Western State Colorado University Offers Formula for Educational and Financial Success
By John Egan
For a fraction of the tuition, fees and other costs at University of Colorado (CU) in Boulder or Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, a student at Western State Colorado University can obtain a high-quality, high-value education.
The average annual cost for an in-state undergraduate at Western is $14,177, according to the US Department of Education’s College Scorecard. By comparison, it’s $21,849 at CU and $15,707 at CSU. Based on those figures, you’d save over $6,000 at Western vs. CSU, and about $30,000 vs. CU over the course of a four-year program.
Bottom line: Western offers a private-school atmosphere—with an average class size of 17 and total enrollment of about 2,500—for less money than private schools and most public schools, including CU and CSU.
It’s no wonder, then, that Best Value Schools ranks Western as one of the 100 most affordable small colleges in America and Forbes ranks Western among its top 100 colleges in the West.
The high-quality, high-value proposition at Western is particularly important as student-loan debt in the US continues to mount. According to MarketWatch’s national student-loan debt clock, the debt grows $2,726 every second. As of mid-January 2016, the debt stood at nearly $1.33 trillion.
Sixty-nine percent of seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 carried student-loan debt, with an average of $28,950 per borrower, according to The Institute for College Access & Success. In Colorado, the average debt was $25,064.
“Borrowers are graduating with a lot more debt than they did 10 years ago, and the class of 2014’s average debt is the highest yet,” says Lauren Asher, president of the institute. “Student debt has rightly become a major policy issue. Students and families need better information and better policies to make college more affordable and debt less burdensome.”
A study by the Brookings Institution found that most of the increase in defaults on student loans is tied to borrowers who attended for-profit schools or two-year colleges. Meanwhile, the study says, default rates among borrowers who went to most four-year public and private schools “have remained low.”
Whether the burden is low or high, no one wants to rack up mountains of student-loan debt. As such, one of the strategies to help avoid the debt burden is selecting a school like Western that is reasonably priced, yet still offers a top-notch education.