Colorado State University College of Health and Human Sciences strike a post at graduation this past May.
Colorado State University College of Health and Human Sciences strike a post at graduation this past May.
Colorado State University Facebook page

CSU on Being Ranked the Best Four-Year College in Colorado

In a result that's sure to stir frustration and confusion among alumni from the University of Denver, the University of Colorado Boulder and plenty of other institutions across the state, a new analysis names Colorado State University the best four-year college in Colorado.

Based on past surveys, the university's grade in the new report from Schools.com qualifies as a surprise. Note that CSU finished sixth on a 2014 Forbes roster, scored fourth in a 2016 U.S. News & World Report study, and was judged third for value by SmartAsset that same year.

But CSU spokesman Mike Hooker doesn't seem caught off-guard.

"It’s always nice to be recognized," Hooker notes via email, adding, "We certainly agree that Colorado State University is one the best four-year colleges in Colorado — and we also know that the best measures of our quality are the experience our students have when they’re here and the success they find after they graduate from CSU."

At the same time, Hooker acknowledges the limitations of inquiries like this one, albeit in a way that allows him to tout other aspects of his university.

In his words, "The various rankings that are out there can’t fully capture CSU’s unique quality as a place where so many students find their passion, earn a degree and then head into the workforce with an employment rate 10 percent higher than the national average, with more than 90 percent of grads saying they’d choose CSU again."

Schools.com came to its conclusion via a system that assigned points to tuition rates, the average number of grants awarded, the percentage of students who qualify for financial aid and more. The complete methodology is included below following the list of the schools that landed in the top ten, with the CSU entry highlighted by text from the site about why it triumphed.

Count them down below

Colorado College.
Colorado College.
File photo

10. Colorado College

ADMISSION RATE: 16 percent
TEST REQUIREMENTS: Recommended
APPLICATION FEE: $60
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS: 0

Colorado Christian University.
Colorado Christian University.
File photo

9. Colorado Christian University

ADMISSION RATE: Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS: N/A
APPLICATION FEE: $30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS: 37

University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
File photo

8. University of Colorado Colorado Springs

ADMISSION RATE: 93 percent
TEST REQUIREMENTS: Required
APPLICATION FEE: $50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS: 25

University of Colorado Denver.
University of Colorado Denver.
File photo

7. University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

ADMISSION RATE: 61 percent
TEST REQUIREMENTS: Required
APPLICATION FEE: $50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS: 32

Colorado School of Mines.
Colorado School of Mines.
File photo

6. Colorado School of Mines

ADMISSION RATE: 40 percent
TEST REQUIREMENTS: Required
APPLICATION FEE: $45
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS: 0

University of Northern Colorado.
University of Northern Colorado.
File photo

5. University of Northern Colorado

ADMISSION RATE: 90 percent
TEST REQUIREMENTS: Required
APPLICATION FEE: $45
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS: 18

Regis University.
Regis University.
File photo

4. Regis University

ADMISSION RATE: 57 percent
TEST REQUIREMENTS: Required
APPLICATION FEE: $50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS: 77

University of Colorado Boulder.
University of Colorado Boulder.
File photo

3. University of Colorado Boulder

ADMISSION RATE: 77 percent
TEST REQUIREMENTS: Required
APPLICATION FEE: $50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS: 4

University of Denver.
University of Denver.
File photo

2. University of Denver

ADMISSION RATE: 53 percent
TEST REQUIREMENTS: Required
APPLICATION FEE: $65
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS: 19

Colorado State University.
Colorado State University.
File photo

1. Colorado State University, Fort Collins

ADMISSION RATE: 78 percent
TEST REQUIREMENTS: Required
APPLICATION FEE: $50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS: 43

"As the flagship campus of the Colorado State University System, this school says there is always something happening in Fort Collins. From athletics to extracurricular activities, the 30,000 students enrolled in CSU have plenty to keep them busy when they're not working on their degree programs.

"Colorado State University-Fort Collins was founded in 1870, and today offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees through its nine colleges. The accredited school also has one of the largest selection of fully online degrees in the state.

"As one of the best universities in Colorado, CSU not only attracts students from across the country but also retains them and helps them graduate on time. It notes its graduates are employed at a rate 10 percent higher than the national average."

Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,383 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the following data points and the weights specified. In order to be included in the ranking, schools had to report data for each of the following data points:

1. The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17

2. The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16

3. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16

4. Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2015-16

5. Three-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2015-16

6. No. of degree and certificate programs offered on campus, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16

7. No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16

8. Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2016

9. Full-time student retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2016

10. Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17

11. Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14

12. Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17:

a. Dual credit
b. Credit for life experience
c. Advanced Placement credit
d. Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
e. Remedial services
f.  Academic and career counseling
g. Job placement services for graduates
h. Guaranteed tuition plan
i.  Tuition payment plan
j. Any other alternative tuition plan

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