CU Boulder vs. DU

Should I go to University of Colorado Boulder or University of Denver? Compare the two schools' costs, SAT, ACT, GPA, admissions criteria and outcomes to help you determine if CU Boulder or DU is the better college for you.

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University of Colorado Boulder vs. University of Denver comparison
University of Colorado Boulder University of Denver College 3 College 4
University of Colorado Boulder University of Denver
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Location Boulder, CO Denver, CO
Setting Small City Large City
Students 36,681 11,952
Type Public 4 Year Private 4 Year
Religious Affiliation - - - -
Status Non-profit Non-profit


Tuition (In State) $10,728 $51,336
Tuition (Out of State) $36,546 $51,336
Room & Board $14,778 $13,437
Avg Net Price $22,077 $37,263
Avg Grant Aid $9,315 $29,958
% Receiving Grant Aid 53% 89%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 78.4% 58.7%
Avg High School GPA 3.56 3.67
Admissions Standards Very High Very High
Applicant Competition Low
ACT Range 25/31 26/31
SAT Range 1140/1360 1170/1350
Application Deadline Jan 15, 2022 Jan 15, 2022


Graduation Rate 68% 78%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $56,900 $63,400
Making Student Loan Payments 73% 72%
Median Student Loan Debt $19,500 $23,699
Median Loan Payment $201 $245
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Comparable Facts

  • University of Colorado Boulder is larger than than DU based on total student enrollment (36,681 students vs. 11,952 students)

CU Boulder vs. DU Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, CU Boulder or DU?

  • University of Denver is 378.5% more expensive to attend than CU Boulder for in-state tuition ($51,336.00 vs. $10,728.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 40.5% higher at DU than University of Colorado Boulder ($51,336.00 vs. $36,546.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at University of Colorado Boulder than DU ($22,077 vs. $37,263)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at University of Denver are 10% lower than costs at University of Colorado Boulder ($13,437 vs. $14,778)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at University of Denver than University of Colorado Boulder (89% vs. 53%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by University of Denver students is 221.6% larger than aid received University of Colorado Boulder ($29,958 vs. $9,315)

CU Boulder vs. DU Admissions Difficulty Comparison

Which college is harder to get into, CU Boulder or DU? Average SAT and ACT scores plus acceptance rates offer good insight into the difficulty of admission between DU or CU Boulder .

  • The average SAT score at University of Denver (1249) is 37 points higher than at CU Boulder (1212)
  • Incoming DU students have a 1 point higher average ACT score (28) than students at CU Boulder (27)
  • CU Boulder has a higher acceptance rate (78.4%) than DU (58.7%)

CU Boulder vs. DU Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, CU Boulder or DU? Graduation rate, salary and amount of student loan debt are indicators of a college which offers better outcomes for its graduates. Compare the following outcomes facts between DU and CU Boulder.

  • The graduation rate at DU is higher that University of Colorado Boulder (78% vs. 68%)
  • Graduates from University of Denver earn on average $6,500 more per year than CU Boulder graduates after ten years. ($63,400 vs. $56,900)
  • University of Colorado Boulder students graduate with a $4,199 lower median federal student loan debt than DU graduates. ($19,500 vs. $23,699)
  • CU Boulder graduates are paying $44 less per month on federal student loans than DU graduates. ($201 vs. $245)
  • More CU Boulder graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former DU students, three years after graduation. (73% vs. 72%)

Sources: U.S. Department of Education IPEDS and College Scorecard