia is organized into 16 schools and colleges, through which more than 30,000 students are enrolled into an academic program. Columbia University was ranked 3rd among national universities by the Wall Street Journal and first among Ivy League universities in 2016. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report ranked Columbia as the 4th overall best out of all national universities in 2016. Also in 2016, the university was ranked 9th in the world by Academic Ranking of World Universities, 20th in the world by QS World University Rankings and 16th globally by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. These accolades are but a minute fraction of the national and international praise and recognition that Columbia has received over the years. Columbia’s almost perfect freshman retention rate and stellar graduation rate are among the many reasons why Columbia University is the absolute best university in the state of New York.
School’s Website https://www.columbia.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 99.0%
Graduation Rate: 94.0%
Final Score: 193.0/200