Best Colleges in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is situated south of Denver, CO, and is the largest city in Colorado in terms of land area. It is also home to 24 national sports governing bodies, including the United States Olympic Committee, USA Hockey, and the United States Olympic Training Center. The city consistently receives accolades for being a desirable place to live and friendly to businesses. On top of that, sitting at the southern Rocky Mountains makes it a fantastic choice for outdoor enthusiasts who are looking to attend college.

The state of Colorado encourages college attendance at colleges in the state, including those in Colorado Springs, with its Pathway Program ( The goal of this program is to make entering college, re-entering college, and transferring credits to and between colleges an easier process. The program will even let those who don’t have any college experience take tests to see if their experiences have given them enough knowledge to test out of and receive credit for some college courses. 

Some colleges in Colorado Springs also participate in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s program called the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE, The goal of this program is to help nonresident students graduate with little to no debt. It offers nonresident tuition rates to students in 16 western states, including Colorado.

Programs like those prove Colorado’s commitment to making sure people can continue their educational goals in places such as Colorado Springs. If you want to continue your own educational goals in a beautiful, business-oriented place, Colorado Springs should definitely be in the running for where you are searching for your best college options.


EDsmart assesses colleges in Colorado Springs based on data that covers four main areas:

  • Cost (average net price)
  • Academic quality (graduation rate)
  • Student satisfaction (retention rate)
  • Salary After Attending (the median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, at 10 years after entering the school)

All data was gathered from the U.S. Department of Education websites College Scorecard and College Navigator.

This ranking aims to help students assess the affordability and value of colleges and universities in Minnesota so they can make informed decisions about which college to attend.

Best Colleges in Colorado Springs

1. TONI&GUY Hairdressing Academy

Score: 100.0

Average Net Price: $18,058
Retention Rate: 98%
Graduation Rate: 95%
Salary After Attending: $17,900

TONI&GUY Hairdressing Academy opened their Colorado Springs location in 1993. This school features a team of highly trained staff and instructors who work one-on-one with their students to deliver high-quality education in an 18,000 sq ft facility, which includes both classrooms and clinic floor space. TONI&GUY is one of the leading hair schools in the industry.

Available programs include cosmetology, barbering, esthetician, advanced education, and an instructor program. The cosmetology program curriculum covers classic hairdressing and coloring techniques while providing an overall fundamental education in cosmetology practices ranging from product expertise, makeup, skincare, and salon professional development. The school’s advanced courses serve as continuing education for licensed hairdressers.

TONY&GUY has won numerous awards, including Superbrand and CoolBrand awards, 67 British Hairdressing awards, and 113 product awards. The TONY&GUY team comprises some of the best hairdressers in the industry, who have also won their own individual awards, and show their work at Fashion Weeks around the world.

2. Colorado College

Score: 99.8

Average Net Price: $25,041
Retention Rate: 95%
Graduation Rate: 88%
Salary After Attending: $42,800

Colorado College is one of the best colleges in Colorado Springs and is well known for its progressive culture, featuring a faculty who has a diverse range of philosophies and a long history, having been established in 1874. One of the most interesting things about Colorado College is that they have a unique class format, wherein classes are run as a block. Each block is three-and-a-half weeks long (18 days), which enables students to focus on one class at a time. At Colorado College, one block is equal to a semester’s worth of material at a typical college. This set up makes Colorado College ideal for students looking for more flexibility and time outside of class.

There is a wide range of educational and degree programs available at Colorado College, as the school has over 80 majors, minors, and other types of programs to explore. Majors and minors include studies in anthropology, art, Asian studies, chemistry, biology, classics, literature, English, education, environmental studies, film, German, history, mathematics, sociology, religion, and more. Colorado College also offers something they call ‘Thematic Minors’ which allows students to focus their education on overarching themes across various disciplines. Thematic Minor topics include African studies, concepts of human nature, feminist and gender studies, Italian studies, journalism, linguistics, medieval studies, the ancient world, and revolutions.

3. University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

Score: 99.3

Average Net Price: $15,812
Retention Rate: 68%
Graduation Rate: 51%
Salary After Attending: $69,000

If you are looking for amazing colleges in Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs has more than 100 degree options, including 50 undergraduate degree programs and 24 graduate degree programs, along with seven doctoral programs. Each program is designed to prepare students for a real career. UCCS boasts six colleges and schools, led by industry experts. These schools are the Helen and Arthur E Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Science, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and the School of Public Affairs.

One of the standout features of UCCS is their small class sizes, with a 15-to-1 student to faculty ratio, and lower tuition rates. This school has been repeatedly ranked for its degree programs across the board. UCCS is one of the top-10 public universities in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report and one of the top-5 colleges in the region for Veterans.

4. Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology

Score: 99.3

Average Net Price: $16,405
Retention Rate: 76%
Graduation Rate: 69%
Salary After Attending: $22,800

The Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology was founded in 2007 and today stands as one of the most prestigious V-tech programs in the Southwest and stands out as one of the best schools in Colorado Springs. This school offers small class sizes, primarily hands-on learning, real-world experience in the clinic before graduation, and CAVTS students exceed the national average when it comes to board exam passing rates.

This school is known for its supportive and professional learning atmosphere, which makes it among the best colleges in CO. The V-tech program is a two-year program that prepares students to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam. From there, students can apply for their credentials (CVT, LVT, or RVT). The program is broken up into eight quarters, with the last quarter being an internship experience. Some of the classes covered across the other quarters are pre-medical mathematics, biochemistry, animal behavior, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, basic nursing, nutrition, pharmacology, exotics and laboratory animal medicine, diagnostic imaging, and large animal nursing.

CAVT has been accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education and the American Veterinary Medical Association. It has been approved and is regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Division of Private Occupational Schools.

5. International Salon and Spa Academy

Score: 98.8

Average Net Price: $15,419
Retention Rate: 84%
Graduation Rate: 45%
Salary After Attending: $15,800

Well-established, the International Salon and Spa Academy has been providing educational services in the cosmetic industry since 1971. The academy’s programs include cosmetology, barbering, esthetics, nail technicians, and hairstylists.

Offering one of the most comprehensive cosmetology programs in Colorado Springs, the International Salon and Spa Academy is nationally accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences, and offers an education that reaches beyond the basics.

This program provides students with real-world experience in an upscale salon and spa setting under the guidance of highly qualified industry professionals. Additionally, this program is highlighted by its success-focused education which prepares students with the necessary skills to thrive when it comes to growing their clientele base, recommending products, providing customer service, and how to manage referrals.

Some of the topics covered by these programs are hair care, haircutting, highlighting, chemical treatments, skincare, hair removal, nail tech, makeup, business ethics, waxing, the history of barbering, straight razor shaving, body detox, facials, makeovers, and body wraps. Continuing education classes are also offered which cover specialty salon services and certifications.

6. Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs

Score: 98.5

Average Net Price: $15,658
Retention Rate: 41%
Graduation Rate: 25%
Salary After Attending: $71,500

Colorado Technical University offers a wide range of degree programs across all four degree categories: associates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. Among the many benefits of attending CTU is that students are allowed to tailor their degree programs to meet their preferred learning format.

Examples of degree programs at CTU include business and management, engineering and computer science, healthcare, IT and technology, nursing, project management, and security studies. Students can pursue their degrees online or on-campus and choose either full-time or part-time learning.

CTU is has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the ACBSP, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Colorado Technical University has been ranked as offering one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in the U.S. six years in a row by U.S. News and World Report, among holding a large number of other awards and accolades.

7. PIMA Medical Institute – Colorado Springs

Score: 98.5

Average Net Price: $21,244
Retention Rate: 69%
Graduation Rate: 64%
Salary After Attending: $36,000

Originally founded in 1972 in Tucson, Arizona, PIMA Medical Institute continued to expand, eventually opening a location in Colorado Springs in 2002. Since then, the school has been catering largely to local military families while providing state of the art training in medical assisting and veterinary technology.

Some of the programs available at this include medical laboratory technician, veterinary technician, dental assisting, medical administration, medical assisting, pharmacy technician, and veterinary assisting.

PIMA is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities, and is approved and regulated by the Colorado Division of Private Occupational Schools, Department of Higher Education.

8. Paul Mitchell the School – Colorado Springs

Score: 96.0

Average Net Price: $28,708
Retention Rate: 66%
Graduation Rate: 49%
Salary After Attending: $15,200

This school offers programs in cosmetology, barbering, esthetics, and nail programs and is dedicated to preparing students for careers as licensed cosmetologists. The program focuses on core education, as well as adaptive, creative, and advanced techniques. Paul Mitchell also focuses on helping students build confidence and a professional portfolio of work via real-world experience.

Students who take these programs will learn skills such as precision haircutting, color and texture, skincare and skin analysis, shaving and grooming, personal and business skills, hands-on training, waxing, makeup techniques, nail art and more.

Paul Mitchell of Colorado Springs is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences, Inc.

Further Reading: Most Affordable Online Colleges

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