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 2023, it joined the American Talent Initiative, an academic alliance aimed at enrolling, supporting and graduating more low-income students.

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SUNY Oneonta has about 5,500 students, of whom the majority are female. The university offers dozens of majors, including dietetics, digital and studio art, fashion and textiles, meteorology, and music industry. Its programs are on the more affordable side, with the net price of a degree totaling about $109,000 — significantly lower than the average of all the schools Money evaluated.

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 itself 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.