2023 Best Online Community Colleges in New York
New York is home to one of the largest community college systems in the U.S., providing many opportunities to earn an online Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or Associate of Applied Science. In addition to these associate degrees, distance learners can also choose to complete general education requirements for transfer to a bachelor's program. Many bachelor's degrees can be completed at online colleges in New York, making the transfer process simple and setting students up for careers within the state.
Prospective students in New York often choose online community colleges because of the convenience, affordability, and breadth of programs in fields of study such as accounting, cybersecurity, psychology, travel and events management, informatics, and social or health sciences. Explore the online schools below to learn more about your options. View our methodology for more details about our list or learn more about OnlineU.
Online Programs You May Be Interested In
Bryant & Stratton College Online
Annual Tuition: $14,834
13 Programs (view all)
List Of Accredited Online Schools
|School||Online Enrollment||Annual Tuition|
|Monroe Community College|
|Hudson Valley Community College||1,213||$11,062|
|Erie Community College||832||$10,141|
|Suffolk County Community College||734||$11,522|
|Broome Community College||718||$10,582|
|Finger Lakes Community College||700||$7,657|
|Herkimer County Community College||480||$8,510|
|Tompkins Cortland Community College||370||$11,658|
|Jefferson Community College||325||$10,512|
Monroe Community College
Monroe Community College (MCC) is a public institution situated in Rochester, NY. It's a member of the State University System of New York (SUNY System) — the largest university system in the United States. Within this network, MCC has been awarded over 120 SUNY Chancellor's Awards for excellence in teaching, professional service, and scholarships, among other areas.
The school offers over 200 online courses through Brightspace's learning management system (LMS). There are 18 programs students can complete 100% online and asynchronously, with dozens more that feature mostly online coursework. Among the fully online programs are degrees such as an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice, an Associate of Applied Science in Child Care Practitioner, as well as certificate programs in personal training, hospitality, and dental assisting. Online students can also receive academic advising and counseling services.
Hudson Valley Community College
Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) is a public college located in Troy, NY. They offer a slate of online programs that include certificates and associate degrees in the arts, sciences, applied sciences, and occupational studies. Some examples include an Associate of Arts in Business Administration, an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice, and a Certificate in IT Help Desk Support. Some degrees may require on-campus labs or proctored exams. However, HVCC notes that remote students may work with advisors to ensure they can complete entire degrees online through the Blackboard LMS.
Remote students may take advantage of educational resources, such as academic counseling, one-on-one English and Math tutoring, and even a computer loan program. Furthermore, HVCC promotes itself as a school that offers opportunities to underserved and underrepresented students through a motivational support system, referrals to tutoring programs, life coaching, and local community assistance.
Erie Community College
Erie Community College (ECC) is a SUNY System institution located in Buffalo, NY. They feature flexible, online programs and easy transfer options to four-year universities. There are 11 degrees and certificates that students can finish 100% online through the Brightspace platform. Options include an Associate of Arts in Humanities, a Certificate in Support Technology, and an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration. Additionally, 10 options are available for partially online programs in the fields of entrepreneurship, homeland security, legal studies, emergency management, and physical education. ECC's Classroom to Career Career Certificates allows students to balance a work-life schedule while they prepare for a career change or advancement. Furthermore, online students can take advantage of academic advising and career services that include planning, job search, and employer services.
Suffolk County Community College
Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) is a public institution with a variety of options for programs that are completely online, partially online, or include a hybrid delivery format. Online coursework is mostly taken through the Brightspace LMS, with some delivered synchronously and others asynchronously. There are only 10 fully online options available — including an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration, an Associate of Arts in Psychology, and an Associate of Arts in Humanities - Creative Writing. SCCC only offers one online certificate, which is available in accounting.
For additional resources for online students, the school includes a virtual orientation, course advisement, and digital libraries, as well as career, mental health, personal, and academic counseling. Some courses may require proctored exams that take place on campus. It's recommended that students check with an advisor during enrollment.
Broome Community College
Broome Community College (BCC) is a public college and a member of the SUNY System of New York colleges. Overall, 23 online programs are available for remote students, all of which are delivered entirely online through the Blackboard LMS. BCC offers 10 additional programs that require at least 50% online participation and some campus or in-person instruction. Here are three examples of fully online degrees and certificates: Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology, Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Certificate in Histological Technician. BCC has partnerships with three local universities, Bellevue University, Excelsior University, and SUNY Empire State College, that offer an easy transfer of credits to a bachelor's degree.
Along with each online program comes six variances on the instructional method including Distance Learning Asynch, Distance Learning Synch Proctored, and Distance Learning Asynch (Blended). These distinctions determine whether students can study or take exams on their own time or adhere to a more structured schedule. Online students can complete orientation online and take advantage of academic advising, tutoring, and mental health counseling.
Overview of Online Community Colleges in New York
New York boasts two community college systems: the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY). SUNY has 30 community colleges statewide serving 174,000 students, many of whom enroll in the 324 online associate degree programs currently offered. CUNY serves approximately 91,000 students with seven community colleges and 12 online associate degree programs in the five boroughs — Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx — that make up New York City.
A community college is a good place to start exploring career options and degree paths. Students enroll in SUNY and CUNY to earn associate degrees to boost their prospects in the highly competitive New York job market. Many save money by completing their first two years of college and general education credits before transferring to a bachelor's degree program. Most online associate degree courses are worth three credit hours. It takes full-time students approximately two years to complete a 90-credit associate degree. Part-time students often take longer to finish.
Students enroll in SUNY and CUNY to earn associate degrees to boost their prospects in the highly competitive New York job market.
Some community colleges in the SUNY and CUNY systems have noted higher graduation and transfer rates. Because tuition and other factors vary by campus, always check individual campus information when doing your research.
How Much Does it Cost to Attend Community College in New York?
Average yearly tuition and fees in New York are $5,390 for in-state students and $9,340 for out-of-state students — much higher than the $3,730 national average for full-time, in-district students. SUNY charges tuition based on state residency for online programs. However, CUNY charges in-state tuition for all online programs regardless of residency, which helps students save money.
The State of New York enacted the first accessible college tuition program in the U.S. with the Excelsior Scholarship to address affordability. The Excelsior Scholarship provides free community college tuition for approximately 940,000 individuals and families earning less than $125,000 a year.
Students who meet the following specific requirements may qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship:
- Established New York residency
- Enrollment in a SUNY or CUNY community college
- Completion of 30 credit hours per year
- Continued residency in New York after graduation
Federal financial aid can also help pay for tuition. Students should first fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if they qualify for federal grants, scholarships, work study programs, or student loans. Federal student loans offer lower interest rates than traditional loans through private lenders and have more flexible repayment options.
Attending an Online New York Community College
Working students may consider online learning as a convenient way to complete their education. Classes are often small in size and asynchronous, so students can log in anytime and virtually anywhere to complete tasks. Distance learning programs may also appeal to students who are not interested in traditional campus life and want to focus on their classes and career goals without distraction.
Those eager to gain industry-specific job skills without completing an associate degree or general education courses for transfer can earn certificates online in areas of study such as culinary arts, medical billing and coding, dental assisting, computer networking, and court reporting. Community college certificate programs may be a convenient way to pursue higher education and gain marketable skills.
SUNY and CUNY have a state-recognized Transfer Guarantee Program for students transferring within these systems, allowing students who meet general education requirements to transfer from a two-year college to a four-year program as juniors. Both SUNY and CUNY systems offer several online bachelor's and graduate programs at their four-year universities. Students transferring to schools outside these systems would still have standard enrollment requirements to meet, including official transcripts, a minimum 2.0 GPA, an application fee of approximately $50, and sometimes a letter of intent.
Careers After Community College in New York
While earning an online associate degree in New York can prepare students for work anywhere, many stay local after graduation. The SUNY and CUNY online community college programs help students acquire the in-demand skills New York employers desire. Students can network with peers and faculty online to make professional connections and boost career opportunities.
When searching for work in areas with high unemployment rates, such as New York's tight job market, community college graduates with marketable skills may have a competitive edge. As of September 2021, state unemployment is 7.4% and in New York City alone it's 8.9%. These figures are much higher than the 4.8% national average unemployment rate reported by the BLS in September, or the rates in states like Nebraska and Utah, which hover around 2%.
It's imperative to carefully consider future job prospects before enrolling in an online program. Finding work in a growth area increases your marketability. According to the New York State Department of Labor, there are three top job sectors that are showing high growth rate projections through 2028:
- Healthcare and Social Assistance enjoy a job growth rate of 34%. SUNY and CUNY both offer online programs in health information technology, community and human services, dental assisting, medical assisting, and health studies to meet this demand.
- Education Services are seeing a job growth rate of 14.9%. Students can earn an online associate degree or a certificate in early childhood education, educational studies, teaching assistance, developmental disabilities, and special education assistance.
- Professional and Business Services lists a job growth rate of 14.6%. SUNY and CUNY offer associate degree and certificate programs in areas such as business administration, communications, accounting, marketing, paralegal, and business and environmental sustainability.
Where you choose to live may also dictate your earning potential and overall livability. Cost of living indexes measure how far your salary will go toward expenses in one place as compared to another. While these numbers take into account many factors and can change over time, a recent analysis found that New York City ranks very high at 187.2, where the U.S. average is 100. Other areas throughout New York state ranked lower than the national average, such as:
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy at 94.6
- Buffalo-Niagara Falls-Erie County at 79.5
- Syracuse metro area at 83.8
- Oswego at 76.7
Between lower unemployment rates and a lower cost of living, choosing to live outside of New York City after graduation from a New York community college may be more affordable.
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