Preparing for the Future with the Best Colleges in Colorado

Your future is often highly dependent on the skills and education you have behind you. Attending one of the best colleges in Colorado can make it far more likely that you will be amply prepared with the skills you need to land your dream job. The question that really remains is which of the colleges in CO will give you what you need?

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Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Colleges in Colorado

Not only do you need to find Colorado colleges that offer your desired major or program, but you also need to weigh the costs. No one wants to leave a school with a degree in hand while being burdened by crushing student loan debt.

There’s a fine balance, even among the top colleges in Colorado, between finding an affordable solution and an excellent one.

AdvisoryHQ knows how tricky it can be to walk that fine line of finding the perfect school among a list of colleges in Colorado. Which ones would you consider to be good colleges in Colorado? To make it easier, we assembled this Colorado college ranking to help you get all the pertinent information you need up front.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Colorado Colleges

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the schools below to go directly to the detailed review section for that Colorado college):

Top 6 Best Colorado Colleges | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Best Colleges in Colorado


Student-Faculty Ratio

Colorado College



Colorado Mountain College



Fort Lewis College



Nazarene Bible College



Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design



United States Air Force Academy



Table: Top 6 Best Colleges in Colorado | Above list is sorted alphabetically

What Are You Paying for at the Top Colleges in Colorado?

Many consumers are left wondering exactly what they might be paying for when they enroll in even the top colleges in Colorado. Tuition fees vary from school to school, and it can be confusing when it comes to understanding why one school charges more than another.

We’re going to help you break down the tuition fees and figure out why the pricing varies among all of the colleges in CO.

colorado college ranking

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First and foremost, prospective students should consider what type of college they are researching. Colorado state colleges and other public institutions will typically have lower tuition rates because the state helps fund some of their programs. When you need good colleges in Colorado but don’t want to take out many student loans, these types of schools could be an excellent option.

Private colleges in Colorado are typically more expensive because they don’t have the same additional funding to offset the overall cost of tuition.

Another item that often appears on a Colorado college ranking is the way that tuition is broken down. Some schools will list their tuition fees per semester, per academic year, or per credit hour. The numbers when priced per credit hour seem significantly lower, but what does it really mean?

When you want to compare a semester or academic year price from a school on a list of colleges in Colorado with a credit hour price, you need to consider how many credits you receive in their initial pricing.

For example, a semester price that comes in at $12,000 may only give you twelve credit hours. This means that each credit hour will come to $1,000. While this may seem like a pricy option for the best colleges in Colorado, it helps to break down exactly what your tuition fees are paying for. 

Many schools will also list the average amounts of financial aid that students receive. This can be taken into account to determine the net price of your tuition after any grants, work-study programs, or scholarships are applied. The best Colorado colleges typically offer some type of assistance to students.

Understanding where your tuition fees come from and how they compare to one another is a key step to selecting the best colleges in Colorado for your education. Make sure you can afford the overall cost to help set yourself up for future financial success.

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Detailed Review: Top Ranking Best Colorado Colleges

Below, please find the detailed review of each school on our list of best colleges in Colorado. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these top colleges in Colorado to score so high in our selection ranking.

Colorado College Review

Colorado College offers students an excellent learning experience to set their future on the right path almost immediately. With high-quality instructors and a broad offering of programs, these small top colleges in Colorado deserve more than just a passing glance. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the nearby mountains and get a quality education all at the same time.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Colleges in Colorado

Students considering Colorado College will want to see all of the reasons why this school made our Colorado college ranking in the review below.


Colorado College comes with an extensive offering of majors and minors to help facilitate specific conversations about where your future is headed. In our Colorado college ranking, we need to point out that there are 42 majors and 33 minors available from more than thirty departments and programs. You can even select and design your own major.

Classes are all taught by professors, almost all of whom retain the highest degree available in their respective fields. Student-faculty ratios at these colleges in Colorado also remain small at ten to one.

Undergraduate students enroll in Colorado College in part because it is one of the best colleges in Colorado for a small learning experience. Only 2,008 students attend these private colleges in Colorado.


Tuition is relatively high at Colorado College, in part because it is one of the private colleges in Colorado. The 2017 to 2018 academic year costs $52,380 in tuition with additional fees depending on your selections. They estimate that a total year of education will cost $68,616 including:

  • Student activity fee
  • Double room in residence hall
  • Meal plan
  • Books and supplies
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel expenses

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Colorado Mountain College Review

Students who are more interested in earning two-year degrees will find plenty of choices at the Colorado Mountain College. With flexible location options, an extensive offering of two-year programs, and low tuition rates, these best Colorado colleges are some of the most popular choices. Ranked in the top 13% of all two-year colleges in the United States by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, you’ll want to know what they can offer you.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Colleges in Colorado

See more of the detailed reasons why our Colorado college ranking included Colorado Mountain College as one of the top Colorado colleges available.


With a campus spanning more than 12,000 square miles of scenic land, Colorado Mountain College is a pristine choice for students. While many of the schools on our Colorado college ranking tend to favor bachelor’s degrees, these schools specialize mostly in associate’s degrees and certificates:

  • 5 bachelor’s degrees
  • 54 associate’s degrees
  • 77 certificates

However, their four-year program is still very highly rated. The U.S. Department of Education named it the third most affordable public four-year degree in the nation.

These top colleges in Colorado are home to over 20,000 students and taught by 112 full-time faculty members. Across the entire school, they list their student-teacher ratio at just thirteen to one in spite of their high enrollment rates.


One of the most affordable colleges in CO, this school has a rather detailed list of fees. Their lower 100–200 courses start at just $65 per credit for in-district students and $147 for in-state students. Higher level courses run from $99 to $139 for in-district students and $212 to $252 for in-state students.

Out-of-state students face much higher rates. Lower level courses (100–200) cost $440 per credit while the more advanced classes will range from $440 to $480 per credit.

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Fort Lewis College Review

A relatively inexpensive option for Colorado state colleges, Fort Lewis College offers a well-rounded education at a lowered cost. Compared to private colleges in Colorado, this school certainly deserves a second glance from students who want low fees, lots of program choices, and a mid-sized school. Among the top colleges in Colorado, this option offers an excellent education and experience.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Colleges in Colorado

You can find all of the compelling facts regarding academics and tuition that led to their placement on our list of colleges in Colorado below.


These top colleges in Colorado would most likely be considered to be mid-sized schools based on their overall enrollment rates. While they do not reach the dazzlingly high numbers of Colorado Mountain College, there are just over 3,500 students enrolled at Fort Lewis currently. However, with a lower number of faculty members, the student-faculty ratio comes in at a relatively high eighteen to one.

The average class size at these best Colorado colleges is estimated to be around 23 students.

They offer a pretty extensive list of academic programs, including popular choices such as:

  • Business administration
  • Exercise science
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Engineering
  • Environmental studies


One of the best parts of these top colleges in Colorado is the affordable tuition for both in-state and out of state students. The direct costs for tuition in the 2016 to 2017 academic year came to $6,360 for in-state students.

Like many Colorado state colleges, tuition will be higher for students who live outside of the state. Students that fall into this category, including international applicants, will pay $16,072 per academic year for tuition.

Fort Lewis College - best colleges in colorado

Image Source: Fort Lewis College

Nazarene Bible College Review

Students interested in receiving a faith-based education may find what they’re looking for at the Nazarene Bible College. One of the best Colorado colleges with a unique perspective on academics and campus life, these small colleges in Colorado have a fairly narrow academic program. However, that doesn’t stop them from offering one of only two programs in the United States that prepares ministers for this denomination.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Colleges in Colorado

You can find out specifically what the Nazarene Bible College has to offer on our Colorado college ranking in the comprehensive summary below.


As mentioned previously, these colleges in CO have a very narrow field of study for prospective students. The Nazarene Bible College has the smallest offerings of all the schools on our Colorado college ranking with programs available for:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Ministry (9 majors)
  • Associate of Arts in Ministry (4 concentrations)
  • 2 non-degree programs

One of the major benefits to these colleges in Colorado is the small class sizes. The student-faculty ratio comes in at just ten to one for one of the lowest ratios on our list of Colorado colleges.

This isn’t difficult to do with just 1,272 students enrolled at these best Colorado colleges. The majority of students will be older in age, with the average age being forty years old.


Tuition is paid for by credit hour only when it comes to their four-year degrees. Like many of the good colleges in Colorado, its private status prevents it from granting price breaks to in-state or in-district students. The cost per credit hour is $450.

The cost of an Associate of Arts in General Studies, including your tuition, fees, and books is listed at $15,600.

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Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design Review

Aspiring artists won’t want to miss considering the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design on our Colorado college ranking. Featuring some of the smallest classes and lowest student-faculty ratios, these small colleges in Colorado have a lot to offer those who want to explore creative pursuits for the future.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Colleges in Colorado

See below for the comprehensive summary of why we included Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design on our Colorado college ranking.


Located in the cultural hubbub of Denver, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design has a gorgeous campus with only a few students to interfere with your enjoyment. They currently have roughly 760 students enrolled which allows them to offer a seven to one student-faculty ratio. The average class size is comprised of just eight students.

These best colleges in Colorado offer no shortage of selections when it comes to academic programs either. Enrollment in their most popular programs often includes a selection of the following:

  • Illustration
  • Fine Arts
  • Graphic Design
  • Animation
  • Game Art
  • Interior Design


Like many of the other good colleges in Colorado, tuition is priced per credit hour for both their online programs and on-campus programs. Students who hoped to attend one of the best colleges in Colorado from the comfort of their own home will enjoy discounted rates of $464 per credit hour.

On-campus programs are slightly more expensive at $594 per credit hour.

Bear in mind that graduate programs for both an MA and for an audit or non-credit hour will have higher rates. Both of these fees will cost $849 per credit hour.

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United States Air Force Academy Review

On a list of colleges in Colorado, the United States Air Force Academy certainly deserves a mention. Many prospective students who anticipate entering into a career in the military will want to consider enrolling at these colleges in Colorado to receive the preparation they need.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Colleges in Colorado

Is the United States Air Force Academy one of the good colleges in Colorado? We certainly found it to be impressive on our Colorado college ranking, and you can see why in the review below.


These best colleges in Colorado have earned their fair share of awards and rankings from top agencies:

  • 1st for Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from U.S. News and World Report
  • 3rd for Top Public Colleges from Forbes
  • 4th for High School Counselor Ranking from U.S. News and World Report
  • 5th for Top STEM Colleges from Forbes

They currently have more than 4,000 cadets enrolled at these best colleges in Colorado, where all students receive a bachelor of science degree. Many will study social sciences, but following close behind are engineering and basic sciences.

The population is mostly male (75%), and the acceptance rate into these top colleges in Colorado is relatively low. Among our Colorado colleges, it has a very low acceptance rate of just 12% of applicants. This allows class sizes at these small colleges in Colorado to remain more intimate with an eight to one student-faculty ratio.

United States Air Force Academy - top colleges in colorado

Image Source: United States Air Force Academy


The largest advantage of the United States Air Force Academy is the free tuition available for cadets who enlist. The education is said to be valued at more than $400,000 but is yours free, with access to all of the following items:

  • Free room and board
  • Free medical care (with some restrictions)
  • Monthly stipend
  • Interest-free loans to cover emergency expenditures
  • Low-cost government-sponsored life insurance

Conclusion—Top 6 Best Colorado Colleges

The colleges in Colorado that are available for consideration run the gamut from science-based degrees to those that focus on more creative pursuits. The best Colorado colleges offer you some degree of education in almost every area so you can leave well-rounded and prepared for your career.

The schools included on our Colorado college ranking give you an overarching view of some of the top colleges in Colorado. From private colleges in Colorado to Colorado state colleges, students can decide which type of school suits their study needs the best. Not only that, but you will also have to weigh the cost of these best colleges in Colorado to make the best possible decision.

No matter whether you have thousands of dollars to spend or you want a free education, the best colleges in Colorado have something to offer every prospective student preparing for their future.

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