2023 Best Online Colleges in Colorado
Colorado is one of the most educated states in the country, with 38% of its population holding a bachelor’s degree and 14% holding a graduate or professional degree. Online universities in Colorado provide prospective online students with the flexibility and resources necessary to obtain an online bachelor’s degree and pursue their future careers. Many online Colorado colleges offer a variety of online bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, certificate, and minor programs that students can finish 100% online. These online degree programs are designed for busy students and professionals who may have other commitments that make on-campus learning difficult. With distance learning programs, online students can complete coursework asynchronously, synchronously, or a combination of both formats in order to receive the resources needed to complete their bachelor’s degree program successfully.
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Online Programs You May Be Interested In
Colorado State University Global
Annual Tuition: $8,400
14 Programs (view all)
Colorado Christian University
Annual Tuition: $33,434
41 Programs (view all)
2023 Best Online Colleges in Colorado
|Rank||School||Salary Score||Median Starting Salary|
|# 1||Colorado State University Global||$54,501|
|# 2||Metropolitan State University of Denver||67||$39,990|
|# 3||Colorado State University - Fort Collins||62||$39,574|
|# 4||University of Colorado Denver||61||$43,149|
|# 5||Colorado Christian University||58||$45,245|
|# 6||University of Northern Colorado||55||$37,124|
|# 7||Regis University||51||$54,904|
#1 Colorado State University Global
Colorado State University Global (CSU Global) is a public institution delivering online curricula that help students advance toward their career goals. CSU Global offers flexible and affordable online bachelor’s degree programs. From Criminal Justice to Education, prospective students can pursue a variety of online majors.
At CSU Global, online students complete coursework asynchronously — meaning at the student's own pace — through the learning management system (LMS) called Canvas. Some of CSU Global’s online bachelor’s degree programs include Computer Science, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Project Management, Organizational Leadership, Information Technology, and more. Online students at CSU Global can access virtual tutoring and career coaching.
#2 Metropolitan State University of Denver
At Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), a public institution, students can pursue online bachelor’s degrees, minors, and certificate programs. Starting in 2023, new online students at MSU Denver are also eligible for scholarships. In addition, a scholarship is available to returning MSU Denver students looking to obtain an online degree.
MSU Denver online students complete coursework in asynchronous and synchronous formats through D2L Brightspace, a popular LMS. Some of the online bachelor's degrees offered at MSU Denver are Anthropology, Banking, Marketing, Human Development and Family Studies, Social Work, and Political Science. Online students can access tutoring, academic advising, disability services, and counseling.
#3 Colorado State University - Fort Collins
At Colorado State University - Fort Collins (CSU), a public institution, prospective students can pursue several online degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. An online bachelor’s degree helps students obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve their career goals. CSU’s distance learning programs have several specializations, like business and communications, government studies, and natural resources management and tourism.
CSU facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning via the LMS Canvas. Some of CSU’s online bachelor’s degree programs include Psychology, Environmental and Natural Resources Economics, Political Science, Journalism and Media Communication, Horticulture, and Agricultural Business. Online student resources at CSU include academic advising, library services, tutoring, and a writing center.
#4 University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) is a public institution that offers several online bachelor’s degree programs students can choose from. In addition, prospective can pursue online master’s degrees and certificate programs if they want to further their education after obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
At CU Denver, remote students complete coursework, either asynchronously or synchronously, on Canvas. A few of CU Denver’s online bachelor’s degree programs are Anthropology, Communication, Economics, Film Studies, Geography, and Public Policy. Online student support at CU Denver includes advising, disability services, tutoring, and a writing center.
#5 Colorado Christian University
Colorado Christian University (CCU Online) is a private, nonprofit, and Christian institution offering a range of online bachelor’s degree programs. CCU Online allows students to complete coursework on their own time, as curricula is designed for busy or working adults. Aside from bachelor’s degree programs, CCU Online also has online associate, master’s, and doctoral programs, as well as certifications.
CCU Online students complete coursework asynchronously and synchronously through the LMS Blackboard. Biblical Studies, Creative Writing, Data Analytics, Healthcare Administration, and Nonprofit Management are a few of the bachelor’s degrees that CCU Online offers. Some of CCU Online’s bachelor’s degree programs are not offered to online students in every state, so prospective students should visit their website to confirm if their desired program is available from their location. Online students can also access academic advising, a writing center, tutoring, and disability services.
Online Higher Education in Colorado
Colorado is home to 134 public and private universities that annually award over 71,000 certificates and degrees of all levels through two- and four-year education programs. More than 370,000 students enroll in these programs, and the majority are women at the undergraduate level.
Many Colorado students earn their certificates and degrees through online courses, which may be an appealing way to earn a degree due to the benefits of remote learning. For example, schools may charge online students in-state tuition, making it a more affordable option. Other schools may even waive on-campus student fees. Online higher education may also be alluring due to its flexibility. Since online courses are often asynchronous, students can participate when their schedule allows. As a result, online colleges in Colorado can prepare working adults for new careers while they simultaneously manage the demands of work, family, or other responsibilities.
Colorado has the highest per capita concentration of engineering, research, and federal science facilities in the U.S., making it a huge draw for STEM students. CO-LABS — a Colorado organization with a mission to support scientific research — notes that over 30 government-funded scientific research labs are located throughout the state employing some of the country's top scientists. CO-LABS serves as a liaison between science labs and Colorado universities to build relationships, transfer technology, and create job opportunities. Obtaining an online bachelor's degree in Colorado can be a step toward starting a new STEM career.
Colorado has the highest per capita concentration of engineering, research, and federal science facilities in the U.S.
The Importance of Accreditation
Accreditation signifies that a school is consistently meeting a high academic standard, and students receive a quality education. This allows a school to receive federal funding and students to use federal financial aid. Accreditation is also essential for college students to transfer credits between institutions.
Nineteen national organizations award accreditation and receive recognition for this from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education. Regional accreditation is the preferred type of accreditation because it's prestigious and well-established. There are seven accreditation boards in the U.S. that accredit schools in their region. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Colorado among several other schools. Visit Ed.gov to check an online school's accreditation status.
Tuition for Online Degree Programs in Colorado
Tuition and fees are an average of $7,493 annually for full-time state residents enrolled in Colorado's public universities, which is less than the national average of $9,212. There may be no distinction between the tuition rates for distance education and in-person learning at some universities because institutions may still prefer to charge students based on their residency status. So, it's important to keep in mind that tuition and fees are approximately $20,056 for out-of-state students in Colorado.
If you are not a Colorado resident, you can work toward residency by establishing a home base in Colorado. This act shows that you intend on becoming a permanent resident. Once your residency is declared, you can start paying in-state tuition rates that are more affordable. Another way to avoid paying out-of-state tuition is to attend a Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) member school. Over 160 schools in 16 states and territories — including Colorado — participate in WUE to save students from acquiring hefty student loans. In this program, you'll pay in-state tuition plus an extra 50%, which still saves you from paying the out-of-state tuition rate. Search participating WUE schools and programs to find the one that helps you meet your educational goals.
For college options in other locations, view OnlineU's best online college rankings by state or best online colleges by degree level.
Funding an Online Degree in Colorado
The first step to funding an undergraduate degree is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may be eligible for federal grants and scholarships that don't have to be repaid, federal student loans with low interest rates, or federal work-study programs. Once you determine your eligibility via the FAFSA, you can check with your school's financial aid office to see if they offer any grants, fellowships, or scholarships. Some Colorado schools automatically review your eligibility for various scholarships when you apply.
There are several other ways to help pay for your undergraduate degree:
- Your employer may help you pay for college through an employer-paid tuition program if you meet specific criteria. For example, they may require that you have worked enough years with the company or completed job-related courses.
- Military service members and veterans can take advantage of GI Bill benefits to make their online education more affordable.
- You may decide to rely on private loans to help pay for college. However, carefully consider loans from private lenders because they tend to come with high interest rates and strict repayment guidelines.
Many private scholarships are available to help reduce student debt for online learners as long as they meet the requirements, such as having a certain GPA or being enrolled in a specific degree program.
The Colorado Mountain College President's Scholarship offers $1,000 scholarships for high school or GED graduates living within the Colorado Mountain College district who will be enrolling there for the first time. Recipients may apply for this scholarship again in their second year at school if funds remain available and they maintain their eligibility.
Colorado State University Green and Gold Scholarships for Residents are valued at $1,500 per semester with the potential of receiving $12,000 over the course of four years. First-year students with a 3.8 GPA or higher who are in the top 25% of their high school graduating class are automatically awarded scholarships when applying at CSU.
Partner Colorado Foundation Scholarship awards a minimum of $1,000 scholarships, but the amount may be higher depending on fundraising success. Applicants must be between 17-40 years old, have at least nine credit hours, and reside in Colorado while attending school.
The Toyota/TELACU Scholarship Program Toyota funds $5,000 scholarships for college students pursuing bachelor's degrees in business or STEM programs. College juniors and seniors at the bachelor’s level can apply.
University of Colorado Boulder's First Generation Scholarship is a $4,000 award for Colorado residents, while $8,000 is gifted to nonresidents. Incoming first-year students and transfer students whose parents don't have bachelor's degrees are eligible to apply. Recipients will be required to enroll in the First Generation Scholars program.
Careers in Colorado with an Online Bachelor's Degree
Colorado’s median household income is 16.2% above the national average, which prospective students may find appealing; however, they should also note that the state's unemployment rate is 5.4% as of October 2021, which is higher than the 4.6% national average. Students should also be aware of the potentially high cost of living that awaits in areas of Colorado: In Denver's metro area, the cost of living is 29% higher than the national average, while Boulder's metro area is 67% higher.
Colorado is home to 14 major industries, including advanced manufacturing, environmental engineering, financial services, technology, healthcare, and creative services. The annual mean wage is $60,840 across the state. As the job market rebounds, CareerOneStop notes the following top in-demand occupations in Colorado requiring a bachelor's degree:
Actuaries compile statistical data and perform analysis using math and financial theory. For example, they estimate the economic impact of illness, injury, and national disaster. Actuaries also design and test insurance policies and investment plans to minimize financial risk and maximize profit.
Information security analysts
Information security analysts monitor and protect an organization's computer systems and networks. They stay updated on the latest security trends and best practices for keeping both company and client information secure. Information security analysts also develop and implement an organization's security standards.
Medical and health services managers
Medical and health services managers plan and direct healthcare services in an administrative capacity. Their responsibilities include managing medical facilities, recruiting and coordinating staff, and ensuring their organization is legally compliant.
Registered nurses (RNs) earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing to work with doctors and other healthcare professionals to provide medical care. They assess a patient's condition and symptoms, administer medicine, and discuss patient treatment plans. RNs also perform diagnostic testing and review the results.
Special education teachers
Special education teachers are elementary educators who work with students who have learning, developmental, and mental disabilities. They adapt learning plans to meet individual student needs and teach basic skills to the severely disabled.
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