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10 Popular Schools in Colorado
We've highlighted some of the biggest and most prestigious colleges in Colorado to help you compare your options and find the school that suits you best.
All school data below comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Tuition and fees are from 2022-2023, while acceptance rates, enrollment statistics, net prices, and number of applicants are from 2021.
1. University of Colorado Boulder
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $13,106 (in-state) | $40,356 (out-of-state)
- Acceptance Rate: 80%
- Total Student Enrollment: 39,000
Colorado's largest university, CU Boulder is home to prominent alums, including the creators of the long-running TV show "South Park." Boulder is a bustling college town set right in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Known for its environmental focus and sustainability efforts, CU Boulder also boasts highly regarded engineering and education programs.
Undergraduates who are Colorado residents can take advantage of the CU Boulder Guarantee, which ensures an unchanged tuition rate for the first four years.
2. Colorado School of Mines
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $20,040 (in-state) | $42,120 (out-of-state)
- Acceptance Rate: 57%
- Total Student Enrollment: 7,187
A public research university that largely focuses on STEM subjects, Mines beat out Harvard for having the brainiest students in a 2019 Lumosity survey.
If you're interested in energy innovation, you can benefit from the university's Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute and Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.
Mines is located in Golden, a small mountain town just a 25-minute drive from Denver. Students can walk from the campus to a quaint downtown, a creek, and prime rock-climbing sites.
3. University of Denver
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $56,439
- Acceptance Rate: 64%
- Total Student Enrollment: 14,130
In 2021, 98% of beginning undergraduates at DU received grants or scholarships. The private research university is located in Denver's trendy university district.
Academically speaking, DU is particularly known for its international relations program. The school has also graduated many famous and successful alums, including former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Other popular majors include law, business, finance, biology, and psychology.
4. Colorado State University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $12,874 (in-state) | $32,734 (out-of-state)
- Acceptance Rate: 90%
- Total Student Enrollment: 32,586
A public research university in Fort Collins, CSU spent nearly $400 million on research in 2020. As a student here, you can participate in research on topics like infectious diseases, natural resources, food production, energy, and environmental science.
One of CSU's most popular majors is family and consumer sciences. In this program, you'll study education, human development, human nutrition, and program development.
Other popular majors include business administration, psychology, biology, journalism, computer science, mechanical engineering, agricultural science, and exercise science.
5. Colorado College
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $65,028
- Acceptance Rate: 14%
- Total Student Enrollment: 2,266
CC is a small, competitive private university with a 14% acceptance rate and over 10,000 applicants in fall 2021. Of all beginning undergraduates admitted in 2021, 57% received grant or scholarship aid.
CC utilizes a unique block plan for its course structure. Here, you'll take just one class at a time for three and a half weeks. In one academic year, students complete eight blocks (or eight classes), with a four-day break between blocks.
The university is located in downtown Colorado Springs, not far from the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
6. United States Air Force Academy
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $0
- Acceptance Rate: 12%
- Total Student Enrollment: 4,181
Arguably some of the biggest perks of attending USAFA are the free tuition, the free room and board, and the monthly stipend.
Most students here major in aerospace, biology, business, computer science, or engineering. USAFA academic programs typically have a military-focused curriculum and application.
Located near Colorado Springs, USAFA features a sprawling campus with plenty of room for exciting airspace activities. All graduates must serve five years on active duty and three years on inactive reserve for the Air Force or Space Force.
7. Regis University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $42,220
- Acceptance Rate: 81%
- Total Student Enrollment: 5,566
An impressive 98% of beginning undergraduates receive grants or scholarships at Regis, a private Catholic university in Denver. Nursing is the most popular major, and most graduates find work in the healthcare industry.
Regis is one of the most military-friendly universities in the U.S. A large portion of its student population is on active duty or in the military reserve. Many students also identify as veterans.
Another feature to note: The university is home to the Center for the Study of War Experience.
8. University of Colorado Denver
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $9,562 (in-state) | $26,818 (out-of-state)
- Acceptance Rate: 72%
- Total Student Enrollment: 24,267
CU Denver boasts a diverse student body, with 50% of students identifying as people of color. What's more, international students hail from a whopping 135 countries.
Home to Anschutz Medical Campus, the university largely caters to students hoping to break into the healthcare industry. The most popular majors at CU Denver are biology, nursing, business, psychology, and economics.
The CU Promise guarantees that low-income Colorado residents can afford to attend. Eligible students receive a financial aid package that comprises a combination of scholarships, grants, and work-study.
9. Colorado Christian University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $37,432
- Acceptance Rate: 100%
- Total Student Enrollment: 8,472
At CCU, 99% of beginning undergraduates received grants or scholarships in fall 2021. And 59% of undergrads qualify for need-based aid.
A private Christian university with an open-admissions policy, CCU is well known for its counseling programs. Most students major in psychology, nursing, business, or biblical studies.
The main campus is located in Lakewood, a Denver suburb close to the mountains.
10. Metropolitan State University of Denver
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $10,260 (in-state) | $28,092 (out-of-state)
- Acceptance Rate: 89%
- Total Student Enrollment: 17,678
MSU Denver is a public school located in downtown Denver near Ball Arena and the theater district. Nearly 50% of undergraduates are transfer students from other Colorado colleges. As a whole, MSU Denver mostly attracts locals, with 95% of undergrads hailing from within the state.
Popular majors include biology, business, accounting, criminal justice, and psychology. MSU Denver awards need-based grants of around $500 per semester for eligible Colorado residents.
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List of All Colleges and Universities in Colorado
Below is an exhaustive list of all four-year nonprofit schools in Colorado. You can view and compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.
|School||Total Student Enrollment||Avg. Annual Net Price||Acceptance Rate||Number of Applicants|
|Adams State University||3,138||$14,492||100%||1,717|
|Arapahoe Community College||11,897||$11,277||100%||N/A|
|Colorado Christian University||8,472||$26,759||100%||N/A|
|Colorado Mesa University||8,907||$15,324||80%||8,082|
|Colorado Mountain College||5,134||$5,855||100%||N/A|
|Colorado School of Mines||7,187||$26,179||57%||12,022|
|Colorado State University||32,586||$18,320||90%||31,586|
|Colorado State University Pueblo||6,110||$14,013||99%||2,054|
|Fort Lewis College||3,567||$15,807||93%||3,795|
|Front Range Community College||18,537||$9,688||100%||N/A|
|Metropolitan State University of Denver||17,678||$14,195||89%||11,306|
|Pikes Peak State College||11,845||$9,448||100%||N/A|
|Trinidad State College||1,500||$12,361||100%||N/A|
|United States Air Force Academy||4,181||$0||12%||11,687|
|University of Colorado Boulder||39,000||$22,532||80%||54,756|
|University of Colorado Colorado Springs||12,031||$15,547||95%||11,900|
|University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus||24,267||$14,630||72%||14,428|
|University of Denver||14,130||$39,973||64%||22,694|
|University of Northern Colorado||10,348||$17,128||91%||10,152|
|Western Colorado University||3,689||$17,490||91%||3,243|
Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in Colorado
What is the main college in Colorado?
The University of Colorado Boulder is Colorado's flagship university. It's also the state's largest institution, with 39,000 students enrolled in fall 2021, according to NCES data.
CU Boulder's football and basketball teams compete in the NCAA Division I league, drawing nationwide recognition.
Do I qualify for in-state tuition in Colorado?
To qualify for in-state tuition in Colorado, you must have lived in the state for one full year before enrolling in a public college or university.
That said, many Colorado schools participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange, which allows students from certain Western states to attend college in Colorado at an in-state or reduced tuition rate.
Participating Colorado universities include CU Denver, CSU, MSU Denver, and Western Colorado University.
Participating states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
What is the cheapest college in Colorado?
Technically, the United State Air Force Academy is the cheapest college in Colorado, as it's free for those who attend and agree to join the Air Force.
When it comes to more mainstream universities, though, Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs has the lowest average net cost at $5,855 per academic year, according to 2021 NCES data.
What is the cost of living in Colorado?
The Colorado cost of living has risen significantly in recent years, especially in big cities like Denver. According to SoFi, the average cost of living in Colorado is $53,374 per year.
For students, the cost of living will likely be lower. Students often split housing expenses with roommates, have access to on-campus healthcare, and benefit from discounted transportation options.
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