Online education in Colorado has lagged in the state’s more remote areas where satellite and dial-up modes are the only means of connecting to the Internet. Colorado is using a $100.6 million dollar federal grant, along with matching public and private funds, to build a broadband network that will serve 130 counties across the state. The project, which will be completed in August 2013, benefits K-12 public schools, libraries, and other public institutions and is managed by the intergovernmental group EAGLE-Net Alliance. Bringing broadband access to potential students in rural and outlying areas is likely to increase enrollment in Colorado’s public and private universities, many of which already offer online certificates and degrees.
The Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) was established in 1965 by the Colorado General Assembly to develop long-term plans and goals for the state’s higher education system. The CCHE also oversees the distance education and online degree programs offered by members of Colorado Online Distance Education, a consortium of 11 of Colorado’s public four-year colleges and universities, including the University of Colorado (CU). The CU System consists of three universities on four campuses, the University of Colorado at Boulder being the largest university in the state, and currently offers 29 online degree programs and a handful of certificate programs. The Colorado Community College System is governed by the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education. Many of Colorado’s community colleges, including Pueblo Community College, Pikes Peak Community College, and the Community College of Denver, offer online certificate and degree programs. For-profit institutions, including Colorado Technical University, DeVry University, and the University of Phoenix, have campuses across the state and offer accredited online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees programs as well.
Online degrees in Colorado can help prepare you for some of the state’s most important industries. Key industries in Colorado include creative industries, financial services, technology and information, and many more, according to the Colorado Office of Economic Development. Creative industries in Colorado encompass sectors like design, film and media, heritage, publishing, performing arts, and arts and crafts, the OED explains. Online degrees in film and media studies, graphic design, interior design, web design, and journalism could be ideal for preparing you for careers in this vital industry.
If you live in the Boulder, Colo., area, you may be more interested in the technology industry, as Boulder is a leading high-tech metro. Online degrees in information technology, computer science, or software engineering may help prepare you for a successful career in this industry. Last but not least, online degrees in business and related areas like finance, accounting, and marketing may be beneficial in preparing you for careers in Colorado’s active financial services sector. Keep in mind that Colorado’s Front Range has been dubbed the “Wall Street of the West” for good reason, with major market segments including banking and finance, investments, and insurance. Check out the following schools offering online degrees: