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Online Degrees in Colorado (CO)


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Methodology

To be included in our ranking of the best colleges for online degree programs, all colleges had to meet the following five criteria:

  1. Be an accredited U.S. institution
  2. Offer either 2- or 4-year degree programs
  3. Have at least 1 percent of students taking at least some of their classes via distance education
  4. Be active in the 2015-16 school year
  5. Report data for all 15 specific ranking variables included in our methodology

We then ranked the remaining 2,169 colleges and universities and scored each on a 100-point scale on these specific. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average amount of federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Full-time Retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students participating fully or partially in distance education to total enrollment, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14
  • Open admissions policy for all or most entering first-time undergraduate-level students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Offers credit for military training

Sources:

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • "Choosing the Best Online Program for You," by Kerry Hannon, The New York Times, Aug. 2, 2018,https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/02/education/learning/choosing-best-online-program.html
  • "Colorado Divide: Seismic shifts create rural-urban chasm in the culture, economy and politics of the state," by Kevin Simpson, Denver Post, July 21, 2017,https://www.denverpost.com/2017/07/21/colorado-divide-rural-urban-chasm/
  • Colorado State Aid, CollegeinColorado.org, accessed December 21, 2018,https://secure.collegeincolorado.org/Financial_Aid_Planning/Financial_Aid_101/Colorado_State_Aid.aspx
  • Colorado Student Grants for College, CollegeScholarships.org, accessed December 21, 2018,http://www.collegescholarships.org/grants/states/colorado.htm
  • "Colorado Talent Pipeline Report 2018," Colorado Workforce Development Council, accessed December 21, 2018,https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cwdc/colorado-talent-pipeline-report
  • How to Apply, Colorado State University, accessed December 21, 2018, http://catalog.colostate.edu/general-catalog/admissions/how-to-apply/
  • How to Apply, University of Colorado Boulder, accessed December 21, 2018,https://www.colorado.edu/admissions/apply
  • Quality Matters, Colorado Community Colleges Online, accessed December 21, 2018,https://www.ccconline.org/quality-matters/
  • "Quick Facts: Colorado," U.S. Census Bureau, July 1, 2018,
  • State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), Colorado Department of Higher Education, accessed December 21, 2018,https://highered.colorado.gov/Academics/SARA/
  • Student Admissions Process, Colorado Technical University, accessed December 21, 2018,https://www.coloradotech.edu/admissions/student-admissions-process
  • Unemployment rates and earnings by educational attainment, 2017, Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 27, 2018, https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm
  • "Will Unizin be a game changer for higher ed?" by Keith Button, EducationDive.com, June 17, 2014,https://www.educationdive.com/news/will-unizin-be-a-game-changer-for-higher-ed/270179/
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Online degrees in Colorado

Colorado ,is a state of remarkable contrasts. Though it's widely recognized for its largest city, Denver — with its snow-covered peaks, booming creative economy, low unemployment and highly educated workforce — much of the state is comprised of rural, sparsely populated agricultural land and an aging workforce, reported an article in the Denver Post, published July 2017.

Though Colorado is one of the top five states in the country for its postsecondary education attainment, it's nowhere near where it needs to be in terms of having a skilled workforce that can fulfill employer demand and help grow the economy.

That's where online education in Colorado comes in. Online degree programs can give urban residents a competitive edge; provide rural residents in need of skills with greater access to programs; and provide education that's more responsive to employer needs. Keep reading to learn about your options for online degree programs in Colorado.

In 2018, the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) reported that 56.2 percent of Coloradans had postsecondary credentials — a certificate or degree. This is far below the 74 percent the state needs to supply its fastest-growing and top-paying jobs by 2020. Residents of Colorado must earn postsecondary credentials in order to obtain these jobs, and employers cannot thrive otherwise.

Plus, it pays to earn online degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as education level rises, pay goes up and unemployment drops. American workers with only high school diplomas made a median weekly salary of $712, while those with associate degrees earned $836, and those with bachelor's degrees earned $1,173.

Online programs enable students to earn the degrees of their choice, regardless of location or schedule. In a state like Colorado, where about 40 percent of the population lives in rural areas not served by nearby colleges and the population is increasingly getting older and may need rebuild their skills, this is especially important.

Whether you've recently graduated high school, already in the workforce and looking to enhance your career or returning to school after a long absence, these colleges can be your top options for the best online student experience. We've filtered online colleges in Colorado by criteria that would be most important to a distance education student by using data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Be sure to take a look at our methodology at the bottom of the page.

1
Nazarene Bible College
Colorado Springs, CO
Average in-state tuition
$10,800
No. of online programs
12
% of students in distance education
97%
Avg. amount of Aid
$2,915
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
50%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
N/A
2
Regis University
Denver, CO
Average in-state tuition
$35,260
No. of online programs
86
% of students in distance education
63%
Avg. amount of Aid
$15,655
Admissions Rate
60%
Graduation Rate
71%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
3
Colorado Christian University
Lakewood, CO
Average in-state tuition
$21,810
No. of online programs
50
% of students in distance education
58%
Avg. amount of Aid
$8,663
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
50%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
Morgan Community College
Fort Morgan, CO
Average in-state tuition
$3,469
No. of online programs
12
% of students in distance education
57%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,667
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
Lakewood, CO
Average in-state tuition
$16,268
No. of online programs
16
% of students in distance education
100%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,534
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
46%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
Adams State University
Alamosa, CO
Average in-state tuition
$5,736
No. of online programs
20
% of students in distance education
55%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,718
Admissions Rate
99%
Graduation Rate
29%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Fort Collins, CO
Average in-state tuition
$9,152
No. of online programs
66
% of students in distance education
23%
Avg. amount of Aid
$8,811
Admissions Rate
83%
Graduation Rate
69%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
Trinidad State Junior College
Trinidad, CO
Average in-state tuition
$3,469
No. of online programs
2
% of students in distance education
21%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,764
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
Pikes Peak Community College
Colorado Springs, CO
Average in-state tuition
$3,469
No. of online programs
15
% of students in distance education
36%
Avg. amount of Aid
$6,805
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes

Online colleges frequently develop programs based on the needs of the workforce. With that in mind, explore these top online degree programs in Colorado based on the number of online enrolments. Popularity of degree programs is often indicative of job market needs in the state.

Program Name
No. of online programs
Business Administration and Management, General
34
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies
19
Health/Health Care Administration/Management
19
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse
15
Accounting
15
General Studies
15
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration
14
Information Technology
12
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Other
12
Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, General
11

Colorado is a partner in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) through the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE). This agreement among member states not only makes it easier for students to take online programs at postsecondary institutions in those states, but its oversight by a national council ensures consistent, rigorous quality standards across states and institutions.

Also reassuring to students seeking quality distance programs is that many Colorado colleges that offer online degree programs are recognized by Quality Matters, a comprehensive quality assurance program that emphasizes continuous improvement in online program design. Among the schools that subscribe to QM are the Colorado Community College System, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado Mesa University and University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

Plus, Colorado State University is in some ways a pioneer in online learning quality. It was one of the three founding schools behind Unizin, a school consortium that provides members access to shared online infrastructure and program content and can analyze the effectiveness of that content to make continuous improvement.

The educational needs of a recent high school graduate are much different from those of working mother or a mid-life career changer. Whatever your needs, there's probably an online program that can meet them, but spend some time doing your homework to find the right program. Here's some advice to get started.

  • Interview the program administrators and faculty. Be sure that the program is a good fit for your learning style, whether you'll learn the skills you need and whether the level of interaction suits you. And make sure the student support services — from tutors to counselors and tech support — are what you'll need them to be.
  • Learn about program requirements. Find out whether the program is entirely or only partially online. If there's a face-to-face or real-time component, can you make that work, based on your location and schedule?
  • Make sure it's accredited and of high quality. You can't receive federal financial aid at a non-accredited program, and employers may not even recognize your degree. Accreditation and review by nonprofit Quality Matters both help assure students of quality.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we provide this list of top occupations in Colorado to help you align your education with workforce demands.

Occupation
Number of Workers
(2016)
Average Salary
(2016)
Office and Administrative Support Occupations360,490$39,630
Sales and Related Occupations296,130$45,550
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations247,640$25,610
Business and Financial Operations Occupations178,980$77,290
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations146,380$41,080
Education, Training, and Library Occupations142,930$53,830
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations142,130$83,270
Construction and Extraction Occupations133,900$48,040
Management Occupations112,920$128,770
Computer and Mathematical Occupations109,450$95,240
Production Occupations102,730$39,510
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations95,960$50,350
Personal Care and Service Occupations87,330$29,690
Retail Salespersons86,720$29,740
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations83,630$30,070
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2016-26 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

The CWDC says that in 2017, a whopping $47 million in federal Pell Grant aid was left on the table by Colorado's high school seniors. That's a lot of unused, free college money, especially in a state that desperately needs to grow its college attainment levels. The first step toward obtaining this and other federal aid is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The FAFSA is also key to receiving a lot of state, local and institutional aid. Here are some of the state-administered grants that may be available to students earning online degrees in Colorado:

  • College Opportunity Fund: Created by the Colorado legislature, this program provides a stipend of $85 per credit hour to undergraduate students attending participating Colorado public colleges or universities.
  • Colorado Student Grant and Colorado Graduate Grant: Drawing upon FAFSA information about household finances, these grants of up to $5,000 each (one for undergrads, one for graduates) are offered to eligible Colorado students enrolled in qualifying state colleges.
  • Colorado College Responsibilities Grant: This program that awards $200-$600 per semester, is funded by the state assembly and intended for undergraduate students who are residents of Colorado and have not yet earned their bachelor's degrees.

Other awards may be offered depending on your situation and school of choice.

Scholarship Listing

Sachs Foundation Scholarship
No. of Awards
50
Deadline
March 15
Max. Award Amount
7,000
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must be an African-American/Black high school senior who has been a resident of Colorado for a minimum of five years. Minimum 3.0 GPA and financial need are required.
More
Boettcher Foundation Scholarship
No. of Awards
40
Deadline
November 1
Max. Award Amount
N/A
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must have resided in Colorado during their junior and senior year of high school and be attending an institution in Colorado. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen, rank in the top 5% of class, and have a minimum combined SAT score of 1200 (Critical Reading and Math only) or a composite ACT score of 27.
More
Kit Faragher Memorial Scholarship
No. of Awards
4
Deadline
May 19
Max. Award Amount
N/A
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must be a Colorado high school student who demonstrates a positive attitude and a drive towards accomplishment. Minimum 2.5 GPA, transcript, and essay required. Financial need must be demonstrated.
More
Frank and Gina Day Scholarship
No. of Awards
2
Deadline
March 1
Max. Award Amount
2,500
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicant must be a Colorado resident or native. Selection is based upon academic merit and financial need.
More
Bob Caviness Scholarship
No. of Awards
2
Deadline
March 29
Max. Award Amount
500
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicant must be a graduating senior from an Aurora Public Schools' High School who participated in Robert F. Caviness Invitational for track. Must be U.S. citizen who is accepted into an accredited college, university, community college, or technical school. Minimum 2.5 GPA, copy of high school transcripts, two letters of recommendation, essay, and future resume required.
More

Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-19 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.

There is no required college entrance exam that Colorado schools require for admission; rather, each school sets its own admissions requirements, which may or may not include test scores. For example, the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State ask applicants to submit either an SAT or ACT score, while Colorado Technical University doesn't require any test scores at all to apply. Consult with your desired school to learn more.


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