Enroll in the Best NYC Colleges for the Upcoming Year

Attending college is a must-do item for many individuals who hope to pursue more advanced positions in their desired field. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that roughly one-third of all jobs require some type of education beyond a high school diploma. Other sources, such as The Washington Post, espouse a college degree as the “new high school diploma.”

If you want to join the crowds of people who are opting for higher education, which of the best colleges in NYC will you want to attend?

Best Colleges in New York City Red Award Emblem

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Colleges in New York City

For many students, the issue of selecting the best colleges in New York City largely boils down to finding the cheapest college in NYC. Student loan debt has an incredible impact on your future financial status. Opting for the cheapest college in NYC can help to alleviate some of the future financial burden.

Prospective students who want to balance excellent academics with some of the cheap colleges in New York City will want to take a look at our ranking. AdvisoryHQ searched through the available NYC colleges to come up with these compelling options for your college degree.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Colleges in New York City

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the schools below to go directly to the detailed review section for that New York college):

Top 6 Best Colleges in New York City | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Best NYC Colleges



Bard College



Barnard College



Baruch College



Berkeley College



Hunter College



Queens College



Table: Top 6 Best NYC Colleges | Above list is sorted alphabetically

What Should You Know About the Cheapest College in NYC?

Not that long ago, groundbreaking legislature was passed that marked significant progress for students aiming to find cheap colleges in New York City. While not everyone can benefit from the new free tuition program available at public colleges and universities, The New York Times notes that traditional students can greatly benefit from this Excelsior Scholarship.

best colleges in nyc

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This fund grants students access to additional resources to help them pay for their tuition, making some once-expensive schools effectively the cheapest colleges in NYC.

However, there are criteria that each student must meet to take advantage of the Excelsior Scholarship at the best NYC colleges:

  • Must be a full-time student
  • Must be on track to graduate in two or four years (depending on degree)
  • Must live and work in New York for the same number of years as grant was received

Under this new model, students receive funds to help them make the best colleges in New York City more affordable. In exchange, the economy of New York is assisted by the influx of graduates available to take employment opportunities.

For students who only want to attend the cheapest college in NYC but plan to move elsewhere upon graduation, the Excelsior Scholarship won’t help much. The grant will transform into a loan that needs to be repaid to your NYC college.

It is believed that this will make some schools the cheapest colleges in NYC for students whose families make up to $125,000 by the year 2019. Mostly middle class students will benefit from receiving these funds at the best colleges in New York City.

Only a very small segment of the population may ultimately be affected by this new program. The top colleges in NYC estimate that roughly just 3,000 to 5,000 students in the CUNY system of New York City colleges will be eligible.

This new program is definitely something that all students should investigate, particularly if they want to attend the cheapest college in NYC. Make good use of all available resources and funds to help lower the overall cost of your tuition at colleges in NYC.

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Colleges in New York City

Below, please find the detailed review of each school on our list of best colleges in NYC. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these best NYC colleges to score so highly in our selection ranking.

Bard College Review

Many students who want to find cheap colleges in New York City rule out private options. While Bard College may be more expensive than some of the public colleges in NYC, it offers reasonable tuition for the type of education you’ll receive. Smaller class sizes and a smaller enrollment are key factors to consider when weighing the cost of these best colleges in New York City.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Colleges in NYC

Prospective students who want to learn more about this candidate for one of the best NYC colleges can find all the information they need in the detailed review section that follows.


Students who want to attend some of the best schools in NYC but don’t want to get lost in the shuffle may prefer the smaller settings found at Bard College. With just 2,000 undergraduate students enrolled, this New York City college is able to keep class sizes small with 98% of all courses having fewer than thirty students. The student-faculty ratio is also extremely low at ten students to each faculty member.

Much like many of our other candidates for the best schools in New York City, Bard College has an extensive offering of academic programs. Among interdivisional programs, there are thirteen majors and eleven minors to choose from. They also offer 35 stand-alone programs to assist students in their studies.

This past year, they were able to offer 1,267 different courses to their enrolled students. You’ll never run out of things to study at this best NYC college.


Larger colleges can often offer significantly lower rates than their smaller, private counterparts. For Bard College, this same sentiment rings true, though it may still be the cheapest college in NYC for those who want a private school experience.

Tuition will be significantly higher than compared to some of the public options for the best schools in NYC. At $52,226 per year, you may find yourself with a good bit of student loan debt upon graduation.

Prospective students should keep in mind that approximately 69% of students receive aid from the school, covering an average of half of the tuition fees. The average scholarship amount is $32,079.

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Barnard College Review

Students who want a pristine campus at one of the top colleges in New York City will appreciate the extensive academic offerings at Barnard College. Majors and minors leave little to be desired for prospective students, including those who are still trying to figure out what they may be interested in. However, the primary draw for Barnard College is their unique enrollment criteria: they feature women-only education at this pick among best colleges in NYC.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Colleges in NYC

For students who want to learn more about the details that make Barnard College one of the best colleges in New York City, our review of their academics and tuition rates are included below.


The overall campus size of the Barnard College is a part of what makes it one of the top colleges in New York City. The campus features four acres of beautiful land in the heart of New York City just for women. Enrollment is higher than many might expect for a women-only campus, at 2,588 students.

When it comes to long-term success at this best colleges in New York City pick, they have a fairly high graduation rates as well. The four-year graduation rate is set at 82%, and the six-year graduation rate is at 91%.

Keep in mind that class sizes are going to be relatively small at this college in NYC. The student-faculty ratio is just ten students to each faculty member.


Is Barnard College the cheapest college in NYC? Tuition is relatively high for this top college in New York City, at $48,614 for the 2016-2017 academic year.

However, that doesn’t mean that students leave saddled with exorbitant amounts of student loan debt. In fact, the class of 2016 had an average financial indebtedness of just $23,450 after receiving school aid and financial aid.

Baruch College Review

Coming in near the top of our ranking for student enrollment size, Baruch College is a top contender for one of the best NYC colleges. It is one of the few cheap colleges in NYC that offers a great business education and high enrollment rates. Prospective students won’t want to miss the experiences available at this pick among the best colleges in NYC.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Colleges in NYC

Below, you will find all of the details regarding the academics and tuition rates that allowed us to include Baruch College on our ranking of the best colleges in New York City.


Enrollment rates are high at this best NYC colleges pick, with just over 15,000 students attending undergraduate classes. The entire campus holds a total of 18,286 students between the undergraduate and graduate offerings. Student-faculty ratios are estimated to be around seventeen to one.

Academics are offered in each of their three separate schools:

  • Zicklin School of Business
  • Weissman School of Arts and Sciences
  • Marxe School of Public and International Affairs

The overwhelming majority of students enrolled at these best NYC colleges will attend the Zicklin School of Business. This portion of their education caters to just over 73% of their entire student body population. It houses their most popular majors, including accounting, finance, marketing, business or corporate communications, and computer information systems.


Baruch College is certainly a great candidate for being the cheapest college in NYC. In-state residents enjoy a large discount at their four-year college with tuition set at just $6,330 per year. This includes two semesters, based on fifteen credits each.

Out-of-state residents will see significantly higher price tags and may not find this to be one of the cheap colleges in NYC. The same tuition will cost them $16,800 each academic year.

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Berkeley College Review

For those who want a school that is sensitive to the needs of the military and its veterans, Berkeley College can offer just that type of environment. With numerous awards considering it a “military friendly college” from U.S. News and World Report, Military Times, and GI Jobs magazine, it is an obvious choice as one of the best schools in NYC. Berkeley College can offer flexibility, low tuition rates, and a large-school experience for potential students.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Colleges in NYC

You can find all of the details on what makes this NYC college rank among some of the best options in our summary below.


One of the best features of selecting Berkeley College is the ability to select a campus that suits your needs. Among their New York campuses, you can opt for their midtown Manhattan location or study at Brooklyn or White Plains. You may even have the ability to complete some courses online through the Berkeley College Online®.

Currently, more than 8,000 students are enrolled at Berkeley College. This enrollment size lands it solidly in the middle of our ranking when it comes to overall size. Class sizes will be larger overall, though, with a student-faculty ratio of 23 to one.

For undergraduate studies, some of their most popular programs of study include:

  • Management
  • Criminal Justice
  • Fashion Merchandising and Management
  • Health Services Management
  • Accounting
  • Business


Berkeley College isn’t the cheapest college in NYC included on our ranking, but it does post fairly reasonable tuition rates. For the 2017 semesters available, the cost of tuition is just $11,550 per semester for full-time students (twelve to fifteen credits).

Purchasing additional credits or attending part time costs students $810 per credit.

Berkeley College - best nyc colleges

Image Source: Berkeley College

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Hunter College Review

Ranked in the number eleven spot on U.S. News & World Report’s Top Public Schools in the North, CUNY’s Hunter College is great for students who want a large school. Among the best NYC colleges, Hunter has some of the highest enrollment rates of all the schools on our ranking. With an extremely lengthy list of academic offerings, these best colleges in New York City easily garner a second look.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Colleges in NYC

See a few of the outstanding reasons why Hunter College is considered by many to be one of the best colleges in NYC in our comprehensive overview below.


This is one of the largest schools in the area with a total enrollment of 22,918 students. Of this amount, close to three-quarters attend for their undergraduate degree programs (72%). Students may also want to note that the campus has primarily female students (68%) at this pick among the best colleges in NYC.

The extensive list of academic programs is another part of the major appeal of attending Hunter College. Prospective students have lots of selection for a desired major, with more than eighty undergraduate programs available. Their most popular majors include:

  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Psychology
  • Social Work

While some students may worry about getting lost in the crowd at a school this size, their student-faculty ratio is actually fairly low. According to one source, this number comes in at just thirteen to one.


Tuition fees are structured a little differently at this best colleges in New York City pick. They could certainly qualify as the cheapest college in NYC as well, depending on what you hope to attend for. Full-time residents who are matriculated will find tuition priced at just $3,165 per semester.

Non-residents pay a fee of $560 per credit.

There are additional fees based on your specific programs and for non-degree seeking students. Graduate programs have more specific pricing structures at Hunter College, depending on the type of degree you hope to obtain.

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Queens College Review

Another option for the best colleges in New York City from the CUNY system, Queens College is considered by many to be one of the top cheap colleges in New York City. In recent years, it was named by Forbes as one of America’s Top Colleges (2016) and the Best Value College (2015). Prospective students who need to prioritize cost by finding the cheapest college in NYC will want to investigate Queens College first and foremost.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Colleges in NYC

The detailed reasons why Queens College is included on our ranking of the best colleges in NYC are listed below.


Similar to Hunter College, this top-tier college in NYC consists of a rather large student population. Enrollment rates currently top 19,000 matriculated students with the majority of the undergraduates attending full-time. However, they still manage to produce a student-faculty ratio of just fourteen-to-one.

When it comes to the potential options for selecting a degree and major, there are more than 170 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs available. The most popular majors include psychology, accounting, sociology, economics, and English language. Studies are split into four broad categories, including:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Education
  • Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • Social Sciences

Students who are interested in the athletics that NYC colleges have to offer will also want to give Queens College more consideration. They are the only school in the CUNY system that has Division II status and more than 19 varsity teams.


Like many public colleges, Queens College grants discounts to students who are New York residents. For this section of their population, the cost of undergraduate tuition is incredibly low at $6,330 per academic year. This makes them easily the cheapest college in NYC.

Out-of-state residents will be charged $560 per undergraduate credit.

Financial aid is available in several different forms, from loans to work-study. Over 60% of the enrolled students at this pick of the best NYC colleges receive some type of financial aid to assist with their tuition.

Queens College - cheapest college in nyc

Image Source: Queens College

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Conclusion—Top 6 Best Colleges in New York City

Whether you need to enroll in the cheapest college in NYC or want the best academics, there are plenty of options for the best colleges in New York City. Cheap colleges in New York City are plentiful, especially with the state’s new addition of the Excelsior Scholarship. Students who are eligible for the program may see even lower tuition and fees, making once-expensive options some of the most sought after cheap colleges in NYC.

Investigate all of your potential options when it comes to scholarships, grants, and financial aid. The top colleges in New York City don’t have to necessarily be the most expensive selections.

Ultimately, enrolling in any of the best schools in NYC is going to be a very personal decision. The campus type, size of the school, academics, and cost will likely all play a role in selecting one of these New York City colleges for yourself. After finding the cheapest college in NYC, evaluate what your remaining priorities are to find an education that suits you and your future.

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