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School Rankings

Best Community Colleges in New York

Oluwaniyi Raji - February 18, 2022


New York has some of the best community college programs in the United States. The colleges are a great alternative to a traditional four-year program, offering a high-quality educational experience at a fraction of the price. The best community colleges in New York provide everything you need to kickstart your career.

In this article, you will learn about the top in-person and best online community colleges in New York for a variety of flexible degree programs. Besides running down the top virtual programs in the area, we will take a closer look at the best community colleges for nursing in New York.

How We Defined Our New York Community College Rankings

The community colleges on this list are based on enrollment and graduation rates, transfer rates, and tuition costs. They are in no particular order, but the layout is designed to help you streamline your school search. We also looked at their student-to-faculty ratios, academic programs, retention rates, and alumni network influence.

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average annual tuition cost of community colleges in New York is $5,476 for in-state students. This is a bit higher than the national average tuition cost of $3,377. The best community colleges in New York stand out for their affordable cost of tuition, high graduation rates, and high transfer rates.

The Top 10 Community Colleges in New York

  1. Kingsborough Community College
  2. Borough of Manhattan Community College
  3. Westchester Community College
  4. Nassau Community College
  5. Columbia-Greene Community College
  6. Herkimer Community College
  7. Ulster County Community College
  8. Mohawk Valley Community College
  9. Clinton Community College
  10. Bronx Community College

The Best Community Colleges in New York: Explained

The campus of a New York City college.
While attending a four-year school has its advantages, the student experience at a smaller college can be equally fulfilling.

1. CUNY Kingsborough Community College

Located in Brooklyn, this two-year school has a student body of 14,000. Students undergo technical training and general education programs to learn career-relevant skills. The college offers associate degree programs and professional certificate programs in a variety of fields.

Best Kingsborough Community College Programs

  • Associate in Applied Science in Maritime Technology
  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Engineering Science
  • Associate Degree in Journalism and Print Media program
  • Associate in Applied Science in Polysomnographic Technology

2. CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College

As a partner in the Google HSI Career Readiness Program, this college leads in community building and student engagement. It offers several dozen programs in physical, online, and hybrid formats. These programs are in STEM fields, liberal arts and science, social science, education, government, and public service.

Best Borough of Manhattan Community College Programs

  • Associate in Science in Digital Marketing
  • Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts
  • Associate in Arts in Gender and Women’s Studies
  • Associate in Science in Public and Nonprofit Administration
  • Associate in Applied in Health Information Technology

3. SUNY Westchester Community College

As the largest educational institution in Westchester County, this public college serves about 31,000 students every year with an array of full-time, part-time, and continuing education programs. It boasts excellent childcare facilities and career assistance programs and is famous for its inclusive campus culture and diversity initiatives.

Best Westchester Community College Programs

  • Certificate in Digital Filmmaking
  • Associate in Science in Environmental Studies
  • Associate in Applied Science in Energy Studies
  • Associate in Arts in Psychology
  • Associate in Arts in Communications and Media Arts

4. SUNY Nassau Community College

Nassau Community College is one of the largest single-campus public community colleges in New York, with solid athletic, social, and academic programs. It offers several programs designed for disadvantaged groups, such as the ASPIRES program, which caters to incoming students with autism spectrum disorders. Its faculty members have twice as many doctorates as the typical community college faculty.

Best Nassau Community College Programs

  • Associate in Arts in Disability Studies
  • Associate in Applied Science in Fashion Design
  • Certificate in Dietary Management
  • Associate in Science in Business Accounting
  • Associate in Science in Criminal Justice

5. SUNY Columbia-Greene Community College

Columbia-Greene is committed to helping students avoid student loan debt, and three out of five graduates leave debt-free. The college offers career-focused online programs, including an Associate in Applied Science in Business. Its online career management system, Purple Briefcase, allows students, alumni, and potential employers to connect and work together.

Best Columbia-Greene Community College Programs

  • Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology
  • Associate in Science in Human Services
  • Certificate in Construction Technology/Preservation Carpentry
  • Associate in Applied Science in Medical Assisting
  • Associate in Arts in Fine Arts

6. SUNY Herkimer County Community College

Ranked as one of the top two-year community colleges in the US based on high transfer and graduation rates, Herkimer County Community College boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1. The college receives aid from the Chobani/Swipe Out Hunger partnership and runs several other community-based programs.

Best Herkimer County Community College Programs

  • Associate in Applied Science in Fashion Buying and Merchandising
  • Associate in Science in Music Industry
  • Associate in Applied Science in Legal Studies
  • Associate in Applied Science in Sports and Recreation Management
  • Associate in Arts in General Studies

7. SUNY Ulster County Community College

This college is home to artists, environmentalists, athletes, and leaders. Students obtain degrees and certificates in different programs with affordable tuition rates. A degree from this school sets you up for exciting career options in many different fields.

Best Ulster County Community College Programs

  • Certificate in Administrative Office Skills
  • Associate in Arts in Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Associate in Science in Nursing
  • Associate in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology
  • Associate in Applied Science in Green Building Maintenance and Management

8. SUNY Mohawk Valley Community College

This open-admission school provides an affordable, high-quality education through partner programs with different organizations. It braces students for success with resource guides, extensive student engagements and campus events, and significant financial aid programs. It also boasts vibrant student life, excellent transfer rates, and numerous online learning options.

Best Mohawk Valley Community College Programs

  • Associate in Applied Science in Food Service Administration: Restaurant Management
  • Associate in Applied Science in Civil Engineering
  • Certificate in Entrepreneurship
  • Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Public Policy
  • Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology

9. SUNY Clinton Community College

With a campus overlooking Lake Champlain, Clinton offers many two-year degree paths to over 2,000 incoming students. Fields of study include liberal arts and sciences, social science, environmental science, health studies, and human services. Incoming first-year students receive resource guides to help them arrange their busy schedules and enjoy the student experience.

Best Clinton Community College Programs

  • Associate in Applied Science in Human Services
  • Certificate in Health Studies
  • Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts: English
  • Associate in Science in Applied Psychology
  • Certificate in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling

10. CUNY Bronx Community College

Renowned for its small class sizes, online degrees, and student success rates, this two-year college is an attractive study option. It runs partner programs with a wide range of organizations to offer opportunities for students across all academic disciplines. Another outstanding feature is vocational training and academic advising on degree prospects.

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Best Bronx Community College Programs

  • Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Psychology
  • Associate in Science in Biotechnology
  • Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Performing Arts
  • Certificate in Animal Care Management
  • Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology

Other New York Community College Rankings

Three students getting help from online tutoring services
You can enroll in online associate degree programs at some of the best public colleges in New York.

Many colleges offer hybrid learning options and online degree programs that are excellent options if you want a virtual college experience. With an online learning platform, students get to learn at their convenience with flexible course schedules. If you’re on a school search that offers career-focused online programs in New York, consider the options below.

Best Online Community Colleges in New York

  1. SUNY Niagara County Community College. This open-admission college offers several online classes for degrees in accounting, English, liberal arts and sciences, and sports management.
  2. SUNY Erie Community College. This school is renowned for its excellent online programs for associate degrees , certificates, and diplomas. All prospective students must take placement tests and submit high school transcripts.
  3. SUNY Rockland Community College. This fully accredited institution offers over a dozen online associate degree and certificate programs across business and homeland security.
  4. SUNY Erie Community College. Several courses are available on the school’s online learning platform for part-time and full-time students. Fields of study include social science and entrepreneurship.
  5. SUNY Monroe Community College. Full-time and part-time students can complete online degrees and other college credit programs in courses like health sciences.

Best Community Colleges for Nursing in New York

  1. CUNY Queensborough Community College. This college offers evening and weekend classes for nursing. Successful students can sit for professional certification exams.
  2. SUNY Genesee Community College. Students can work in many job settings upon graduation from the two-year nursing program.
  3. SUNY Hudson Valley Community College. The nursing curriculum combines general education courses with nursing and laboratory experience.
  4. CUNY Hostos Community College. The program at this school offers flexible degree programs for different schedules, allowing students to complete an associate degree.
  5. CUNY LaGuardia Community College. Prospective students must apply as undeclared health majors to get into the program. The college has a 47 percent graduation rate.

Should You Attend Community College in New York?

Yes, you should. New York’s community colleges offer outstanding academic and professional development programs that place high in the national school rankings for affordable education. The practical, career-focused approach to teaching and learning helps full-time and part-time students gain valuable experience and secure various entry-level positions after graduation.

Best New York Community Colleges FAQ

What are the differences between a community college and a four-year college?

A four-year university offers programs in a wide variety of fields and an option to obtain an undergraduate degree, while a community college offers select programs teaching career-relevant skills that take two years to complete.

What are the benefits of attending a community college?

At community college, you will save on tuition fees, improve your school transcripts, and learn marketable skills. You can then utilize the technical training, online programs, flexible learning schedules, robust academic resources, and affordable funding options to improve your chances of transferring to a public university.

What is a community college?

A community college is a public, two-year college that provides flexible learning and affordable education to all. Colleges offer in-person classes, online learning options, and hybrid learning options as part of the college experience. Attending select programs can help you enhance your practical skills in fields like mortuary science and the health sciences.

Do I need a high school diploma or an equivalent to attend a community college?

According to the University of Hawaii community college system, you do not necessarily need a high school diploma to attend a community college if you are 18 years or older. Many colleges run open admissions, and anyone can apply to attend.

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Oluwaniyi Raji

About the author: Raji is an expert content writer who specializes in B2B business sales writing and blog writing. Outside of his writing career, he is interested in learning how to code and develop websites. Raji holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Lagos.

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