FAQ | SUNY Online

Frequently Asked Questions for SUNY Online


What makes SUNY Online different than going to a campus?

SUNY Online works with a cohort of SUNY campuses that offers associate, bachelors, and masters degree programs online. SUNY Online degree pathways don't encompass all the available online degree programs and online course offerings throughout the 64 SUNY campuses. It offers a special group of degree programs in concentrations that allow students to start or finish a degree at any point in their lives and academic journey. SUNY Online provides administrative support for the campuses and student supports for the students enrolled in the course offered by those campuses. We at SUNY Online make that possible by providing students with a program success coach who works with them from inquiry to graduation. Simply, as a SUNY Online student, you get your person. In addition to checking in throughout the semester, SUNY Online success coaches act as an online concierge for students in some of the following areas:

  • Advising and registration
  • Tutoring support
  • Buying books
  • Locating campus resources such as career services, mental wellness, and student accounts
  • Hosting community and success webinars for online learners


Is SUNY Online Accredited?

SUNY Online degrees are all delivered and awarded by our State University of New York colleges and universities, which means all SUNY Online degrees are regionally accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In addition to regional accreditation, individual colleges and degree programs have specialized accreditation. For example, the online Electrical Engineering program is ABET-accredited; SUNY Oswego's online business degrees as well as the Accounting BS at SUNY Plattsburgh are AACSB-accredited; Canton's BS in Healthcare Management is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE); and The University at Albany offers an American Library Association (ALA)-accredited MSIS.


What programs are offered in the coach-supported SUNY Online Signature pathways?

SUNY Online has online degree programs in accounting, business, cybersecurity and security studies, data science & crime analysis, engineering, healthcare management, and psychology. A SUNY Online Success Coach is a pathway coach who stays with a student throughout the journey in the signature pathway. Whether you apply to take online courses with some credits, an associate degree, bachelor's degree, or even a master's degree already in hand, you have a person who stays with and supports you while you finish your degree.


If I enroll in a signature program, am I a SUNY Online student or am I campus student? I want my degree to say the name of the college I attend.

If you enroll in a SUNY Online Signature degree program, you will be a student of the campus offering the program. For example, if you apply to the electrical engineering degree offered by Stony Brook University, you are still a Stony Brook student. When you graduate, your diploma will be identical to the diplomas granted by that university to students studying on campus. Your degree will not say "online" or "SUNY Online." In the Stony Brook example, your diploma would be a Bachelor of Science from Stony Brook University.


Can I transfer credits from another school toward a degree with SUNY Online?

Yes, in many instances SUNY campuses will count credit from other accredited institutions toward your degree program. The rules for transfer vary by institution, so it is recommended that you contact a transfer advisor or speak to your SUNY Online coach about previous credits earned.

Review the SUNY General Education requirements to learn more.


I have transcripts from another SUNY institution – can SUNY Online access them or will I still need to order them?

There is no "SUNY hub" of all transcripts. If you attended a SUNY campus - online or in person - in the past, you will need to order your transcripts. A SUNY Online admissions coach will help you send your transcripts to the SUNY Online campus to which you are applying.


Why are there different schools in a SUNY Online Signature program pathway?

Students who are just starting out in a degree program will talk to their success coach about the program pathway and how earning degrees in stages helps best prepare students and save money over four years. By earning as many credits as possible through a community college, you save money by paying a lower tuition rate. After completing the associate degree online, you experience a seamless and continuous experience as you move into the next phase of your degree - the last two years of your bachelor's degree. While you go through the process, you have the support of a success coach who continues to work closely with you the entire time - even as you move from college to college. This sets SUNY Online Signature programs apart from any other program. Typically, when you move from college to college, you don't get to keep your advisor for example. With SUNY Online, you get YOUR person, and they won't leave your side as you complete your undergraduate or graduate degree. Another added benefit to the SUNY Online Signature pathways is that you can grow your online network of professional contacts by working alongside credentialed faculty from multiple institutions.


Can I get financial aid for courses offered through SUNY?

Yes, financial aid is available to online students, but the type of aid you may be eligible to receive will depend on many factors. You may be able to receive grants and scholarships, loans or tax deductions for your tuition and school costs, depending upon your personal situation. Some factors that affect your financial aid status are whether you are a full-time or part-time student, and whether you are studying for credit or non-credit. Visit SUNY Smart Track to find information about the types of financial aid and how to apply.


Is studying really done “on my own time”?

Classes through SUNY Online are asynchronous. This means that there is no set time you'll have to log into your computer to attend class. For example, rather than having students log in to watch a lecture at 3:00 pm on Tuesdays, students access the course content on their own time and complete assigned work appropriately in the online course platform. Course content may include recorded lectures, readings, quizzes, or discussion boards. There are weekly due dates for each assignment and task that you will need to keep track of.


How much time should I spend on my classes each week?

Typically, online students should plan on 3 to 4 hours of work per week per credit hour. For a 3-credit course, you should set aside 9-12 hours per week. While course requirements vary, we encourage students to log into their courses 2-3 times a week to ensure they do not fall behind. If at any point your SUNY Online coach notices you aren't logging in, they will reach out to you directly to check in.


How often can I login and work on my online courses?

Courses that are offered online are usually available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. SUNY campuses may have specific times and dates that courses may not be available or have restricted access due to maintenance and updates. Like traditional on-campus classes, SUNY Online courses have start and end dates throughout the semester according to the college's calendar. Your instructor will provide a course schedule in the online classroom  for you to follow along with dates and deadlines for assignments. Your Success Coach will also help you stay on track.


What will it be like to take an online class?

If you would like to experience an online class firsthand, please visit the SUNY Online Demo Course. If you need help at any point during your studies, you can call or email your SUNY Online Success Coach, who will either assist you or put you in contact with the campus for help. Furthermore, as an online student at SUNY, you benefit from access to 24/7 support in your SUNY Online classes. The SUNY Online helpdesk is available by phone, chat, and email Monday through Sunday.


What technology will I need to take my classes online?

You should have access to a computer with a high speed, broadband or DSL internet connection. Due to the nature of downloading and viewing rich media, SUNY Online Support Services does not recommend dial-up connections. You should also be using an internet browser that is supported by your campus. The most common browsers supported by SUNY Online are Google, Firefox and Safari browsers. SUNY Online does not provide personal computers to their students; however, all SUNY Online courses are compatible with mobile devices, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.  


I only need to take a couple classes online at SUNY? What do I need to do if I just want to take a class or two?

There are a couple reasons why students decide to take a couple classes instead of applying to a complete degree program. Some students want to try out classes, they need only a couple classes to finish a degree, or they have to take a couple classes to be eligible for admission to a new degree program. If you are looking to take a few classes online at SUNY instead rather than complete an entire program, SUNY Online Success Coaches recommend students search the SUNY Online course catalog. Here, you can search the list of online courses offered throughout the 64 SUNY campuses. You will apply as a "non-matriculated" or "non-degree" student. Our SUNY Online coaches are happy to assist you in starting your search for online courses at SUNY.  


How do I apply for to an online degree?

To apply to a SUNY Online Signature degree program, you can reach out to SUNY Online admissions coaches to talk about your options, or you can apply directly to the degree program of your choice. To find out which SUNY Online degree is best for your experience, goals, and transfer credits, contact an admissions coach. An admissions coach at SUNY will walk you through the application process, step-by-step, based on your decision.


Whom do I contact if I have more questions?

You can contact a SUNY Online Admissions Coach at 518-445-4140 or by emailing studyonline@suny.edu. Our team can assist you with additional questions and help you get started on the application process! Contact us today!

  • A high-quality education at a value you can afford.

  • Courses anywhere, anytime, 100% online!

  • 1.3 million students served.

  • 3 million successful alumni worldwide.

  • Open the door to your future with a SUNY degree

  • Open the door to your future with a SUNY degree.

  • An affordable education with little to no debt.

  • 64 schools with thousands of expert faculty educating you for the future.

white suny logo

Learn More


Explore Programs In

    See All Industries

    Follow us: