Colorado is a state that’s serious about education.
The state is full of top-notch colleges and universities offering flexible learning opportunities. And people are taking advantage of it!
According to census data, 40.9% of adults in the state have a bachelor’s degree or higher; Colorado ranks #2 in the nation!
The educational success in Colorado is due in large part to numerous organizations and programs put in place to support students, proving that the state places a high value on education.
Overview of Higher Education in Colorado
Colorado has 70 degree-granting institutions to choose from, according to a 2018-2019 report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of the 70 schools, 28 are public, 14 are nonprofit, and 28 are for-profit.
Most of Colorado’s post-secondary schools are located in the center of the state – Colorado Springs, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Denver. There are several large research universities, liberal arts colleges, and the United States Air Force Academy, one of the nation’s 5 military academies.
The NCES reports that Colorado residents attending a 4-year institution will pay an average of $9,394 in tuition and fees. Out-of-state students will pay $30,140.
Those in nearby western states may pay a little less, though, thanks to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). WICHE is a collaborative organization that allows students to enroll at programs in any of the 16 participating states and territories for no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.
About Online Colleges in Colorado
Colorado supports online learning starting at a young age, and groups like the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families have developed to promote and support the use of online platforms for students in grades K-12.
At the college level, Colorado Distance Learning Association (ColoDLA) is Colorado’s primary advocate, providing resources and opportunities to connect with the larger community.
According to the NCES, 23% of higher education students in Colorado are enrolled in exclusively online programs. An additional 12.9% are enrolled in a hybrid program including both online and on-campus classes.
Online students may be especially impressed with Colorado State University – Global Campus, as it was the nation’s first independent, accredited, fully online state university! CSU-Global Campus offers more than 40 online degree and certification programs and utilizes a rare 8-week accelerated format to help students complete their degree programs quickly.
At Regis University, a Jesuit College in Denver, students can choose from more than 130 online degrees and programs. The school offers both fully online and hybrid formats.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Colorado
If you need financial aid to attend college in Colorado, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can give you access to federal, state, and private funds.
The FAFSA becomes available on October 1 of each year and should be completed as soon as possible, since aid is awarded on a first, come first-served basis.
To complete the application, you will need to include financial information for both you and your parents (unless you’re considered an “independent” by FAFSA’s standards). The data you submit will help determine how much and what kind of financial aid you will be offered.
The ideal types of financial aid are grants and scholarships because they do not have to be paid back.
In addition to federal grants, students in Colorado have exclusive access to the following grant programs:
- Colorado Student Grant: Up to $5000 per year; Need-based
- Colorado College Responsibility Grant (CCRG): $200-600 per semester; Need-based; Find info through schools that offer it
- Dependents Tuition Assistance Program: Funds to cover tuition, room and board; Need-based; For dependents of police officers, firefighters and/or National Guard personnel killed or disabled in the line of duty
- College Opportunity Fund: A set dollar amount per credit hour at public and private colleges, amount varies annually; Need-based; Must attend a participating school and meet eligibility requirements
You can find more free money for college by using scholarship search sites such as Fastweb.com. By entering basic information about where you live or what you plan to study, you will discover all types of scholarship opportunities!
Here are just a few of the scholarships open to Colorado residents:
|Scholarship Name||Details||Scholarship amount|
|Boundless Opportunity Scholarship
|Need-based aid for someone meeting specific criteria, such as: Adults entering or returning to college, GED recipients, former foster care youth, former juvenile justice youth, returning military, individuals pursuing EMT/paramedic training, Individuals pursuing Early Childhood Education (ECE) certification||Varies|
|CollegeInvest 529 Scholarship||Colorado residents of middle- class families who have planned for a higher education by saving with a CollegeInvest 529 College Savings Plan||$2000|
|The Dottie-Walker Scholarship
|Colorado resident with an identified learning disability or AD/HD||$1000|
|Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Technical School Scholarship||Technical school student||(8) $1,000|
|Alice Hamilton Scholarship||Open to Colorado residents studying archeology or a related field; Solely based on educational merit, no consideration for financial need||$200-1000|
Scholarships and grants are also offered through the institutions themselves and may be need-based or merit-based. Be sure to check with the financial aid office at the school(s) you’re considering to see what might be available to you.
List of Online Colleges in Colorado
|Online Colleges in Colorado||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|American Sentinel University||Aurora, Colorado||$9,120||Regional||$50|
|Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts||Boulder, Colorado||$25,280||National||$0|
|University of Colorado – Boulder||Boulder, Colorado||$11,531||Regional||$50|
|University of Colorado – Colorado Springs||Colorado Springs, Colorado||$8,042||Regional||$50|
|Aspen University||Denver, Colorado||$4,200||National||$0|
|Regis University||Denver, Colorado||$34,450||Regional||$50|
|Taft University System||Denver, Colorado||$3,410||Regional||$75|
|University of Colorado – Denver||Denver, Colorado||$9,228||Regional||$50|
|University of Denver||Denver, Colorado||$46,422||Regional||$65|
|William Howard Taft University||Denver, Colorado||$3,410||Regional||$75|
|Colorado State University||Fort Collins, Colorado||$11,052||Regional||$50|
|Colorado Mesa University||Grand Junction, Colorado||$7,835||Regional||$30|
|University of Northern Colorado||Greeley, Colorado||$8,888||Regional||$45|
|Colorado Christian University||Lakewood, Colorado||$29,360||Regional||$30|
It’s no wonder Colorado ranks #2 in postsecondary degree attainment.
With so many schools to choose from and plenty of financial aid and scholarships available, attending college in Colorado is an excellent choice!