Albany, New York (NY) Colleges and Universities

There are 30 schools within the Albany area. Read about the schools with the most program variety, lowest net price, highest graduation rate, and lowest student-faculty ratio to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

Albany is home to a variety of schools, many of which are private, liberal arts colleges and universities. This article looks at the non-profit schools in four different categories to help prospective students see which ones top the lists in the following respects:

  • Program Variety
  • Net Price
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

Traditional schools typically offer a range of academic programs. Having more options is particularly helpful for students who are still deciding on a major or a specialty. Among the roughly 20 traditional, public or private, not-for-profit schools in the area, the following three offer the most program variety.

1 - SUNY at Albany

With approximately 95 academic programs, the State University of New York's (SUNY's) Albany campus is among the schools with the most program variety. This public university was founded in 1844 and is situated in a suburban area, about five miles from downtown. U.S. News and World Report ranked SUNY at Albany #128 on its 2014 list of best national universities. The school's most popular majors - based on program completions in 2011-2012, per the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) - include biological and biomedical sciences; accounting, business administration, and management; English language and literature; social sciences; and psychology. Master's degrees were most commonly granted in public administration, education, and business; most doctoral degrees were granted in physical sciences and psychology. The NCES also reports that in the 2011-2012 academic year, the university conferred 3,046 bachelor's degrees, 1,265 master's degrees, 158 doctoral degrees, and 82 post-graduate certificates.

2 - The College of Saint Rose

The College of Saint Rose is a private school located in the heart of the city of Albany. The school is ranked 37th on U.S. News and World Report's 2014 list of the best regional universities (North), and according to its website, enrolled 2,881 undergraduate students and 1,623 graduate students in fall 2012. It offers more than 75 academic programs, including bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and certificate programs. According to the college's website, its most popular undergraduate programs in 2012 included communication sciences and disorders, childhood education, special education, business administration and criminal justice; popular graduate programs included literacy, education leadership and administration, and business administration. In the 2011-2012 school year, NCES statistics show that the college awarded 657 bachelor's degrees, 648 master's degrees, four undergraduate certificates, and 488 post-graduate certificates.

3 - Hudson Valley Community College

With around 74 academic programs, Hudson Valley Community College, located across the Hudson River and less than seven miles from Albany in the nearby city of Troy, comes in a close third place in terms of program variety. The school, which enrolled about 13,000 students in fall 2012, according to the NCES, has state-of-the art facilities, including a science center, stadium, sports complex, and theater. Services include the Center for Access and Assistive Technology, peer tutoring, and a daycare center. According to NCES, some of the most popular programs in the 2011-2012 academic year, based on program completions, included business administration and management, electrical and power transmission installation, registered nursing, criminal justice and law enforcement, and liberal arts. In that same year, the school awarded 221 1- but less than 2-year certificates and 1,975 associate's degrees.

Lowest Net Price

Students may also consider the costs associated with attending potential schools. Net price is calculated by the NCES by subtracting the average amount of grants or scholarship aid from the total in-state cost of attending a school in the 2011-2012 academic year. Many of the schools near Albany have net prices of $15,000 or higher (the most expensive costs more than $30,000). There are also less expensive options, including the three schools detailed below.

1 - Schenectady County Community College

According to the NCES, this 2-year public school located in neighboring Schenectady had a net price of $4,410 in 2011-2012. The 6,671 students at this school paid tuition and fees of $3,743 in 2012-2013 if they were New York residents or $7,127 if they were non-residents. Off-campus room and board were reported to cost $8,015. The NCES also reported that among incoming full-time students, 87% received financial aid in 2011-2012. The agency reported that 74% received grant or scholarship aid - an average of $5,233, while 47% received federal student loans - an average of $4,344.

2 - Hudson Valley Community College

One of the least expensive options in the area, Hudson Valley Community College, had an average net price of $9,640 in 2011-2012, per the NCES. Additionally, according to NCES, 76% of the college's first-time, full-time students received financial aid in 2011-2012. There were 67% who received grants or scholarships and 46% who received federal student loans; the average grant/scholarship award was $4,078, and the average federal student loan award was $4,334. The NCES also reports that in-state tuition and fees in the 2012-2013 academic year totaled $4,614, while out-of-state tuition and fees were $12,414. Additionally, students who lived off-campus paid $5,925 for room and board in 2012-2013; this school does not offer campus housing.

3 - SUNY at Albany

SUNY at Albany makes the list again, with an average net price of $13,692 in 2011-2012, according to the NCES. The agency also reported that roughly 80% of the university's incoming, full-time students received financial aid in 2011-2012, with 58% receiving grants or scholarships and 65% receiving student loans; the average grant or scholarship was $7,071, and the average federal loan amount was $5,777. NCES statistics also show that in the 2012-2013 academic year, in-state tuition and fees were $7,525, and out-of-state tuition was $15,335. On-campus room and board cost $11,276, and off-campus room and board totaled $9,750. According to U.S. News and World Report, in 2012, the average financial aid package was around $9,723, and 7% of students had their needs fully met; students who graduated in 2012 had an average of $24,126 in education debt.

Highest Graduation Rate

Graduation rates can give prospective students a good idea about their potential success of a given school. NCES calculates graduation rates by totaling the number of first-time students who complete degree or certificate programs within 150% of 'normal time' of their program's projected completion time (e.g., three years for a 2-year associate's degree or six years for a 4-year bachelor's degree). Most of the schools near Albany have graduation rates of 50% or higher. Based on NCES calculations, the schools listed below have the highest graduation rates among the traditional schools in the Albany area.

1 - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

With an overall graduation rate of 84% in 2011-2012, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy is among the area's most successful schools; it enrolled 5,391 undergrads and 1,267 grad students in fall 2012, per the NCES. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report (USNWR) ranked Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) as #41 on its 2014 list of the best national universities. According to USNWR, some of RPI's most popular majors among graduates in 2012 were engineering, business, marketing, biological and biomedical sciences, computer science and information sciences, and physical sciences. Among its graduates, approximately 60% of students who started bachelor's degree programs in 2006 completed their degrees in four years. Additionally, based on NCES statistics, the school has a transfer-out rate of 3% based on students who began in fall 2006. The NCES also reported that 94% of freshmen who started in fall 2011 returned to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute the following fall.

2 - Union College

This small, private, 4-year school located in Schenectady, NY, had an overall graduation rate of 83% for students who began programs in 2006, according to the NCES. The 4-year graduation rate for these students was 76%. Between 2011 and 2012, 94% of freshmen returned for their sophomore year. The school was ranked #41 among national liberal arts colleges by USNWR in 2014.

3 - Siena College

According to NCES, the overall graduation rate at Siena College, a private school in suburban Loudonville, is 73%, with 69% of its students who started in fall 2006 completing their degrees in four years, according to the NCES. This private college was ranked #126 on USNWR's 2014 list of the best national liberal arts colleges. Although 24% of the students who began in fall 2006 transferred out to other schools, NCES reports that 73% of the freshmen who started in fall 2010 returned in fall 2011 to continue their studies.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Schools with lower student-to-faculty ratios typically offer more personalized attention to students. Since most of the schools near Albany are fairly small, with student populations of less than 15,000, prospective students can expect to find relatively low student-faculty ratios (although some are as high as 32:1). The three schools detailed below have the lowest student-faculty ratios in the Albany area, based on NCES statistics.

1 - Union College

The NCES reported that Union College's student-faculty ration was 10:1 in 2012. The school's 2,241 students were taught by 207 full-time and 32 part-time faculty; this school doesn't have teaching assistants. USNWR reported that in 2012, Union College's classes were overwhelmingly small - 67.6% of them had 19 or fewer students enrolled.

2 - Siena College

With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1 in 2012, according to the NCES, Siena College is among the schools with the lowest ratios in the area. Based on NCES statistics, the college has around 210 full-time and 120 part-time instructional faculty members to serve its student population of 3,201 in fall 2012. According to the college's website, most classes contain an average of 22 students, although labs are usually smaller, with 10-19 students. USNWR also reported that in 2012, nearly 50% of classes had 19 students or fewer.

3 - The Sage Colleges

According to NCES, the student-to-faculty ratio at Troy's The Sage Colleges was 13:1 in 2012. In fall 2012, the school, which had a student population of 2,965 (about 1,700 of them undergrads), had around 151 full-time and 14 part-time instructional faculty members. The Sage Colleges is made up of Russell Sage College, Sage College of Albany (with an Albany campus), and The Sage Graduate Schools. Prospective students can expect to find relatively small classes. The college's website shows that the average size of classes at The Sage Colleges is approximately 18 students. According to USNWR, in 2012, a little more than half of the undergraduate classes offered held 19 students or fewer. The magazine also ranked the school #101 among regional universities (North) in 2014.

Albany, New York, Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degree Levels Offered Area Ranking
Hudson Valley Community College Troy, NY (6.8 miles from Albany)2-year, public Less than 1-year and 1- but less than 2-year certificates; associate's degree 2nd Lowest Net Price,
3rd Most Program Variety
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY (6.8 miles from Albany)4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees Highest Graduation Rate
Siena College Loudonville, NY (3.9 miles from Albany)4-year, private not-for-profit Less than 1-year, 1- but less than 2-year, and 2- but less than 4-year certificates; bachelor's and master's degrees3rd Highest Graduation
SUNY at Albany Albany, NY 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates Most Program Variety,
3rd Lowest Net Price
The College of Saint Rose Albany, NY 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's and master's degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates2nd Most Program Variety
The Sage CollegesTroy, NY (6.8 miles from Albany) 4-year, private not-for-profit Less than 1-year certificate; associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates 3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Schenectady County Community College Schenectady, NY (14.8 miles from Albany) 2-year, public 1- but less than 2-year certificate; associate's degree Lowest Net Price
Union College Schenectady, NY (14.4 miles from Albany) 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's degree Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate

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