Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Colorado. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

To guarantee high quality standards in education, all of the Colorado colleges on our list are accredited institutions. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is the accrediting body for most of the Colorado colleges on our list. Accrediting higher learning institutions in 19 states in the North Central region, HLC upholds quality assurance for its diverse accredited institutions.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Colorado

Best Online Colleges in Colorado Badge
Intelligent Pick
Colorado State University Global
Best for Environmental Fields
Colorado State University Online
Best for Online MBA
Regis University
Most Customizable
University of Denver
Best for Online Masters Degrees
University of Colorado Boulder
Best Faculty
University of Colorado Denver
Best for Small Class Sizes
Colorado Christian University
Best Scholarships
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Most Unique Programs
UNC Extended Campus
Best Student Support Services
University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Colorado Mesa University

Adams State University

Nazarene Bible College

Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Colorado

Does Colorado have good online colleges and universities?

Colorado’s online bachelor’s and graduate degree programs are some of the strongest in the country. For instance, in 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked Colorado State University (CSU) Global’s online bachelor’s program No. 13 in the country and University of Denver’s online bachelor’s program No. 47. At the graduate level, many online programs at institutions in Colorado also rank highly, with University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus’ Online Master’s in Nursing and Online Master’s in Nursing Administration programs earning the No. 26 and No. 13 spots, respectively.

Do online college credits in Colorado cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses regardless of where you live, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. Public colleges and universities in Colorado tend to charge the same tuition for online and on-campus degree programs. Schools such as CSU Global go out of their way to make tuition fees as transparent and affordable as possible; they charge in-state and out-of-state students the same tuition and do not tack on additional student fees or technology fees.

Why should you choose Colorado for online higher education?

Colorado’s online degree programs combine affordability with quality. Many of the state’s online bachelor’s and graduate degree options rank highly in national comparisons. This tells you that as an online student, you will get a flexible education that does not sacrifice anything in the way of quality.

The Cost of Online College in Colorado

How much does an online degree in Colorado cost?

The cost of an online degree in Colorado depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate degrees are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Colorado below:

  • Most affordable online college in Colorado: Colorado Technical University, $340 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in Colorado: University of Denver, $698 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Colorado to get in-state tuition rates?

According to the Colorado Department of Higher Education, to qualify for in-state tuition you must have resided in Colorado for at least 12 months prior to declaring Colorado residency. You must also prove that you came to Colorado for reasons other than education, and that you intend to stay there for the foreseeable future. This entails, for instance, changing your driver’s license and voter registration, paying Colorado state taxes, and so on.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Colorado?

Colorado offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. One is through participation in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which enables students from the western U.S. who attend college outside their home state to pay a flat tuition rate equivalent to 150% of their school’s in-state tuition. This can end up saving you thousands — even tens of thousands — on your degree.

Colorado also offers College Opportunity Fund (COF) stipends, created by the state legislature to cover a portion of the tuition costs of Colorado students attending public colleges and universities as well as participating private institutions in the state.

It’s worth noting that you should also file your FAFSA application, which will show you if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Colorado

In addition to WICHE reciprocity agreements and COF stipends, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are also based on financial need, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Colorado Student Grant

Sponsored by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, these are need-based undergraduate and graduate student grants, with eligibility determined based on FAFSA information. The maximum award amount is $5,000 per year.

Who’s eligible? Colorado residents enrolled in an eligible program at an eligible Colorado postsecondary institution who demonstrate financial need and are not in default on educational loans or grants.

Contact information: [email protected] | 303-862-3001

Learn more

Greenhouse Scholars Program

Open to students from Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New York, and North Carolina, this is a holistic scholars program that provides not only funding but also mentorship, support, and cocurricular leadership development to students from low-income communities. The goal is to stop the cycle of poverty.

Who’s eligible? Legal residents of Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New York, or North Carolina who have a cumulative, unweighted GPA of 3.5 or above, demonstrate financial need, and possess strong leadership, grit, and commitment to community.

Contact information: [email protected] | 720-449-7444

Learn more

Partner Colorado Foundation Scholarship

Sponsored by Partner Colorado Credit Union, this foundation provides scholarships of $1,000 and above to Colorado students who demonstrate financial need, academic achievement, and extracurricular engagement.

Who’s eligible? Colorado residents who will remain in Colorado for college, are between 17 and 40 years old, take a minimum of nine credit hours per semester, and maintain satisfactory academic progress and performance.

Contact information: [email protected] | 303-422-6221

Learn more

The Pinnacol Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship provides an average grant of $4,700 per student per year to children of parents who were seriously injured in an accident in Colorado.

Who’s eligible? Students whose parent(s) were injured or killed in a compensable work-related accident during the course and scope of employment with a Colorado-based employer and were entitled to receive benefits under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act; students must be between 16 and 25 years old and maintain an average GPA of 2.0.

Contact information: [email protected] | 303-361-4775

Learn more

5 Fastest Growing Industries in Colorado

If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, you may also be undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Colorado can make it easier to find a job once you graduate, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Employment Projections 2018–2028, we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Colorado:

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts monitor and manage an organization’s computer networks and systems. Specifically, information security analysts keep an organization’s data safe. As cybersecurity and information security become increasingly important in our digital world, these security analysts are in high demand. They are also well-compensated, making an average annual salary of $107,590 in Colorado.

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants (PAs) are one of the most in-demand health professionals. They work under physicians to support patient care, and must complete extensive education and medical training. They are not as highly compensated as physicians, but they still make six-figure salaries. The average annual PA salary in Colorado is $110,370.

Personal Care Aides

As Colorado’s population ages and chronic and acute medical conditions become more prevalent, the state is in increasing need of personal care aides to assist patients, often older adults or disabled people, with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing. In Colorado, personal care aides make an average annual salary of $30,350.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) perform a wide range of health and patient care duties, depending on where they work (hospital, doctor’s office, health clinic, etc.). Colorado expects to add a whopping 15,630 RN jobs over the next decade. RNs in Colorado earn an average salary of $77,860.

Software Developers (Applications)

Colorado is home to secondary headquarters for some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Facebook (Meta), Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Intel, Apple, and NVIDIA. So, it’s no surprise the skills of software developers, especially app developers, are in high demand in the state. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high, with software developers earning an average salary of $112,700 per year in Colorado.