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Denver, Colorado (CO) Colleges and Universities

There are about 20 public and private non-profit colleges and universities within 15 miles of downtown Denver, Colorado (CO). Read about the schools with most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.

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Most Program Variety

Knowing the type of programs a college has to offer can play an important part in helping students choose which college they wish to attend. The following three Denver colleges are ranked highest in terms of program variety for all non-profit institutions in the region.

1 - University of Denver

Located in Denver, the University of Denver (UD) is a 4-year, private not-for-profit college that offers more than 170 undergraduate programs of study and more than 120 graduate and professional programs. UD offers short-term certificates, bachelor's and master's degrees, research/scholarship doctoral degrees, professional practice doctoral degrees and postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), UD awarded about 3,977 degrees and 126 certificates in 2011-2012.

In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked UD 83rd among the best national universities. UD also ranked No. 41 by Kiplinger's Personal Finance in the 'best value among private universities' category. UD's Daniels College of Business ranked high in several categories by U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal.

2 - University of Colorado - Denver

Ranking second in terms of program variety is the University of Colorado - Denver (CU Denver), which offers about 100 academic programs. CU Denver offers bachelor's and master's degrees, post-master's certificates, research/scholarship doctoral degrees and professional practice doctoral degrees, as well as online and hybrid courses. Students interested in research or professional medical programs can find many academic options available at CU Denver's Anschutz Medical Campus, which is located in Aurora, CO.

In the 2013 edition of 'America's Best Graduate Schools', U.S. News & World Report ranked several of CU Denver's programs, including its nursing master's degree program (15th), pediatric nurse practitioner program (5th) and physician assistant master's/doctorate programs (11th). The Princeton Review also ranked CU Denver in its 2007 editions of its 'America's Best Value Colleges' and 'Best Western Colleges - Best in the West' categories.

3 - Metropolitan State University of Denver

Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), with its main campus being the Auraria campus in downtown Denver, offers more than 70 academic programs, the third highest in the area. MSU Denver is a 4-year, public school that offers bachelor's and master's degree programs. The university also offers evening, weekend and online courses. For the 2011-2012 school year, MSU Denver awarded more than 3,000 degrees, according to the NCES. The most popular bachelor's degrees awarded were in biology/biological sciences, accounting, English language and literature, criminal justice/safety studies, registered nursing, behavioral science and general psychology. The most popular master's degrees were in general education and social work. MSU Denver also has campuses in Northglenn and Greenwood Village.

Lowest Net Prices

Knowing the cost of attending college can play an important role in choosing a college. The NCES determines a college's net cost by subtracting the amount of financial aid or assistance a student receives from the total cost of attending the college. Listed below are three Denver colleges that offer the lowest net prices as of 2010-2011.

1 - Metropolitan State University of Denver

Appearing again in the ranking is MSU Denver, which offers the lowest net cost at $8,250. In-state students paid estimated tuition and fees of $5,341 for 2012-2013, while out-of-state students paid about $17,022. According to a 2010-2011 NCES report, 44% of undergraduate students were recipients of grant or scholarship aid, with the average award amount being $4,656. The 51% of students who received federal student loans received an average amount of $7,107.

2 - Arapahoe Community College

Located about ten miles from Denver in Littleton, Arapahoe Community College had a 2010-2011 net price of $8,434, making them the second most affordable option for Denver students. According to the NCES, in-state students paid estimated tuition and fees of $2,898 for 2012-2013, while out-of-state students paid around $11,293. For the 2010-2011 school year, 51% of students received grant or scholarship aid and were awarded $4,742 on average. Additionally, 42% were recipients of federal student loans and these students received an average loan amount of $4,042, reported the NCES. Arapahoe Community College is a 2-year public school that offers certificate and associate degree programs.

3 - Community College of Denver

Community College of Denver ranks third in terms of offering low net prices to students, with a 2010-2011 net cost of $9,482. The estimated tuition and fees for in-state students was $2,962 for 2012-2013, while out-of-students paid about $11,263. According to the NCES, 46% of students received grant for scholarship aid in 2010-2011, with average amount received being $5,453. For that same year, 36% of students received federal student loans, and the average loan amount was $5,793. Community College of Denver, which has a student population of more than 13,000 students, offers certificate and associate degree programs.

Highest Graduation Rate

Prior to choosing a school, students may want to know about the college's success, which is often determined by its graduation rate. The rates reported by the NCES are based on full-time students who began their studies in 2005 or 2008 and completed their programs within 150% of 'normal time' (e.g. six years for a bachelor's degree or three years for an associate degree). The three schools listed below have the highest graduation rates among non-profit colleges in Denver.

1 - Emily Griffith Technical College

Emily Griffith Technical College, which is located in Denver, offers the highest graduation in the Denver area, with 88% of the students who began their studies in 2008-2009 completing their programs within 150% of the normal time required, according to the NCES. Of the first-time students who began their studies in 2010, 67% of full-time students and 60% of part-time students returned in 2011. Emily Griffith Technical College offers more than 40 certificate programs and 500 courses.

2 - University of Denver

Ranking second in terms of graduation rate is the University of Denver, which has a graduation rate of 78% for students who began in 2005. The 4-year graduation rate for students who began studying in 2005 was slightly less at 60%, according to the NCES. For students who began in 2010, UD had a retention rate of 89% for full-time and 80% for part-time students. UD has several resources to help students reach academic success, such as job fairs, internships, workshops and study-abroad opportunities. According to the Institute of International Education's 2012 Open Doors report, UD ranked sixth in the nation among doctoral-granting and research institutions for its number of undergrads studying abroad.

3 - Pickens Technical College

Pickens Technical College, which is located about 11 miles from Denver in Aurora, reported a graduation rate of 71% for students who began their studies in 2008. The graduation rate for students who started at the same time and completed their bachelor's degree programs within four years was slightly less at 65%, according to the NCES. Pickens Technical College, a public college that offers certificate programs, had a retention rate of 75% for full-time and 66% for part-time students who began their studies in 2010. The NCES also reported that Pickens Technical College awarded more than 1,000 certificates for the 2011-2012 school year.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Students are often interested in schools that offer small class sizes and low student-faculty ratios to ensure they get more attention and student-teacher interaction. Listed below are the three non-profit Denver schools that offer the lowest student-faculty ratios.

1 - University of Denver

The University of Denver offers class sizes of around 20 students according to the school's website, and it has the lowest student-faculty ratio in the Denver area. The NCES reported that UD had around 656 full-time and 628 part-time faculty members as of Fall 2011. According to the school's website, 90% of the full-time faculty members have the highest degrees in their field. While the NCES reported that the overall student-faculty ratio was 12:1, the school website states that undergraduate students experience a student-faculty ratio of 9:1.

2 - Colorado Christian University

Located about six miles from downtown Denver in Lakewood, Colorado Christian University had a faculty totaling 61 full-time and 311 part-time members as of Fall 2011, according to the NCES. The NCES also reported that the college offers a student-faculty ratio of 13:1. Colorado Christian University is a 4-year, private not-for-profit school that offers certificates; associate, bachelor's and master's degrees; and postbaccalaureate certificates.

2 - Emily Griffith Technical College

Emily Griffith Technical College offers a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, putting it in a tie for offering the second lowest ratio among traditional colleges in Denver. According to the NCES, the college had around 44 full-time and 192 part-time faculty members in Fall 2011.

Denver Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
Arapahoe Community College Littleton, CO (9.5 miles from Denver) 2-year, public <1-year and 1- to <2-year certificates; associate degrees 2nd Lowest Net Price
Colorado Christian University Lakewood, CO (5.6 miles from Denver) 4-year, private not-for-profit <1-year and 1- to <2-year certificates; associate, bachelor's and master's degrees; postbaccalaureate certificates 2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Community College of Denver Denver, CO 2-year, public <1-year and 1- to <2-year certificates; associate degrees 3rd Lowest Net Price
Emily Griffith Technical College Denver, CO < 2-year, public <1-year and 1- to <2-year certificates Highest Graduation Rate
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Metropolitan State University of Denver Denver, CO 4-year, public Bachelor's and master's degrees Lowest Net Price
3rd Most Program Variety
Pickens Technical College Aurora, CO (10.9 miles from Denver) <2-year, public <1-year and 1- to <2-year certificates 3rd Highest Graduation Rate
University of Colorado Denver Denver, CO 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-master's certificates 2nd Most Program Variety
University of Denver Denver, CO 4-year, private not-for-profit <1-year certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates Most Program Variety
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
2nd Highest Graduation Rate
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