dcsimg

Online Colleges in Colorado

Most Affordable Online Colleges
Top Colorado Cities
School Interviews
Peggy O'Neill-Jones
- Professor of Technical Communications and Media Production at Metropolitan State University of Denver
"MSU Denver currently offers more than 200 online courses in a variety of disciplines."
See entire interview

Introduction

In a competitive economy, a college degree is often preferred if not required for many jobs. Despite the recent national economic downturn, Colorado's education and health services sectors reported steady growth in recent years. Between July 2011 and May 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that health services in Colorado grew by 1.3 percent.

Colorado is home to just over 5 million people. Among the 3.3 million residents who are 25 or older, 13.2 percent have a graduate or professional degree, 23 percent have a Bachelor's degree and 30 percent have attended some college or earned an Associate's degree. Among the half million residents who are between 18 and 24 years old, 11 percent have earned a Bachelor's degree or higher, and 45 percent have attended some college or earned an Associate's degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In Colorado, the state's 2.3 million workers earn an average hourly wage of $23.53, for an average annual income of $48,900, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who want to go to college or complete a degree in an effort to qualify for higher-paying jobs can choose from 50 colleges or universities in Colorado who offer Bachelor's degrees.

Most Affordable Colleges in Colorado

The following list ranks schools in Colorado that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs. This ranking is based on a number of factors that are important to prospective students such as the actual degree programs that are taught online, and information on tuition fees, accreditation and notable alumni. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (2013-2014) and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.

1

Metropolitan State University Denve

Tuition/Year
$5,744
Graduation Rate
26%
# of Online Degrees
2
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

MSU Denver's online degree programs focuses on Social Work at the graduate and undergraduate level. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that MSU's enrollment, retention and graduation rates in their undergraduate and graduate Social Work programs rank them among the top 21 in the country.
School Website: 
GO
2

Colorado Mesa University

Tuition/Year
$6,725
Graduation Rate
30%
# of Online Degrees
4
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado, emphasizes to their online students that while their online degree programs may make education more convenient, the classes are not any easier than those taken on campus. Faculty and staff put as much emphasis on their online students as they do their in-class charges. Colorado Mesa's online Associate's program is offered in Art, with a Social Science emphasis, and the three undergraduate degree programs offered online are in Nursing; Sport Management; and Public Administration
School Website: 
GO
3

University of Northern Colorado

Tuition/Year
$6,968
Graduation Rate
46%
# of Online Degrees
21
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

The University of Northern Colorado offers both undergraduate and graduate online degree programs, but it is best known for its Master's programs, which have been ranked No. 8 nationally by U.S. News & World Reports from the more than 200 schools the magazine evaluated. NCU's 16 Master's programs range from Art & Design to Theatre Education, with an assortment of Special Education degrees focused on various areas, such as Early Childhood and Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Bachelor's degrees that are online or predominately online at NCU include: American Sign Language; Psychology; Dietetics; Nursing; and Sociology.
School Website: 
GO
4

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Tuition/Year
$7,024
Graduation Rate
46%
# of Online Degrees
19
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

The University of Colorado in Colorado Springs has a beautiful, 430-acre campus at the base of Pike's Peak. But its campus is actually much larger, as UCCS has been inviting students from throughout the world to its online campus since 1996. Today it offers online Bachelor's degrees in Criminal Justice; Sociology; Business; Health Care Sciences; and Nursing. It offers Master's degrees in Curriculum & Instruction; Alternative Licensure; Gifted and Talented; Leadership Education & Principal Licensure; Special Education; Business Administration; Criminal Justice; Public Administration; Engineering: Energy Engineering; Engineering: Engineering Management; Engineering: Space Operations; Engineering: System Engineering; Nurse Practitioner; and Nursing Education. UCCS also offers an online doctorate program in Nursing Practice.
School Website: 
GO
5

Adams State University

Tuition/Year
$7,449
Graduation Rate
23%
# of Online Degrees
26
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Adams State University offers a whopping 21 online undergraduate degree programs, as well as online degree completion programs for Associate's degree holders who want to pursue Business Administration; Nursing; or Psychology. It's two Master's degree programs online are in Nursing and Sociology.
School Website: 
GO
6

University of Colorado Denver

Tuition/Year
$7,933
Graduation Rate
41%
# of Online Degrees
19
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

All the Bachelor's and Master's degrees offered online at the University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus are accredited and fully integrated with the program's brick-and-mortar counterparts on campus. The five undergraduate online degrees include Criminal Justice; Communication; English Writing; Sociology; and Nursing. The online Master's degree programs are offered in Business Administration; Global Energy Management; Information Systems; Management and Organization; Recording Arts, Media Forensics; Geographic Information Systems; Nursing Informatics; Nursing Leadership; Public Health, Leadership and Public Health Practice; Curriculum and Instruction; Information and Learning Technologies; Early Childhood Education; Criminal Justice; and Public Administration.
School Website: 
GO
7

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Tuition/Year
$8,400
Graduation Rate
NA
# of Online Degrees
25
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Colorado State University, as the land-grant university of the state of Colorado, has a tradition of bringing university knowledge and science to the general public. But in recent years it has really ramped up this effort so that now it offers 6 fully online undergraduate degrees and 19 fully online graduate degrees. The Bachelor's programs include Agricultural Business; Anthropology; Fire and Emergency Services Administration; Human Development and Family Studies; Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts; and Psychology. Its online Master's programs include Adult Education and Training (AET); Agricultural Extension Education; Applied Statistics; Biomedical Engineering; Business Administration; Civil Engineering; Computer Information Systems; Computer Science; Dietetics; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Engineering Management; Industrial/Organizational Psychology; Integrated Resource Management; Mechanical Engineering; Natural Sciences Education; Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change; Student Affairs in Higher Education; Systems Engineering; and Tourism Management.
School Website: 
GO
8

Nazarene Bible College

Tuition/Year
$10,800
Graduation Rate
25%
# of Online Degrees
3
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

NBC, located in Colorado Springs in the shadow of Pike's Peak, may be small, but it's effective. While the national average for people who complete online courses they enroll in is less than 50 percent, at NBC, the rate is 94 percent. Nazarene Bible College offers Associate's and Bachelor's degrees in Ministry, and an Associate's degree in General Studies.
School Website: 
GO
9

National American University

Tuition/Year
$12,531
Graduation Rate
22%
# of Online Degrees
35
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

NAU has locations in 11 Western states, and maintains 4 physical campuses in Colorado -- in Centennial, Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs South and Denver. The school, in operation since 1941, focuses on business studies but has been expanding its online offerings. All told, there are 60 online programs offered at its 35 locations from Colorado to Oregon, and these include 21 online Bachelor's degree programs and 14 Associate's programs. The online Associate's degrees are offered in Accounting; Applied Information Technology; Business Administration; Business Logistics; Computer Security; Criminal Justice; Electronic Health Record Support Specialist; Health and Beauty Management; Health Information Technology; Information Technology; Management; Medical Administrative Assistant; Medical Staff Services Management; and Small Business Management.
School Website: 
GO
School Interviews

Peggy O'Neill-Jones

Peggy O'Neill-Jones, Professor of Technical Communications and Media Production at Metropolitan State University of Denver

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at Metropolitan State University of Denver?

MSU Denver currently offers more than 200 online courses in a variety of disciplines. We are currently in the process of developing fully online programs. This will include not only the academic infrastructure, but also corresponding student support services. A list of available online courses can be found at http://www.msudenver.edu/cgi-bin/schedules/fall/online.cgi.

Q. What advice would you give students interested in an online degree program?

Look for a degree with academic rigor and make sure the time and money investment is sound. While online learning is an effective strategy to access education, do not forget that professional networks and personal connections to the University are equally important.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

The nature of teaching and learning is evolving and online learning is making 21st century learning skills essential, (i.e., collaboration, self-directed learning, communication, problem solving.) There will be growth in more adaptive learning technology infused with online learning, making self-paced degrees and personalized experiences more possible.


Julia Selby Smith

Julia Selby Smith, Marketing Writer, Colorado State University Online

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at Colorado State University?

Colorado State University's online programs include a broad array of graduate degrees, undergraduate degrees, certificate programs, badges, professional development courses and MOOCs. We currently offer more than 70 programs online, and we continue to expand our online offerings frequently.

Subject matter of our online programs is truly across the spectrum. We offer degrees in agriculture, engineering, music, student affairs, business, psychology, education, and much more. Our certificates and badges are even more diverse; they provide training in some really niche areas.

All of our online degree programs feature the same curricula and faculty as on-campus programs. We make it our mission to expand access to CSU's excellent academic programs and our accomplished faculty researchers and practitioners to students beyond our campus borders.

Q. What advice would you give students interested in an online degree program?

Make an effort to stay engaged, curious, and resourceful, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes studying online rather than in a classroom can feel isolating, but it doesn't have to be that way. There is a lot you can do as a student to make your learning experience richer:

Get comfortable with the technology. Before you start a course or program, give yourself time to play around with all of the features in your learning management system, or other online components of your course. The more technology you are able to use to communicate, the better your learning experience will be.

Ask questions. Faculty are there to help, and they want to hear your questions. If you don't understand subject matter, an assignment, or the technology used in your course, speak up!

Finally, get to know your classmates. Discussions are an important part of the learning process, so even if it's not required to use discussion boards, chat features, or peer reviews in your classes, do it anyway. Your peers all come from unique backgrounds and have interesting perspectives to share. You can learn as much from them sometimes as you can from your instructor.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

The lines between online and classroom learning will continue to become more seamless. As classroom programs continue to use more technology, much of what on-campus students do for their courses will be based online. We're seeing this now as more students and instructors adopt mobile technology. You don't have to be in the classroom all the time to engage in learning activities. Technology will also make the experiences of online students much more like a classroom experience. Video and audio technologies are allowing for more real-time communication in online courses, and open up communication channels between students and faculty. Regardless if students are online or on campus, they are all going to be working in the same shared digital spaces.

Top Cities For Students In Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Mean Wage

$52,110

Average Cost of a House

NA

# of Employed People

1.3 million

Total Population

2.6 million

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$51,932

Economics

The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield metropolitan area is home to 1.3 million workers. The average hourly wage for this area is $25.05 and the average annual income is $52,110.

Demographics

All told, there are nearly 2.6 million residents in the greater Denver area, and workers there provide more than half of the state's workforce. In the city of Denver proper, about 400,000 of the city's 600,000 residents are over the age of 25, and 16 percent of this group has a graduate or professional degree. One in four has a Bachelor's degree and one in five went to college without earning a diploma.

Fun Facts

In Denver, it seems, everything is close. The 16th Street Mall downtown offers a range of attractions, from shopping to dining to professional sports arenas, all within the reach of the area's free shuttle service. Denver also makes it easy for visitors to get outside - for a bike ride along the Cherry Creek bike path or for a quick urban whitewater kayak. Other popular attractions include the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Denver Art Museum.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Mean Wage

$45,410

Average Cost of a House

NA

# of Employed People

250,000

Total Population

450,000

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$45,495

Economics

Colorado Springs is home to nearly 250,000 workers, who earn an average hourly wage of $21.83, for an average annual salary of $45,410.

Demographics

Colorado Springs provides about 10 percent of the state's entire workforce, and among its 270,000 residents over the age of 25, 14 percent have a graduate or professional degree, and 22 percent hold a Bachelor's degree. More than 35 percent have attended some college or have earned an Associate's degree.

Fun Facts

Colorado Springs has all the great shopping, dining and cultural attractions you would expect from a city of nearly 450,000 residents, but what sets it apart is the surrounding natural beauty. Nestled at a high altitude near the base of Pike's Peak, Colorado Springs' natural attractions include the Garden of the Gods, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Seven Falls, the Manitou Incline and the Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

Fort Collins, Colorado

Mean Wage

$45,300

Average Cost of a House

NA

# of Employed People

136,810

Total Population

305,500

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$42,257

Economics

The 136,810 workers in the Fort Collins metropolitan area earn an average hourly wage of $21.78, for an average annual salary of $45,300.

Demographics

The Fort Collins metropolitan area provides about 6 percent of the state's entire workforce. It's not surprising, considering that Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University, that the population is so well-educated. Of the 83,000 residents in Fort Collins proper who are older than 25, one in five has a graduate or professional degree and one in three has a Bachelor's degree. Among those 18 to 24, two out of every three residents has attended some college or has earned an Associate's degree.

Fun Facts

Fort Collins is an outdoor lover's paradise. Nearby, there are opportunities for rock climbing, skiing, hiking, kayaking and mountain biking. When you're all worn out, you can hit the many breweries and wineries and enjoy the cultural attractions, including the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

 
Other Colorado Resources

  1. Adams State College, http://www.adams.edu
  2. Adams State College Notable Alumnihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adams_State_University#Notable_alumni
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2013/may/oes_co.htm
  4. Colorado Mesa University, http://www.coloradomesa.edu/distanceeducation/programs.html
  5. Colorado Mesa University Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_Mesa_University#Notable_alumni
  6. Colorado State University, http://www.online.colostate.edu/onlinedistance/graduate-programs-degrees.dot
  7. Colorado State University Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_State_University#Notable_alumni
  8. Julia Selby Smith, interview with the author June 2015
  9. Metropolitan State University Denver, http://www.msudenver.edu/
  10. Metropolitan State University Denver Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_State_University_of_Denver#Notable_alumni
  11. National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=CO&l=93&ct=1
  12. National American University, http://www.national.edu/
  13. Nazarene Bible College, http://www.nbc.edu/
  14. Peggy O'Neill-Jones, interview with the author June 2015
  15. U.S. Census Bureau: American Factfinder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF
  16. Things to do in Denver, http://www.denver.org/things-to-do/
  17. Things to do in Colorado Springs, http://www.visitcos.com/things-to-do-in-colorado-springs
  18. University of Colorado Colorado Springs, http://www.uccs.edu/online/degrees/doctoral-degree.html
  19. University of Colorado Colorado Springs Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Colorado_Colorado_Springs
  20. University of Colorado Denver, http://www.ucdenver.edu/
  21. University of Colorado Denver Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Colorado_Denver#Notable_alumni
  22. University of Northern Colorado, http://extended.unco.edu/search/locations/online.asp
  23. University of Northern Colorado Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Northern_Colorado#Notable_alumni