Western Colorado University delivers a full liberal arts curriculum and career preparation to 2,900 intellectually adventurous students, deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The university’s small size, unique setting and low-cost ensure students receive personalized attention, gain hands-on experience and graduate without taking on excessive debt.

Western Colorado University fulfills its statutory mission by promoting intellectual maturity and personal growth in its students, and graduates citizens prepared to assume constructive roles in local, national and global communities. Western helps its students develop the skills and commitments needed to continue learning throughout their lives and strives to elucidate the connections unifying academic domains, which have traditionally existed separately: the sciences, liberal arts and professional programs.

The University provides students with a solid foundation of skills in written and spoken communication, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. Our programs encourage a breadth and depth of knowledge to serve as a foundation for a professional career or graduate study, and an appreciation of values appropriate to a liberally educated individual.

Western's distinctive character emerges from its unity among academic and professional disciplines, its high standards of scholarship and its unique environment in the mountains of Western Colorado.

Spring 2018 Data

Institutional Profile

Opened: 1911
Located in: Gunnison, Colorado (city pop. approx. 6,000; county pop. approx. 16,000)
President: Greg Salsbury, Ph.D.
Enrollment: 2,911
Instructional Faculty: 169
Average class size: 18 students

Acceptance rate: 86%
Retention rate: 71%
Graduation rate: 41%
Alumni: approx. 28,000
Mascot: Mad Jack the Mountaineer
Colors: Crimson and Slate


Student Profile

Total university enrollment



Male: 52%
Female: 48%
Colorado Resident: 69%
Non-Resident: 31%

States represented: 50
Countries represented: 10
NCAA Athletes: 10%
Pell Grant: 32%

Ethnic Diversity

White: 67%
Hispanic: 12%
Unknown: 13%
Multi-Race: 4%
Black or African American: 3%

Asian: 1%
American Indian or Alaska Native: 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: <1%
Nonresident Alien: <1%


Most Popular Majors

Business Administration
Exercise & Sport Science
Environment & Sustainability
Recreation & Outdoor Education

Most Popular Graduate Programs

Master in Environmental Management
Creative Writing
High Altitude Exercise Physiology
Gallery Management


Financial Aid

of students are considered for merit aid

of students receive aid

Student loan default rate:
50% less than national average

Diversity is a core value of Western.

"Western Colorado University takes a firm and unyielding stance in support of diversity, inclusivity, scientific inquiry and creative expression. We believe these principles are necessary for the free and open inquiry that defines our role as a public institution in a democratic society. We believe that these principles are a moral imperative requiring constant vigilance and a firm stance against actions motivated by hate or intimidation. The university welcomes people of color, people with disabilities, people of all genders and orientations, people of all religious preferences, immigrants and refugees regardless of national origin or ethnicity and other underrepresented communities regardless of socioeconomic class. We actively seek to build a civil and respectful culture which affirms these principles in all that we do.”

Both the Board of Trustees and President Greg Salsbury endorsed the above Statement on Diversity and Inclusion authored and adopted by the Faculty Senate. 

Forbes America's top colleges 2017

Top adventure college 2017

Best college study abroad programs 2017

#156 best public college for minimizing student debt

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