New York State Higher Education Overview

New York State is home to 325 public and private not-for-profit schools. Compare some of the schools in New York that have been organized into four individual categories to determine which schools might be right for you.

Students in the state of New York have a large number of higher education options. We compare the largest public and private not-for-profit schools by assessing important criteria to students with data from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES).

New York Schools Near Large Cities

New York offers students the chance to attend college in or around a large city, including the five boroughs. A majority of the schools in large cities are private institutions. Many of those are 4-year schools.

  • Barnard College (New York)
  • Boricua College (New York)
  • Bramson ORT College (Forest Hills)
  • Canisius College (Buffalo)
  • College of Mount Saint Vincent (Bronx)

Largest Schools in New York

The largest schools in New York had more than 25,000 students as of the fall of 2015, most of which are public schools. Some of these public schools offer students the opportunity to work towards undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

  • New York University (50,027 students)
  • Excelsior College (43,123 students)
  • University at Buffalo (29,796 students)
  • Columbia University in the City of New York (28,086 students)
  • CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College (27,309 students)

Lowest Net Price

NCES determines average net prices for new full-time undergraduates by subtracting the average financial aid award from the total cost of attendance. During the 2014-2015 school year, the schools offering the lowest net prices in New York were all 2-year community colleges.

  • Schenectady County Community College ($3,507)
  • Nassau Community College ($3,817)
  • Ulster County Community College ($4,049)
  • Erie Community College ($4,545)
  • Orange County Community College ($4,945)

Highest Graduation Rate

This rate might indicate student satisfaction with schools or programs. NCES calculates graduation rates by determining the portion of full-time first-time students who graduate within 150% of the normal time, like three years for two-year programs or six years for four-year degrees. The following schools had the highest overall graduation rates for students enrolling 2009.

  • Columbia University in the City of New York (95% graduation rate)
  • Cornell University (93% graduation rate)
  • Hamilton College (92% graduation rate)
  • Vassar College (91% graduation rate)
  • Barnard College (91% graduation rate)

These four categories based on price, location, student population, and graduate rates will help you find a school that matches what you're looking for in the state of New York.


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