What Does It Cost to Go to College in Colorado?

Posted by Jennifer Verta on Jun 2, 2016 3:45:43 PM


The value of a degree can be well, invaluable. As can be knowing what exactly that value is.  There is nothing like having the right fuel to propel you forward when things get difficult. 

From pursuing knowledge and self growth to the networking and the unique people you'll meet, there are many valuable reasons to obtain that degree.

According to the New York Times, “Is College Worth It? Clearly, New Data Say,” a college degree is – clearly – worth the time and money you invest. 

 So, we know about the value of college, what about the costs?

Colorado College Comparison

If you're thinking about going to college in Colorado, below are some of the typical expenses, broken down by five of Colorado’s best schools:

And if you are a little hazy on how to choose the best one, this handy article on How to Choose the Best College in Colorado will point you in the right direction.



Below are the tuition and fees estimates for an undergraduate resident or out-of-state student who takes 12 credits per semester for Fall and Spring.

These estimates also represent a nine-month school year and don’t include fees associated with extras like summer sessions.

On top of all that, I will also provide the cost differences when the College Opportunity Fund(COF) when it is applied to semester costs. COF is a handy stipend that was created by colorado legislature to aid eligible students in college costs.

(You must be an undergraduate, in-state student in order to apply.)

For public schools the COF removes 75 dollars per credit hour. For private schools that amount is 38. If you want to find out about your COF eligibility or any other FAQs, you have come to the right place!

**These also represent a snapshot in time. Please visit your Bursar's Office for the most accurate and up-to-date numbers**





Colorado Residents:

Before COF Assistance:

  • Fees = $1,706.44/yr
  • Tuition = $7,872/yr
  • Total = $9,578.44/yr

Total After COF Assistance 

  • $7,778.44

Out-of-state Students:

Western States involved in Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE):

  • Fees = $1706.44
  • Tuition = $11,910/yr.
  • Total = $13,666.44/yr
All other states:
  • Fees = $1706.44
  • Tuition = $17,118/yr.
  • Total (Eastern) = $18,824.44


International Students:

International students are charged the same as out-of-state, but with an additional $50 international fee, making the total: $18,874.44/yr. 

CU Boulder



Colorado Residents: 

(Averaged Cost)

  • Fees = $1,764 /yr
  • Tuition = $13,980 /yr
  • Total = $15,744 /yr

The tuition prices listed are the average figured without COF assistance.

The actual numbers range from a minimum amount per year of $11,568 and can go up to $16,392 per year, depending on what school or college you enter and what courses you take.

Tuition After COF, the minimum and maximum ranges change to $9,768 and go up to $14,592.

Out-of State Students:

(Averaged Cost)

  • Fees = $1,764/yr
  • Tuition = $34,864/yr
  • Total = $36,628/yr


International Students:

(Averaged Cost)

  • Fees = $1,844/yr
  • Tuition = $36,496/yr
  • Total = $38,340/yr

CU Denver


Colorado Residents:

Before COF:


  • Fees = $1,928/yr
  • Tuition = $9,072/yr
  • Total = $11,000/yr
  • Fees = $1,928/yr
  • Tuition = $9,336/yr
  • Total = $11,264/yr

Total After COF assistance: 


  • $9,200/yr


  • $9,464/yr

Out of State Students:

  • Fees = $1,868/yr
  • Tuition = $22,416/yr
  • Total = $24,284/yr

Online Only Students:

For out-of-state students who take all online courses, tuition for freshman-sophomore levels is $10,896, and fees are $334.32 making the grand total approximately: $11,230.32.

For Junior-Seniors, tuition per year is about $11,208 with same fees, total will be $11,542.32.

If you want to find out more about CU Denver's rules for being considered a resident for tuition purposes, check out this HOW TO ESTABLISH COLORADO DOMICILE PDF.

You can also:

Take this free quiz to see if online learning is right for you!


International Students:

  • Fee = $2,130/yr
  • Tuition =  $28,020/yr
  • Total = $30,150/yr




Colorado Resident:

(Full time students take a hefty 15 credits per semester, so this cost is based on that information.)

Before COF assistance:

  • Fees = $2,334.50/yr
  • Tuition = $10,966/yr
  • Total = $13,300.50

Total after COF assistance:

  • $11,050.50

Non-resident Students

Western States involved in Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE):

  • Fees = $2,336.28/yr
  • Tuition = $16,449/yr
  • Total = $18,785.28/yr

All other states:

  • Fees = $2,336.28/yr
  • Tuition = $26,010/yr
  • Total = $28,346.28/yr


International Students:

Charged same as out of state students. 




Colorado Resident:

Before COF Assistance:

  • Fees = $2,096/yr
  • Tuition = $11,952/yr
  • Total = $14,048/yr

Total After COF Assistance:

  • $12,248/yr


Out of State Students:

Western States involved in Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE):

  • Fees = $2,096/yr
  • Tuition = $25,070yr
  • Total = $27,166/yr

All other states:

  • Fees = $2,096/yr
  • Tuition = $34,778/yr
  • Total = $36,874/yr


International Students:

Charged same as out of state students. 




Where you choose to live while you go to school is a very personal decision. It has to be based on economics, of course, since you need to decide how much you can afford to spend on housing. But, you will also need to decide what kind of housing works best for you.

  • Can you live in a busy, crowded, shared apartment, for instance?
  • Or do you need solitude to study at peak performance?

Keep in mind, too, that community is a big part of the college experience.

Living on-campus and being involved with campus activities is a great way to grow as a person, interacting with people who have different ideas and life styles.

On-campus living can also have some unexpected perks. UNC, for example, has a “pet friendly community” for students who just can’t stand to part with their four-legged friends. 

Here are some of the housing prices you can expect from colleges in Colorado:


Housing – combined with meal plans – start at $4,020 per semester and go up to $6,251.

The cost of living in a university apartment ranges from $1,745 per semester for a shared apartment to $3,750 if you want the place all to yourself.

CU Boulder

Housing and food costs can range from $13,194 for students living on campus, to $11,168 for students living off campus.

CU Denver

Campus Village:

Students can live at the “Campus Village” for per/person installments of $1,085 for a furnished, single person studio apartment, or $599 for a shared apartment with four beds and two private bathrooms. 

Auraria Student Lofts:

With the 17th-30th floor and above reserved strictly for students, the prices at these lofts are around $700-$1,000 depending on what type of floor plan you get.

Both of these housing units accept students from other colorado schools as well.


CSU lists the average cost of on-campus housing and meals as $11,862, while off-campus housing and meals would come to a cost-saving $9,694


At UCCS, on-campus housing costs an average of $11,440 yearly.  




Meal plans at most universities vary widely. They are based on how many meals per day or week the student plans to eat at campus food outlets.

Some schools offer fast food, sit-down dining and even brown bag lunches that can be ordered ahead of time for easy pick up.

Some schools even require freshmen to choose a meal plan, whether they like it or not, presumably so they won’t starve during their hectic first year away from home.

Here is how some of our sample schools stack up against each other in the food department:


At UNC, you can expect to pay an average of $3,000 for all meals, though this can vary greatly based on which meal plan you choose.

CU Boulder

Boulder has an array of meal plans available for its students. The prices for entire semester plans can range from $772 a year to $1,586.

CU Denver 

CU Denver offers meal plans that range from $890 a year all the way up to $3,790.

UCCS has meal plans that range from a modest $390 per year up to $1,210.


Meal plans at CSU will range from $712 to $1,426 yearly.


Meal plans at UCCS range from $378 to $1,198 per year.




The cost of books and supplies, like the cost of keeping yourself fed, also varies. Some people, after all, are naturally thrifty and can make their supplies last a long time. Others will use those same supplies more freely.

The average cost of books can vary widely, as well, with some books only costing a few dollars and others carrying a hefty price tag clear into the hundreds.

With that in mind, consider these figures: When I observed the price of books and supplies between all of the schools, the average cost of books and supplies for the year was around $1,300.  

CSU also adds $900 to student budgets for transportation expenses, and $1,360 for incidentals like healthcare and clothing. 



Your own personal total yearly expenses while attending college in Colorado can vary greatly.

They can change based on where you choose to live, what program you enroll in, whether you’re taking online courses, how many credits you take, whether or not you have lab fees, whether you’re an in-state student or an out-of-state student, and what kind of housing you choose.


Now What?

None of these numbers are 100% (and may be out-of-date as soon as this post is published), but they will help you get a better idea of what the cost of college will be for you, and enable you to assess the type of financial aid that you are going to need.

I wish I had known all of these juicy little tidbits before entering college myself!

Especially about the College Opportunity fund!

If you want to know about more ways to help pay for college, I know of a very helpful post titled: "5 Ways to Get Scholarships To Pay For Your College Success" that will get you started in the right direction.

Hope you enjoyed reading, and until next time!   

-Jen out!



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