New Paltz Ranked Eighth Northeast Public University

Photo Courtesy of New Paltz Sites

U.S. News and World Report has named The State University of New York at New Paltz as the Number 8 best public university in the Northeast, an impressive feat for the institution. This ranking is exclusive to public schools, and according to U.S. News and World Report, “these universities often offer discounted tuition to residents of their states.” The range of schools is quite extensive, and all “operate under the supervision of state governments and are funded, in part, by tax dollars and subsidies from the state.” The university is ranked among exceptional and distinguished Public Northern Universities, including Towson University, CUNY Baruch, The College of New Jersey, and fellow SUNY schools such as SUNY Maritime, SUNY Geneseo, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. 

SUNY New Paltz is also ranked in the list of the best both private and public colleges in the North, where the university stands at the impressive Number 24 ranking. This ranking is more competitive, including both the public schools from the previous ranking and the extensive list of private schools within the North, including institutions such as Bentley University, Providence College and Bryant University. These universities “offer a full range of undergraduate programs and some master’s programs but few doctoral programs.”

The 2024 ranking marked great improvement for the university, as it rose in multiple categories. It went up seven places in Best Value Schools, from Number 63 last year to Number 56 this year. This category takes into account the “cost of attendance for an out-of-state student who received the average level of need-based financial aid.” The value of a school takes both this and the school’s quality into account when calculating its “total value.” The only schools that are eligible for this ranking have to be at or near the top half of their other ranking categories. 

It also increased a staggering 18 places in Top Performers on Social Mobility, from Number 39 last year to Number 21 in 2023. This ranking shows that SUNY New Paltz has been successful in advancing and graduating students with disadvantages, especially those who are awarded Pell Grants, which are awarded to students whose gross family incomes are below the $50,000 threshold. First-generation students are taken into account as well, regarding both their graduation rates and graduation performances. SUNY New Paltz also has low borrower debt upon graduation, having in-state tuition of $8,523.50 and out-of-state tuition of $18,433.50, while still having high-earning graduates. According to the Social Mobility Index, SUNY New Paltz is in the top 3% of universities nationwide on its “measurement of students’ success climbing the socioeconomic ladder.”

SUNY New Paltz is listed in the top 20 rankings for two other categories as well. They are ranked Number 8 for Best Colleges for Veterans. The university has consistently been listed on the Best Colleges for Veterans list, and was recently named a Top 10 Military Friendly School. According to the Military Friendly Advisory Council, is based on an institution’s “ability to meet thresholds for retention, graduation, job placement, repayment, persistence, and loan default rates for all students and specifically, for student veterans.”

The university is also ranked Number 13 for Best Undergraduate Teaching. According to U.S. News and World Report, this list is based upon a poll given to “top college administrators” based upon “which colleges have the strongest commitment to teaching undergraduates.” SUNY New Paltz is ranked amongst only three other SUNY schools, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Oswego.

SUNY New Paltz is also noted on additional lists from the U.S. News and World Report including Best Undergraduate Teaching Programs, Best Undergraduate Psychology Programs, Best Undergraduate Business Programs, and Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.

Numerous factors contribute to a university’s rankings. The institution must be recognized by Carnegie’s Basic Classification, which is the “nation’s leading framework for categorizing diverse U.S. higher education institutions,” according to the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. It must not be a “highly specialized school” and must have at least 100 undergraduate students. The institution must report its financial expenditures data to the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) financial survey. They also must have data regarding the graduation rate of full-time students within a six-year time frame. If even one of these factors is left out, the school will be left unranked and not included in the list.

In addition to the U.S. News and World Report rankings, SUNY New Paltz accumulated other impressive rankings from other sources. College Census ranked SUNY New Paltz as the Number 1 Best Value College in SUNY, as well as in the top 30 Best Higher Education Values in the United States. Best Value Schools listed the university as one of the Best Colleges for Accounting, Engineering, Music Therapy, and MFA Programs, along with being named a Most Affordable College. Student Loan Hero also listed SUNY New Paltz as one of the most affordable LGBTQ+ friendly schools. 

The 2022-2023 year was also the first year President Darrell P. Wheeler was in office, having been appointed in July 2022. Upon his appointment–regarding his plans moving forward–Wheeler commented, “I will promote the academic opportunities at the University; the prominence and impact of its institutional members (students, faculty and staff); its community and regional relevance; and success in advancing the social mobility of its graduates.” 

Moving forward in the university, and having a year’s worth of experience, we can expect President Wheeler and the rest of the university administration to implement even more positive change in the institution, allowing SUNY New Paltz to accomplish more than ever. There is a lot to look forward to for the university in the future, and the next year will take SUNY New Paltz to new heights.