Colorado’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Colorado.

Colorado’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Colorado

Fans of the outdoors will feel right at home in Colorado. With the Rocky Mountains, Colorado River, and even part of the Great Plains, you’re sure to find adventure in The Centennial State. Students looking to balance outdoor adventure with higher education can choose from over 40 colleges and universities offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees for an average in-state tuition of $10,800.

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Colorado’s 28 public institutes include junior colleges, universities, the United States Air Force Academy, and the Colorado School of Mines, a research university that specializes in science, technology, engineering, and math. Tuition for Colorado’s public schools ranges from $3,000 to $19,000, with many of the colleges and junior colleges starting at $4,000 and the universities at $8,000. With smaller class sizes and student populations, Colorado’s private institutions, which includes five religiously affiliated campuses, tend to be more expensive, ranging from $4,000 to $55,000 in tuition. The University of Colorado, Boulder, a notable research institute, is ranked as the number one school in the state and has a student population of just over 32,000. Students can earn degrees in computer science and physics and, once graduated, can share alumni status with influential people, such as Steve Wozniak and Robert Redford. Prospective art students can check out Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, and those desiring a career in the medical field can look into the Institute of Business and Medical Careers.

To learn more, check out the best degree programs and top career opportunities offered in Colorado.


What are Colorado’s Colleges & Universities?

Colorado’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 7 private universities in Colorado; 4 that satisfy the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a private, non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate greater than 40%.

How do we determine Colorado's best private colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Colorado’s Best Private Colleges & Universities

  1. #1

    Colorado College

    #674 institution's historical influence
    #68 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    2K

    Colorado Springs, CO

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    What is Colorado College known for?

    Colorado College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Literature
    • Sociology
  2. #2

    University of Denver

    #296 institution's historical influence
    #279 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1260/28

    Denver, CO

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    What is University of Denver known for?

    University of Denver’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • History
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

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  3. #3

    Regis University

    #1838 institution's historical influence
    #491 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/24

    Denver, CO

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    What is Regis University known for?

    Regis University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Religious Studies
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  4. #4

    Colorado Christian University

    #3913 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    6K

    Lakewood, CO

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    What is Colorado Christian University known for?

    Colorado Christian University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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Photo By Jeffrey Beall - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0