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Colorado: Diversity and Responsibility in Higher Education
Colorado has a big footprint––it is the 8th most expansive state in the nation––and for that reason, attending college for many residents is more than just going to the local college next door. Historically Colorado shifted from a mining state to one of agriculture in the mid-nineteenth century. Some of this early industry is still seen in the state’s production of cattle, hay, corn, and dairy products. Besides its roots in agriculture though, Colorado, Denver in particular, has been recognized for its substantial contributions to business. It is the responsibility of the institution of higher education in Colorado to bridge the gap between business and agriculture in order to grow economically statewide.
Today Colorado is a diverse state of primarily white and Hispanic ethnicity, but over 13,000 years the region that we now call Colorado was inhabited by Native Americans. In fact, archeologists have discovered artifacts dating from as early as 11200 BC to 3000 BC. More so in recent years, higher education institutions are recognizing the need to serve these diverse populations. Fort Lewis College, for example, in Durango, Colorado offers free tuition to qualifying Native Americans, though students are still responsible for some fees such as books or room and board expenses.
Higher Education in Colorado
The National Center for Education Statistics lists 117 degree-granting schools, colleges, and universities in Colorado. Many of the schools participate in the Colorado Rises: Advancing Education and Talent Development program, which is an urgent call to action by the Colorado Department of Education. The goal is to meet state workforce needs through four strategic states that promise by the year 2025, 66% of the state’s adult population will have obtained postsecondary degrees or certificates. These degrees can come from Public Universities in Colorado, Private Colleges in Colorado or even one of the state’s many Community Colleges in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins or other key Higher Education cities.
Higher Education in Colorado is additionally focused on producing high ROIs for students across the board as seen in the Launch My Career Program through the Colorado Department of Education. The program uses a comprehensive tool to help potential and returning traditional and non-traditional students find the degree program that is right for them and their goals. Popular jobs and program as reported by the Launch My Career Program in Colorado include degrees in areas such as Accountants and Auditors, Software Developers, Civil Engineers, and Management Analysts.
Colorado’s Online Degree Programs
Because of the sprawling landscape, attending college online in Colorado is an ever-increasing desirable option for students who do not wish to attend college in a traditional manner. Many of the most prestigious colleges and universities in Colorado offer degree programs fully or partially online. For example, the University of Colorado in Denver is a leader in research education offering over 20 degree programs fully online.
Paying for College in Colorado
Continuing a commitment to the Native people of the region of Colorado, there are a number of tuition reimbursement, grants, and scholarships available for those populations in Colorado, many of which can be found via the Fort Lewis Native American Scholarship and Internship Resources office. Additionally, the state makes efforts to ensure attending college is an attainable goal financially for as many residents as possible. College in Colorado is a great resource for residents to discover what financial resources are available to help pay for college. For example, Denver Financial Scholarships offers a huge variety of scholarships for high schools students planning to attend college, but also for college attendees and even teachers wishing to advance their educations and careers.
For students wishing to attend a 2-year college or technical school before transferring to a 4-year institution may choose from over 15 institutions across the state. Attending a 2-year college is a great way for residents to get their core curriculum completed at a lower cost before transferring into their major areas of study. According to the Colorado Department of Education, the average tuition and fees for a Colorado resident comes to about $3,700 per year while 4-year institutions tuition and fees range between $5,000 and $14,000 annually.