College remains a good financial investment for Coloradans

Western students don their caps and gowns at commencement.

College remains a good financial investment for Coloradans

Carley Clegg
Photo by Aug 6, 2019

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree remains a smart financial decision, according to a new report from the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Colorado Rises: Maximizing Value for Students and our State examines median earnings after one, five and 10 years for Coloradans who have earned a postsecondary credential in seven program groups. A decade out, graduates earn a median income of $60,000 for bachelor’s degrees. In addition to wage data, the inaugural volume explores how tuition prices, debt, choice and value affect a student’s overall trajectory.

“We know going to college or technical school is a weighty decision for students and families,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said. “The robust data shows that it’s worth it. Knowing how much you are likely to earn helps Coloradans choose the right education pathway that harnesses their unique talent and aptitudes. It also helps us hold ourselves accountable as we look to reduce costs and increase the value of higher education.”

Although average tuition has increased since the recession, close to 72% of students at Colorado four-year universities receive a mix of federal, state and institutional aid that enables those from low- and middle-income families to attend for low cost or even tuition-free. At Western Colorado University, 80% of students receive some form of financial aid.

The report also found the proportion of Colorado undergraduate students who take on debt, as well as the average amount, has leveled off at four-year colleges.

For information about Western’s costs and financial aid, visit