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2021 Best Colleges in New York

132 Colleges
$64,600 Avg Salary*
72% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

When pursuing a degree in today's world, there are many different options to choose from. Our mission at College Factual is to arm you with as much information as we can to help you make that decision. Our Top in New York Colleges and Universities ranking is one tool we have developed to help in this regard.

After analyzing 132 schools in New York, we came up with our list of those that offered the highest quality education. Our ranking is based on over 20 objective factors, including post graduate earnings, freshman retention, and graduation rate. We steer clear of subjective measures since they don't give a clear picture when determining how one school compares to another.

See what other factors we include in our ranking methodology.

Custom Rankings

We know that one set of rankings doesn't always help you determine the best school for you, so we've created the ability to narrow your list by location and field of study as well as alternative rankings that prioritize different factors such as those of importance to veterans and returning adults or those who value diversity and value for your money.

We've created a tool called College Combat that lets you create your own customized comparisons based on the factors that matter the most to you. Test it out by comparing your favorite schools against others you are considering!

Top Colleges in New York

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

Cornell University tops this year’s ranking as the best school in New York for overall quality. Located in Ithaca, New York, the large private not-for-profit school handed out 4,145 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Cornell make an average of $77,200 per year during the early years of their career.

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#2

Hamilton College

Clinton, New York

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Hamilton College. The school came in at #2 in New York on this year’s overall quality ranking.Clinton, New York is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 603 students in 2018-2019.

Bachelor’s degree students at the school tend to finish their degree on-time. The 4-year graduation rate is 87%, which is impressive compared to the national rate of 33%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton is $60,200 during the early years of their career.

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#3

Colgate University

Hamilton, New York

Out of the 132 schools in New York that were part of this year’s ranking, Colgate University landed the #3 spot on the list. Located in Hamilton, New York, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 894 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 94%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Colgate make an average of $63,600 per year during the early years of their career.

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The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Columbia University in the City of New York helped the school earn the #4 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in New York. Columbia is located in New York, New York and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 2,702 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 6 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Columbia make an average of $83,300 per year during the early years of their career.

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#5

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, New York

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Vassar College. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Best Colleges in New York list. Vassar is a private not-for-profit institution located in Poughkeepsie, New York. The school has a small population, and it awarded 761 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 96%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Vassar go into careers with an average salary of $54,600 during the early years of their career.

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#6

Union College New York

Schenectady, New York

With a ranking of #6, Union College New York did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in New York list. Union College Schenectady is a private not-for-profit institution located in Schenectady, New York. The school has a small population, and it awarded 571 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Bachelor’s degree students at the school tend to finish their degree on-time. The 4-year graduation rate is 82%, which is impressive compared to the national rate of 33%. During the early years of their career, graduates from Union College Schenectady make an average of $65,400 a year.

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#7

University of Rochester

Rochester, New York

University of Rochester ranked #7 on this year’s Best Colleges in New York list. Located in Rochester, New York, the fairly large private not-for-profit school awarded 1,921 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 97%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from University of Rochester is $61,200 during the early years of their career.

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With a ranking of #8, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in New York list. RPI is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school situated in Troy, New York. It awarded 1,359 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 93%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from RPI is $82,000 during the early years of their career.

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#9

Barnard College

New York, New York

Barnard College ranked #9 on this year’s Best Colleges in New York list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in New York, New York, and it awarded 755 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 0.6%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Barnard is $57,900 during the early years of their career.

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#10

Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs, New York

Skidmore College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in New York ranking, coming in at #10. Located in Saratoga Springs, New York, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 717 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Skidmore go into careers with an average salary of $49,700 during the early years of their career.

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#11

United States Merchant Marine Academy

Kings Point, New York

United States Merchant Marine Academy came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in New York ranking. United States Merchant Marine Academy is a small public school located in Kings Point, New York that handed out 200 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 92%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $88,100 during the early years of their career..

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Hobart and William Smith Colleges did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in New York ranking, coming in at #12. Located in Geneva, New York, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 594 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

Bachelor’s degree students at the school tend to finish their degree on-time. The 4-year graduation rate is 76%, which is impressive compared to the national rate of 33%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from The Colleges is $53,500 during the early years of their career.

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#13

Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York

Syracuse University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in New York ranking, coming in at #13. Syracuse University is a large private not-for-profit school located in Syracuse, New York that handed out 4,101 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.0%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse is $62,100 during the early years of their career.

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#14

New York University

New York, New York

New York University came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in New York ranking. Located in New York, New York, the large private not-for-profit school awarded 6,658 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.2%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from NYU make an average of $61,900 per year during the early years of their career.

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#15

Clarkson University

Potsdam, New York

Clarkson University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in New York ranking, coming in at #15. Clarkson is a private not-for-profit institution located in Potsdam, New York. The school has a small population, and it awarded 785 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 1.6% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $72,000 during the early years of their career..

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#16

St Lawrence University

Canton, New York

St Lawrence University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in New York ranking, coming in at #16. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Canton, New York, and it awarded 765 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The 4-year grad rate at the school is 82%. That’s impressive when you compare it to the national rate of 33%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence go into careers with an average salary of $50,100 during the early years of their career.

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#17

Ithaca College

Ithaca, New York

Ithaca College came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in New York ranking. Located in Ithaca, New York, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school handed out 1,501 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.1%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca make an average of $52,300 per year during the early years of their career.

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#18

Yeshiva University

New York, New York

Yeshiva University ranked #18 on this year’s Best Colleges in New York list. Located in New York, New York, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school handed out 587 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Bachelor’s degree students at the school tend to finish their degree on-time. The 4-year graduation rate is 76%, which is impressive compared to the national rate of 33%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $58,500 during the early years of their career..

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#19

Binghamton University

Vestal, New York

Binghamton University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in New York ranking, coming in at #19. Located in Vestal, New York, the fairly large public school awarded 3,888 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 2.1% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University make an average of $61,600 per year during the early years of their career.

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#20

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, New York

Rochester Institute of Technology did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in New York ranking, coming in at #20. RIT is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Rochester, New York. It awarded 2,648 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 90%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from RIT go into careers with an average salary of $62,400 during the early years of their career.

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Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in New York ranking, coming in at #21. Albany College of Pharmacy is a private not-for-profit institution located in Albany, New York. The school has a small population, and it awarded 52 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 0.5%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Albany College of Pharmacy make an average of $124,700 per year during the early years of their career.

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#22

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

University at Buffalo ranked #22 on this year’s Best Colleges in New York list. University at Buffalo is located in Buffalo, New York and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 5,273 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.0%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from University at Buffalo go into careers with an average salary of $52,600 during the early years of their career.

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#23

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, New York

Stony Brook University came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in New York ranking. SUNY Stony Brook is a public institution located in Stony Brook, New York. The school has a large population, and it awarded 4,945 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% During the early years of their career, graduates from SUNY Stony Brook make an average of $57,600 a year.

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With a ranking of #24, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in New York list. Located in Syracuse, New York, the small public school awarded 459 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.1%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from SUNY - ESF go into careers with an average salary of $45,600 during the early years of their career.

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#25

Marist College

Poughkeepsie, New York

Marist College ranked #25 on this year’s Best Colleges in New York list.Poughkeepsie, New York is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,353 students in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 89%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Marist is $56,900 during the early years of their career.

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Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Colleges ranking:

Rank College Location
26 The Juilliard School New York, NY

More Rankings >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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