Ithaca, New York (NY) Colleges and Universities

While there are only 2 schools in Ithaca, there are several schools located within a 25-mile radius. Read about the top schools in several categories, including most program variety and lowest costs to find the school for you.

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Most Program Variety

Students who are unsure of their career path - or graduate students seeking a field of specialization - might seek a school that offers a variety of academic programs. Schools in the Ithaca area have a diverse selection of degree programs, including biology, hotel management, business administration, radio and television, and teaching. Profiled below are the top three schools in terms of variety of academic programs.

1 - Cornell University

Cornell University, located in Ithaca, ranked number 15 on U.S. News and World Report's National University rankings in 2013. This private, not-for-profit university has around 167 programs in 27 fields of study, like social sciences, business administration and law. Students can choose from about 75 different undergraduate majors and more than 90 graduate fields of study. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the most popular undergraduate majors in 2011-2012 were agricultural economics, biology/biological sciences, hotel/motel administration/management, labor and industrial relations, and economics. In that same year, the most popular master's degree program was business administration and management, while law was the most popular for doctoral candidates. According to the NCES, the university awarded 3,596 undergraduate degrees, 2,150 master's degrees and 775 doctor degrees in 2011-2012.

2 - Ithaca College

Ithaca College, situated about 2 miles from downtown Ithaca, is a private, not-for-profit college that was ranked as number 10 among Top Regional Universities in the North by U.S. News and World Report in 2013. It offers approximately 113 programs, including bachelor's degree programs, master's degree programs, a Doctor of Physical Therapy program and several professional certificate programs. The most popular bachelor's degree programs in 2011-2012 were business administration and management; public relations, advertising and applied communication; radio and television; and physical therapy, according to NCES. The most popular master's degrees in that same year were speech communication and rhetoric, secondary education and teaching, and occupational therapy. According to the NCES, the college awarded 1,306 undergraduate degrees and 245 master's degrees in 2011-2012.

3 - SUNY College at Cortland

SUNY College at Cortland is located nearly 19 miles from Ithaca. This 4-year public school is part of the State University of New York system, and it was ranked as number 79 among Top Regional Universities in the North by U.S. News and World Report in 2013. The college focuses on arts and sciences and offers programs in liberal arts, as well as numerous professional fields. It has around 103 programs, including 61 undergraduate majors, 33 graduate degree programs and several post-graduate certificate programs. During 2011-2012, the school awarded 1,426 bachelor's degrees, 415 master's degrees and 56 post-graduate certificates according to the NCES. Some of the most popular bachelor's degree programs in 2011-2012 included elementary education and teaching and physical education teaching and coaching. During that same time, the popular master's and doctoral degrees were reading teacher education and elementary and middle school administration/principalship.

Lowest Net Price

Another important consideration when selection a college is the cost of tuition. The net price is calculated by subtracting a school's average amount of grants and scholarship aid from the total attendance cost. Although the 2 schools located right in Ithaca have a net cost of $24,000 or more, there are less expensive options in the area. The 3 schools listed below have the lowest net price in the Ithaca area, according to the NCES.

1 - Tompkins Cortland Community College

The least expensive school in the Ithaca area is Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden. The college had an average net price of $7,753 in 2010-2011, according to the NCES. In 2012-2013, this medium-sized, public college had in-state tuition and fees of $4,871. Out-of-state students could expect to pay nearly twice as much with tuition and fees of $9,321. Both on-campus and off-campus room and board costs totaled about $9,290. According to the NCES, in 2010-2011, about 86% of full-time beginning undergraduate students received financial aid, including 76% of students receiving grants or scholarship aid and 60% of students who have student loan aid.

2 -SUNY College at Cortland

With a net price of $14,795, SUNY College at Cortland is another affordable option in the Ithaca area. According to the NCES, the average in-state tuition and fees were about $6,942 in 2012-2013, while the average tuition and fees for out-of-state students was $16,192. The average room and board costs totaled $11,430. In 2010-2011, 82% of full-time beginning students received financial aid, including 69% of students who received student loan aid and 57% of students who received grants or scholarships. According to The College Board, the average financial aid package for first-year students is about $13,122, with 9% of students having needs fully met. Additionally, students have an average of $27,534 in debt at graduation.

3 - Wells College

Aurora-based Wells College, located 22 miles from Ithaca, had a net price of $22,718 in 2010-2011, according to the NCES. Undergraduate tuition at Wells totaled about $34,700 in 2012-2013, with average room and board costs of $11,900. In 2010-2011, 100% of full-time beginning students received some type of financial aid. This small, private not-for-profit college boasts an average financial package of $34,198 for first-year students, according to The College Board, with 19% of students having their needs fully met. The average student debt at graduation is around $30,933.

Highest Graduation Rate

The graduation rate, also commonly known as the 'Students Right to Know,' is calculated based on the number of students who complete their degree programs within 150% of the allotted time for their program (i.e. within 6 years for a 4-year program). All but 1 of the schools in the Ithaca area have an overall graduation rate that is 50% or higher. The following schools have the highest overall graduation rates for students who started in fall 2005, according to the NCES.

1 - Cornell University

With a graduation rate of 93%, Cornell University has the highest graduation rate in the Ithaca area. The 4-year graduation rate for undergraduates who began in fall 2005 was 87%. Additionally, the school's retention rate for first-time students in bachelor's degree programs was 97%, stated the NCES. The university, which serves more than 21,000, has a Learning Strategies Center, which supplies tutoring, study groups and extra courses for undergraduate students, along with courses, individual meetings and workshops to help students improve their study skills.

2 - Ithaca College

With an overall graduation rate of 74%, Ithaca College has the second highest overall graduation rate in the Ithaca area. According to the NCES, the 4-year graduation rate for undergraduates who began in fall 2005 was 67%, and the retention rate for first-time students who began in fall 2010 and continued in fall 2011 was 83%. The college serves more than 6,700 students, and it offers several academic support programs. The First-Year Experience is a program to help connect students with the college and other students while providing activities, programs and other services to give students the skills and knowledge needed to become part of the school's student-centered community. The college also has academic enrichment services that connect students with tutors and peer learning groups.

3 - SUNY College at Cortland

SUNY College at Cortland has an overall graduation rate of 67%, and a 4-year graduation rate for students who started their studies in fall 2005 of 46%, with an average transfer-out rate of 25%, according to the NCES. Additionally, the school's retention rate for first-time students in bachelor's degree programs was 85% for full-time undergraduate students and 100% for part-time students. The university serves more than 7,330 students, and its academic resources include an academic peer-mentoring program, academic support program and a writing resource center.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Students who attend schools with a low student-faculty ratio tend to receive more individualized attention and are less likely to feel like a tiny fish in a vast ocean. Although Ithaca area schools range from small public or private schools with a student population that is less than 5,000 to large private universities that serve more than 20,000 students, none of the area's schools have a student-faculty ratio that is higher than 20:1. The following schools have the lowest student-faculty ratios in the area.

1 - Cornell University

According to U.S. News and World Report, at least 57% of Cornell University's classes have 20 students or fewer, and the school's student-faculty ratio is 9:1, making it the lowest in the Ithaca area. According to Cornell University's website, the school had about 1,564 full- and part-time faculty members in 2011-2012. Many of the school's faculty members have distinguished backgrounds as authors, Pulitzer or Nobel Prize winners or winners of the National Medal in Science. The university also has 1,496 teaching assistants (TAs) who are appointed to help teach a course, according to the NCES. TAs may be undergraduate or graduate students.

2 - Wells College

According to U.S News and World Report, Wells College has a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, giving it the second lowest ratio in the area. Serving 496 students, this small college has an average class size of 12 students. According to the NCES, Wells has 37 full-time faculty members and 35 part-time faculty members. Additionally, about 97% of the school's full-time faculty members have a terminal degree or a doctorate in their discipline.

3 - Ithaca College

Ithaca College, which has more than 6,700 students, maintains a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, according to U.S News and World Report. According to the NCES, the school had about 485 full-time faculty members and 180 part-time faculty members in 2011. The college does not use TAs; instead, all of Ithaca's classes are taught by professors. According to U.S. News and World Report, about 52% of the classes at Ithaca have a class size of 20 students or fewer.

Ithaca Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 4-year, private, not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Most Program Variety,
Highest Graduation Rate,
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Ithaca College Ithaca, NY 4-year, private, not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; Less than 1 to less than 2-year certificates 2nd Most Program Variety,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
SUNY College at Cortland Cortland, NY (22.8 miles from downtown Ithaca) 4-year, public Bachelor's and master's degrees; post-master's certificates 2nd Lowest Net Price,
3rd Most Program Variety,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Tompkins Cortland Community College Dryden, NY (15.5 miles from downtown Ithaca) 2-year, public 1-2 year certificates; associate's degrees Lowest Net Price
Wells College Aurora, NY (27 miles from downtown Ithaca) 4-year, private, not-for-profit Bachelor's degrees 2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Lowest Net Price
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