Colorado Mountain College ranked third most affordable college in the nation |

Colorado Mountain College ranked third most affordable college in the nation

Joe Moylan
The U.S. Department of Education recently ranked Colorado Mountain College as the third most affordable public college in the country. Shown left to right are Colorado Mountain College students Mauritza Araiza, Luis Castillo and Brooke Larson, and Dr. Jim Campbell, professor emeritus of environmental science, and Sandy Jackson, adjunct instructor of anthropology/archaeology.
Tyler Stableford/courtesy | Colorado Mountain College

This week the United States Department of Education ranked Colorado Mountain College as the third most affordable four-year public college in the country for the 2011-2012 school year.

CMC’s annual in-district tuition and fees for a beginning full-time student that year totaled $1,770, which is less than one-fourth of the national average cost of $7,135, according to a CMC news release.

The list of most affordable colleges was compiled by the College Affordability and Transparency Center, the release stated. CMC was edged in affordability by Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas and Dine College in Arizona. CMC also was the only Colorado institution to make the list.

“We are very pleased to know that our efforts to provide a quality education at an affordable price have been so successful,” said Dr. Charles R. Dassance, interim president of Colorado Mountain College, in the release.

Kirista Bradford, of Palisade, graduated in the spring with a bachelor of science in business administration. She’s also earned an associate of arts degree and a certification in hospitality management.

Now considering pursuing a master’s in environmental policy, Bradford said she was fortunate to enroll at CMC when she did. A mother of two, she was in the midst of her associate’s degree when the college became accredited for bachelor’s degrees in business administration and sustainability studies.

“My original plan was to get my associate’s credits out of the way and then transfer to a four-year college, but I decided to stay when they began offering bachelor’s degrees,” Bradford said. “It was affordable all along, which was important raising two kids, and I got my bachelor’s for a bargain. Now I have this really nice BA.”

The ranking follows a recent report by CNNMoney that placed Colorado Mountain College among the top 20 out of nearly 800 community colleges from around the nation for successful graduation and transfer rates.

That report, compiled by College Measures, a leading researcher of comparative value within higher education, said that CMC’s success rate earned the college the No. 17 slot nationally, as well as the No. 1 ranking within Colorado, placing the college in the top 2 percent of success rates among all medium-sized public community colleges, according to the release.

“CMC has focused for many years on making sure that the education we provide represents the best value possible,” Dassance said in the release. “It is gratifying to be recognized nationally by both of these independent reports for having achieved that goal. We will continue to do all we can to improve our programs and services while remaining affordable.”

Colorado Mountain College started offering bachelor’s degrees in business administration and sustainability studies in 2011-2012. The College Affordability and Transparency Center based its calculations on tuition and required fees for a beginning student that year.

However, had the center considered in-district tuition for beginning students in the bachelor’s degree programs, CMC still would have been in the top 10 most affordable public schools in the country.

“Our board of trustees is to be commended for keeping a focus on affordability, and our faculty and staff deserve the credit for working constantly to provide a quality education,” Dassance said in the release.

Currently, the college’s in-district tuition rate for lower-division classes is $56 per credit hour, or $840 for a typical full-time semester of 15 credits.

For 300- to 400-level courses, in-district tuition is $95 per credit, or $1,425 for a 15-credit load.

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