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What types of colleges are there, and what financial aid is available at each?

Deciding what type of college you want to attend may depend on several factors, including curriculum, cost, financial aid, size, and location.

Degrees and certificates after one or two years of full-time study, with many online options. 

  • Lower tuition costs compared to four-year colleges.
  • Smaller class sizes for more personal attention and a focus on teaching.
  • Explore different fields before deciding on a major.
  • Many have transfer agreements with four-year colleges to ensure all your credits apply to your degree.

Degrees after four years of full-time study, with online options. 

  • Grant bachelor's degrees in various subjects.
  • Universities range in size from as few as 500 students to as large as 40,000 students. 
  • State colleges and universities in your home state are usually more affordable than private ones.
  • Private colleges are often more expensive but may have good financial aid, grants, and scholarship opportunities that make them affordable. 
  • Undergraduate study is a stepping stone to master’s degree and doctoral programs offered at many four-year institutions.

Certificates in two years or less.

  • Teach skills needed for specific jobs or careers.
  • Programs are usually two years or less, and you earn a certificate or diploma.
  • Provide professional development and workforce training courses and credentials.

Degrees and Certificates available.

  • Online classes offer flexibility in your schedule.
  • Some colleges and universities now offer fully online degrees.

Find the college that fits.

Search Tools

National Center for Educational Statistics College Navigator: a free tool to help students, parents, high school counselors, and others get information about over 7,000 colleges and universities.

Big Future's College Search: one of College Board's college planning resources.

State University of New York: nation's largest comprehensive system of public higher education, offering programs at 64 geographically dispersed campuses.

City University of New York: the nation's leading urban public university serving more than 480,000 students at 23 colleges and institutions in New York City.

New York's 100+ Independent Private Colleges and Universities: information on New York's 100+ private, not-for-profit colleges and universities.

Association of Proprietary Colleges: information about 27 member colleges located on 41 campuses across New York State.

College Scorecard: the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center provides help in determining a college’s affordability and value.

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