Western ranks among Forbes’, U.S. News & World Reports’ ‘Top Colleges’

Western moved up Forbes’ Top Colleges List this fall, landing a spot in the magazine’s Top 100 Colleges in the West category for the third year in a row. The university also earned distinctions in U.S. News & World Reports’ Best Colleges lists.

Western State Colorado University moved up Forbes’ Top Colleges list this year while also earning a spot in U.S. News & World Reports’ Top Regional Universities in the West.

“We are very proud of these rankings because they reflect the tremendous value that Western brings to our students, both in terms of educational experience and return on investment through post-graduate opportunities,” says President Dr. Greg Salsbury.

"With programs like Accounting, which boasts an average starting salary of $53,250 per year for our recent graduates, and our Pre-med program, which boasts a 91% placement rate into medical schools, students who choose Western experience a fantastic education geared toward their future success.”

Western gained ground in Forbes, maintaining its No. 92 rank in the West and jumping 15 slots to No. 483 in the entire nation. That places Western ahead of the University of Northern Colorado; University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; Fort Lewis College and Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Simultaneously, U.S. News & World Report recognized Western as No. 92 in Regional Universities in the West, and among those as No. 36 in the Top Public Schools.

Western's Rankings:


  • In the West: No. 92
  • Public Colleges: No. 163
  • Liberal Arts Universities: No. 181
  • Top Colleges: No. 483

U.S. News & World Report

  • Top Public Schools (West): No. 36
  • Regional Universities (West): No. 92

Western State Colorado University provides one of the best higher education values not only in the state but in the entire country. It offers world class academic excellence and choice at a very modest cost. All of this may be why, unlike most of its competitors, enrollment has been up five years in a row.

The benefit of Western’s location, academic excellence and value combine to offer students a private-college experience at a public school cost. And with an average class size of just 17 students, professors align students’ education and interests.

Western State Colorado University boasts graduate success stories spanning the globe, with alumni working as CEOs of major corporations, neurosurgeons, airline pilots and owners of international travel destinations. Recent graduates have landed jobs with major national brands such as FedEx and Red Bull, gone on to pharmacy and medical schools, and launched many successful businesses, including an advertising agency and an eco-friendly resort in Costa Rica.

Western has recently been lauded by other organizations as well: Colleges of Distinction recognized it nationally, as a public school and within Colorado; Environmentalscience.org named it the No. 5 institution for advocating environmental science; and G.I. Jobs named it among military friendly schools.  

About the rankings

The Forbes rankings are based on five general categories: postgraduate success, which evaluates alumni pay and prominence; student satisfaction, which includes evaluations of professors and freshman-to sophomore-year retention rates; debt, which penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates; four-year graduation rate; and academic success, which rewards schools whose students win prestigious scholarships and fellowships such as the Rhodes, the Marshall and the Fulbright, or who go on to earn a Ph.D.

The U.S. News & World Report rankings are calculated with seven inputs: graduation and first-year student retention rates; assessment by administrators at peer institutions; faculty resources; student selectivity; financial resources; alumni giving and graduation rate performance.

About Western State Colorado University

Located in Gunnison, Colorado, Western is a public university unlike any other in the state or nation. The institution offers the faculty focus and feel of a private college; a commitment to access, excellence and student success; and a strong tie to the land, our local natural resources and our surrounding community. With an enrollment of 2,853 students, Western offers more than 75 undergraduate and graduate academic pursuits, along with unlimited opportunity to shape your identity, customize your education and chart your course for a meaningful life. To learn more, visit western.edu.


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Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 8:30am