Top Colorado Online Colleges

Explore the benefits and characteristics of online programs in Colorado and discover the top 10 schools that offer a variety of programs completely online.

Best Colleges in Colorado with Online Programs

When you're determining the best colleges in Colorado with online programs, you should consider factors such as cost, accreditation, admissions requirements and flexibility.

1. Regis University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Denver $36,810 99%

Regis University is a Jesuit, Catholic university that was founded in 1877 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate online program tuition ranges from $450 to $850 per credit hour while graduate tuition ranges from $515 to $1,030 per credit hour. The school offers more than 90 programs online, including degrees and certificates at graduate and undergraduate levels. Students can pursue a variety of programs including those in education, business management, leadership, nursing, marketing and data science.

2. Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Fort Collins $11,707 80%

Colorado State University's main campus in Fort Collins is a leader in sustainability, inclusion and student services. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has over 30,000 students. Students can pursue a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees completely online, including those in management, agricultural business, business administration and psychology. Online undergraduate students have a tuition rate of $476 per credit hour while graduate students have a tuition rate of $580 to $1,085 per credit hour, depending on their program.

3. Colorado State University-Global Campus

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Aurora $8,400 N/A

Colorado State University's Global Campus is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers more than 40 programs 100% online. The nonprofit school has some of the most affordable tuition in Colorado, with undergraduate students paying $350 per credit hour and graduate students paying $500 per credit hour. Undergraduate students can choose from over a dozen programs, including business management, human resources, computer science and marketing. Online graduate programs include project management, organizational leadership, teaching and learning, finance, and more.

4. Colorado Christian University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Lakewood $31,866 99%

Colorado Christian University was founded in 1895 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school promotes truth, spirituality and character of students in their communities and workplaces. Colorado Christian offers many of its programs completely online, including certificates and degrees from the associate's to doctoral levels. Most undergraduate students have a tuition rate of $469 per credit hour while graduate tuition varies by program but can cost around $580 per credit.

5. University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Colorado Springs $8,523 84%

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was founded in 1974 but has been providing educational services, programs and courses since the 1920s. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers more than 20 programs online. Tuition varies by program but can cost around $390 for undergraduate students and $630 for graduate students (per credit hour). Undergraduate students can choose from 7 online degree programs, including business and sociology, and graduate students can select from 13 master's degree programs, such as education and business.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 University of Northern Colorado Greeley $9,918 93%
7 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Aurora $9,283 76%
8 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder $12,532 64%
9 Adams State University Alamosa $9,440 95%
10 Pikes Peak Community College Colorado Springs $3,840 71%

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents the 2018-2019 undergraduate school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Why Choose an Online Program from a Colorado School

There are several reasons to choose a Colorado school for your online college program, some of which are discussed below. All data in this section, unless otherwise noted, is provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Cost

Colorado is one of the more affordable states for college students. In 2018, the average tuition and fees for in-state public university students were $9,540 and the average for students at private schools were $22,873.

Established Online Offerings

In the fall of 2012 12.5% of all students in the U.S. were enrolled in completely online programs and 13.3% of students were enrolled in partially online programs. At that time, Colorado was already leading in distance programs with 19.4% of all students pursuing programs entirely online. Four years later, 43.1% of all students across the U.S. were enrolled in some online courses, with 10.8% completing their degrees entirely online.

Graduation

According to the United States Department of Education, Colorado boasts a 60-63% graduation rate for all college students as of 2020, which is above the national average of 58-60%. Attending a school within the state might mean a better chance of success and preparation for your future career.

Employment

As of 2018, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 25- to 64-year-olds with a high school diploma or GED have an employment rate of 69%. Individuals with some college experience have an employment rate of 75% but those with a bachelor's degree or higher are at 83.8%. Earning a degree significantly increases your career opportunities.

Earnings

In addition to increasing your employment options, earning a college degree online can also lead to higher wages. 25 to 34-year-olds with a high school diploma or GED had a mean annual salary of $31,990 in 2017 (nationwide). Those with some college had a mean salary of $35,000 but those who held a bachelor's degree or higher had a mean salary of $54,990.

Choosing the Right Colorado College for an Online Program

There are several factors that you should consider and compare when choosing a school in Colorado for your online program.

Type of School

The type of school that you attend can play a role in your online program experience. The three main types of schools are private, public and community colleges.

  • Private - Private schools are usually smaller, which often enables students to have a more custom, intimate experience (such as smaller class sizes and faster faculty responses). Because private schools don't receive public funds, they are generally more expensive.
  • Public - Public schools receive public funds, which usually means they are less expensive and have more resources available to students. In addition, public schools are often larger and may have less faculty compared to students.
  • Community Colleges - Community colleges offer certificate, diploma and associate's degree programs. They are usually much cheaper than 4-year universities. Many students obtain some credits or an associate's degree from a community college and then transfer to a 4-year school to complete the rest of a bachelor's degree.

Accreditation

Accreditation is extremely important for most students of online programs in Colorado. Depending on your program and career interests, accreditation of your school and program may be mandatory. Read more on accreditation in the section below.

Programs Offered

The most important consideration in selecting a Colorado school is what programs they offer. Whether you have one specific program in mind or are open to a few options, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those programs online. For example, a school may offer an education program online only to experienced teachers and on-campus to all other students.

Flexibility

It's important to analyze your time restrictions when choosing a school and program and discuss your concerns with your admissions counselors. While many schools in Colorado allow online students to study at their pace, some schools offer programs specifically as part-time or full-time, sometimes offering classes in a particular order.

Faculty

Most colleges in Colorado employ experienced faculty for their online programs and courses, but you should still review faculty information for your program. In addition, ask your admissions counselors about student inquiries. Some faculty may respond to students within the day while other faculty may respond after several days. Consider how faculty response time can affect your success in the program. For example, if you have a question while you're logged into an exam, an expeditious answer can be a huge help.

Residency Requirements

With most online programs Colorado, you'll be able to complete your curriculum requirements without ever driving to campus or another site. However, some programs (such as nursing) require on-site components, and some schools require students to come to campus one or more times for networking and learning experiences.

Cost

Cost varies significantly for these Colorado programs, but should still be compared and considered when you are selecting your school. You should also keep in mind that most Colorado online programs are eligible for various types of financial aid.

Transfer Credits

Many schools in Colorado allow students to transfer credits into their online program that they have earned previously, and some schools let students waive courses based on their life and work experiences. Ask each of your candidate schools about these options, as they can save you significant time and money.

Why Accreditation Matters for Online Programs in Colorado

Depending on your career interests and student funding, you may need to ensure that both your school and program are accredited.

Institutional Accreditation

Institutional accreditation is mandatory for qualifying for most types of financial aid and can mean that you'll have a better experience with your chosen institution. Schools can be accredited by either a regional or national accrediting organization. Colorado colleges with regional accreditation are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and those with national accreditation can be accredited by one of several organizations.

National or Regional?

While both types of institutional accreditation indicate that a school has met quality criteria for accreditation, regional accreditation is better for most students. Regional accreditation generally requires schools to meet higher quality standards than national accreditation. In addition, credits earned at a regionally accredited school can usually transfer to any type of accredited school, whereas credits earned at a nationally accredited school can only transfer to other nationally accredited schools.

Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation is separate accreditation that applies to certain programs, but not all programs have their own accreditations. Programmatic accreditation can be preferred or required for certain careers, such as nursing and teaching. You should review the requirements for your career interests to see if you'll need to graduate from an accredited program.

How Much Do Online Programs Cost in Colorado?

The cost of an online program in Colorado varies based on factors such as degree level, school, program and prior education. The table below shows an example of program costs based on these aspects.

Program Credits Needed Prior Education Transfer Credits Credits to Complete Tuition Cost Per Credit Total Tuition Estimated Fees Total Program Cost
Associate's Degree 60 High school diploma/GED 0 60 $300 $18,000 $1,000 to $5,000 $19,000 to $23,000
Bachelor's Degree 120 High school diploma/GED 0 120 $300 $36,000 $1,000 to $5,000 $37,000 to $41,000
Bachelor's Degree 120 Associate's degree 60 60 $300 $18,000 $1,000 to $5,000 $19,000 to $23,000
Master's Degree 40 Bachelor's degree 0 40 $650 $26,000 $1,000 to $5,000 $27,000 to $31,000
Doctoral Degree 60 Master's degree 0 60 $650 $39,000 $1,000 to $5,000 $40,000 to $44,000

Cost Breakdown

Tuition is the largest part of online program costs and is typically charged per credit hour. Online students usually have some other direct fees such as technology fees and course materials fees, which might be charged by course, credit hour or semester. Online students also have indirect costs for their programs, which include regular internet access and other needed materials (such as computers and access to certain programs).

Cost Savings

The costs of online programs are usually cheaper than the cost of on-campus programs. In addition, many schools have a standard online tuition rate for students, regardless of their state of residency. On-campus programs often have an increased tuition rate for out-of-state students; for example, an in-state student may have a rate of $300 per credit while an out-of-state student in the same program has a rate of $550 per credit hour.

In addition to the tuition discount available for most online programs, students usually have less direct fees than they would if they were enrolled in on-campus programs. Online programs might have a few fees (such as distance learning fees) but on-campus programs often have several additional fees (such as recreational fees and facilities fees).

Flat-Rate Fees

Although many schools charge tuition and other fees separately by credit hour, course or semester, some schools offer flat-rate fees to students. Flat-rate fees can be structured in a few different ways, some of which are listed below.

  • Full-Time Flat Rate - Full-time flat rates may apply to different course loads, such as 12 or more credit hours or 12 to 18 credit hours. These flat rates allow students who study full-time to save on their overall program costs by taking more courses at a time.
  • Comprehensive Flat-Rate - Some schools include all fees and tuition in one flat rate, which can be charged different ways. Students may have a flat rate for a semester, regardless of their course load, or they may have a flat rate per credit hour. This structure helps to take the guessing out of estimating costs because they're all bundled into one rate.

Transfer Credits

Students who have any prior college coursework can often transfer their courses into their online programs. Whether students transfer 3 credits or 60 credits, they decrease their required curriculum length as well as the total cost of their programs.

Credit for Experience

Many schools allow students to earn credits for their program based on professional and life experiences. Depending on the school, students may be able to earn credits by compiling a professional portfolio or taking a knowledge assessment applicable to their course they are applying to waive. An example of credit for experience is someone who has worked in a nursing role (such as an RN) for a qualifying number of years applying to waive basic nursing courses required for their online program.

Financial Aid for Online Programs in Colorado

There are several types of financial aid available to online students of Colorado colleges, including loans, work-study and scholarships. Students interested in financial aid should first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA can be completed for free online and shows students some of the aid that they can qualify for.

Work-Study

Work-study programs allow students to earn funds for their online programs by working while they complete their program. Work-study involves part-time employment and is available through many employers and colleges.

Scholarships

Students can find scholarships through their schools, organizations and online. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor's Career One Stop website has a scholarship search tool that allows students to search by degree level, location and interest.

  • Celebrate the West High School Art Competition - Available to students in and around Colorado, this scholarship awards $1,200 to the winner of a regional high school art competition.
  • Cheryl D. Conkling Memorial Scholarship - A total of $12,000 is available to students who have hearing or other physical challenges who demonstrate academic persistence.
  • Greenhouse Scholars Program - Up to $5,000 per year is awarded to qualifying students with a GPA of at least 3.5 who are graduating from high school in Colorado or another eligible state.
  • Partner Colorado Foundation Scholarships - Colorado residents who are between 17 and 40 years old can qualify to earn one of several scholarships (amounts vary).
  • NIADA Foundation Regional Scholarships - Students from eligible regions who demonstrate academic excellence can qualify to receive this $3,500 scholarship.

Student Loans

Student loans are available through both private and government lenders. Students should first seek out government loans because they are income-based, have nationally set interest rates and offer flexible payment plans.

Loan Repayment and Forgiveness

Many employers offer loan repayment to new and existing employees as part of compensation packages and incentives. In addition, the federal government forgives part or all of student loans for graduates who work in qualifying positions for around 10 years.

Careers for Graduates of Online Programs in Colorado

Graduates of online programs in Colorado are equally as qualified to pursue a multitude of careers as graduates of on-campus programs. The careers available to graduates are significantly affected by the program they graduated from, although some programs prepare students for several careers. Some of the fastest-growing careers available to graduates of online programs in Colorado are listed in the table below along with their relevant salaries and estimated national growth.

Job Title Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028, national) Education Needed Mean Salary (2018, Colorado)
Information Security Analysts 31.6% Bachelor's degree $102,820
Statisticians 30.7% Master's degree $84,380
Nurse Practitioners 28.2% Master's degree $111,210
Mathematicians 26% Master's degree $122,840
Software Developers, Applications 25.6% Bachelor's degree $106,730
Operations Research Analysts 25.6% Bachelor's degree $90,270
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary 23.2% Doctoral/professional degree $144,880
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors 22.5% Bachelor's degree $48,490
Marriage and Family Therapists 22.3% Master's degree $74,900

All salary and income data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Central Christian College of Kansas

    Central Christian College of Kansas responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Central Christian College of Kansas:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
      • DBA in Management
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
      • BS in Business Administration
      • BS in Accounting

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. Next »