50 Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York for 2018

By BVS Staff
December 2017

When most people think of New York, they think of New York City – specifically all the tourist attractions, cultural events, and art venues the city has to offer. But what many people don’t realize is that New York is home to some of the best value colleges available in the United States. From top private schools like Columbia and Cornell to the many top quality public school choices within the CUNY and SUNY systems, New York has no shortage of universities worth considering.

Convenient Online Options

The best part about colleges in New York is that there’s something for everyone. You’ll find options for artists and musicians, aspiring engineers and scientists, top academics, talented athletes, and everyone in between. There are also options to suit every size wallet, from those who seek every last bell and whistle to those who need to stick to a budget. This ranking will give you the best of both worlds – a list combining the most affordable colleges with the best quality that money can buy. You may also want to investigate your online options in New York by checking out our ranking of the Top Affordable Online Colleges in New York.

The 50 Top Affordable Colleges in New York Ranking Methodology

Selection Criteria

For this ranking, we compiled a list of all the public and private (non-profit) postsecondary institutions located in New York. To start, this list included nearly 90 colleges and universities!

Ranking Factors

To determine the 50 best value schools, we ranked all the eligible colleges in four categories:

  • Acceptance Rate: Of all the applications the college receives in a given year, what percentage of students does it admit? (Weight: 30%)
  • Graduation Rate: What percentage of admitted undergrads earn their degree within 150% (e.g. six years for a four-year bachelor’s degree) of the expected time frame? (Weight: 30%)
  • Return on Investment (ROI): 20 years after graduation, how much more money can a graduate of the college expect to make than a high school graduate, after subtracting the four-year cost of their education? (Weight: 15%)
  • Net Price: What is the annual cost of attendance, including tuition, room and board, and other fees, after subtracting the amount of the school’s average financial aid package? (Weight: 25%)

After weighing each category and adding up the points across the board, we assigned each university a final score, scaling the results so that the #1 school earned a solid 100 points. Want to know which colleges made our ranking of the 50 best schools in New York? Keep scrolling to learn more!


Saint John Fisher College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
This Catholic-affiliated, accredited school in New York shines for its strong commitment to service-learning.

50. Saint John Fisher College

Rochester, NY

Website
With small classes, excellent teachers, and a blend of both traditional liberal arts and more career-focused programs, Saint John Fisher College has plenty to offer. It’s also one of the best colleges in New York for Catholic students, thanks to its strong Basilian Catholic tradition. Saint John Fisher welcomes students of all religious backgrounds, though, and it runs a strong Religious Studies program that encompasses both Catholic traditions and world religions. The school’s faith background also plays into its focus on service; many students participate in service-learning initiatives that help them strengthen their skills while meeting the larger community’s needs.
Net Price: $27,291/yr
Score: 51.43

Molloy College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
On this top New York colleges ranking, Molloy represents a great way to earn an advanced degree in a liberal arts environment.

49. Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY

Website
Molloy College’s 88% retention rate says quite a lot about its reputation as a top New York college. Although it previously operated as a commuter-only school, it now boasts two residence halls and myriad student clubs and organizations, helping to build a vibrant community on campus. On the academic front, Molloy has more than 50 undergraduate programs, including career-specific options like Respiratory Care and Cardiovascular Technology. It also offers both master’s- and doctoral-level programs, giving you the chance to earn an advanced degree in a close-knit, small-school liberal arts environment.
Net Price: $27,839/yr
Score: 51.49

Alfred University Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Research opportunities abound at this affordable school in New York.

48. Alfred University

Alfred, NY

Website
Situated at the picturesque base of the Allegheny Mountains, Alfred University has more to offer than great views and easy access to nature. It’s also one of the best universities in New York when it comes to a few important factors: financial assistance, success after graduation, and undergrad research opportunities. Budding astronomers, in particular, will appreciate the five telescopes housed in the Stull Observatory, which earns accolades as one of the best teaching observatories in the country. But students in all majors are welcome to pursue research opportunities, and a yearly poster showcase lets you present your work to the entire Alfred community.
Net Price: $22,075/yr
Score: 51.55

St Francis College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
A yearly pilgrimage to Italy is just one way this accredited college in NYC demonstrates its proud Franciscan heritage.

47. St Francis College

Brooklyn Heights, NY

Website
One of the most affordable colleges in NYC, St. Francis offers an accessible education in the Franciscan tradition. Students are encouraged to pursue careers about which they’re passionate and to develop a strong ethical framework for the work they do. As part of the school’s commitment to developing the “whole person,” St. Francis encourages students to study abroad and is affiliated with quite a few international programs. You can even take part in a yearly 10-day pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome over winter break if you’d like to learn more about the school’s Franciscan roots.
Net Price: $14,830/yr
Score: 52.27

Daemen College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
A set of core competencies prepare graduates for success – and help earn Daemen College a spot on this top universities in New York ranking.

46. Daemen College

Amherst, NY

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Every major at Daemen College finds its foundations in the school’s Core Curriculum: a series of seven competencies that emphasize resilience, intellectual curiosity, professionalism, and civic responsibility. This top school in New York introduces the core concepts during freshman year, then builds on them throughout the rest of your studies. You’ll graduate with fundamental skills – including quantitative literacy, effective written communication, ethical discernment, and more – valuable to employers in any field. And if you’re particularly ambitious, you can join the Honors Program, which comes with numerous benefits, like the opportunity to take a one-on-one tutorial with a professor.
Net Price: $17,106/yr
Score: 52.27

The Sage Colleges Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
The Sage consortium includes coed, women-only, and fully online accredited universities in New York.

45. The Sage Colleges

Troy, NY

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Comprising two brick-and-mortar institutions and an online school, The Sage Colleges have something to offer nearly any student. This consortium of affordable colleges in New York includes dedicated schools of management, education, and health sciences, all of which offer classes on both Sage campuses. One of those campuses – Russell Sage College – is a four-year women’s school located in Troy, New York. Both Russell Sage and its coed counterpart have an impressive number of accelerated master’s programs, including options in law, occupational therapy, education, and more. If you need to attend school part-time or just prefer a flexible program, Russell Sage Online provides a few fully online bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs.
Net Price: $20,077/yr
Score: 52.68

Hobart William Smith Colleges Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
HWS has one of the strongest study-abroad programs on this New York colleges ranking.

44. Hobart William Smith Colleges

Geneva, NY

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The two schools that make up Hobart and William Smith Colleges share a single vision: to produce global-minded graduates who can think creatively and critically to solve problems. The approach pays off; HWS is one of the best schools in New York when it comes to its graduation rate, number of Fulbright scholars, and even student happiness. And according to the Princeton Review, HWS ranks first in the country for its study abroad program. Indeed, HWS runs sessions in more than 50 locations and for dozens of disciplines. More than 60% of students take part, and scholarships, grants, and other funding sources can help finance your adventure abroad.
Net Price: $38,805/yr
Score: 52.74

Siena College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Located just north of Albany, this accredited college in New York can help you afford your degree.

43. Siena College

Loudonville, NY

Website
More than 70% of applicants to Siena College earn admission and 75% of those who attend ultimately graduate on-time. This accessible, affordable New York college makes an already competitively priced degree achievable through generous scholarships and grants, and the dedicated financial aid staff can help you apply for state and federal financing. Once you’re enrolled, you’ll find a small Catholic school with a rich variety of degrees spanning the sciences, business, and liberal arts. But no matter your major, Siena wants you to take part in hands-on learning. Its Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity offers opportunities for every major, whether it’s joining a research-focused summer seminar or designing your own creative program.
Net Price: $26,816/yr
Score: 52.92

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Cutting-edge research at SUNY Polytech helps make it one of the best schools in New York for science-minded students.

42. SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Utica, NY

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One of the most affordable universities in New York, SUNY Poly offers an impressive range of tech-related degrees. Alongside the more common options, you’ll find unique majors: Nanoscale Science, Communication and Information Design, and Interactive Media and Game Design, to name just a few. You’ll also have access to top-notch research facilities, thanks to the school’s partnerships with local businesses. Examples include the Zero Energy Nanotechnology building and the Center for Semiconductor Research. And you’ll be able to take advantage of these opportunities at the graduate level – SUNY Poly has a smattering of master’s degree and PhD programs in niche fields such as Nanoscale Engineering.
Net Price: $14,410/yr
Score: 53.1

Le Moyne College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Graduates of this upstate New York college find employment relatively easily.

41. Le Moyne College

Syracuse, NY

Website
If you’re looking for results, look to Le Moyne: 94% of its 2015 class reported being employed or enrolled in grad school within a year of graduation. That’s partly because you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enrich your classroom studies at this accredited college in New York. A new partnership with nearby Syracuse University broadens Le Moyne’s ability to engage in research, and a sizable grant from the National Science Foundation can help eligible STEM students pursue teaching certifications. The school also has an engaging Department of Visual and Performing Arts, and its state-of-the-art performing arts center is a hub of creative energy for theatre and visual arts majors alike.
Net Price: $23,361/yr
Score: 53.7

Manhattan College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Service-centric ethics define this top college in NYC.

40. Manhattan College

Riverdale, NY

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With its tree-filled, quad-centered campus, Manhattan College brings a small-town college feel to a truly urban location: the heart of the Bronx. Founded in 1853 by a Christian teaching order, Manhattan College is one of the best colleges in NYC for students seeking a Catholic education – and remains true to its Lasallian values still today. Social service is among those values; the school is even fair-trade certified and offers ethically-sourced and conscientiously-produced items on campus. In addition, MC encourages students to participate in both service learning and community service events, such as by signing up for a service immersion trip overseas.
Net Price: $32,576/yr
Score: 54.3

Sarah Lawrence College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Sarah Lawrence might be one of the best schools in New York for creative students who want to guide their own learning.

39. Sarah Lawrence College

Bronxville, NY

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Unlike most schools on this New York college ranking, Sarah Lawrence doesn’t require its students to select majors. Instead, each student designs her own course of study with the guidance of a faculty member. Classes are small and tend to fall into three categories: seminar, workshop, or studio. These rigorous, often discussion-based classes require participation and true engagement with the subject. Each semester, students develop and pursue an individual study project, giving them the chance to dig deep into an area of interest. Thanks to this unique all-around model of teaching, Sarah Lawrence represents a great choice for independent, self-motivated learners who don’t want to be confined to a specific major.
Net Price: $32,897/yr
Score: 55.43

Bard College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
At this accredited college in New York, students benefit from top-notch academics and a growing athletic program.

38. Bard College

Annandale-On-Hudson, NY

Website
With an undergraduate faculty-student ratio of 10:1, Bard College ensures that undergrads get plenty of face time with their instructors. Each attendee creates an individualized and interdisciplinary course of study, one that includes sizable instruction in writing, scholarly inquiry, and the sciences. But the school isn’t just a “Place to Think,” as its motto says. It’s also a place to play! The athletic program at this top school in New York is growing steadily and has enjoyed regular upgrades to both its facilities and teams in recent years. Bard’s Raptors participate in D-3 sports and have a dedicated group of fans – the Bird Gang – ready to cheer them on at events.
Net Price: $29,356/yr
Score: 56.38

SUNY Fredonia Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
SUNY Fredonia’s many teaching degrees make this one of the best universities in New York for future educators.

37. SUNY Fredonia

Fredonia, NY

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If you’d like to attend an affordable university in New York that combines a small feel with an expansive selection of degrees, SUNY Fredonia could fit the bill. Although it enrolls just 4,800 students, the school offers more than 50 undergraduate programs, including quite a few hard-to-find options – such as B.F.A.s in Acting and Dance, plus seven Visual Arts programs! Aspiring educators will also appreciate the broad range of teacher certifications that they can earn in tandem with a bachelor’s degree. You can opt for specific fields (Adolescence Education in Physics or Spanish, for example) or something broader, such as Early Childhood Education.
Net Price: $16,622/yr
Score: 56.44

Clarkson University Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
One of the best New York colleges when it comes to ROTC availability, Clarkson also offers a robust research program and generous scholarships.

36. Clarkson University

Potsdam, NY

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Along with impressive research credentials, international university partnerships, and a strong environmental focus, this top college in New York also runs one of the best ROTC programs in the country. Clarkson University has supported an Army ROTC program since 1936, and today it also partners with the Air Force. Not only does Clarkson’s program prepare you for your commission, but it can also make your degree affordable thanks to generous ROTC-specific scholarships. But if you’re not interested in joining the military, be sure to check out one of Clarkson’s other scholarships – New York residents, in particular, have access to some pretty generous awards.
Net Price: $31,181/yr
Score: 56.8

Rochester Institute of Technology Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
This research-driven, accredited school in New York provides hands-on learning opportunities for its students.

35. Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, NY

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As one of the most affordable universities in New York for tech-centric thinkers, RIT provides a collaborative environment for motivated students. Especially you prefer experiential learning, you’ll appreciate the school’s hands-on approach to education. Throughout your classes, you’ll tackle real-world problems and learn by doing, often in one of the school’s labs. RIT also runs quite a few research-focused departments and programs that tackle human issues, robotics problems, and everything in between. Many students work on faculty-led research initiatives, but you can also design your own project (and even seek funding through the school’s Sponsored Research Services center).
Net Price: $29,111/yr
Score: 58.11

Fordham University Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Thanks to its prime location as a top college in NYC, Fordham can offer internships with key companies in the city.

34. Fordham University

Bronx, NY

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When Fordham University opened its doors in 1841, it had an ambitious goal: providing a quality education to immigrants and the underserved to help them succeed in their new country. Today, that same foundation of service defines this accredited college in NYC. In fact, students and faculty perform more than 1 million hours of community service annually! On the academic front, the school’s outcomes speak for themselves; the average annual starting salary of graduates is just over $51,000. That’s likely due in part to the school’s rigorous internship program. 81% of students participate, and Fordham partners with more than 2,000 companies in NYC to enable a wide array of valuable, career-driven opportunities.
Net Price: $38,008/yr
Score: 60.86

SUNY at Purchase College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
This quirky university in New York has world-class art programs, including two in arts management and entrepreneurship.

33. SUNY at Purchase College

Purchase, NY

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Purchase has an amusing – but apt – reputation within the SUNY community: It’s the “quirky” college. That’s because this affordable school in New York encourages broad, big-picture thinking and a creative approach to problem-solving. It’s also undeniably “artsy,” with prestigious conservatories and programs in arts management and entrepreneurship. You’ll be hard-pressed to find the latter two programs elsewhere, and they provide top-notch theoretical and practical learning opportunities to boot. But if you’re more interested in creating art than promoting it, check out the School of Art+Design. Majors benefit from weekly lectures and seminars, high-quality studios, and a well-regarded museum space.
Net Price: $18,123/yr
Score: 61.16

Farmingdale State College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Of all the affordable colleges in NYC, upstate, and everywhere in between, Farmingdale is the go-to choice for technical and vocational training.

32. Farmingdale State College

Farmingdale, NY

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Within the network of top universities in New York that comprise the SUNY system, Farmingdale State is the largest school of applied science and technology. With a focus on practical skills and hands-on learning, FSC prepares students for success in the real world. Indeed, 100% of Farmingdale grads are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation, and more than 80% of those with jobs are working in their field of study. Speaking of fields of study, FSC offers academic programs that cater to high-demand industries like graphic design, aeronautics and aviation, computer engineering technology, and much more.
Net Price: $8,687/yr
Score: 61.4

SUNY College at Oswego Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Oswego undergrads can choose from nearly 90 study abroad programs on four continents, making this one of the best schools in New York for international travelers.

31. SUNY College at Oswego

Oswego, NY

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Perched on Lake Ontario’s southeastern shore at the edge of a small suburban town, SUNY College at Oswego offers students a scenic, peaceful setting for their studies. And like some other affordable colleges in New York, Oswego is known for striking a balance between big school resources and small school access. The 690-acre campus supports almost 8,000 undergrads as they pursue over 100 academic programs. But you’ll also find plenty of ways to tailor your education to your interests; in particular, Oswego prides itself on having some of the best study abroad and internship opportunities in the entire SUNY system!
Net Price: $16,381/yr
Score: 61.63

Marist College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Among all the universities in New York, Marist stands out for having some of the most comprehensive language and fine arts programs.

30. Marist College

Poughkeepsie, NY

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Strategically situated in the small town of Poughkeepsie, Marist College is just an hour and a half drive from both Albany and New York City. In this way, the school serves as a quiet home base for students who want to study in peace, but not isolation. During the week, you’ll enjoy serene views of the Hudson River while working toward a major in one of Marist’s nearly 70 academic degrees – including particularly extensive programs in Communication (with five concentrations), English, and Fine Arts. Then over the weekend, head off campus to hang with your friends at college in NYC or further upstate.
Net Price: $35,817/yr
Score: 61.75

Syracuse University Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Home to the prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse is well-known as the best New York college for aspiring journalists, photographers, and filmmakers.

29. Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

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Squished in between multiple SUNY and CUNY members on both sides of our best value colleges in New York ranking, Syracuse stands out simply for being a private school. But there’s plenty more to distinguish this top university, including a stellar 81% graduation rate and a 20-year ROI that nearly nets $350k. Syracuse is even distinct among private colleges, thanks to its size (15,000 undergrads and another 5,000 grad students), academic breadth (we’re talking 200 majors plus 100 minors), and robust research initiatives (including more than 30 different centers, programs and institutes).
Net Price: $31,823/yr
Score: 62.11

CUNY City College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
CUNY City College is hands down one of the top schools in New York for nontraditional learners on a budget.

28. CUNY City College

New York, NY

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As the founding institution of the CUNY system, City College inherits an important legacy – and responsibility – for educating students in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Located near the edge of Upper Manhattan and within walking distance of Columbia, CUNY CC weaves its roots right into the very fabric of the city itself. And given that it’s the most affordable accredited college in NYC, City College is notable for providing accessible educational opportunities to NYC residents of every background and birthright. The school even supports a Division of Interdisciplinary Studies that specifically caters to the needs of working adults.
Net Price: $8,547/yr
Score: 62.83

SUNY College at Plattsburgh Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
For undergrads who value “green” living both at home and at work, SUNY Plattsburgh is one of the best and most affordable universities in New York.

27. SUNY College at Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, NY

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SUNY Plattsburgh claims that it’s “much more than ‘just another public college.'” And they don’t make this claim lightly. Among the school’s biggest selling points are its esteemed faculty, who make a habit out of mentoring and advising students, and its comprehensive liberal arts curriculum. Surrounded by lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests, Plattsburgh is also one of the top colleges in New York for nature enthusiasts. You can even turn your love of the outdoors into a career by choosing one of Plattsburgh’s four eco-friendly majors: Environmental Geology, Environmental Studies, Environmental Planning and Management, and Environmental Science.
Net Price: $14,287/yr
Score: 63.48

SUNY College at Brockport Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Brockport shines on this list of colleges in New York for its opportunities in community service and leadership development.

26. SUNY College at Brockport

Brockport, NY

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All told, there are 64 campuses in the SUNY state system. Is it possible that there is something unique about each one? Well, that’s certainly true at Brockport, the self-described “engaged SUNY campus.” Indeed, Brockport students are heavily involved in the surrounding community – a byproduct of the school’s insistence that learning extends beyond the classroom. The school even hosts a community service program and innovative Eagle Service Corps (ESC) platform to connect students with opportunities through on-campus groups, local organizations, and even national nonprofits. So it’s safe to say that Brockport is indeed the top New York college for engaged, service-oriented students.
Net Price: $14,267/yr
Score: 64.2

SUNY College at Cortland Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
One of the most affordable accredited universities in New York, Cortland is a haven for active, energetic undergrads.

25. SUNY College at Cortland

Cortland, NY

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At SUNY Cortland, it’s all about momentum. Whether they’re attending a campus event, starting a new club, or cheering on one of the school’s 25 Red Dragon athletic teams, Cortland students are always active and looking for more. Its sports teams are especially impressive; the college has New York’s only Division III athletic program to finish in the “Directors’ Cup Top 20” of best all-around programs in the nation every year since the award originated. If that’s not enough, consider that this accredited school in New York has also made the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for eight years in a row!
Net Price: $17,422/yr
Score: 64.44

St Lawrence University Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
With majors in Canadian, Caribbean, European, and even Native American Studies, SLU distinguishes itself as one of the best universities in New York for cultural knowledge.

24. St Lawrence University

Canton, NY

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St. Lawrence University represents one of just a few private schools on the second half of our New York colleges ranking. While it’s nearly $32k price tag doesn’t exactly scream affordability, SLU is nonetheless a worthy investment (and not just because of its $160k ROI or sky-high graduation rate). In exchange for your tuition dollars, you’ll gain access to a supremely flexible curriculum. Indeed, undergrads at St. Lawrence face very few academic restrictions; if you don’t like one of the school’s three dozen majors (which includes atypical selections like Peace Studies and International Economics), feel free to create your own!
Net Price: $31,590/yr
Score: 65.99

SUNY Oneonta Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
One of the best colleges in New York for eclectic interests, SUNY Oneonta attracts applicants who want a little bit of everything.

23. SUNY Oneonta

Oneonta, NY

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SUNY Oneonta’s mid-level placement on our best value schools in New York ranking perfectly reflects its middle-of-the-road approach to education. A mid-size public college located near the middle of the state, Oneonta manages to provide a little something for everyone. Academically, the school maintains an even blend of liberal arts and career-oriented programs, from Anthropology, Philosophy, and Biology to Food Service and Restaurant Administration, Fashion and Textiles, and Meteorology. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find an equally balanced mix of activities, from Oneonta’s 16 Division III athletic teams to its nearly 100 on-campus clubs.
Net Price: $15,498/yr
Score: 66.71

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Anyone who’s interested in studying the environment should seriously consider SUNY ESF, perhaps the best “green” school in New York.

22. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Syracuse, NY

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Without a doubt, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry is among the most unique on our list of top accredited New York colleges. Why? Because it pursues a “singular focus on environmental discovery, learning, and sustainability.” This mission is most evident in the school’s selection of undergraduate majors, which includes niche options like Aquatic and Fisheries Science, Environmental Resources Engineering, and Forest Technology. And the graduate programs provide even narrower fields of study, from Biophysical and Ecological Economics to Forest Pathology and Mycology. This passion for nature also translates into sustainable building practices, making SUNY ESF a top destination for eco-warriors and outdoor adventurers alike.
Net Price: $18,079/yr
Score: 66.89

SUNY College at Geneseo Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
This accredited college in New York provides an ideal blend of liberal arts values and public school resources.

21. SUNY College at Geneseo

Geneseo, NY

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Can’t decide between a traditional liberal arts college or a public research university? If you go to SUNY College at Geneseo, you won’t have to decide at all! This affordable New York college is small for a SUNY institution – total enrollment falls short of 6,000 – and emphasizes broad-based learning over focused career training. Its 20 academic departments offer majors like Physics, Philosophy, and Anthropology, with fewer options in vocational topics like engineering and IT. And yet, Geneseo also retains the low tuition, NCAA athletic teams, and research opportunities you’d expect to find at a large state school.
Net Price: $17,283/yr
Score: 67.12

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Although RPI may seem like the best New York college for tech nerds, it’s worth noting that 80% of undergrads also participate in varsity, club, or intramural sports!

20. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, NY

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As a polytechnic institute, Rensselaer prioritizes practical subjects that prepare students for careers at the forefront of today’s technical industries. But more than that, Rensselaer seeks to produce a generation of problem solvers – graduates who will tackle tomorrow’s challenges through futuristic means. In fact, of all the options on this top schools in New York ranking, RPI is the go-to destination for majors in bioinformatics, hydrogeology, environmental engineering, business analytics, and other cutting-edge fields. In addition, RPI was the first college in the nation to develop a pioneering program in Information Technology and Web Science (ITWS).
Net Price: $37,434/yr
Score: 67.36

SUNY Albany Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Of all the affordable universities in New York, SUNY Albany stands out for its top-tier academic programs in criminal justice, public health, social work, and more.

19. SUNY Albany

Albany, NY

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If you’re an urbanite who has set your heart on attending one of the best colleges in NYC, you might want to think again. While Manhattan is a great place to go to school, New York is home to plenty of other bustling metropolitan centers – including Albany, its state capital. This is also where you’ll find SUNY Albany, a premier public research university serving more than 17,000 students. The school’s strategic location places it next to many cultural and entertainment hotspots – but it also provides easy access to internships and networking opportunities.
Net Price: $15,114/yr
Score: 67.54

SUNY Maritime College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Unlike other schools in New York, SUNY Maritime maintains a narrow academic focus – and produces graduates who go on to earn impressive 20-year ROI of $895k!

18. SUNY Maritime College

Throggs Neck, NY

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Admittedly, SUNY Maritime doesn’t belong on everyone’s list of the best colleges in New York. But if you enjoy marine life and are interested in engineering, this school belongs at the very top of yours! This unique college, which is one of just six maritime academies in the US, offers just 11 undergraduate and two graduate programs. The majority are engineering-focused (including marine, electrical, facilities, and mechanical engineering), but all are marine-centric. Other BS degree options include Marine Transportation, Maritime Studies, and Marine Environmental Science. And these programs pack a powerful punch in the job market – alumni almost always achieve a 100% employment rate within three months of graduating!
Net Price: $16,301/yr
Score: 67.72

University at Buffalo Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
For a traditional collegiate experience at a big state school, UB is one of the best universities in New York.

17. University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY

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Predictably, members of the State University of New York (SUNY) system are well represented on our New York colleges ranking. But even though this expansive state system encompasses a whopping 64 campuses, there can still be only one flagship. And for SUNY, it’s the University at Buffalo. The largest and most comprehensive public school in the state, Buffalo offers more than 100 undergraduate and over 300 graduate programs to the 30,000 students who attend each year. It’s also home to 16 Division I athletic teams, more than 300 on-campus clubs, and 17 on-campus residence halls and apartment communities.
Net Price: $15,987/yr
Score: 68.2

CUNY Hunter College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Of all the colleges in NYC, none beats CUNY Hunter when it comes to playwriting; the director of the program recently won a MacAurthur Genius Grant for her work!

16. CUNY Hunter College

New York, NY

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Appropriately located next to SUNY’s flagship institution on our best colleges in NYC ranking, Hunter is the flagship of the City University of New York (CUNY) system! Serving more than 23,000 undergrads and grads pursuing degrees in over 170 programs, CUNY Hunter is a gargantuan presence in a city of giants. And for students who prioritize geography, Hunter College is certainly hard to beat. It boasts a Park Avenue address that places it just two blocks from Central Park and the famous 5th Avenue, one of the world’s most iconic – and expensive – streets.
Net Price: $10,201/yr
Score: 68.79

University of Rochester Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
UR distinguishes itself from other public New York colleges with its unexpectedly flexible, “build your own” undergraduate curriculum.

15. University of Rochester

Rochester, NY

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The big state schools are clearly dominating the 20’s section of our best value colleges in New York ranking. And it’s no surprise why; universities like Rochester offer a veritable smorgasbord of academic, athletic, and extracurricular options to suit every interest. And yet in some ways, UR is also an outlier among large public institutions. For example, it boasts a surprisingly low 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio and a slim 36% acceptance rate, but a surprisingly high 88% graduation rate. Rochester’s other defining feature is its commitment to cutting-edge research. In addition to a leading medical center, the school also hosts a high-tech supercomputer and top-ranked research centers in optics, economics, geology, and more.
Net Price: $34,170/yr
Score: 71

SUNY New Paltz Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
With its sub-$15k price tag and above average graduation rate, SUNY New Paltz is one of the top most affordable schools in New York.

14. SUNY New Paltz

New Paltz, NY

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Perfectly in keeping with the views of Best Value Schools, SUNY New Paltz seeks to provide “high quality, affordable education to students from all social and economic backgrounds.” This mission is reflected in the numerous accolades that New Paltz has received for perfecting the balance of cost vs. quality. In addition to its #14 spot on our best value universities in New York ranking, New Paltz has also earned praise as one of the top 8% most selective NY colleges, nation’s 100 best value public universities, and 25 best schools under $25k.
Net Price: $14,605/yr
Score: 71.06

CUNY Queens College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
By prioritizing sustainability, CUNY Queens solidifies its standing as one of the top colleges in NYC for environmentally-conscious students.

13. CUNY Queens College

Queens, NY

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Upon first opening its doors in 1937, Queens College earned the nickname “the college of the future.” And today, CUNY Queens reflects a progressive vision of education as it welcomes one of the nation’s most ethnically diverse student bodies. In addition to being one of the top accredited colleges in NYC for diversity, Queens has also cultivated a focus on sustainability – and earned a spot in the Princeton Review’s “Green College” guide as a result. Just how green is CUNY Queens? Here’s one example: its first residence hall (opened in 2009) achieved LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council.
Net Price: $8,704/yr
Score: 71.6

Stony Brook University Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
By attending this affordable college in New York, you can access all the resources of the big city without paying exorbitant prices.

12. Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY

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Located on the edge of Smithtown Bay out in Long Island, Stony Brook University is easy to overlook in favor of all those top accredited colleges in NYC. But it’s worth leaving Manhattan – and yes, passing up Brooklyn – to check out all that SBU has to offer. Indeed, Stony Brook earns accolades from a range of reputable sources, including U.S. News,Money Magazine, and the QS World University Rankings. And the university definitely deserves all the attention it receives. With more than 200 undergraduate academic options (and nearly as many graduate programs), an ROI of nearly $500k, and a net price below $15k, Stony Brook offers value to spare.
Net Price: $13,615/yr
Score: 75.72

Skidmore College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Skidmore stands out on this New York college ranking by letting freshmen spend their first semester in London.

11. Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs, NY

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Like many schools, Skidmore College has a comprehensive “First-Year Experience” (FYE) to help incoming freshmen and their families acclimate to college life. But this accredited school in New York also offers an exciting take on the FYE: the chance to spend your first semester studying in London! 36 adventurous students can join the program each year, and they’ll receive Skidmore credit while building independence and lifelong memories. Another unique option at Skidmore is its Summer Session program, which enables you to attend “small, informal, and intense” courses that will earn you credits at the fraction of the normal cost.
Net Price: $23,941/yr
Score: 77.74

SUNY Binghamton Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
One of the best schools in New York, SUNY Binghamton’s campus culture prioritizes “boldly innovative” thinking and “deep engagement within the community.”

10. SUNY Binghamton

Vestal, NY

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If statistics mean anything (and we think they do) SUNY Binghamton is a place where happy students go to achieve their goals. In addition to an 80% graduation rate, the school also sports a 90% retention rate, indicating that the vast majority of first-year students enjoyed their experience on campus enough to go back the next year. But while the freshmen are planning their return trip, the seniors are getting ready for the next step – and nearly 1 in 5 love learning so much that they head straight to graduate school! So if you’re looking for a place that will fuel your passions and prepare you for the future, SUNY Binghamton is one affordable New York college you should seriously consider.
Net Price: $16,540/yr
Score: 81.68

Vassar College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Vassar is undoubtedly one of the best colleges in New York for students who enjoy intimate conversations and beautiful backdrops.

9. Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, NY

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With fewer than 2,500 undergrads, Vassar is one of the smaller schools on our list. And yet, it’s the perfect size for students who favor intimate, creative learning environments. Indeed, Vassar is known for its close-knit culture; 97% of students live on campus, as do more than 70% of the faculty! There are even “faculty families” that live in each residence hall, making it impossible for students not to develop personal relationships with their professors. Of all the accredited colleges in New York, Vassar also has one of the most scenic. Its 1,000-acre campus even includes two National Historic Landmarks!
Net Price: $21,933/yr
Score: 81.74

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Simply put, CUNY Baruch is one of the best and most affordable colleges in NYC.

8. CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

New York, NY

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Though it may not enjoy the same name recognition of some of its neighbors on this New York colleges ranking, CUNY Bernard M Baruch is every bit as deserving of its position in the top 10. In fact, in many ways, Baruch College epitomizes the concept of a “best value” school. With impressive stats across the board – including a 70% graduation rate and projected ROI north of $500k – this college offers its students a bright future for a fraction of the typical cost. The school also stands out for its emphasis on diversity. All told, Baruch Bearcats speak more than 110 languages and represent more than 170 countries around the world!
Net Price: $9,510/yr
Score: 83.53

Barnard College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
One of the best colleges in NYC, Barnard offers a stellar liberal arts education for women.

7. Barnard College

New York, NY

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For more than 125 years, Barnard has offered women a top-notch education in the heart of New York City. With just 2,500 undergrads, this top college in NYC provides a rigorous education in an intimate setting. And thanks to Barnard’s partnership with nearby Columbia University, you can enjoy the small-school experience while still accessing the vast resources of a larger institution. The two schools share libraries, courses, and even a joint athletic consortium, while still operating separately from an administrative and policy perspective. The partnership and Barnard’s many other highlights seem to pay off: the school boasts an impressive 91% graduation rate.
Net Price: $22,815/yr
Score: 85.5

Colgate University Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Colgate hosts a number of in-house scholars programs, making it one of the top schools in New York for high-achievers.

6. Colgate University

Hamilton, NY

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Now we depart the hustle and bustle of NYC and spend most of the remainder of the best colleges in New York ranking exploring some stellar schools in the suburbs. First up is Colgate, a small, highly-selective liberal arts college located in Hamilton (about an hour from Syracuse). One of this college’s hallmark attributes is its innovative core curriculum, which emphasizes the “interdisciplinarity of knowledge” and the importance of intellectual engagement as students seek to apply “fresh perspectives” to “classic problems.” And despite its focus on traditional liberal arts topics, Colgate has developed a number of unique majors – from Mathematical Systems Biology to Environmental Economics and LGBTQ Studies – that prepare undergrads for careers in cutting-edge fields.
Net Price: $22,463/yr
Score: 85.62

Webb Institute Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
For mathematical minds and marine enthusiasts, there is no better or more affordable school in New York than the Webb Institute.

5. Webb Institute

Glen Cove, NY

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If you’re interested in engineering but have never heard of the Webb Institute, now is the time to learn. This innovative institution – inarguably one of the most unique on our top universities in New York ranking – offers just one academic degree program! That is, all Webb students receive a double major in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. So while it may cater to an extremely small crowd, Webb offers a perfect opportunity for future marine engineers who want to study in a focused environment among like-minded thinkers. What’s more, Webb applicants can apply for a host of special scholarships that could reduce – or even eliminate – the cost of tuition.
Net Price: $18,928/yr
Score: 85.98

Hamilton College Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
For an accredited school in New York that encourages free thinking and open intellectual expression, check out Hamilton College.

4. Hamilton College

Clinton, NY

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To understand Hamilton College’s appeal, you need only look at its promise to incoming students: “study what interests you, be accepted for who you are, and prepare to be the person you were meant to become.” A progressive, liberal arts college, Hamilton is in the business of breaking down boundaries and encouraging its learners to think outside of the box. Its “open” curriculum gives students the unprecedented flexibility to pursue their interests, regardless of their major (or concentration, in Hamilton speak). This is also one of the best New York colleges for writing; despite the lack of official requirements, all undergrads must take at least three writing-intensive courses to bolster their communication skills.
Net Price: $24,397/yr
Score: 86.75

Cornell University Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
If you successfully gain admission to and ultimately graduate from this top accredited New York college, you can look forward to a $625k ROI over the next 20 years.

3. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

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Of all the top universities in New York, few rival the name recognition and prestige of Cornell. The school boasts a bevy of famous alumni, from beloved science personality Bill Nye to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court. But for an indication of performance, look at the present, not the past (so they say). Of course, Cornell has plenty going for it in the here-and-now, too! The school is particularly active in research and supports an incredible range of academic institutes and labs. Chief areas of investment include medicine, engineering, and agriculture. In fact, there are nearly two-dozen research programs dedicated exclusively to food, farming, and nutrition studies!
Net Price: $30,014/yr
Score: 89.74

Columbia University in the City of New York Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
Good luck getting into this top college in NYC; Columbia’s acceptance rate is a slim 7%!

2. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY

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With its Ivy League status and its penchant for producing successful alumni, few would argue that Columbia isn’t one of the best universities in New York, much less the world! Students who attend Columbia can have high expectations for their time on campus – and beyond. For starters, the university claims more than 80 Nobel laureates among its faculty, staff, and alumni, ensuring that majors of every discipline have access to brilliant minds that can help them forge their own paths to success. And succeed indeed; a full 95% of Columbia undergrads complete their degree on time.
Net Price: $22,973/yr
Score: 98.57

United States Merchant Marine Academy Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York
The #1 top college in New York for value, the USMMA requires graduates to serve in the military – and in exchange, they earn an average 20-year ROI north of $1 million!

1. United States Merchant Marine Academy

Kings Point, NY

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Smart investors know that no other accredited university in New York can rival the United States Merchant Marine Academy when it comes to cost-effectiveness. Because it is a federal service academy, there is no tuition charge to attend the USMMA (although there may be some fees for books or living expenses). But that doesn’t mean it offers a free ride. In fact, USMMA students pay dearly in hard work and sweat as they toil through the most challenging academic program of any US service academy. And on the back end, graduates are expected to thank their government by serving in the armed forces – either five years of active duty or eight years in the reserves.
Net Price: $4,548/yr
Score: 100

Thanks for reading our ranking of the 50 top affordable universities in New York!

Sources:
IPEDS Data Center
College Navigator
PayScale.com

See Also:
Colgate University – A Profile
Hamilton College – A Profile
Vassar College – A Profile
Cooper Union – A Profile
Stony Brook University – A Profile