Best Colleges in Colorado

Colorado College Guide – What You Need to Know

Colorado offers a wide range of choices for students seeking college-level education and training in the state. The state has the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs; one of the five US military academies and a major contributor to US Military defense and readiness. The state has leading public universities; such as the University of Colorado and the Colorado State University system. There are also well-established private schools such as Regis University, the Colorado College, and the University of Denver. The Colorado School of Mines is one of several Colorado schools with nationally-ranked science and engineering specializations.

What are the most popular bachelor's degrees offered in Colorado?

The most popular bachelor’s degrees conferred in Colorado are BS or BA degrees in Business. The next category is the humanities which include literature, language, and linguistics. The health professions cover pre-medical education, technical practices, and nursing. The below-listed items are the major field of study categories from the NCES. These items include the top bachelor’s degrees awarded in all Colorado institutions of higher learning.

Some of the most popular bachelor's degrees offered in Colorado include:

How Much Can You Make by Having a Degree?


There is a direct relationship between educational achievement and median annual salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that its surveys of wages across the US demonstrate that higher education levels produce higher median annual incomes. The College Board reported results of a 2015 study of adults aged 35-44. In the study group, only 2% of workers with no high school diploma earned $100,000 per year or more; just 5% of high school graduates earned $100,000; 25% of full-time employed bachelor degree holders aged 34-44 earned $100,000 or more.

BLS estimates that earnings without college degrees sit around $712 per week for a high school graduate; the earnings rise to $1,173 per week with a bachelor’s degree. Over the course of a lifetime, the bachelor’s degree adds about $1 million to the total of lifetime earnings when compared to a high school graduate. Educational achievement translates into higher earnings and to greater opportunities. Workers with college degrees can often change jobs, add occupations, and get further training.

NO FORMAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA ASSOCIATE DEGREE BACHELOR’S DEGREE MASTER’S DEGREE DOCTORAL DEGREE
$30,784* $38,792* $46,124* $64,896* $77,844* $96,772*

Best Associate Degrees in Colorado


Having an associate degree can certainly be beneficial for your career goals. Some of the best programs available are nursing, criminal justice, and dental. Colorado has many associate programs you can explore. There are well-respected colleges throughout the state with associate degrees including Aims Community College, Morgan Community College, and the Community College of Aurora. You cannot only gain access to entry-level positions, but also earn a trade degree where you can start your career in two years or less and earn a more than decent wage. Check out our full list!

Morgan Community College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,266
Graduation Rate
47%
Net Price
$7,402
Grads Salary
$67,000
Trinidad State Junior College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,621
Graduation Rate
56%
Net Price
$11,200
Grads Salary
$68,000
Colorado Northwestern Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,112
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$12,114
Grads Salary
$85,000
Aims Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
6,634
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$7,189
Grads Salary
$67,500
Colorado Mountain College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
5,636
Graduation Rate
25%
Net Price
$4,784
Grads Salary
$55,000
Northeastern Junior College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,390
Graduation Rate
48%
Net Price
$12,819
Grads Salary
$60,000
Red Rocks Community College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
7,008
Graduation Rate
24%
Net Price
$7,725
Grads Salary
$62,000
Arapahoe Community College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
12,759
Graduation Rate
26%
Net Price
$9,923
Grads Salary
$60,600
Community College of Aurora
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
8,597
Graduation Rate
26%
Net Price
$7,489
Grads Salary
$51,500
Lamar Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
849
Graduation Rate
41%
Net Price
$10,692
Grads Salary
$48,000
Full Ranking Report

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Colorado


Some of the best bachelor's degree programs you can enroll in are computer and information systems, architectural engineering, marketing, natural sciences, and financial management. A bachelor’s degree can earn you a well-placed position and promotion power within a company. You may never need more education than this if you stick with your industry and gain plenty of experience. You can find a variety of bachelor’s programs in the state through some of Colorado’s best colleges including at Colorado College, Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado Boulder, and Regis University. If you want to know which college has the best offerings in the state, look no further.

United States Air Force Academy
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
4,304
Graduation Rate
87%
Net Price
$0
Grads Salary
$116,800
Colorado School of Mines
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
6,628
Graduation Rate
84%
Net Price
$27,675
Grads Salary
$77,400
University of Colorado Boulder
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
37,883
Graduation Rate
72%
Net Price
$21,198
Grads Salary
$76,700
Colorado College
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,123
Graduation Rate
88%
Net Price
$27,319
Grads Salary
$69,900
Colorado State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
33,426
Graduation Rate
70%
Net Price
$17,609
Grads Salary
$69,100
Regis University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
6,908
Graduation Rate
67%
Net Price
$27,785
Grads Salary
$82,000
University of Colorado Denver
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
24,910
Graduation Rate
44%
Net Price
$15,585
Grads Salary
$72,700
University of Northern Colorado
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
12,930
Graduation Rate
52%
Net Price
$16,510
Grads Salary
$66,500
Western Colorado University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
3,203
Graduation Rate
50%
Net Price
$16,951
Grads Salary
$68,000
Aspen University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
9,563
Graduation Rate
NA
Net Price
$11,779
Grads Salary
$87,000
Full Ranking Report

Best Master's Degrees in Colorado


If you're looking to accelerate your career, improve your job security, or find a high-paying career in Colorado, try continuing your education with an MBA, master's or doctorate degree program. Some great program options are nursing, business administration, computer science, or educational leadership. A high-level degree grants you access to positions and pay you could never achieve with a two or four-year degree alone. Find the master’s or doctoral program for you!

University of Colorado Boulder
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
37,883
Graduation Rate
72%
Net Price
$21,198
Grads Salary
$76,700
Colorado School of Mines
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
6,628
Graduation Rate
84%
Net Price
$27,675
Grads Salary
$77,400
Colorado State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
33,426
Graduation Rate
70%
Net Price
$17,609
Grads Salary
$69,100
Colorado College
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,123
Graduation Rate
88%
Net Price
$27,319
Grads Salary
$69,900
Regis University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
6,908
Graduation Rate
67%
Net Price
$27,785
Grads Salary
$82,000
Aspen University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
9,563
Graduation Rate
NA
Net Price
$11,779
Grads Salary
$87,000
Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
27,232
Graduation Rate
23%
Net Price
$17,048
Grads Salary
$87,000
University of Colorado Denver
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
24,910
Graduation Rate
44%
Net Price
$15,585
Grads Salary
$72,700
University of Northern Colorado
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
12,930
Graduation Rate
52%
Net Price
$16,510
Grads Salary
$66,500
Western Colorado University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
3,203
Graduation Rate
50%
Net Price
$16,951
Grads Salary
$68,000
Full Ranking Report

Best Online Degree Colleges in Colorado (Distance Learning Only)


Taking classes online is becoming more popular because of the convenience and savings associated with this form of learning, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the most popular online programs are business administration, healthcare management, accounting, and human resources management. If you're looking for the best online colleges, check out our list of the best online colleges in Colorado.

University of Colorado Boulder
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
37,883
Graduation Rate
72%
Net Price
$21,198
Grads Salary
$76,700
Colorado State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
33,426
Graduation Rate
70%
Net Price
$17,609
Grads Salary
$69,100
Regis University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
6,908
Graduation Rate
67%
Net Price
$27,785
Grads Salary
$82,000
Aspen University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
9,563
Graduation Rate
NA
Net Price
$11,779
Grads Salary
$87,000
University of Colorado Denver
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
24,910
Graduation Rate
44%
Net Price
$15,585
Grads Salary
$72,700
University of Northern Colorado
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
12,930
Graduation Rate
52%
Net Price
$16,510
Grads Salary
$66,500
Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
27,232
Graduation Rate
23%
Net Price
$17,048
Grads Salary
$87,000
American Sentinel University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
2,724
Graduation Rate
65%
Net Price
NA
Grads Salary
$85,900
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
12,807
Graduation Rate
45%
Net Price
$15,852
Grads Salary
$67,000
University of Denver
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
12,931
Graduation Rate
75%
Net Price
$38,322
Grads Salary
$70,600
Full Ranking Report

Cost of Colorado College Education & Salaries


The in-state costs of college tuition in Colorado averaged about $12,200 for 2018. The Colorado average was lower than the national average by more than $1,700. The University of Colorado at Boulder is a model of low-cost education at about $10,000 per year. In contrast, Colorado College charges more than $53,000 for all students.

Public schools must charge different rates for in-state students whose tax payments support the school and out-of-state students that do not pay into the state system. The costs of out-of-state tuition usually reflect the market value of the educational services. With the higher costs to out-of-state students, public schools maintain strong appeal because they remain far less expensive than many private institutions. Private schools do not charge tiered rates; they do not get the type of taxpayer support that public schools receive.

Colorado ranks low on measures that depend on student need. The population of Colorado ranks above the national averages in income and per-capita income. It ranks in the top one-third in student loans which is a measure of need that is average and not severe. About 65% of Colorado FAFSA applicants get some type of federal financial assistance.

College Cost Analysis - Colorado vs. National


Average Colorado Tuition & Fees at 4 Year Public Schools

In-State Tuition - $10,800

National – $9,970

Out-of-State – $30,600

National out-of-state – $25,620

Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid

National – 67% of students get grants or scholarships
Colorado - 49% of students get grants and scholarships

Financial Aid Received Federal Grants Average $ per Recipient
Colorado 36% 37.7%
Nationally $10,550 $10,927

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.
* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Best Scholarships for Colorado


Scholarships and grants advance the cause of education for individuals and groups without adding to their long-term debt. Student debt is a major concern in the US, and grants and scholarships impact student financing at the critical times of need and reduce the need to borrow or use other types of repayable student assistance. The federal government offers the federal student loan program, and it can provide assistance that can make education feasible. The federal government also offers grants and scholarships including the Pell Grant program which aids needy students and does not require repayment.

The state of Colorado offers scholarships and grants based upon need, academic achievement, and family resources. The types of aid include work-study programs that help students work and attend school. The Colorado needs-based awards include the Colorado Student Grant for qualified students with demonstrated need.

https://highered.colorado.gov/Finance/FinancialAid/TypesofStateAidAvailable.html
BSS_logo

BSS

Burg Simpson Scholarship

Amount: $1,000 (9 Awards), $2,500 (1 Award)
Deadline: February 1
https://www.burgsimpson.com/charities/burg-simpson-college-scholarship-program/
The application due date is February 1, 2019. The scholarship program awards ten scholarships per year. One award is for $2,500, and nine additional wards will be $1,000 each. The goals of the program are to award financial assistance to deserving students and to raise awareness of the importance of the system of civil trial by jury. The 1,500-word essay topics discuss trial by jury and the threats to that system from restrictive legislation and other limits.

Eligible applicants must be a graduating high school senior enrolled in an accredited Colorado school. Applicants must present an essay on the assigned scholarship topic. The essay must match the detailed content requirements, demonstrate critical and creative thinking, and advance the importance of trial by jury and access to the judicial system.

PCFS_logo

PCFS

Partner Colorado Foundation Scholarships

Amount: $1,000+
Deadline: March 31
https://www.partnercoloradocu.org/about/foundations/partner-colorado-foundation
The Partner Colorado Credit Union seeks to assist students with a demonstrated level of financial need. Through the Partner Colorado Foundation, the credit union offers scholarships to high school seniors, college undergraduates, or graduate students. The initial selection standard is the student’s need; other criteria include academic achievement and community involvement. The eligibility requirements are that you be between 17 and 40, enrolled full-time in college, and have a principal residence in the state of Colorado. Award winners must maintain a 2.0 GPA or better.

PFS_logo

PFS

Pinnacol Foundation Scholarship for children of injured or fatally injured workers

Amount: $4,500
Deadline: February 15
https://www.pinnacol.com/foundation/apply-scholarship
The Pinnacol foundation awards scholarships to children of parents that have sustained a compensable workplace injury. The awards can be up to $4,500 for tuition and other costs of education. Qualified students will have a 2.0 GPA or higher, be between the ages of 16 and 25, and have a High School diploma or GED. Students may use these funds at two-year, four-year, or trade schools.

DF_logo

DSP

Daniels Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies
Deadline: November 30
https://www.danielsfund.org/scholarships/daniels-scholarship-program/overview
The application period runs from September 30 through November 30 preceding each school year. Eligible students must reside in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah. The awards are unique amounts that depend on the official Expected Family Contribution. The program provides a laptop computer, career counseling, and mentor opportunities. Winning students may also access the Daniels online student resources and enrichment workshops.

Eligible applicants must be graduating high school seniors with a minimum 17 ACT score or 840 on the SAT. The program standards seek applicants that demonstrate community service and leadership potential. The eligible academic goals are to pursue a four-year degree at any accredited school, college, or university in the US. Award winners must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

ACEC_logo

ACS

ACEC Colorado Scholarship & Education Foundation

Amount: Varies (Total of $30,000 in a year)
Deadline: January 25
http://acec-co.associationsonline.com/site_page.cfm?pk_association_webpage_menu=7534&pk_association_webpage=14997
The program seeks to award a student that demonstrates an awareness of the consulting engineering profession. The application requirements include an interview; applicants must be enrolled in a program towards a bachelor’s degree in engineering or land surveying at an Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET)-accredited institution. They must be in entering the third, fourth, or fifth year of study in the Fall semester of 2019.

CUCF_logo

CUCFS

Credit Union of Colorado Foundation Scholarships

Amount: $5,000 (10 Awards)
Deadline: Varies
http://www.cuofcofoundation.org/general-scholarships
The Credit Union Colorado Foundation works within a partnership with Happel Associates to provide scholarships to Colorado students. Eligible students must reside within the state and be active in their communities. Students must attend or be enrolled to attend an accredited college or university. Eligible recipients must attend full-time as defined by taking at least 12 semester hours of courses per semester. They must be high school seniors a with a 3.5 GPA or first-year college students with a 3.5 GPA. Renewal is not automatic, and winning students must re-apply for subsequent years.

VCSS_logo

VCSS

Volunteerism/Community Service Scholarship

Amount: $1,500 (16 Awards)
Deadline: January 30
https://www.coloradocouncil.org/scholarship
A council of volunteer organizations sponsors this scholarship program. The program awards 16 scholarships in the amount of $1,500 each. The goal of the scholarship is to assist deserving students that have provided exemplary levels of volunteer activity. Applicants must be US citizens, a graduating high school senior, or a college student. Qualified applicants must have been residents of Colorado for the two years prior to their application and enrolled in a member institution. The selection criteria emphasize contributions to the community and service to others.

CMS

Colorado Masons Scholarship

Amount: Up to $7,000
Deadline: March 15
http://www.cmbfa.org/scholarships/
This scholarship offers up to $7,000 for a renewable scholarship that can cover up to four years of college education. Eligible students must be graduating high school seniors that intend to enroll in a Colorado accredited college or university. The program criteria emphasize need, character, leadership, and maturity. The scholarship can be renewed up to a total of $28,000. The application processes interviews with Lodge committees to qualify and rate applicants.