The Easiest Colleges to Get Into in the SUNY System

The SUNY college system is home to 64 institutions. Find out which are the easiest colleges to get into and which ones are the hardest.

The Easiest Colleges to Get Into in the SUNY System
Zihao Wang

In a previous article, we analyzed the easiest colleges to get into in the University of Wisconsin System. This time around, we are taking a deep dive into identifying the easiest colleges to get into in The State University of New York (SUNY) system of colleges. 

The SUNY college system encompasses an incredible 64 institutions, including liberal arts colleges, research universities, academic medical centers, colleges of technology, and community colleges.  According to the SUNY website, the system serves roughly 1.3 million students in credit bearing courses and programs. For our purposes, however, we’re focusing on the SUNY colleges that are four-year, bachelor’s degree-awarding institutions. 

In order to find out the easiest colleges to get into in the SUNY system, BrokeScholar analyzed all the schools in the SUNY System in terms of their admission rates, sourcing the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Read on to find out the easiest colleges to get into in the SUNY college system.

Table of Contents

How Many Schools Are in the SUNY System?

There are 64 institutions in the SUNY System, however, this total includes many junior colleges that do not offer a four-year education and bachelor’s degree. Since we’re focusing on the latter criteria, there are much fewer colleges in our analysis of the easiest colleges to get into in the SUNY system. Based on our criteria, the following is a list of the SUNY colleges that offer four-year academic programs and bachelor’s degrees:

The Easiest Colleges to Get Into In the SUNY System

These four-year colleges that make up our list of SUNY schools in the study have many shared characteristics. They charge the same rates of tuition, but their required fees differ from institution to institution. As public colleges, the SUNY system colleges have different costs of tuition and required fees for in-state students versus out-of-state students. 

Below is a table ranked in order of SUNY system colleges with the highest admission rate to the lowest. Data comes from the NCES and individual college sites:


Percent Admitted

Undergraduate Population

2023-2024 In-State Tuition and Required Fees

2023-2024 Out-of-State Tuition and Required Fees

SUNY Empire State University 100% 7,735 $7,630 $17,540
SUNY Canton  95% 2,836 $8,689 $18,599
SUNY College at Old Westbury 92% 3,907 $8,489 $18,399
SUNY Morrisville 87% 1,803 $8,764 $18,674
SUNY Buffalo State 86% 5,464 $8,486 $18,396
SUNY Fredonia 85% 3,212 $8,767 $18,677
SUNY Cobleskill 84% 1,783 $8,676 $18,586
SUNY Delhi 83% 2,478 $8,830 $18,770
SUNY Potsdam 83% 2,082 $8,812 $18,722
SUNY College Oswego 83% 5,985 $8,769 $18,679
SUNY Alfred 82% 3,348 $8,862 $18,772
SUNY Polytechnic Institute 82% 1,982 $8,578 $19,338
SUNY Maritime College 80% 1,295 $8,540 $18,450
SUNY Purchase College 75% 3,107 $8,953 $18,863
SUNY Geneseo 75% 4,110 $8,966 $18,876
SUNY Oneonta 73% 4,859 $8,775 $18,685
SUNY College Plattsburgh 70% 4,004 $8,881 $18,791
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 70% 1,621 $9,266 $20,916
SUNY Brockport 68% 5,149 $8,698 $18,608
SUNY Albany 68% 12,264 $10,468 $28,308
SUNY Cortland 60% 5,993 $8,850 $18,760

Therefore, the easiest college to get into among the schools in the SUNY system is SUNY Empire State University, which has an open admissions policy. It’s also primarily on an online, distance-learning institution. SUNY Empire State University has no campus housing and its being primarily an online school likely allows for cheaper mandatory fees. All schools in the SUNY college system have the same base tuition rates for in-state students and out-of-state students. But it is their required fees that vary and thus make each college’s tuition and required fees slightly different. 

Looking at the other SUNY colleges with no open admissions policy, the second easiest college to get into is SUNY Canton, which has an acceptance rate of 95%. But being a traditional college with an on-campus experience, its cost of tuition and required fees is at least $1,000 more per year than SUNY Empire State University. The number of undergraduate students at SUNY Canton — roughly 2,836 — is a bit below the average for all SUNY four-year colleges of approximately 4,0488 undergraduate students.

The largest school in the SUNY system is SUNY Albany, with an undergraduate population of more than 12,200 students. SUNY Albany is also one of the hardest colleges to get into in the SUNY system, with an acceptance rate of only 68%. The average admission rate for all the SUNY colleges analyzed in our study was 80%. Thus, SUNY Albany is decidedly more selective than the average.

The Hardest Colleges in the SUNY System to Get Into

The college in the SUNY system with the most selective admission rate is SUNY Cortland, at 60%. The second-hardest SUNY college to get into is a tie between SUNY Albany and SUNY Brockport, both having an undergraduate acceptance rate of 68%. Those two are followed by another tie between SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and SUNY College Plattsburgh, which have undergraduate admission rates of 70%.

When it comes to academic outcomes, SUNY Cortland’s graduation rate, according to NCES data, is 69%. That is better than the study’s overall average of 56%, and it's high enough to rank among the highest graduation rates of SUNY schools. The top 5 SUNY colleges with the highest graduation rates include the following:

All other SUNY colleges have graduation rates of less than 69%. The SUNY school with the lowest graduation rate is also the one with the highest admission rate — SUNY Empire State University. According to NCES data, the graduation rate at SUNY Empire State College is 25%. 

The Bottom Line on the Easiest Colleges to Get Into in the SUNY System

Looking over the easiest colleges to get into in the SUNY System, 4 colleges have undergraduate graduation rates in excess of 70%, which is quite good compared to the 56% average for the study overall. What’s more, 3 colleges in the SUNY system have acceptance rates that are less than 70%, putting them on the more selective side of schools to gain admission to. The majority of schools in the SUNY system have comparable rates of tuition and required fees, although SUNY Albany is noticeably more expensive.

When choosing a school to apply to, there are different criteria when researching colleges to consider, including, but not limited to:

  • If your school of choice has the major or academic program you want to pursue
  • The cost of tuition, fees, and room and board
  • What campus life is like
  • Graduation rates and admission rates 

For New York residents, the costs of tuition and required fees at most SUNY system schools are very comparable and affordable. Only two colleges in the SUNY system have in-state tuition costs that are over $10,000 per academic year. For out-of-state applicants, however, the costs of tuition are greater compared to in-state applicants. However, even for out-of-state students, the costs of tuition and required fees are not too bad compared to, say, what the University of California System charges for out-of-state students. 

Whether you’re a New York state resident or not, BrokeScholar has a massive library of college scholarships and student discounts that can help reduce the financial burden on students. Scholarships and student discounts are important even at colleges that have comparatively cheap tuition. This because tuition and required fees do not include the costs of room and board as well as other non-mandatory fees you may encounter in your college experience.

Andrew DePietro

Author: Andrew DePietro

Senior Researcher, and Content Strategist

Andrew DePietro is a finance writer covering topics such as entrepreneurship, investing, real estate and college for BrokeScholar, Forbes, CreditKarma, and more.