University ranks 616th on Forbes list

Colorado Mesa University is back on’s annual list of America’s Top Colleges — just farther down on the list than last year.

Colorado Mesa ranked 326th among the 6,600-plus institutions of higher education in the United States when it debuted on the list in 2009. That rank fell to 555 in 2010, inched up to 537 in 2011, then fell in 586 in 2012 and 616 in 2013. Forbes only ranks the top 650 colleges and universities in the list.

The Center for College Affordability and Productivity helped Forbes compile the list based on five factors: post-graduate success, student satisfaction, student loan debt, graduation rate and awards such as Rhodes scholarships.

Data used to make the rankings comes from, which lists alumni salary, the America’s Leaders List and, among other sources.

Colorado Mesa President Tim Foster said he and other college and university presidents get ballots from Forbes each year that ask them to recommend three schools for the list.

Foster said he doesn’t use his ballot and doesn’t give the ranking much credence.

“They don’t look at student success, teacher effectiveness, or pass rates on nursing or medical exams,” Foster said. “The thing I put the most credibility on is our students.”

Foster said a predicted enrollment increase of 4 percent indicates to him students are pleased with the school. Preliminary retention rates for students returning to CMU this fall are up 7 percent over last year, according to Colorado Mesa Vice President of Academic Affairs Carol Futhey.

The U.S. Air Force Academy had the highest ranking on the Forbes list among Colorado institutions, coming in at number 31. Colorado College, at 76, was the only other Colorado college or university to make it into the top 100.

Thirteen Colorado schools made the list, including the University of Colorado at Boulder (101), the University of Denver (103), Colorado School of Mines (111), Colorado State University (291), University of Colorado at Denver (388), University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (513), Fort Lewis College (548), Western State Colorado University (594), University of Northern Colorado (596) and Metropolitan State University of Denver (622).


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