Updated on May 23, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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SUNY Cortland is a public university and part of the State University system of New York state. Cortland is a half hour south of Syracuse and approximately three hours from both New York City and Buffalo. This is a mid-sized residential university, with nearly 6,000 undergraduate students and 1,700 master's degree candidates.

When it comes to academics, students can choose from 67 total undergraduate majors in 27 departments. Graduate students can choose from 39 degrees and graduate certificate programs. Academics are split between the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, and the School of Professional Studies.

Overview of SUNY Cortland

When they're not buried in their books, Cortland students have lots of fun. They expand their education in over 100 clubs and organizations and find leadership opportunities in the dorms, campus groups, and athletic teams. Many Cortland students enjoy spending time volunteering for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the local Fire Department, or even the Emergency Medical Service.

However, for pure fun and fellowship, Cortland students enjoy friendly competition in campus intramural sports or other athletic endeavors. There are courses available in Tai Chi, karate, and yoga. The Student Life Center is also home to an aquatics center, a climbing (or bouldering) wall, a game room, a three-court gym, and a three-lane track.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Town: Distant
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 15:1
Graduation Rate 65%
Year Founded 1868

Student Enrollment

Total Students6,658


Undergraduate Student

Male 2,633
Female 3,351

Graduate Student

Male 297
Female 377

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Top Rankings For SUNY Cortland

SUNY Cortland Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 4,790
Female 6,630


Male 2,491
Female 4,376

Acceptance Rate60%

Male 52%
Female 66%

Enrollment 1,233

Male 523
Female 700
Application Fee $50
High School GPA Considered But Not Required
High School Rank Considered But Not Required
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Recommended
Recommendations Required
SAT/ACT Considered But Not Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Considered But Not Required
Application Deadline Rolling
Common Application Accepted Yes

SUNY Cortland Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

SUNY Cortland is a publicly funded university that is able to contain costs thanks to taxpayer dollars. In fact, the gross costs of tuition, books, and fees for a New York resident is a very affordable $10,000 per year. Out-of-state students, on the other hand, don't get the benefit of such low tuition and, thus, face a gross cost of $20,000 for their courses and associated fees. Students don't live on knowledge alone, however.

Once room, board, and other living costs are tallied, New York residents still face gross costs of around $27,000. Non-residents see their gross price tag rise, as well. Costs for non-residents hover under $37,000, which is still a great deal in higher education. Nevertheless, Cortland's financial aid workers can bring the net price down even farther.

After they apply for all applicable grants and scholarships, the average net price for all students is only $18,000, including all living costs. This average net figure falls to under $12,000 for households that earn under $30,000; and families whose annual income exceeds $110,001 still pay and average net cost of under $24,000.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $17,703
Average Total Aid $8,299
Students Receiving Financial Aid 86%
Room & Board $13,200

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $8,815
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $18,725
  • Books and Supplies - $1,200
  • Room & Board - $13,200
  • Other - $2,935

Popular Academic Programs at SUNY Cortland

Students have many reasons to flock to New York state's public university in Cortland. They may have a family tradition that dates to the early 1900s or before; they may simply be attracted to the location and campus amenities. However, they stick around and graduate because of the strong academic programs that prepare them for career success.

Our researchers verified Cortland's academic strength when they evaluated the school's statistics including the retention rate, graduation rate, and other metrics. The retention rate is a figure that reflects how many first-time, full-time students return to campus for their second year. Cortland boasts a staggering 80% retention rate, a figure often reserved for top private institutions.

Not only do Cortland students return for a second year - they also study hard and find their way to the graduation stage. Nearly 70% of Cortland students graduate, with 26% transferring. Most transfer students are ambitious and can be assumed to also graduate, perhaps from another SUNY campus.

Cortland's academic strength can be attributed to many factors, but the student experience is at the root of it all. Since SUNY Cortland maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 15 to 1, it's clear that students can receive the faculty feedback they need.

Student Population Total

Student Population 6,658

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Education Majors 527 Total Graduates / 31%
Physical Education Teaching and Coaching 183 Graduates
Elementary Education and Teaching 170 Graduates
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Elementary Special Education Programs 82 Graduates
Social Studies Teacher Education 26 Graduates
Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language/ESL Language Instructor 18 Graduates
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, Fitness, and Kinesiology 278 Total Graduates / 17%
Sport and Fitness Administration/Management 121 Graduates
Exercise Science and Kinesiology 110 Graduates
Physical Fitness Technician 24 Graduates
Outdoor Education 8 Graduates
Sports Studies 7 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 176 Total Graduates / 11%
Criminology 81 Graduates
Sociology, General 38 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 25 Graduates
Geographic Information Science and Cartography 10 Graduates
International Relations and Affairs 9 Graduates
All Health Professions and Related Majors 124 Total Graduates / 7%
Audiology/Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist 43 Graduates
Community Health and Preventive Medicine 33 Graduates
Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy 17 Graduates
Hospital and Health Care Facilities Administration/Management 16 Graduates
Athletic Training/Trainer 15 Graduates
All Business Majors 115 Total Graduates / 7%
Business/Managerial Economics 115 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 27%

Outcome & Salary

SUNY Cortland offers terrific academics at an affordable rate, yet students are still interested to know how their educational dollar will pay them back later. While there are never any guarantees when it comes to salaries vis-a-vis a degree, researchers did review the salary figures reported by former Cortland graduates.

Interestingly, Cortland's top earning graduates were from the biology department. These scientists reported a median starting salary of $65,000. The fifth highest-earning graduates boast degrees in communication and they reported median earnings of $61,000. Meanwhile, the third highest earners, managerial economics students, reported a median salary of $63,000. Mathematics students also made the top five earners with median starting earnings of $64,000.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $48,600
College Grads Average Salary $67,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $88,800
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $670,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,558,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $70,812
10 Year Projected ROI $599,188
20 Year Projected ROI $1,487,188
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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