The 10 Best College Towns In New York For 2019

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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and New York is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in New York are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in New York for 2019:

  1. Ithaca, NY (Photos | Homes)
  2. Cortland, NY (Photos | Homes)
  3. Farmingdale, NY (Homes)
  4. Poughkeepsie, NY (Photos | Homes)
  5. Brockport, NY (Photos | Homes)
  6. Geneseo, NY (Photos | Homes)
  7. Plattsburgh, NY (Photos | Homes)
  8. Nyack, NY (Photos | Homes)
  9. New Paltz, NY (Photos | Homes)
  10. Albany, NY (Photos | Homes)

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Ithaca, Cortland and Farmingdale - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Ithaca ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Finally, if you live in Lawrence, NY - it's officially the worst college town in New York. Sorry, Lawrence!

Read on to find out more or for more on New York check out:

How'd we figure out the best college towns in New York?

To crunch our data on New York's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 44 places in New York with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In New York For 2019".

And it looks like Ithaca placed Summa Cum Laude.

Ithaca, NY
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 30,720
% Undergrad Pop.: 46.5% (9th best)
Median Rent: $1,086 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 570.0% (23rd best)
Crime Rank: 46th best
More on Ithaca: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ithaca is a city in the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region of New York. It is the seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca-Tompkins County metropolitan area. This area contains the municipalities of the Town of Ithaca, the village of Cayuga Heights, and other towns and villages in Tompkins County. The city of Ithaca is located on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York. It is named for the Greek island of Ithaca.

Colleges: Cornell University, Ithaca College, Finger Lakes School of Massage

Cortland, NY
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 18,914
% Undergrad Pop.: 29.9% (14th best)
Median Rent: $727 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 400.0% (10th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Cortland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cortland is a city in Cortland County, New York, United States of America. Cortland is in New York's Southern Tier region. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 19,204. It is the county seat of Cortland County.

Colleges: SUNY Cortland

Overall SnackAbility

Population: 8,719
% Undergrad Pop.: 57.9% (7th best)
Median Rent: $1,627 (45th best)
Unemployment Rate: 250.0% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 28th best
More on Farmingdale: Real Estate | Data

The Incorporated Village of Farmingdale is an incorporated village on Long Island within the Town of Oyster Bay in Nassau County, New York, in the United States. The population was 8,189 at the 2010 Census.

Colleges: Farmingdale State College

Poughkeepsie, NY
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 30,505
% Undergrad Pop.: 23.3% (18th best)
Median Rent: $1,095 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1270.0% (56th best)
Crime Rank: 11th best
More on Poughkeepsie: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Poughkeepsie, officially the City of Poughkeepsie, is a city in the state of New York, United States, which is the county seat of Dutchess County. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 32,736. Poughkeepsie is in the Hudson Valley midway between New York City and Albany, and is part of the New York metropolitan area. The name derives from a word in the Wappinger language, roughly U-puku-ipi-sing, meaning "the reed-covered lodge by the little-water place," referring to a spring or stream feeding into the Hudson River south of the present downtown area.

Colleges: Dutchess Community College, Marist College, Vassar College

Brockport, NY
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 8,415
% Undergrad Pop.: 80.2% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $788 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 790.0% (37th best)
Crime Rank: 28th best
More on Brockport: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Brockport is a village in the Town of Sweden, with two tiny portions in the Town of Clarkson, in Monroe County, New York, USA. The population was 8,336 at the 2010 census. The name is derived from Heil Brockway, an early settler.

Colleges: SUNY College at Brockport

Geneseo, NY
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 8,151
% Undergrad Pop.: 63.8% (4th best)
Median Rent: $769 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 590.0% (24th best)
Crime Rank: 28th best
More on Geneseo: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Geneseo is a town in Livingston County in the Finger Lakes region of New York, United States on the far south end of the five-county Rochester Metropolitan Area. The population was 10,483 at the 2010 census. The town and surrounding area is quite rural. The English name "Geneseo" is an anglicization of the Iroquois name for the earlier Iroquois town there, Gen-nis-he-yo. A village of the same name lies within the town's western portion. The town is known today mainly as the home of the highly selective State University of New York at Geneseo.

Colleges: SUNY College at Geneseo

Plattsburgh, NY
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 19,734
% Undergrad Pop.: 27.2% (15th best)
Median Rent: $778 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 520.0% (16th best)
Crime Rank: 28th best
More on Plattsburgh: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Plattsburgh is a city in and the seat of Clinton County, New York, United States. The population was 19,989 at the 2010 census. The population of the unincorporated areas within the Town of Plattsburgh was 11,870 as of the 2010 census, making the population for the immediate Plattsburgh region 31,859.

Colleges: SUNY College at Plattsburgh, Clinton Community College, Clinton Essex Warren Washington BOCES

Nyack, NY
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 7,057
% Undergrad Pop.: 25.3% (17th best)
Median Rent: $1,514 (42nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 300.0% (5th best)
Crime Rank: 28th best
More on Nyack: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Nyack is a village located primarily in the town of Orangetown in Rockland County, New York, United States. Incorporated in 1872, it retains a very small western section in Clarkstown. It is an inner-suburb of New York City lying approximately 19 miles north of the Manhattan boundary near the west bank of the Hudson River, situated north of South Nyack, east of Central Nyack, south of Upper Nyack.

Colleges: Nyack College

New Paltz, NY
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 7,040
% Undergrad Pop.: 85.6% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $1,212 (27th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1240.0% (55th best)
Crime Rank: 28th best
More on New Paltz: Real Estate | Data | Photos

New Paltz is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 14,003 at the 2010 census. The town is located in the southeastern part of the county and is south of Kingston. New Paltz contains a village also with the name New Paltz. The town is named for Palz, the dialect name of the Rhenish Palatinate, called Pfalz ) in standard German.

Colleges: State University of New York at New Paltz

Albany, NY
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 98,498
% Undergrad Pop.: 16.3% (21st best)
Median Rent: $924 (22nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 710.0% (31st best)
Crime Rank: 54th best
More on Albany: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Albany AWL-b-nee) is the capital of the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Roughly 150 miles north of New York City, Albany developed on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 10 miles south of its confluence with the Mohawk River. The population of the City of Albany was 97,856 according to the 2010 census. Albany constitutes the economic and cultural core of the Capital District of New York State, which comprises the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area, including the nearby cities and suburbs of Troy, Schenectady, and Saratoga Springs. With a 2013 Census-estimated population of 1.1 million the Capital District is the third-most populous metropolitan region in the state and 38th in the United States.

Colleges: SUNY at Albany, The College of Saint Rose, Mildred Elley School-Albany Campus

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in New York, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

If you're curious, these are the worst college towns in New York, starting with the absolute worst, Lawrence:

  1. Lawrence
  2. Utica
  3. Jamestown
  4. Glen Cove
  5. Peekskill
  6. Dix Hills
  7. Monsey
  8. Mount Kisco
  9. Rochester
  10. Dobbs Ferry

For more reading, check out:

44 Best College Towns In New York

Rank City Population
1 Ithaca, NY 30720
2 Cortland, NY 18914
3 Farmingdale, NY 8719
4 Poughkeepsie, NY 30505
5 Brockport, NY 8415
6 Geneseo, NY 8151
7 Plattsburgh, NY 19734
8 Nyack, NY 7057
9 New Paltz, NY 7040
10 Albany, NY 98498
11 Stony Brook, NY 13308
12 New York, NY 8560072
13 Hempstead, NY 55698
14 New Rochelle, NY 79877
15 Potsdam, NY 9710
16 Hamburg, NY 9603
17 Saratoga Springs, NY 27682
18 Troy, NY 49826
19 Oswego, NY 17723
20 Syosset, NY 19669
21 Oneonta, NY 13932
22 Rockville Centre, NY 24485
23 Buffalo, NY 259574
24 Fredonia, NY 10695
25 Bronxville, NY 6428
26 Syracuse, NY 144405
27 Bethpage, NY 17016
28 Monroe, NY 8579
29 Elmira, NY 28302
30 Geneva, NY 13048
31 Canton, NY 6553
32 Newburgh, NY 28444
33 Schenectady, NY 65705
34 White Plains, NY 58404
35 Dobbs Ferry, NY 11141
36 Rochester, NY 209463
37 Mount Kisco, NY 10994
38 Monsey, NY 22043
39 Dix Hills, NY 27647
40 Peekskill, NY 24111
41 Glen Cove, NY 27376
42 Jamestown, NY 30094
43 Utica, NY 61114
44 Lawrence, NY 6553

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?