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Colorado School of Mines tops DU, CU in Best Colleges survey -- and AFA is liberal arts?

U.S. News & World Report has released its annual list of the best colleges in the country -- but finding Colorado institutions will take a while if you start from the top. None appear in the top fifty, and of the three that appear in the top 100, Colorado School of Mines tops the University of Denver and CU-Boulder. Moreover, the Air Force Academy has been reclassified as a liberal arts college -- really.

As usual, private schools dominate the rankings, with only three public institutions -- the University of California-Berkeley, the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of Virginia -- finishing in the top 25.

As for Colorado institutions, Mines finished in a tie for 75th place, while DU is deadlocked for 82nd and CU is among several schools listed in 94th place. As for the Air Force Academy, it was reclassified as a liberal arts college -- "liberal" not meant in the political sense -- and came in 33rd among the top liberal arts colleges.

Look below and page down to see excerpts on each of these four schools.

75. Colorado School of Mines

"Colorado School of Mines is a public institution that was founded in 1874. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 3,795, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 491 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Colorado School of Mines's ranking in the 2012 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 75. Its in-state tuition and fees are $14,454 (2011-12); out-of-state tuition and fees are $29,139 (2011-12)."

82. University of Denver

"University of Denver is a private institution that was founded in 1864. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,455, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 125 acres. It utilizes a quarter-based academic calendar. University of Denver's ranking in the 2012 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 82. Its tuition and fees are $37,833 (2011-12)."

94. University of Colorado at Boulder

"University of Colorado--Boulder is a public institution that was founded in 1876. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 26,433, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 600 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. University of Colorado--Boulder's ranking in the 2012 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 94. Its in-state tuition and fees are $9,152 (2011-12); out-of-state tuition and fees are $29,480 (2011-12)."

33 (Liberal Arts Colleges): Air Force Academy

"United States Air Force Academy is a public institution that was founded in 1954. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,619, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 18,500 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. United States Air Force Academy's ranking in the 2012 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, 33. Its in-state tuition and fees are $0 (2010-11); out-of-state tuition and fees are $0 (2010-11)."

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