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2021 Best Colleges in Colorado

23 Colleges
$42,309 Avg Salary*
34% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

When pursuing a degree in today's world, there are many different options to choose from. College Factual has developed its Top in Colorado Colleges and Universities ranking as one item you can use to help make this decision.

Our analysis looked at 23 schools in Colorado to determine which ones were the best in terms of overall quality. Our ranking is based on over 20 objective factors, including post graduate earnings, freshman retention, and graduation rate. We steer clear of subjective measures since they don't give a clear picture when determining how one school compares to another.

See what other factors we include in our ranking methodology.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Since one ranking on its own is not enough to give you a complete understanding of your educational options, you can refine this list by location and field of study. We've also developed a number of other tools and rankings based on other factors. These other rankings highlight colleges that excel in other factors such as value or diversity as well as schools that excel in serving different groups of students such as veterans or returnings adults.

One of our other unique offerings is College Combat. This tool lets you build your own customized comparisons utilizing the factors that are most important to you. If you're torn between two schools, you can use it to help you see how they stack up against one another!

Top Colleges in Colorado

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Colorado College

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Our 2021 rankings named Colorado College the best school in Colorado in terms of overall quality for students working on their bachelor’s degree. Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 581 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 2.2% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% During the early years of their career, graduates from Colorado College make an average of $45,400 a year.

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#2

Colorado School of Mines

Golden, Colorado

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Colorado School of Mines. The school came in at #2 in Colorado on this year’s overall quality ranking. Mines is a public institution located in Golden, Colorado. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 1,108 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 1.2%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% During the early years of their career, graduates from Mines make an average of $84,900 a year.

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#3

University of Denver

Denver, Colorado

A rank of #3 on our Best Colleges in Colorado list means University of Denver is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. University of Denver is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in Denver, Colorado that handed out 1,626 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.8%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. During the early years of their career, graduates from U of Denver make an average of $56,500 a year.

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#4

University of Colorado Boulder

Boulder, Colorado

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend University of Colorado Boulder. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado list. CU - Boulder is a public institution located in Boulder, Colorado. The school has a large population, and it awarded 6,744 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 87%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. During the early years of their career, graduates from CU - Boulder make an average of $50,800 a year.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Colorado State University - Fort Collins. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado list. Colorado State is a public institution located in Fort Collins, Colorado. The school has a large population, and it awarded 5,498 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.1%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State is $47,100 during the early years of their career.

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University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus ranked #6 on this year’s Best Colleges in Colorado list. University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus is a large public school located in Denver, Colorado that handed out 2,684 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.0%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from CU Anschutz go into careers with an average salary of $56,400 during the early years of their career.

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#7

Regis University

Denver, Colorado

Regis University ranked #7 on this year’s Best Colleges in Colorado list. This medium-sized private not-for-profit school is located in Denver, Colorado, and it awarded 952 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 3.7% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Regis U is $56,400 during the early years of their career.

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#8

Platt College - Aurora

Aurora, Colorado

With a ranking of #8, Platt College - Aurora did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado list. This small private for-profit school is located in Aurora, Colorado, and it awarded 66 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Platt College - Aurora make an average of $29,400 per year during the early years of their career.

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Johnson & Wales University - Denver came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Colorado ranking. Located in Denver, Colorado, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 174 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

During the early years of their career, graduates from JWU Denver make an average of $38,800 a year.

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#10

University of Northern Colorado

Greeley, Colorado

University of Northern Colorado came in at #10 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Colorado ranking.Greeley, Colorado is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 2,026 students in 2018-2019.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $42,000 during the early years of their career..

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#11

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs, Colorado

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs ranked #11 on this year’s Best Colleges in Colorado list. UCCS is a public institution located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 1,948 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $43,900 during the early years of their career..

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#12

Naropa University

Boulder, Colorado

With a ranking of #12, Naropa University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado list. Naropa is a private not-for-profit institution located in Boulder, Colorado. The school has a small population, and it awarded 103 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Naropa is $20,700 during the early years of their career.

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#13

Western Colorado University

Gunnison, Colorado

Western Colorado University landed the #13 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado ranking.Gunnison, Colorado is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 463 students in 2018-2019.

During the early years of their career, graduates from Western make an average of $39,000 a year.

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#14

Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, Colorado

Colorado Christian University came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Colorado ranking. CCU is located in Lakewood, Colorado and has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 730 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from CCU make an average of $39,300 per year during the early years of their career.

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#15

Fort Lewis College

Durango, Colorado

Fort Lewis College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado ranking, coming in at #15. Located in Durango, Colorado, the small public school handed out 667 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from FLC is $35,200 during the early years of their career.

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Colorado State University - Pueblo landed the #16 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado ranking. This medium-sized public school is located in Pueblo, Colorado, and it awarded 749 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University - Pueblo make an average of $37,500 per year during the early years of their career.

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#17

Colorado Mesa University

Grand Junction, Colorado

With a ranking of #17, Colorado Mesa University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado list. This medium-sized public school is located in Grand Junction, Colorado, and it awarded 1,189 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Colorado Mesa make an average of $36,800 per year during the early years of their career.

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#18

Adams State University

Alamosa, Colorado

With a ranking of #18, Adams State University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado list. Located in Alamosa, Colorado, the small public school awarded 349 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

During the early years of their career, graduates from Adams State make an average of $35,200 a year.

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Metropolitan State University of Denver did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado ranking, coming in at #19. MSU Denver is a public institution located in Denver, Colorado. The school has a large population, and it awarded 3,209 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $40,200 during the early years of their career..

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#20

Colorado Mountain College

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

With a ranking of #20, Colorado Mountain College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado list.Glenwood Springs, Colorado is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 171 students in 2018-2019.

The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Colorado Mountain College is $32,700 during the early years of their career.

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With a ranking of #21, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado list. RMCAD is a private for-profit institution located in Lakewood, Colorado. The school has a small population, and it awarded 184 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 7 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. During the early years of their career, graduates from RMCAD make an average of $33,000 a year.

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#22

Nazarene Bible College

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Nazarene Bible College landed the #22 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in Colorado ranking. Nazarene Bible College is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It awarded 64 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 7 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Nazarene Bible College make an average of $29,700 per year during the early years of their career.

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Colorado Technical University - Colorado Springs came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Colorado ranking. This large private for-profit school is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and it awarded 3,067 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Colorado Technical University - Colorado Springs is $42,200 during the early years of their career.

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Best Colleges in the Rocky Mountains Region

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 23 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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