19 Best Colleges in Colorado

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

Best Online Colleges in Colorado Badge

What are the Best Colleges and Universities in Colorado?

Of the dozens of colleges, universities, and tech schools throughout Colorado, those below are the best in reputation, affordability, student retention (a reflection of student satisfaction), and return on investment (that is, how much a student makes after graduation). We extensively explored these key data points, among others, from schools across the state to arrive at a definitive list of Colorado’s best colleges and universities. strongest, most affordable, and most renowned universities and colleges. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Colorado is home to beautiful, wild landscapes, innumerable opportunities to explore and play, and a notably strong higher education scene.

mini icon
Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.

In addition to the reputable University of Colorado System, which holds many awards and rankings, Colorado offers its students many amazing professional schools, small colleges, and elite research universities to choose among.

Top 10 Best Colleges in Colorado

Rank School Location
1 Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO
2 Colorado College Colorado Springs, CO
3 University of Denver Denver, CO
4 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
5 Colorado State University-fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
6 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Aurora, CO
7 United States Air Force Academy USAF Academy, CO
8 University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO
9 Adams State University Alamosa, CO
10 Regis University Denver, CO

And more and more students are making those choices: Colorado high school students are part of a huge, state-wide upward swing in academic success and college enrollment. But it’s not just that numbers are growing; college students are increasingly diverse, as every ethnic group has seen higher enrollment numbers in the last few years, and they are increasingly successful: the mean grade point average of first-year college students is climbing as well.

Part of Colorado’s success in getting students into college classrooms is due to their many pathway programs, which are in place to ensure that students have access to affordable, efficient education, regardless of financial or logistical circumstances. Through these programs students are able to acquire course credit for past professional experience or test out of certain classes, and therefore graduate earlier and with less expense. See the Best Online Colleges in Colorado for some great examples of the pathway programs.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Colorado School of Mines
    Location

    Golden, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewColorado School of Mines was founded in 1874 in Golden, Colorado, with the assistance of the Episcopal Church. Shortly thereafter, the school became state public research university devoted to engineering and applied science. Due to the coursework and skills needed, it has the highest admissions standards of any public university in Colorado. Colorado School of Mines prides itself that its curriculum and research program is focused on balancing available resources while maintaining responsible stewardship of the earth and available resources.FeaturesToday over 5,700 degree seeking undergraduate and graduate students pursue degrees in the STEM degrees and certificates. The students can join over 180 student organizations on campus and participate in outdoor activities off campus. On the weekends, students can enjoy NCAA Division II sports.  In the classrooms, students will have large classes – since almost 75% of the classes will be more than 20 students. The student-faculty ratio is still low at 16-to-1 ratio.

    • Engineering
    • Computer & Information Sciences
    • Mathematics & Statistics
    • Physical Sciences
    • Social Sciences
    NotablesGolden, Colorado, is in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains - just 20 miles from Denver and Boulder. It is also within a 1 to 3-hour drive from a dozen major ski areas and hundreds of areas for students to explore hiking, camping, bicycling, kayaking, rock climbing, etc. On campus, students can celebrate E Days that include legendary fireworks, live entertainment and a cardboard canoe race down Clear Creek.

  2. Colorado College
    Location

    Colorado Springs, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewColorado College was founded in 1871 in Colorado Springs by General William Jackson Palmer. It is a 90-acre campus located right at the base of Pikes Peak. While it is known as a classic liberal arts school, it has a quirky academic schedule and unique student body. As they say, “We work hard, we play hard, and we take one class at a time.” This class schedule was adopted in the 1970s and is call Block Plan – one class every 4 weeks.FeaturesColorado College has an undergraduate enrollment of 2,118 students. Outside the classroom, students can enjoy local outdoor wonders of Pikes Peak or they can join one of 100 student organizations or attend local NCAA sporting events. Inside the classroom, students will enjoy over 70% of their classes with less than 20 students and a student-faculty ratio of 10 to 1. Top majors include:

    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Government
    NotablesThe Block program at Colorado College creates the opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience while focusing on one class. Classes are typically between 9am to 12pm Monday – Friday. However, faculty can change the schedule based on the type of class. There are four blocks per semester; eight blocks per year, plus optional Half Block in the winter and Summer Session during the summer. In between each block there are a four-and-a-half-day hiatus between classes, or "blocks." This type of program will leave you refreshed, challenged and with fantastic hands on experience in your chosen field.

  3. University of Denver
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewThe University of Denver was founded in 1864 by John Evans, former Governor of the Colorado Territory, in the rough-and-tumble frontier mining camp and recently created city of Denver, Colorado. The university is 7 miles from the city center on a former potato farm. After World War II, the student population soared to over 13,000 students due to the GI bill.  Today, the University of Denver is the oldest university in the Rocky Mountain Region, has a slightly smaller student population, and one of the country’s premier private universities sitting on 125-acre campus.FeaturesThe University of Denver supports over 11,500 students pursuing over 100 undergraduate and 120 graduate programs. Students needing to get off campus can jump on the city LightRail system and explore over 40 different locations. On campus, students can enjoy NCAA Division I sports, NCAA Division I. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 11:1 and over 53% of the classes will have less than 20 students. The most popular majors at University of Denver include:

    • Business
    • Social Sciences
    • Psychology
    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences.
    NotablesThe University of Denver has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050 and commits to environmental conservation and sustainability efforts. They have already started towards that goal by using renewable wind energy and Their vehicles run on clean burning compressed natural gas. They have the only CNG fueling station on a Colorado higher institution campus.

  4. University of Colorado Boulder
    Location

    Boulder, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewUniversity of Colorado – Boulder was founded in 1876 in Boulder, Colorado. Today, it is the flagship university of the University of Colorado system and one of 34 US public research institutions belonging to the prestigious Association of American Universities. Boulder is a lively college town with day and evening activities that are within reach of all students. Students can hop on the CU Night Ride Shuttle for free to travel to the sites within the city limits – including over 80 miles of biking and walking trails. For longer treks off campus, there are 11 ski slopes (within 3 hours of campus), and Rocky Mountain National Park is (45 miles away).FeaturesToday, University of Colorado – Boulder serves over 14,500+ undergraduates study one of over 86 degrees, participate in community service events, attend NCAA Division I games or get involved with over 400 student organizations. Freshmen are required to stay on campus. Inside the classroom, over 46% of the classes will have less than 20 students and the student-faculty ratio is 18 to 1. Top programs include:

    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
    • Social Sciences
    • Business
    • Engineering
    NotablesUniversity of Colorado – Boulder is located in one of the most innovative technology hubs in the US and the #1 public university that receives NASA research awards. You can see their impact on STEM programs with the on-campus observatory, planetarium, mountain research station and engineering laboratory. All fields are encouraged to experiment in their learning by getting involved with clinics, externships, competitions and doing pro bono work.

  5. Colorado State University-fort Collins
    Location

    Fort Collins, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewColorado State University (also referred to as “Colorado State” and “CSU”) was founded in 1870 as a school of agriculture in Fort Collins, Colorado. Today, CSU is a land-grant, public institution committed to setting the standard for public research universities.  Fort Collins has grown as well. It is a midsize city of 155,000 people at the base of the Rocky Mountains – less than an hour north of Denver CSU. The region has over 300 days of sunshine and it is one of the best towns to live your entire life.FeaturesCSU is primarily a commuter college since over 70% of the student live off campus. However, that doesn’t mean that the 24,433 undergraduate students don’t get involved in their campus. CSU offers over 190 degree paths for their students as well as over 350 campus organizations that include over 35 Greek Life connections. Students are welcome to come and cheer at NCAA Division I sports teams or explore the area. In the classroom, students will have over 60% of their classes with more than 20 students. However, the student-faculty ratio remains low at 18-to-1. Top programs include:

    • Business
    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
    • Social Sciences
    • Family and Consumer Sciences
    • Engineering
    NotablesColorado State University – Fort Collins is considered one of the leading research universities. Their faculty and students work together to explore atmospheric science, infectious diseases, clean energy technologies and environmental science. Staying true to their agricultural, land grant roots, Colorado State has become the first and only campus to earn the STARS Platinum rating for sustainability.

  6. University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
    Location

    Aurora, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewThe University of Colorado -  Denver technically started in 1883 when CU Anschutz started the CU School of Medicine at the Colorado University at Boulder. The official CU Denver site was founded in 1912 as an extension of CU – Boulder. By 2004, it was clear, that the CU Anschutz Medical campus should merge with CU Denver. Today, this consolidated university represents 2 of the 4 campuses that make up the university of Colorado system. CU Denver is in Denver, Colorado and the Medical campus is in Aurora, Colorado.FeaturesThese two campuses that make up the University of Colorado – Denver supports the educational pursuits of over 14,000 students at Denver and 4,000 students at CU Anschutz Medical Campus pursing over 140 degree programs. Inside the classroom, student-faculty ratio is 16 to 1 and over 60% of the classes have more than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students can join over 100 student organizations. CU Denver does not offer varsity athletic teams but students can join intramural sports and active health classes. Top majors include:

    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Music
    • Pre-engineering
    • Psychology
    NotablesCU Denver has several highly-ranked health programs, including nursing and physical therapy, and its School of Medicine has top-ranked programs in family medicine and pediatrics. However, CU Denver is not only known for their academics but also their passion to support the local community. Students are encouraged to actively engage the community through volunteering, active events, networking or participating in one of the student organizations events.

  7. United States Air Force Academy
    Location

    USAF Academy, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewThe United States Air Force Academy was founded in 1959 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is the youngest of the US service academies. It serves a dual purpose as a military organization and a university. It looks like an Air Force Base with an academic organizational structure. The academy also serves as one of the largest tourist attractions in Colorado with over a million visitors each year on 18,500 acres in Colorado Springs - 60 miles south of Denver.FeaturesThe Air Force Academy as a total undergraduate enrollment of over 4,000 students. Recent incomes classes have been recently larger – about 1,200 cadets. However, if history is any indicator, only 1,000 will graduate from the academy. Incoming cadets go through a 5-week training program to get them ready for military life – it is a highly-regimented schedule that includes a requirement to participate in athletics, extracurricular activities and fitness tests.  The Academy participates in NCAA Division I athletics and have healthy rivalries with Army and Navy schools. Today, they offer 30 possible majors with over 66% of the classes with less than 20 students and a student-faculty ratio of 8-to-1. Top majors include:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Social Sciences
    • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
    NotablesThe Air Force Academy guiding principles are "Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do”. They focus on: military training, academics, athletics and character development. The rigorous military training regimen includes broad academic courses in engineering, humanities, social sciences, military and physical education – all these to provide a solid foundation for the cadets to become officers with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead.

  8. University of Northern Colorado
    Location

    Greeley, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewThe University of Northern Colorado was founded in 1890 as teacher’s training school in Greeley. Today, the school has expanded both academically and regionally into a 4-year undergraduate, master and doctoral research studies. The 236-acre main campus in Greenly, Colorado is about an hour north of Denver. However, based on student need, the university has extended campus locations in Loveland, Denver, and Colorado Springs. The university remains to being large enough to offer meaningful opportunities in a doctoral research university environment but remains small enough to engage campus community members as individuals.FeaturesToday, University of Northern Colorado engages over 9,000 are undergraduate students. All students are invited to attend NCAA Division I games, join one of the 150 student organizations or 20 various Greek Life groups. Inside the classroom, the school offers over 2,000 classes annually. Over 40% of those classes will have less than 20 students. However, all students will enjoy a student-faculty ratio of 18-to-1. Top majors are:

    • Multi-Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Business
    • Health Professions
    • Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Studies
    • Psychology
    NotablesTechnically University of Northern Colorado is a commuter campus since over 65% of the student population lives offsite. However, it doesn’t matter if you are a commuter student or you live on campus, if you want to explore the outdoors, the university’s Outdoor Pursuits Program can provide you with the outdoor gear you need free of charge: bikes, snowboards, skis, etc.

  9. Adams State University
    Location

    Alamosa, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewAdams State University was founded in 1921 by Billy Adams. Billy Adams was a cowboy, Alamosa Mayor, a Colorado Legislator and 3-term governor of Colorado. Billy Adams worked for three decades to get this school started to prepare teachers for the remote and rural areas of Colorado. Today, ASU is in the heart of the San Louis Valley in the small town of Alamosa on 90 acres. The school has developed into a full-fledged university that still specializes in educating educators.FeaturesAdams State University supports over 2,500 students at the Alamosa main campus and over 10,000 online. Inside the classroom, students will have less than 50 % of their classes with less than 20 students. But the student-faculty ratio is consistent at 15-to-1 ratio. Outside the classroom, local students can cheer on the NCAA Division II sport teams, participate in outdoor activities like rafting or join one of the student organization groups. Top programs include:

    • Business
    • Kinesiology & Exercise Science
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    NotablesSan Luis Valley is 220 miles south of Denver near the intersection of US Highways 160 and 285 situated between the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountain ranges near the Rio Grande National Forest. It is the largest alpine valley in the world where the sun shines an average of 320 days a year. It is a geographical wonderland full of massive dunes, ancient spruce and pine forests, wetlands and diverse wildlife and plants. This is just the tip of what is available in this area – it is truly a must see.

  10. Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewRegis University was founded in Denver Colorado in 1877 by the Jesuits. The original location was based in Las Vegas, New Mexico. However, by 1884, the college relocated to Morrison, Colorado. By 1887, with the help of a generous donation, the college moved to its current Denver location. Regis University is named after the Jesuit Saint, John Francis Regis, a 17th-century Jesuit who worked with prostitutes and the poor in the mountains of Southern France. Just like its name sake, Regis University looks to find a way to positively change the world by asking – How ought we to live?FeaturesToday, Regis University supports the learning needs of over 15,000 students on campus, online or at their clinical internship. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,500 students. Inside the classroom, students will have over 65% of their classes with less than 20 students. To majors include:

    • Health Professions
    • Business
    • Computer & Information Sciences
    • Social Sciences
    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
    NotablesRegis University has academic programs both in the United States and thru extensive partnerships with the National University of Ireland, Galway, and with ITESO, the Jesuit University of Guadalajara, Mexico. The ITESO and Regis University have created the first online bilingual joint MBA degree program. Students from all over the world will have access to a great accredited MBA education to further their own careers.

mini icon

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.


Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

November 6, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Earning a law degree opens professional doors. However, law school graduates owe an average of over . Scholarships and other forms of financial aid can help law school students obtain...

College Preparation Checklist

College Preparation Checklist

October 19, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Preparing for college before the first day sets up new students for success. Beginning college can be overwhelming, even for learners who have taken college-level classes in the past. Knowing...

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.