Welcome to our ranking of the most affordable online colleges in New York State.
Since the founding of the first European colony by the Dutch, the area surrounding what is known today as New York has been a central hub of activity. Due to its strategic location, New York served as the principal port through which goods flowed in and out of the American continent. Industries developed around this trade center, taking advantage of the natural resources that flowed through the area. Jobs were plentiful, and still are, as new industries that engaged immense human resources sprang up to satisfy the hunger of an emerging nation.
To feed the industrial hunger, New York participated in impressive projects like the construction of the Erie Canal that created a water highway for the transportation of raw materials from the interior of the continent. After filling the land surrounding the port of New York, entrepreneurs began building upwards, reaching for the skies. Blessed with shallow bedrock, Manhattan Island grew its incredible skyline, the envy of an onlooking world. The spirit of New York grew in mythical dimensions as immigrants entered the Port of New York, creating a diverse culture, a microcosm of the world which eventually became known as “the melting pot.”
When the advent of the Internet sprang onto the scene in 1995, the New York education system was among the first to recognize the possibilities. The attraction of reaching out to potential students formerly left out of the higher education system, coupled with the incredible entrepreneurial spirit of New York, created a dynamic online environment that has grown into one of the finest in the world. Online education in New York is a staple of the economy that has spurred a new outlook on the future.
The schools on this list, generated from the National Center of Educational Statistics website, are selected from among the 44 educational institutions in New York that offer undergraduate online degrees. The schools are ranked from the highest to the lowest tuition. The cost of the tuition at each university or college that offers online degrees is important, but value comes in many forms. Affordability denotes value and was the primary factor in making our list, but the following components are also essential when choosing the best online college in New York:
- Each school on our list is regionally accredited. A degree from an unaccredited school means little. Accreditation means that the courses and degrees that the university presents to its students meet or exceed the standards required by the accepted accrediting agency representing each profession.
- Another important determinant is the time necessary to obtain the degree. All the schools on this list allow time beyond the normal required to finish a degree to accommodate those who work, have families or are deployed.
- The quality of the school’s faculty is also an essential element of affordability. A qualified faculty elevates the education level of any university, primarily when those instructors have worked in the field, passing their experiences on to their students.
- Every university on this list has a financial aid department dedicated to the lowering of student debt. These schools have access to Pell programs, State Assistance programs, Scholarships, and Need Grants. Schools that point students toward financial stability are high up on the affordability list.
- Finally, statistics that reflect job advancement after graduation is an element of affordability that can’t be overlooked. All schools on this list have a long record of student success in the marketplace.
Ranking Low-Cost Online New York Colleges
10. State University of New York (SUNY) College at Oswego
Oswego, New York
SUNY College at Oswego provides affordable online access to students who wish to pursue a degree from a distance. The university offers nine baccalaureate online pathways toward a degree:
- Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting and Mass Communication
- Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Administration–Agricultural Education Grades 7-12
- Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Administration-Family and Consumer Education Grades 7-12
- Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Education – Health Career Education Grades 7-12
- Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Education – Technical Education Grades 7-12
- Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Education – Trade Education Grades 7-12
SUNY College at Oswego does not stop its online presence at the undergraduate level. Master degrees offered entirely online include:
- Masters of Business Administration
- Master of Business Administration in Health Care Services
- Master of Science in Education in Career and Technical Education
- Master of Science in Biomedical and Health Informatics-Health Data Science Track
- Master of Science in Biomedical and Health Informatics-Intelligent Health Systems Track
- Master of Science in Biomedical and Health Informatics-Professional Track
Together with the bachelor and master degree programs, the university also offers six post-baccalaureate certification degrees. These degrees require less time than a master’s degree but provide an extra focus beyond that found in a bachelor degree program. These degrees include:
- Post-baccalaureate Advanced Certificate in Trauma Studies
- Post-baccalaureate Advanced Certificate in Behavioral Forensics
- Post-baccalaureate Advanced Certificate in Health and Wellness
- Post-baccalaureate Advanced Certificate in Health Information Technology
- Post-baccalaureate Advanced Certificate in Integrated Health Systems
- Post-baccalaureate Advanced Certificate in Nursing Home Administration
With this astonishing array of online degrees, SUNY College at Oswego merits its place in the top ten most affordable online New York colleges.
9. SUNY College at Brockport
Brockport, New York
SUNY College at Brockport has a student body of around 7,000 undergraduate students and another 1,200 pursuing graduate degrees. Most undergraduates reside on campus, taking courses in traditional classrooms. There are only two undergraduate degrees offered entirely online, the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing that moves established RNs to B.S. status. There are several affordable master-level degrees offered entirely online at the university, including:
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Science in Education in Biology Education Programs
- Master of Science in Education in Chemistry Education Programs
- Master of Science in Education in Earth Science Education Programs
- Master of Science in Education in English Education Programs
- Master of Science in Education in Mathematics Education Programs
- Master of Science in Education in Physics Education Programs
- Master of Science in Education in Social Studies Education Programs
- Master of Science in Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
- Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Administration
- Master of Science in Education in Community Health Education
- Master of Science in Education in School Health Education Pre K-12
- Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
- Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
The school offers certification programs in most of its education programs as well as in the fields of nursing, school counseling, and teacher leadership.
8. SUNY College of Technology at Canton
Canton, New York
SUNY College of Technology in Canton began as an agricultural school. Much of that tradition carries through to this day as the school centers on practices and technologies that benefit the real world. Set in rural New York, the school understands that those who work experience long days and have little time to attend classrooms. The answer is an affordable online environment where the student can attend classes through the virtual reality supplied through distance education. The university centers its online presence in the delivery of associate and bachelor degrees that are presented entirely online. Some of the associate degrees include:
- Associate of Arts in Liberal Education
- Associate of Science in Liberal education
- Associate of Science in Business Administration
- Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration
- Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
- Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Development
SUNY College of Technology also offers bachelor degrees available entirely online. Some of these degrees are:
- Bachelor of Technology in Homeland Security
- Bachelor’s in Business Administration in Agricultural Management
- Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management
- Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
- Bachelor’s in Business Administration in Finance
7. SUNY College at Plattsburgh
Plattsburgh, New York
SUNY College at Plattsburgh is a small school with only 6,000 students, including those pursuing a graduate degree that is located in the far northeast corner of New York. The university concentrates on providing a liberal arts education to its students. The university sits between the Adirondack and the Green Mountains of Vermont above the shores of historic Lake Champlain, a U.N. designated biosphere that is the subject of intense environmental studies. The school reflects its surroundings and competes for the crown as the most picturesque in the SUNY educational system. The environment surrounding the school is so spectacular that most students choose to personally attend classes rather than seek an online environment. The result is that there are few programs at the university that are presented entirely online. Those programs include affordable online presented certifications, master-level degrees, and bachelor degrees. These programs are:
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
- Master of Science in Fitness and Wellness Leadership
- Graduate Certificate in Teacher leadership
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
6. Farmingdale State College
Farmingdale, New York
Farmingdale State College is New York’s largest applied science and technology educational institution. With a student body just under 10,000, it is surprising to note that the number living on campus is limited to 600. The location on Long Island and its one-hour drive to New York City, reveal the reasons for the low number of students that are on-campus residents. The school concentrates on programs that equip students with the ability to succeed in the real world after graduation. The program appears to work as over 90-percent of graduates attain life-supporting positions within six months of graduation which is a principal reason the school sits high on our list of affordable online colleges in New York. The school focuses on limiting student debt as much as possible which also contributes to its high marks. As far as cheap online degrees are concerned, Farmington State College offers only two that are available entirely online. Those degrees are their Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing that moves RN level nurses to the B.S. level.
5. SUNY Polytechnic Institute
Utica, New York
SUNY Polytechnic Institute opened its first campus in Utica, NY in 1971 and eventually evolved into one of the most influential high-tech institutions in the world after merging with the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany in 2014. The university limits its student body to just over 3,000. The school focuses on professional programs and offers affordable online bachelor and master degrees as well as certifications. The undergraduate degrees offered entirely online include:
- Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Information Management
- Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
The school offers seven graduate level degrees online in:
- Master of Business Administration in Technology Management
- Master of Science in Accountancy
- Maser of Science in Cybersecurity Network & Computer Security
- Master of Science in Family Nurse Practitioner
- Master of Science in Information Design Technology
- Master of Science in Nursing Education
- Master of Science in Transformational Leadership in Nursing
Along with these traditional degree programs, SUNY Polytechnic Institute offers four certification programs online for those who do not have the time to pursue a master’s degree including:
- Certificate of Advanced Studies in Data Analysis (post-bachelor’s certificate)
- Certificate of Advanced Studies in Forensic Accounting and Valuation
- Certificate of Advanced Studies in Nursing Education
- Certificate of Advanced Studies in Transformational Leadership in Nursing
4. SUNY Empire State College
Saratoga Springs, New York
SUNY Empire State College was founded in 1971 with the intent to extend educational opportunities to adults already in the workforce. The creation of the Internet allowed SUNY Empire State College to succeed in its mission. Today, the university offers one of the cheapest pathways toward online degrees. The degree levels offered online by SUNT Empire State College include associates, bachelor’s, master’s, and certificates of accomplishment. The degrees span several areas of study including:
- Labor studies
- Cultural studies
- Historical studies
- Interdisciplinary studies
- Social science
SUNY Empire State College provides students with families the opportunity to pursue 176 associate degrees, 236 different bachelor degrees, 22 master-level degrees, and 27 certificate programs. With this heavy mix of programs, the university reaches over 10,000 students each year, of which 50-percent are working full time, and 40-percent are members of the first generation of their families to attend college. The university welcomes diversity to combat adversity in a state where prosperity reigns.
3. City University of New York (CUNY) Lehman College
Bronx, New York
CUNY Lehman College is not only one of the most affordable online colleges in New York; it is also one of the best. CollegeChoice.net ranks CUNY Lehman College as fourth on its list of the Best Online Colleges in New York. Lehman also ranks third in the Washington Monthly’s list of the Best Bang for the Buck in the Northeast. The combination of excellent online programming and outstanding economic value raises Lehman College to its high ranking in this list of the most affordable online colleges in New York. Lehman College focuses on service to the Bronx community in which it is a part. The school offers five programs that are entirely online and several courses. The university offers one bachelor’s degree—Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)—a certification in teaching talented children, and three masters-level degrees in their online programming. The three master’s degrees are:
- Master of Arts in Health Education and Promotion
- Master of Science in Business with a concentration in Human Resource Management
- Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
Besides online degrees, Lehman College offers paths toward degrees that use the virtual environment for a percentage of its traditional degree programs. The school uses designations of “online” that represents degrees that include classes that are up to 80-percent online, “hybrid” for a degree that has 50-percent of the classes online, and “partially online” to indicate that up to 32-percent of the curriculum is online. The percentage of degrees at Lehman College that has no online activity is tiny.
2. CUNY Graduate School and University Center
New York, New York
The CUNY Graduate School and University Center focuses its efforts on public graduate education and is devoted to enhancing the public good. The university concentrates its efforts through research, critical learning, and participatory debate. The Graduate Center offers more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs, which include several hybrid courses that utilize a large online presence to facilitate extended cooperation between schools. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs that are presented online make it a tool that melds cultures through conversation. The University Center is home to the first fully online degree programs at CUNY. Its online programs address the needs of adults looking for a method to finish a bachelor’s degree, earn a master’s degree, or a certificate in specialized fields to facilitate an advance in the workplace or a change in careers. The University Center is ranked in the top 5-percent in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs. The Graduate School engages the use of online courses to enhance its traditional campus classes in both master and doctoral level degrees. The courses reach around the world through the virtual environment to partners on three continents.
1. Fashion Institute of Technology
New York, New York
The Fashion Institute of Technology is an internationally recognized educational institution that focuses on art, business, communication, design, and fashion. The intent is to develop students with a fully rounded understanding of the fashion business world. The university is the most affordable online college in New York and the only accredited institution devoted entirely to the fashion industry in the world. Since its opening in 1944, the Fashion Institute of Technology graduates have demonstrated the effectiveness of a school dedicated to a single purpose. The school impacts the industry in several ways, including the encouragement of aggressive and innovative design, providing a universally accepted level of ethical conduct within the industry, and increasing the consciousness of the role of business in fashion. The school offers an Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Business Management entirely online. It also presents a Bachelor of Science in International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries degree online that punctuates the role of the school in the international arena of fashion.
The discovery, exploration, and perfection of online education in New York birthed a resurgence in a sluggish economy. In 1995, New York was on the verge of recession. The marketing of home computers encouraged the growth of a new industry, of which several universities in New York took advantage. The first step was the incorporation of classes in computer studies, then came the development of science courses that focused on the development of discoveries that would, eventually, drive the cost of computers down so that the average public could afford them. The increase in home computer use encouraged schools to experiment with online courses and presentations. The online class was born, and the environment perfected to make online degrees practicable. Prospective students who worked were suddenly able to pursue degrees online to advance their careers. The educational institutions in New York looked ahead to adding students through the online environment. The result is an increase in educational influence on the world’s economy resulting from the development of distance learning; students who wished to advance suddenly found the time to attend classes, learn, and seek degrees that matched their talents. Affordable online education is an economic stimulus that is seldom considered by pundits. The availability and use of distance learning in New York have extended a resurgence in an economic boom.