Like many other four-year colleges within the State University of New York system, SUNY Oneonta consistently receives praise for providing a quality education at an affordable price. In February, it joined the American Talent Initiative, an academic alliance aimed at enrolling, supporting and graduating low-income students in the coming years. (To do this, SUNY Oneonta says it plans to amp up its efforts to recruit from economically diverse backgrounds, grow need-based financial aid and facilitate more equitable student experiences.)

Inclusivity, service and sustainability are the school’s chief values. SUNY Oneonta has about 6,000 students, of whom the majority are female. The university offers dozens of majors, among them dietetics, digital and studio art, fashion and textiles, meteorology, and music industry.

The central New York campus is on a hill overlooking the city of Oneonta, which has about 15,000 residents and boasts a roller rink and a farmers market. A lush wooded area, once a local farm, sits a mile from campus; it's available for recreational activities and also houses the college's weather observatory, with the state's largest optical telescope.

The city has a decent college-town vibe, thanks to Oneonta and nearby Hartwick College. Students say there are plenty of bars and restaurants to make for a bustling nightlife. Check out the Red Jug Pub, which is famous for its lemonades and T-shirts.