Western State Colorado University

600 N Adams, Gunnison, CO 81231

School Details

Western State Colorado University, located on a 350 acre rural campus in Gunnison, Colorado, is a four-year public liberal arts university that was founded in 1901. The school was originally known as the Colorado State Normal School for Children, and the name changed to Western State College in 1923, as a result of its role expanding from a teaching institution to a liberal arts college. Western State College was the first designated liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River. The school’s name changed from Western State College of Colorado to Western State Colorado University in 2012.

Approximately 2,300 students are enrolled at WSCU and one-fourth of the students are from out-of-state. The most popular majors are business, recreation, art, biology, outdoor leadership and environmental studies. The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1, and 52 percent of classes have less than 20 students. 91 percent of the classes at WCSU have fewer than 35 students. Over 90 percent of the school’s faculty holds the highest degrees in their field, and approximately 96 percent of classes are taught by full-time faculty.

Western State Colorado University states a mission that promotes “intellectual maturity and personal growth in its students, graduates citizens prepared to assume constructive roles in local, national, and global communities”. Furthermore, WSCU emphasizes instruction in a “solid foundation of skills in written and spoken communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity”.

Students at Western State Colorado University receive a liberal arts education preparing them for graduate studies and professions. WCSU offers 22 undergraduate majors in liberal arts and sciences, and professional areas, in addition to master’s degree programs. Tuition and fees at WCSU is $7,343 per year for in-state students, and $17,284 per year for out-of-state students.

Eligible students may access financial assistance at Western State Colorado University, including both need-based and non-need based aid. Need-based aid includes grants, loans, and Federal Work Study. WSCU supports federal programs including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity, Federal Direct Subsidized / Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Perkins Loan, and Direct PLUS Loans both for parents and graduate students. Colorado residents may also qualify for the Colorado Student Grant. Private loans are an added alternative. WCSU also supports merit-based scholarships for Colorado residents and out-of-state residents, along with departmental awards.

WCSU is located at an altitude of 7,700 feet, which is the highest elevation among four-year colleges in the country. The diverse ecosystems and geologic formations of the area provide an excellent natural laboratory for experiential learning. Students spend a lot of time outside of the classroom conducting research and projects for organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, National Forest Service, Division of Wildlife, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, extracurricular activities on-campus include more than 50 clubs, club & intramural sports, and learning communities designed to help students succeed.

Western State Colorado University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Gunnison is located 30 minutes from Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and 45 minutes from Monarch Mountain Ski Area, and the Blue Mesa Reservoir, which is the largest body of water in Colorado. Recreational opportunities including camping, hiking, rock climbing and kayaking are available at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The communities of Gunnison and Crested Butte offer active art communities with music, dance and theater. Area galleries feature local, regional and national artists, classes, movies, concerts and special events, and many festivals are held throughout the year. There are many options for dining including breweries and fine dining, and there are opportunities for shopping in boutiques, galleries and at recreational outfitters.




School Overview:

  • Sector Of Institution:
    Public, 4-year or above
  • Religious Affiliation:


  • Highest Level Of Offering:
    Master's degree
  • Total Enrollments:
  • Adult Age Enrollments:
  • Percent Admitted:
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