New York’s Best Colleges and Universities of 2021

Here are the best colleges and universities in New York. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you.

New York’s Best Colleges and Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in New York

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.

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. 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.

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

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Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine New York's best colleges and universities?

The best colleges pound for pound!

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call Concentrated Influence. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.


25 Best Colleges & Universities in New York

Every fall, more than 2 million high-school graduates will enroll in colleges and universities across the United States. Finding the best college for your educational, personal, and professional goals may be challenging. The purpose of this ranking is to help you manage this challenge with an accurate, objective, and up-to-date ranking of the best colleges and universities in New York for earning a bachelor’s degree.

We’ve identified a total of 121 colleges and universities in New York, 89 of which meet our criteria. The list below of the top 25 schools focuses on those that offer four-year undergraduate degrees, includes both public and private colleges and universities, and also meet the following two conditions:

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 60%.

  1. Columbia University
    #1

    Columbia University

    #3 institution's overall influence
    #6 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    New York, NY

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    What is Columbia University known for?

    Columbia University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Law
    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Cornell University
    #2

    Cornell University

    #14 institution's overall influence
    #14 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    Ithaca, NY

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    What is Cornell University known for?

    Cornell University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Physics
    • Anthropology
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Sarah Lawrence College
    #3

    Sarah Lawrence College

    #239 institution's overall influence
    #1422 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1330/29

    Bronxville, NY

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    What is Sarah Lawrence College known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Barnard College
    #4

    Barnard College

    #125 institution's overall influence
    #65 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/31

    New York, NY

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    What is Barnard College known for?

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

    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Vassar College
    #5

    Vassar College

    #139 institution's overall influence
    #88 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1440/32

    Poughkeepsie, NY

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    What is Vassar College known for?

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

    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Cooper Union
    #6

    Cooper Union

    #312 institution's overall influence
    #62 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1396/32

    New York, NY

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    What is Cooper Union known for?

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

    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Yeshiva University
    #7

    Yeshiva University

    #212 institution's overall influence
    #136 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/26

    New York, NY

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    What is Yeshiva University known for?

    Yeshiva University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Law
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. New York University
    #8

    New York University

    #16 institution's overall influence
    #44 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    47K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1410/31

    New York, NY

    View profile

    What is New York University known for?

    New York University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Law
    • Education
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Nursing
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Bard College
    #9

    Bard College

    #300 institution's overall influence
    #998 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    2K

    Annandale-On-Hudson, NY

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    What is Bard College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. The New School
    #10

    The New School

    #95 institution's overall influence
    #1438 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    New York, NY

    View profile

    What is The New School known for?

    The New School's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. University of Rochester
    #11

    University of Rochester

    #91 institution's overall influence
    #61 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    29%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1410/32

    Rochester, NY

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    What is University of Rochester known for?

    University of Rochester's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. United States Military Academy
    #12

    United States Military Academy

    #38 institution's overall influence
    #55 overall school desirability

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1245/30

    West Point, NY

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    What is United States Military Academy known for?

    United States Military Academy's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. Colgate University
    #13

    Colgate University

    #278 institution's overall influence
    #42 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    Hamilton, NY

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    What is Colgate University known for?

    Colgate University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Anthropology
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. Hamilton College
    #14

    Hamilton College

    #324 institution's overall influence
    #85 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/32

    Clinton, NY

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    What is Hamilton College known for?

    Hamilton College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    #15

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    #186 institution's overall influence
    #1177 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    43%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/31

    Troy, NY

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    What is Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute known for?

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. Syracuse University
    #16

    Syracuse University

    #87 institution's overall influence
    #1450 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/27

    Syracuse, NY

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    What is Syracuse University known for?

    Syracuse University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Communications
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. Fordham University
    #17

    Fordham University

    #175 institution's overall influence
    #66 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1340/30

    Bronx, NY

    View profile

    What is Fordham University known for?

    Fordham University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    Stony Brook University

    #164 institution's overall influence
    #1211 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1325/28

    Stony Brook, NY

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    What is Stony Brook University known for?

    Stony Brook University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. Union College
    #19

    Union College

    #292 institution's overall influence
    #188 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    39%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    2K

    Schenectady, NY

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    What is Union College known for?

    Union College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Anthropology
    • Physics
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. State University of New York at Purchase
    #20

    State University of New York at Purchase

    #735 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    Purchase, NY

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    What is State University of New York at Purchase known for?

    State University of New York at Purchase's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. University at Buffalo
    #21

    University at Buffalo

    #98 institution's overall influence
    #1348 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    27K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1245/26

    Buffalo, NY

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    What is University at Buffalo known for?

    University at Buffalo's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • History
    • Communications
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. Hofstra University
    #22

    Hofstra University

    #485 institution's overall influence
    #850 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1240/27

    Hempstead, NY

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    What is Hofstra University known for?

    Hofstra University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Law
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. Binghamton University
    #23

    Binghamton University

    #328 institution's overall influence
    #1143 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    40%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1375/30

    Vestal, NY

    View profile

    What is Binghamton University known for?

    Binghamton University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. Queens College
    #24

    Queens College

    #273 institution's overall influence
    #1468 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    16K

    Queens, NY

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    What is Queens College known for?

    Queens College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. Skidmore College
    #25

    Skidmore College

    #1025 institution's overall influence
    #123 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    27%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1311/29

    Saratoga Springs, NY

    View profile

    What is Skidmore College known for?

    Skidmore College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

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