Challenging academic programs across Tompkins County mean outstanding education for students of all levels.

THE HALLMARK OF TOMPKINS COUNTY IS ITS EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS: Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3). These excellent academic institutions bring more than 25,000 students to the county, and others located within an easy driving distance further enhance the educational opportunities for our residents.

Cornell University

Cornell Clock Tower

Cornell Clock Tower

Cornell University was founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. A member of the Ivy League, its 745-acre campus includes 260 major buildings with 13 different colleges and schools within the University. It is a leader in cutting edge technologies such as supercomputing, biotechnology, high-energy synchrotron studies, mathematical sciences, nanofabrication and nuclear studies. Cornell ranks among the top universities in research funding from the National Science Foundation. For more information, please visit or call 607-254-INFO.

Ithaca College

IC Athletics and Events Center

IC Athletics and Events Center

Ithaca College was originally founded as the Ithaca Conservatory of Music in 1892. Currently offering over 2,000 courses and 100 programs in its five different schools, the student to instructor ratio is 12:1. Ithaca College boasts the perfect blend of liberal arts education and professional preparation and its music school is known as one of the best in the nation. Challenging academic programs promote critical thinking and hands-on learning, where students work closely with experienced and accomplished faculty. Ithaca College boasts a lively and sophisticated residential community that takes full advantage of its stunning backdrop-blue lake, waterfalls, and gorges and a local community rich in culture and resources. Visit or call 607-274-3011.

Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3)

Tompkins Cortland Community College, often referred to as TC3, is one of the highest rated community colleges in the state. Founded in 1968 and a college of the State of New York (SUNY), TC3 offers over 40 associate degree programs for its annual 4,000 enrollment. A large number of TC3’s students transfer to four-year schools as TC3 has articulation agreements with Cornell University, Ithaca College, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Cortland and Wells College.

Philips Hall Common Area

Philips Hall Common Area

With extension centers located in the downtown areas of Ithaca and Cortland, TC3’s primary campus is located on 220 acres in Dryden. Major areas of study include business administration, accounting, hotel/restaurant management, liberal arts, engineering science, communications, electronics and computer information systems. A specialty of the college is an organization called which provides customized training to more than 40 employers each year.  Visit or call 607-844-8211. Through its concurrent enrollment program, TC3 has close partnerships with more than 40 school districts, including all six in Tompkins County.

State University of New York College at Cortland

State University of New York College at Cortland, often called SUNY Cortland, is nestled at the top of one of the rolling hills in central New York’s picturesque “City of Seven Valleys.” SUNY Cortland was founded in 1868 as the Cortland Normal School. Since its inception, it has played a vital role in educating New York State’s teachers and today offers the largest comprehensive teacher education program in the state and the 22nd largest program in the nation. SUNY Cortlandoffers undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and professional fields. Students can choose from 70 majors and 44 minors within the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Education and Professional Studies. Visit or call 607-753-4711.

Empire State College

Empire State College, Founded in 1971 as a part of the State University of New York, is dedicated to enabling motivated adults, regardless of geography or life circumstance, to manage and master a rigorous academic program and earn a degree. Empire State College is uniquely designed to serve adults pursuing associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The college offers affordable, SUNY degrees onsite at 35 locations in New York state and abroad, as well as entirely online.  When you take courses at Empire State College, you choose how, when and where you will study. or call 518-587-2100.

Public Schools:

Tompkins County encompasses seven school districts in the towns of Dryden, Groton, Ithaca, Lansing, Newfield and Trumansburg. With over 5,300 students, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) is the largest. ICSD contains eight elementary schools, two middle schools, and Ithaca High School, as well as the Lehman Alternative Community School (LACS), which includes grades 6 through12. The county also has a Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) and special education programs. The Franziska Racker Centers offer a wide range of programs and support services to people with disabilities and their families. In 2009, the New Roots Charter School opened inside the Clinton House in downtown Ithaca.

Private Schools:

Within Tompkins County, there are currently four private elementary schools; three in Ithaca and one in Freeville. Ithaca also has one private high school, Cascadilla School. For further information on private education, please visit: