The cheapest colleges in New York provide undergraduate and graduate degree programs in many fields of study. They are also approved by accredited bodies, which ensure that low-tuition colleges meet high educational standards. The cheapest universities in New York fall under the City University of New York (CUNY) and the State University of New York (SUNY) systems.
In this article, we will review the most affordable colleges in New York, covering tuition costs, affordable degrees, accessible scholarships, and information on whether or not attending a cheap college in New York is worth it.
How Much Does College Cost in New York?
The average annual in-state tuition in New York for the 2020-21 academic year was $8,416 according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This is nearly $1,000 less than the national average of $9,375, which is perhaps surprising given the high cost of living. The affordability of higher education in New York is a testament to the CUNY and SUNY systems.
Most Affordable Colleges in New York: The Basics
|School||Location||Undergraduate Tuition||Graduate Tuition|
|CUNY Brooklyn College||Brooklyn||$3,465/semester (in-state), $620/credit hour (out-of-state)||$5,545/semester (in-state), $855/semester (out-of-state)|
|CUNY City College||New York City||$3,465/semester (in-state), $620/credit (out-of-state)||$6,485/semester (in-state), $945/credit (out-of-state)|
|CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice||New York City||$3,465/semester (in-state), 620/credit (out-of-state)||$5,545/semester (in-state), $855/credit (out-of-state)|
|CUNY Lehman College||The Bronx||$3,465/semester (in-state), $620/credit (out-of-state)||$5,545/semester (in-state), $855/credit (out-of-state)|
|CUNY Queens College||Queens||$3,465/semester (in-state), $620/credit (out-of-state)||$5,545/semester (in-state), $855/credit (out-of-state)|
|CUNY York College||Queens||$3,465/semester (in-state), $620/semester (out-of-state)||$5,545/semester (in-state), $855/credit (out-of-state)|
|SUNY Empire State College||Saratoga Springs||$3,535/term (in-state), $8,490/term (out-of-state)||$5,655/term (in-state), $11,550/term (out-of-state)|
|SUNY Polytechnic Institute||Utica||$3,535/semester (in-state), $8,915/semester (out-of-state)||$5,655/semester (in-state), $11,550/semester (out-of-state)|
|CUNY Baruch College||New York City||$6,930/year (in-state), $18,600/year (out-of-state)||$5,545/per year (in-state), $855/credit hour (out-of-state)|
|CUNY Hunter College||New York City||$6,930/year (in-state), $18,600/year (out-of-state)||$11,090/year (in-state), $25,650/year (out-of-state)|
Cheapest Universities in New York: A Closer Look
In the table above, we’ve compiled a list of the most affordable universities in New York, including information on their undergraduate and graduate tuition and locations. In the following sections, we will cover the cheapest colleges in New York in more depth.
Cheapest Online Colleges in New York
|School||Online Tuition||Programs Available Online|
|Stony Brook University||$295/credit hour||Master’s, Certificates|
|SUNY College of Technology at Delhi||$295/credit hour||Bachelor’s, Master’s|
|SUNY College of Technology at Canton||$295/credit hour||Associate, Bachelor’s, Certificates|
|SUNY Buffalo State College||$353/credit hour||Bachelor’s, Master’s, Advanced Certificates|
|SUNY Empire State University||$353/credit hour||Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s|
Cheapest Colleges in New York by In-State Tuition
- CUNY Brooklyn College | $3,465/semester
- CUNY Lehman College | $3,465/semester
- CUNY Queens College | $3,465/semester
- SUNY Empire State College | $3,535/term
- SUNY Polytechnic Institute | $3,535/semester
Cheapest Colleges in New York by Out-of-State Tuition
- CUNY Brooklyn College | $620/credit
- CUNY City College | $620/credit
- CUNY Lehman College | $620/credit
- CUNY Queens College | $620/credit
- CUNY York College | $620/credit
Why Is College So Expensive?
College is expensive for a variety of reasons, including expanding demand, increasing financial aid, and decreased state funding. The cost of college is further affected by factors such as housing and food, yearly tuition rates, and transportation. These factors will be discussed further below.
Housing and Food
The average monthly cost of an on-campus meal plan is $450, according to the Education Data Initiative. Although meal plans aren’t required, the monthly cost of groceries in states like New York can be almost as high. When added to other factors like tuition, these costs make colleges expensive. Students can create a budget to help limit excess spending and maintain a weekly allowance.
Books and Supplies
A full-time undergraduate today may expect to spend up to $1,465 on textbooks, according to the Education Data Initiative. When combined with other college expenditures such as tuition and fees, transportation, and housing, the price of college becomes more costly.
According to US News & World Report, private college tuition and fees average $39,723 per year, while public out-of-state tuition and fees average $22,953, and public in-state tuition and fees average $10,423. Students can offset this cost by applying for financial aid, student grants, and scholarships.
Best Universities by State
How to Save Money in College
- Work while in school. Working while in college allows you to make extra money, limiting your financial struggle and allowing you to save after sorting out your monthly expenses. Additionally, it provides you with valuable professional experience and life skills for the future.
- Do not be late on a loan payment. Being late on a payment incurs extra charges, which adds extra costs to a payment. To avoid this, set a reminder or make a note on a calendar to stay up to date and ahead on payments.
- Fill out the FAFSA every year. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is what schools and the government use to determine how much financial aid you get each year. If you’re qualified, FAFSA may take care of all of your school expenses through scholarships and grants, which will allow you to save the money you earn from working.
- Budget your student loan privilege. If you must take out student loans, you need to be careful about how much you borrow. To manage your total loans, you can create a budget sheet of monthly spending and set yourself a limit to not overspend.
- Sell your used textbooks. Many colleges accept used textbooks from students and pay a sum in return. This makes textbooks less expensive for you and for future students who can save money on used books. It is a good strategy to save money while in college.
How to Apply for Financial Aid in New York
- Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the first step to applying for financial aid. Apply for an FSA ID to complete your application and then complete the online form.
- Apply for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) if you are a New York State resident attending college in New York.
- The colleges you list on the FAFSA will receive a copy of your information, which they will use to assess if you are qualified for institutional aid. Once you are accepted, the college will send you a letter describing the financial aid you are eligible to receive.
- Review your FAFSA financial aid options and choose an option that best suits your financial situation.
Scholarships for Students in New York
|John E. Salk Scholarship||City University of New York||$8,000||Must have graduated from a CUNY senior college and intend on going to a US medical or graduate school|
|New York State STEM Incentive Program||Higher Education Corporation||$7,070||Must be an NYS resident, have resided in New York for over 12 months, and be a US citizen or non-eligible citizen|
|Manny and Sylvia Weiner Medical Scholarship||Mezaros/Weiner Family||$5,000||Must be an undergraduate in a pre-med track or current medical students from New Jersey or New York|
|Thomas J. Kilcullen Memorial Scholarship||Erin Wells||$2,000||Must be a student in New York pursuing a degree in criminal justice, social work, or a similar field|
|New York State Scholarship for Academic Excellence||Higher Education Services Corporation||$1,500||Must have graduated from a high school and be enrolled in an approved undergraduate school, and be a New York resident|
|Jacqueline Schiller Fund Scholarship||The New York Community Trust||$1,000||Must be a student in a CUNY college studying in a literature and history field|
|NY Law Scholarship||Michelle Bodden White||$1,000||Must be a Black law student seeking support|
|HM Family Scholarship||HM Family Scholarship||$1,000||Must be a high school senior or undergraduate BIPOC student in New York interested in studying or working in STEM|
|New York Association Scholarship||The American Occupational Therapy Foundation||$1,000||Must be a New York resident enrolled in a professional or associate degree-level occupational therapy program authorized in New York State.|
|New York State USBC Scholarship||New York State USBC||$1,000||Must be members of a New York State USBC Youth certified league and be high school seniors.|
How to Choose a Cheap College in New York
There are several factors that influence how to choose a cheap college in New York. These factors include considering colleges that offer scholarships, looking at colleges in your city or borough, and comparing other college costs.
For example, consider the New York state tuition for in-state students vs New York out-of-state tuition. In the section that follows, we’ll go through these factors in further detail.
Consider Colleges That Offer Scholarships
Many colleges provide merit-based scholarships to students who achieve particular grade point averages, SAT scores, or other academic requirements. Some colleges are more liberal with scholarships than others. To know if you are eligible for scholarships, contact the school’s financial aid office.
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Consider Colleges Within Your Location
Choosing to attend a college within your city or borough is a good bet for cheaper tuition. In-state tuition is always lower than out-of-state tuition in New York, which is three times the cost. Staying in-state or living at home also reduces expenses like transportation and room and board. If you plan to study in New York but aren’t from there, consider public universities with low out-of-state tuition over private universities to save on tuition.
Consider Comparing Other College Costs
Apart from tuition, fees, books and supplies, and room and board, other college expenses include transportation, housing, food, and personal expenses. You must examine these costs to determine whether they are within your budget for attending a low-cost institution. Some schools may feature lower costs than others.
Best Community Colleges by State
Highest-Paying Jobs for College Graduates in New York
|Job Title||Average Salary in New York||Minimum Education|
|Pediatric Surgeon||$286,460||Doctoral or professional degree|
|Financial Manager||$206,990||Bachelor’s degree|
|Computer and Information Systems Manager||$195,900||Bachelor’s degree|
|Sales Manager||$195,580||Bachelor’s degree|
|Advertising and Promotion Manager||$179,140||Bachelor’s degree|
|Training and Development Manager||$175,990||Bachelor’s degree|
|Medical and Health Services Manager||$155,430||Bachelor’s degree|
|Information Security Analyst||$133,210||Bachelor’s degree|
|Management Analyst||$114,950||Bachelor’s degree|
Best Jobs for College Grads in New York: Explained
Accredited Online Colleges by State
Is a Cheap College in New York Worth It?
Yes, a cheap college in New York is worth it. Even though these colleges are less expensive, they still provide high-quality education, dedicated staff, and plenty of on-campus opportunities for research. Many public and private schools in New York offer a low cost of attendance with opportunities for federal student loans and grants for full-time students.
Cheapest Colleges in New York FAQ
No, New York University is not cheap. The university is expensive, with a total estimated cost of attendance of $87,182 with housing or $67,728 without. If you’re interested in completing one of their popular majors, consider applying to the federal education loan program.
To get into the City University of New York for free, you need to reside in New York, earn excellent grades, complete a total of 30 credits each year, fill out the FAFSA, and apply for the Tuition Assistance Program.
There are a variety of community colleges in New York City that are cheap, including Suffolk County Community College, Ulster County Community College, and CUNY Bronx Community College.
SUNY is cheaper than CUNY. Although tuition at CUNY and SUNY schools is comparable for in-state students, the tuition at SUNY schools is slightly lower for out-of-state students. The overall difference in cost is attributable to location. Whereas CUNY schools are located in and around New York City, SUNY schools are dispersed throughout the state.
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