Why This Matters


    According to College Navigator, there are 20 public colleges, nine private non-profit colleges and nine private for-profit colleges in Colorado.


    The College Board estimates that the average college student in Colorado paid this amount at a public higher learning institution during the 2020-21 academic year.


    Students pursuing an undergraduate degree in the United States were awarded $14,940 during the 2019-2020 school year.

Our Research

This list highlights the best colleges in Colorado. We evaluated large universities, midsize colleges, and liberal arts schools on several factors such as tuition costs, the number of credits needed to graduate, and how courses are delivered (in-person, online, or hybrid).

All institutions on our list are accredited, which helps to ensure the quality of their educational offerings. The colleges on this list are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). These accreditations are given to schools that meet specific standards and are based on a combination of self-evaluation and peer review.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 55 hours to write this article
  • 209 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 336 education programs we compared

The Top 23 Colleges in Colorado

Best Colleges In Colorado
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What You Should Know About Graduating From College in Colorado

It’s important to think about the career opportunities available in the state you wish to attend college. By researching the biggest industries in Colorado, you can have a better understanding of your job outlook after graduation. The top five industries in Colorado as of October 2020 were transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, retail trade, financial activities, and trade, transportation, and utilities.

In Colorado, the five fastest-growing careers for graduates with a bachelor’s degree are interpreters and translators, operations research analysts, cartographers and photogrammetrists, athletic trainers, and actuaries.

To understand who the largest employers in the state are, here are a few of the companies on the list of the top 50 employers in Colorado: University of Colorado-Boulder, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Western Union Co., Denver Health, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Century Link.

What’s Next?

When researching colleges in Colorado, it’s helpful to understand what financial aid options might be available to you. Below is a list of federal and state resources with more information regarding scholarships, grants, and other financial aid opportunities available to undergraduate students in Colorado.

  • Colorado Department of Higher Education. The Colorado Department of Higher Education is a comprehensive resource for state financial aid and loan programs, including the Colorado Application for State Financial Aid (CAFSA), which allocates $160 million in state financial aid each year.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who are eligible for Federal Student Aid can apply for some of the over $120 billion in financial aid distributed by the U.S. Department of Education annually. This aid is sent directly to schools and given to students through grants, work-study programs, and loans. FAFSA applications are accepted via the online FAFSA form.
  • CareerOneStop. Detailed information about scholarships and grants for each state can be found on the CareerOneStop website. To refine your search, you can also filter by degree level and state. All financial aid opportunities listed include the amount awarded, application deadlines, and relevant contact information.