New York’s Best Private Colleges and Universities of 2021

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in New York.

New York’s Best Private Colleges and Universities of 2021

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.

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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?

New York’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 80 private universities in New York; 61 of which meet our criteria. The list below of the 25 best private universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a private, non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 50%.

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

Methodology

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.

Best Private Colleges & Universities in New York

  1. #1

    Columbia University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    What is Columbia University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #2

    Cornell University

    Ithaca , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

    What is Cornell University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #5

    Vassar College

    Poughkeepsie , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    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
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Physics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #7

    Yeshiva University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/27

    What is Yeshiva University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #8

    New York University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    49K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1440/32

    What is New York University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #9

    Bard College

    Annandale-On-Hudson , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Bard College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #10

    The New School

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1265/27

    What is The New School known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  8. #11

    University of Rochester

    Rochester , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    35%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1405/32

    What is University of Rochester known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Business
    REQUEST INFO
  9. #13

    Hamilton College

    Clinton , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/33

    What is Hamilton College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/31

    What is Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #15

    Syracuse University

    Syracuse , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1280/28

    What is Syracuse University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Law
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  12. #17

    Union College

    Schenectady , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    41%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1320/29

    What is Union College known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Literature
    • History
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Anthropology
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. #18

    Hofstra University

    Hempstead , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    What is Hofstra University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Law
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #19

    Skidmore College

    Saratoga Springs , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1310/30

    What is Skidmore College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    REQUEST INFO
  15. #20

    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
    • Medical
    • Education
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    REQUEST INFO
  16. Tuition + fees

    $59K

    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:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • History
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Religious Studies
    • Earth Sciences
    REQUEST INFO
  17. #22

    Manhattan College

    Riverdale , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    What is Manhattan College known for?

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

    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    REQUEST INFO
  18. #23

    Clarkson University

    Potsdam , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/26

    What is Clarkson University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Medical
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  19. #24

    Marist College

    Poughkeepsie , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Marist College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • History
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  20. Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1265/28

    What is St. Lawrence University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • History
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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