Best Online Community Colleges in New York

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 11/22/2021
2020 Best Online Community Colleges in New York Badge

New York is home to one of the largest community college systems in the U.S., providing many opportunities to earn online Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or Associate of Applied Science degrees. In addition to these associate degrees, students can complete general education requirements necessary for transfer to a bachelor's degree program. Students in New York choose online community colleges because of convenience, affordability, and breadth of programs in such fields of study as accounting, cybersecurity, psychology, travel and events management, informatics, and social or health sciences. Of the schools on this list, 16 cost less than $5,000 per year. Read more about online community colleges in New York and how much they cost, what it's like to attend, and potential career opportunities after graduation.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Locations
# 1 #1 Hudson Valley Community College $4,800 Troy
# 2 #2 Herkimer County Community College $4,890 Herkimer
# 3 #3 Cayuga Community College $4,844 Auburn
# 4 #4 Monroe Community College $4,380 Rochester
# 5 #5 Broome Community College $4,728 Binghamton
# 6 #6 Suffolk County Community College $5,470 Selden
# 7 #7 Ulster County Community College $4,680 Stone Ridge
# 8 #8 Finger Lakes Community College $4,722 Canandaigua
# 9 #9 Rockland Community College $4,912 Suffern
# 10 #10 North Country Community College $6,572 Saranac Lake
# 11 #11 Niagara County Community College $4,560 Sanborn
# 12 #12 Adirondack Community College $4,800 Queensbury
# 13 #13 Tompkins Cortland Community College $5,100 Dryden
# 14 #14 Fulton-Montgomery Community College $4,900 Johnstown
# 15 #15 Genesee Community College $4,350 Batavia
# 16 #16 SUNY Corning Community College $4,872 Corning
# 17 #17 Clinton Community College $5,518 Plattsburgh
# 18 #18 Sullivan County Community College $5,016 Loch Sheldrake
# 19 #19 Erie Community College $4,900 Buffalo
# 20 #20 Onondaga Community College $4,990 Syracuse
# 21 #21 Jefferson Community College $4,920 Watertown
# 22 #22 Jamestown Community College $5,040 Jamestown

2020 Online Community Colleges in New York - Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

#1 Hudson Valley Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,800
  • Locations: Troy
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Hudson Valley Community College offers several associate degrees and certificates available to obtain fully online. Students can earn an AAS in Criminal Justice, Entrepreneurship, Digital Marketing, Computer Information Systems, or Business-Accounting, among other options. Students interested in certificate options can choose a Certificate in Accounting, Dental Assisting, Coaching, or IT Help Desk Support. Tuition for part-time students is $194 per credit hour (for residents), $388 per credit hour (for non-residents), and $484 (for out-of-state residents).

#2 Herkimer County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,890
  • Locations: Herkimer
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Herkimer County Community College allows individuals with full-time jobs and family obligations to pursue one of their 19 degrees or four certificates available through its online learning program. Online students can enroll part-time or full-time, and have access to various academic resources such as tutoring services, disability services, a library, technical support, and advisement. Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, and Associate of Arts degrees are offered in the following areas: business, criminal justice and law, liberal arts and sciences, healthcare and service, and STEM. Certificates are offered in business, education, criminal justice and law, and healthcare and service.

#3 Cayuga Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,844
  • Locations: Auburn
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Cayuga Community College offers multiple associate degrees and certificate programs in asynchronous format through its e-learning platform. Examples of degrees available to online students include an AAS in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Event and Tourism Management. Available certificates include a Certificate in Criminal Justice, Event Management, General Business, and Tourism Management. Students use the online learning management system Blackboard to access course materials and will read their classes in lieu of listening to a lecturer. Online tutoring services are available to all students. Cost of tuition is $194 per credit hour for residents and $388 per credit hour for out-of-state and out-of-country residents.

#4 Monroe Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,380
  • Locations: Rochester
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Monroe Community College offers fully online classes for students in need of a flexible learning alternative. The school offers several online associate degrees and certificates, including an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences, an AS in Criminal Justice, an AS in Business Administration, and a AS in Sports Management. The majority of associate degree programs require the completion of 60 to 62 credit hours. Tuition is $183 per credit hour for New York State residents and $365 for per credit hour for non-residents.

#5 Broome Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,728
  • Locations: Binghamton
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Broome Community College offers fully online, asynchronous courses for students wishing to pursue an associate degree in a flexible learning format. Online students have access to academic resources such as 24/7 tutoring services and a technical support help desk. Examples of available degrees include an AS in Human Services, an AS in Liberal Studies, an AAS in Clinical Laboratory Technician, and an AAS in Computer Security and Forensics. Certificates are also available through the school’s online learning program.

#6 Suffolk County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,470
  • Locations: Selden
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Suffolk County Community College offers a number of associate degrees to self-motivated learners through an online learning program. Classes follow the traditional academic calendar and online students are responsible for “attending” classes online, taking scheduled tests and quizzes, and submitting assignments on time. Online students should anticipate spending six to nine hours a week studying for each three-credit-hour course. Available online degrees include an AAS in Business Administration with a focus in business law, economics, entrepreneurship, international business, and marketing technology.

#7 Ulster County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,680
  • Locations: Stone Ridge
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Ulster County Community College offers associate degrees and certificates for students to obtain at an accelerated pace with its three-, six-, seven-, and 10-week online courses. Prior to starting classes, online students are expected to take an orientation and training course to help them navigate the learning management system. Students should budget three hours of study for every credit hour of classwork. Degrees offered online include an AA in Humanities and Social Science, an AS in Computer Science, an AS in Criminal Justice, and an AS in Business Administration.

#8 Finger Lakes Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,722
  • Locations: Canandaigua
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Distance learners can earn an associate degree or a Teaching Assistant Certificate through the Finger Lakes Community College’s online learning program. Available degrees include an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences, an AAS in Accounting, an AAS in Business Administration, an AAS in Tourism Management, an AS in Sports Studies, or an AS in Tourism Studies. Students access their course material through the Blackboard online learning management system and also use it to submit assignments, interact with instructors, and take tests and quizzes.

#9 Rockland Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,912
  • Locations: Suffern
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Three associate degrees are offered through Rockland Community College’s online learning program: an AAS in Business-Marketing, an AAS in Business Administration, and an AS in Marketing. Academic advisement is offered to all online students before and during the semester. Students are encouraged to be equipped with strong reading and writing skills as most of the course material is read instead of listened to. The cost of tuition for part-time students is $199 per credit hour for Rockland County and New York State residents and $398 per credit hour for non-residents. For full-time students, tuition is $2,373 per semester for residents and $4,746 for non-residents.

#10 North Country Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,572
  • Locations: Saranac Lake
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

North Country Community College is a public institution that offers online community college courses through its Online Learning program. The Online Learning program includes an AA in Liberal Arts: Humanities/Social Science, an AS in Business Administration, and a Certificate in Gerontology taught entirely online. Online community college courses are hosted through NCCC's Student Portal and Blackboard, an Internet-based tool that allows faculty to upload Powerpoints, videos, and course materials to make them available for students. Most online community college courses run full-term for 15 weeks while some run for eight weeks. Additional courses are available that are a hybrid of online instruction with some degree of an on-campus component required.

#11 Niagara County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,560
  • Locations: Sanborn
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Niagara County Community College offers five associate degree programs fully online: an AA in Human Services, an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences, an AS in Business Administration, an AS in Computer Information Systems, and an AS in Sport Management. Students can easily access all course material 24/7 through the online learning management system. Classes are asynchronous and allow students to “attend” them virtually on their own time; however, the coursework follows a specific timeline with due dates for assignments. Certain programs may require a proctored exam.

#12 Adirondack Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,800
  • Locations: Queensbury
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Three associate degree programs are offered through Adirondack Community College’s online learning platform: an AAS in Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship, an AA in Liberal Arts, and an AS in Business Administration. Classes are asynchronous, but not self-paced. Students must still meet deadlines for homework and reading assignments and are encouraged to log in and take the class on the first day of the academic calendar. Students should budget nine hours a week of study for each three-credit-hour course and 12 hours a week for each four-credit-hour course.

#13 Tompkins Cortland Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,100
  • Locations: Dryden
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Tompkins Cortland Community Colleges offers seven Associate of Applied Sciences degree programs fully online. These programs are in the fields of accounting, business administration, computer information systems, computer support specialist, criminal justice, hotel and restaurant management and paralegal. The school also offers certificates that can be obtained fully online, as well as hybrid programs. Online students can access their coursework 24/7 and communicate with their instructors via chat, email, and discussion forums. Online tutoring services, technical support and academic advisement are provided to all distance learners.

#14 Fulton-Montgomery Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,900
  • Locations: Johnstown
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Fulton-Montgomery Community College offers three associate degrees fully online: an AAS in Business Administration, an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a focus in general studies, and an AS in Business Administration. These degree programs are designed for students seeking to transfer to a four-year college or enter into the workforce upon completion. Each degree program requires 60 credit hours. Online students have access to online tutoring services, technical support, student support, and academic advisement.

#15 Genesee Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,350
  • Locations: Batavia
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Students interested in a part-time, full-time, or accelerated-pace online learning program can earn an associate degree or certificate through Genesee Community College’s e-learning platform. Many programs are 100-percent online; however, some are 75-percent and 50-percent online. Classes are conducted both synchronously and asynchronously. Communication with instructors is done via the internet, phone, and teleconferencing. Online students have access to presentations, labs, textbooks, video lectures, and online discussions. Degrees offered online include an AS in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

#16 SUNY Corning Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,872
  • Locations: Corning
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Corning Community College offers an AAS and AS in Business Administration, as well as an AA and AS in Liberal Arts and Sciences fully online through its e-learning program. Certain programs may require one in-person meeting with a campus instructor. Online students access their course materials, watch lectures, listen to podcasts, and participate in discussions through Blackboard. Academic resources such as advising, tutoring services, technical support, and proctored services are available to all online students.

#17 Clinton Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,518
  • Locations: Plattsburgh
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Clinton Community College offers several associate degrees and one certificate through its online learning program. Online students have the flexibility to work on their own time but must adhere to the pace set by the instructor and meet deadlines for papers and other class assignments. For full-time students, tuition is $5,062 per academic year for New York State residents and $10,464 per academic year for non-residents. For part-time students, tuition is $211 per credit hour for state residents and $400 per credit hour for non-residents.

#18 Sullivan County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,016
  • Locations: Loch Sheldrake
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Sullivan County Community College’s online learning platform offers three fully online associate degree programs: an AAS in Emergency Management, an AAS in Fire Protection Technology, and an AAS in Green Building Maintenance and Management. Online students are equipped with academic resources such as online tutoring, 24/7 technical support, a help desk, and a personal concierge. Tuition for students with a New York State Certificate of Residence is $236 per credit hour (or $2,845 per semester).

#19 Erie Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,900
  • Locations: Buffalo
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Erie Community College offers both fully online and hybrid learning programs for students in need of a flexible way to pursue a degree while fulfilling other life obligations. Classes are self-paced and online students access their course material through the school’s online management system. Assignments, quizzes, and tests are submitted electronically. Interaction with instructors is done through email and discussion forums. Associate degrees offered online include an AS in Emergency Management, an AS in Criminal Justice, and an AS in Physical Education Studies. Certificate programs are also offered online.

#20 Onondaga Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,990
  • Locations: Syracuse
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Students can choose from seven associate degree programs and one certificate program available fully online through Onondaga Community College’s online learning program. The degrees include an AS in Criminal Justice, an AS in Human Services, an AS in Business Administration, an AAS in Early Childhood Education, or an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a focus in adolescence education, general studies, or humanities and social science. The certificate available online is an early child care certificate. Online students have 24/7 access to course materials through the Blackboard learning management system. They are also provided with resources including technical support and academic advising.

#21 Jefferson Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,920
  • Locations: Watertown
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Course length options are divided into 15-week, eight-week, and four-week formats for students pursuing an associate degree through Jefferson Community College’s online learning program. Coursework is not self-paced; online students are expected to meet deadlines and interact with their instructors and classmates online. However, all classes are asynchronous and do not require the student login and “attend” class at any specific time. Available degrees include an Associate of Applied Science, an Associate of Science, or an Associate of Arts in Individual Studies, an AA in Liberal Arts, an AS in Business Administration, and an AS in Criminal Justice.

#22 Jamestown Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,040
  • Locations: Jamestown
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Jamestown Community College offers several online Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science degrees and certificates in the following areas: business, computer science, liberal arts, and health information technology. Students can access their course material 24/7 through Blackboard to read instructions, submit assignments, and participate in classroom discussion. Classes are asynchronous and students should anticipate setting aside six to nine hours a week for each three-credit-hour course. Distance students are provided with technical support, student support, and academic advisement.

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.

Average Unemployment Rate by Population

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:

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.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.

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