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18 Best Online Colleges In Colorado

 Online Degrees in Colorado: What to Know
1. Colorado’s Community Colleges Have an Online Catalog
Colorado Community Colleges (CCCOnline) is a website where brick-and-mortar community colleges in Colorado can promote their online courses and programs, including online associate degrees and certificates. CCCOnline’s catalog also includes a large selection of General Education (GE) and gateway courses that students can apply to degree or certification programs at their home community colleges.

Thinking of transferring your online associate degree credits to a 4-year university? CCCOnline has an up-to-date list of Guaranteed Transfer Courses that are part of Colorado’s guaranteed transfer (gt) program. You can double-check this course list against your school’s Institutional Transfer Guide.

2. The College Opportunity Fund (COF) Can Apply to Online Degrees
Funded by the State of Colorado, the College Opportunity Fund (COF) provides stipends to Colorado undergraduates (in-state residents only). These COF vouchers are applied to the student’s university bill.

You have to apply for and authorize the use of a COF voucher, but the good news is that you may be able to use it for distance learning programs! For example, CU has a complete list of its online undergraduate degrees that are COF eligible. Check with your individual school to see if your degree program qualifies.

3. How to Find Extension Studies/Continuing Education Programs
The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) has a section on its website devoted to Statewide Extended Studies. Here you’ll find a long list of regionally accredited Colorado universities that provide Extended Studies & Continuing Education courses and degree programs. Better yet, many of these courses are offered in distance education/online formats. Check out the FAQ for more info on enrolling, transferring credits, costs, etc.

4. Colorado State University Has a Global Campus for Adult Learners
In addition to offering online degrees through its flagship campus at Fort Collins, CSU has developed a regionally accredited global campus called CSU Global. This “degree completion” school offers 100% online degrees targeted at non-traditional adult learners, working professionals, and military. It also accepts outside credit options and helps students earn alternative credit through Competency Based Exams (CPEs) and Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs).

CSU Global isn’t your only choice. The trend for universities to open online campuses is happening across the nation. For example, the University of Arkansas System has a similar eVersity, which is geared toward adult learners who have some college credit (but no degree). Feel free to shop around.

5. Out-of-State? You Have Options
Colorado participates in a number of Reciprocity & Exchange Programs that allow out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition rates. Program partners include organizations like the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and schools like the Western Nebraska Community College. The CDHE even has an tuition reciprocity agreement with the New Mexico Higher Education Department—which is great news if you live in New Mexico and want to attend a Colorado school.

If you live in another state and are thinking of earning an online degree in Colorado, we always recommend that you check with your school to see if their distance learning degrees qualify for exchange programs. There are often a lot of requirements that students need to meet to be eligible for in-state tuition rates.

Affordable Online Schools in Colorado
These schools made both our “Top Online” and “Most Affordable” lists. That means they meet our criteria for quality, flexibility, price, and use of financial aid money. (You’ll see a CAG Score next to their profiles in our ranking.) When you’re comparing programs, we also recommend you check the school’s graduation rate and debt load on College Scorecard.

* Colorado State University – Fort Collins
CSU Online is your one-stop-shop for CSU online degrees, online certificates, and online courses (credit, non-credit & MOOCs). You can also search for programs by subject/topic of study. On top of all this, CSU has developed a series of career-focused Digital Badges, which are awarded every time you complete an online course. Colorado residency status is not a factor when it comes to Tuition & Fees, and online students may qualify for federal financial aid. Non-traditional students should check out the section on Scholarships & Fellowships. Tuition discounts are offered to military personnel in a College of Business or College of Engineering online degree program. Check out the FAQS section for more advice. Wondering about reputation? CSU does well in all U.S. News & World Report online rankings and it’s often in the top 25 of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Engineering and IT are two other strengths.

* University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
The first place to go is UCCSConnect. Here you can search for online programs and courses, and learn more about actual costs. The Cost of Attendance section explains your options, including payment plans, employer reimbursement, and military tuition assistance. The Office of Financial Aid has further information. In addition to developing conventional online degrees, UCCS has been exploring ways to increase its Academic Outreach. It has High School Programs where students can earn college credit; a Weekend University with hybrid courses; non-credit continuing education courses offered online through Ed2Go; and professional development programs. It’s also worth noting that UCCS receives respectable U.S. News & World Report’s online rankings.

* University of Colorado – Denver
If you’re considering CU, start with CU Online. It details each online program available through CU Denver and CU Anschulz, and it provides a list of COF-eligible undergraduate degrees. It also has a substantial Financial Aid section for online learners. Tuition rates are the same for campus and online courses. However, if you live outside of Colorado and take all of your courses online, you’ll be eligible for a discounted tuition rate (120% of the resident rate). Many of the traditional fees are waived for 100% online students. Before you decide, you can also check its U.S. News & World Report online program rankings. (CU tends to do well in the field of criminal justice.)

Online Schools in Colorado with Accreditation & Quality Concerns
You’ve found a college. You like their online degree options. It’s time to check accreditation. Wherever you decide to go, be sure your online university or college is fully accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Some distance learning institutions only have national accreditation. However, regional accreditation is considered the highest standard, and it’s very important if you’re thinking of transferring credits from school to school.

* TheHigher Learning Commission (HLC), which used to be called the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, issues regional accreditation to Colorado universities and community colleges.
* It’s easy to search for HLC-accredited institutions by state on the directory. You can read the “Public Disclosure Notice” to see if the school has been placed on notice, sanctioned, or put on probation.

You can do a similar check for regional or national accreditation status using the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Database. And we discuss some of Colorado’s online schools with accreditation issues below.

* Adams State University
ASU is regionally accredited. However, in 2016, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) put the school on Probation for two years, citing concerns related to the integrity and quality of the ASU’s online offerings. These concerns included a lack of interaction with online students and a very high student faculty ratio. ASU disputed the claims. College Scorecard also reports that the school has low graduation rates.

* Charis Bible College
Charis Bible College is a two-year ministry training college that does not appear in College Scorecard or the CHEA Database. It holds no recognized national or regional accreditations.

* Patriot Bible University
PBU is an online Bible correspondence college that only issues religious degrees. It does not appear in College Scorecard or the CHEA Database, and it holds no recognized national or regional accreditations.

* University of the Rockies
University of the Rockiesis regionally accredited by the HLC, but the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or registered with the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The University is run as a for-profit school by Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

* University of Phoenix (Lone Tree Campus)
University of Phoenix is a for-profit institution headquartered in Arizona. According to the CHEA Database, it is regionally accredited by the HLC. However, the school has been subject to a number of lawsuits regarding recruitment practices. College Scorecard reports that the Lone Tree campus has a low graduation rate and a low number of students who return after the first year.

Colorado Online Education Resources
Distance Learning Resources
Online Degree & Course Catalogs

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