New York’s Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship

New York’s Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship

What are the best colleges and universities in Texas if you reward schools for making the best use of their limited resources? Academic Stewardship asks how effectively schools manage their financial and human resources to gain the influence that makes them academically excellent. Schools that are exemplary in Academic Stewardship are doing everything in their power to help students and faculty achieve their full potential.

Colleges and universities in New York deserve to be recognized when they do more with less. It’s impressive when a large wealthy school can spend money lavishly on expensive buildings and programs. But it’s even more impressive when a small school with limited means is able to train and inspire students that the larger wealthier schools tend to ignore.

The American Association of Colleges and Universities reported in late 2021 that almost 75 percent of higher-education professionals at US colleges and universities felt financial constraints prevented their schools from effectively attracting students. Distracted by the size and amenities of larger schools, prospective students tended especially to be overawed by the big research universities.

New York’s smaller colleges, especially its liberal arts colleges, need effective ways of communicating their value to a world that celebrates “bigger is better” and “you need the best.” Unfortunately, most college ranking companies, such as U.S. News & World Report, define “best” in a way that devalues schools with smaller budgets and fewer students even when these schools do remarkable work in advancing their students’ education. By and large, college rankings penalize schools that serve underserved populations.

Inspired by Malcolm Gladwell, who for years now has criticized conventional college rankings for misrepresenting what’s good and valuable in education, we decided to construct a new ranking metric that highlights those schools that do more with less. That metric—called the Academic Stewardship metric—takes away both the size and the wealth advantage of schools, and focuses instead on how well schools use the resources available to them to advance the education of their students.

How We Measure the Academic Stewardship of New York’s Colleges and Universities

New York's Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship
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As a metric, Academic Stewardship is defined by a precise mathematical formula, which can be found in our Academic Stewardship white paper. Measuring the Academic Stewardship of New York’s colleges requires measuring two forms of stewardship: 1) Stewardship of financial resources (using the money they have responsibility without waste) and 2) Stewardship of human resources (doing their best to help students, faculty, and administration to flourish). Together, these two types of stewardship form what we call  Academic Stewardship. If you want to learn more about the factors involved in Academic Stewardship, click the more button below.

  1. Stewardship of financial resources: To determine a school’s stewardship of financial resources, we factored in its undergraduate size, budget, endowments and reserves, as well as tuition and fees. All these data are available from the National Center for Educational Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. In addition, we factored in a school’s financial responsibility as gauged by the Federal Student Aid Office at the US Department of Education through its financial responsibility composite scores.
  2. Stewardship of human resources: To determine a school’s stewardship of human resources, we used our InfluenceRanking engine to track the influence of the school’s faculty and alumni but also to control for size of the undergraduate student body. We’ve found that measuring a school’s influence based on the contributions of faculty and alumni make in their fields of study but then also controlling for size of the undergraduate population is the single best indicator of academic excellence. We call this Concentrated Influence. Schools that rank highly in Concentrated Influence are schools that, given their available human resources, invest heavily in their students and faculty, and the results are demonstrable.
    • We measure the influence of colleges and universities based on the publications and citations of the schools’ faculty and alumni who are teaching in and working in areas related to their degrees. To do this, we take publicly available databases, such as Semantic Scholar, Crossref, and Wikipedia and use these to measure the influence of academics in their disciplines. Having measured the influence of persons, we then identify the schools that they’re affiliated with, adding up the influence scores of the faculty and alumni to measure the influence of the schools and their disciplinary programs. Finally, we control these influence scores by size of undergraduate student body so that schools do not score high in influence simply because of a size advantage. We lay out these methodological considerations on our methodology page.
  3. Academic Stewardship: Having measured a school’s stewardship of financial and human resources in the two previous points, we now divide the second measure by the first to define the Academic Stewardship metric. This metric spotlights smaller schools, with fewer financial resources and people, that invest wisely and do proportionately better in building influence than large wealthy schools. Many of these smaller, less wealthy schools are incentivized to make better use of their resources but would never get recognized in conventional school rankings, which directly or indirectly put a premium on the wealth of schools.

Academic Stewardship as so defined is connected to keeping tuition and other costs down, but it should not be confused with affordability or frugality. The schools that this metric ranks as exemplary academic stewards tend to be all over the map when it comes to tuition and other costs. At issue is the influence of schools given the financial and human resources they have on hand. If a school is going to charge more for tuition, then that needs to be reflected in the school having proportionately greater influence.

Why Academic Stewardship Matters to Students and Their Families

The benefits of attending a school with strong academic stewardship include:

  • A clear reason for why students are at the school in the first place. Without the distraction of amenities and luxuries, these schools are at once unpretentious but also passionately committed to their educational mission. The schools in this ranking are financially efficient and academically rigorous. By avoiding frills, these schools take the most direct path to accomplishing their mission of educating students.
  • Valuing character over prestige and self-indulgence. A school that’s a good steward of its resources doesn’t instill shame in its students over what they are missing (such as elite cuisine) but rather pride in what they have and making the most of it. These schools exhibit a culture of good stewardship, which tends to build good character in the students that attend these schools.
  • Avoiding the spoiled-student syndrome. It’s easy to think that offering students endless options and opportunities will enrich their time at school in every way. But spoiling people—whether in business, sports, or academics—has the opposite effect, causing people to take their advantages for granted and in the end achieving less than they might otherwise, a point well-documented in Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code. Schools exhibiting academic stewardship avoid this pitfall.
  • The best schools vs. the schools that help students to be their best. Students at schools demonstrating outstanding academic stewardship aren’t so much concerned about being at the “best” school, whatever that may mean, as about being at a school that helps them to be their best. These schools pay attention to their students, hoping that any glory goes to them rather than to the school. Small schools, and especially liberal arts colleges, help themselves by communicating this advantage to prospective students.
  • Emphasizing development over talent and achievement. Schools like Harvard and Stanford have their pick of academic talent, and their students have a long record of achievement even before they apply to such elite schools. But if a school doesn’t have the resources of a Harvard or Stanford, how does it build a great team of students? In that case, it must focus on student development. Colleges exemplifying academic stewardship emphasize student growth and development, ensuring that the schools are doing everything in their power to help students reach their full potential and thereby become their best selves.
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New York’s Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship

  1. #1

    Houghton College

    Houghton , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1190/24

    What is Houghton College known for?

    Houghton College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Literature
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Elmira College

    Elmira , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

    What is Elmira College known for?

    Elmira College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Cazenovia College

    Cazenovia , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Cazenovia College known for?

    Cazenovia College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Nyack College

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    945/20

    What is Nyack College known for?

    Nyack College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • History
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Hartwick College

    Oneonta , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    What is Hartwick College known for?

    Hartwick College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Earth Sciences
    • Physics
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Cooper Union

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1417/32

    What is Cooper Union known for?

    Cooper Union’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Sarah Lawrence College

    Bronxville , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1331/29

    What is Sarah Lawrence College known for?

    Sarah Lawrence College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Russell Sage College

    Troy , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Russell Sage College known for?

    Russell Sage College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Law
    • History
    • Business
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Manhattanville College

    Purchase , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Manhattanville College known for?

    Manhattanville College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Business
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/25

    What is State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry known for?

    State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Alfred University

    Alfred , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/22

    What is Alfred University known for?

    Alfred University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Engineering
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • History
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/25

    What is State University of New York Maritime College known for?

    State University of New York Maritime College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Graduate Center, CUNY

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Student body

    4K

    What is Graduate Center, CUNY known for?

    Graduate Center, CUNY’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Physics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    St. Bonaventure University

    Saint Bonaventure , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/22

    What is St. Bonaventure University known for?

    St. Bonaventure University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    Bard College

    Annandale-On-Hudson , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Bard College known for?

    Bard College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Economics
    • History
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Wagner College

    Staten Island , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Wagner College known for?

    Wagner College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #17

    Union College, New York

    Schenectady , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    41%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1320/29

    What is Union College, New York known for?

    Union College, New York’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #19

    Barnard College

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/32

    What is Barnard College known for?

    Barnard College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #20

    Canisius College

    Buffalo , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    What is Canisius College known for?

    Canisius College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Vassar College

    Poughkeepsie , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    What is Vassar College known for?

    Vassar College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #22

    Marymount Manhattan College

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/23

    What is Marymount Manhattan College known for?

    Marymount Manhattan College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #23

    Niagara University

    Niagara University , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    What is Niagara University known for?

    Niagara University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #24

    St. Francis College

    Brooklyn Heights , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/21

    What is St. Francis College known for?

    St. Francis College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • History
    • Communications
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1272/28

    What is Hobart and William Smith Colleges known for?

    Hobart and William Smith Colleges’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

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New York’s Best Colleges in Your Area of Interest

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Colleges and Universities in New York

On average, tuition at New York’s higher education institutes comes in well-below the national average at about $7,900. Students have nearly 80 public school options to choose from, ranging in fees from $1,000 at the United States Merchant Marine Academy up to $10,000 at the University at Buffalo, the largest public university. However, some of the state’s private schools, such as New York University (NYU), charge tuition fees at a much higher cost.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Although tuition fees at NYU average $52,000, students who attend this school have access to some of the best programs in fields like literature, business, medicine, communications, and law. The school also boasts famous alumni like Whoopi Goldberg and Jonas Salk. New York also offers close to 40 religiously affiliated schools. Students can expect to pay a wide range of tuition costs at these schools, but have the option to major in fields like social work, law, religious studies, business, and nursing.

They say New York is a place where dreams come true. Here, fashion, culture, food, business, art, and many languages comfortably coexist. While The Empire State’s metropolitan landmarks, like the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, are noteworthy, many forget New York also offers access to the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, and countless cozy cabins tucked away in the verdant Catskills Mountains. Additionally, New York is home to over 200 colleges and universities, making it easy for students to dream big while earning their degrees.

Explore some of the top programs New York higher education institutes have to offer, and make your educational and personal dreams come true.


What are New York’s Colleges & Universities?

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