There are 13 colleges and universities in the state of Wyoming, including large public universities, tribal colleges and trade schools focused on specialties such as technology and beauty. Wyoming is also home to several postsecondary institutions specializing in Bible studies. Choosing from among these diverse options may seem difficult, at first. Fortunately, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Wyoming, including the top four-year schools.
To help make an informed decision, prospective college students in Wyoming typically compare location, affordability and the length of programs at postsecondary schools.
We use a custom algorithm to help us effectively rank the best state schools, identifying each of the above criteria, along with several other key elements. Methodologies include acceptance rate, student retention, graduation rate and enrollment rates. Below you'll find a list of profiles for the top two-year and four-year colleges in Wyoming.
Best College in Wyoming
There are only a handful of four-year colleges in Wyoming. The University of Wyoming is the oldest among them, and also serves the largest student enrollment. Meanwhile, the University of Phoenix in Wyoming primarily offers online degrees and certificate programs, though the school offers several local campus locations for in-state students. Wyoming Catholic College is the newest addition to Wyoming's small collection of four-year institutions, opened in 2005 and specializing in Catholic liberal arts programs.
Wyomingites with a bachelor's degree earn a higher salary than those without a college degree. Graduates' salary after attending the University of Wyoming, for example, exceeds the average national income, according to the U.S. Department of Education. 70% of students who attended UW earned more than those in the state with only a high school diploma. To learn more about the benefits of completing a four-year program in the state, browse our list of top four-year colleges in Wyoming below.
University of Wyoming
|Laramie, WY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Wyoming started with a co-ed class of 42 students. Today, this land-grant research institution in Laramie welcomes about 14,000 students a-year and offers more than 180 degree programs through seven colleges. Fields include business, education, engineering, and law.
The student body represents 50 states and 90 countries. Its distance-learning has over 40 undergraduate and graduate degrees available. The school's study-abroad scholarship program is a standout among the best colleges in Wyoming, sending UW students to nearly 50 countries each year.
Founded in 1886, UW was established four years before the state of Wyoming was admitted to the union as the 44th state. Notable alumni include Chuck Pagano, Art Howe, and former U.S. VP Dick Cheney. In athletics, the school is a national representative for Wyoming colleges, competing for the 'Equality State' in 15 NCAA Division I sports as a member of the Mountain West Conference.
|Cheyenne, WY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 15%||
CollegeAmerica has provided career-focused programs since 1964, the Cheyenne branch since 2005; It’s the newest of six campuses in three states. Career-driven programs are the focus of CollegeAmerica-Cheyenne, offering degree programs in healthcare, business, and technology. Through its affiliate institution, Independence University, CollegeAmerica offers online and combination online/campus programs, such as its AAS and BS degrees in graphic arts.
The campus in Cheyenne includes six classrooms and two medical labs. The admissions process begins with a visit to the campus, followed by a meeting with a financial planner and admissions consultant to best determine what career path is the right one. CollegeAmerica-Cheyenne is one of the best colleges in Wyoming when it comes to working with the military, accepting transfer credits and military experience that could equal savings up to 75%, for time and cost of an associate or bachelor's degree. Benefits are also available to military spouses.
Best Community Colleges in Wyoming
In Wyoming, there are three times more community colleges than baccalaureate universities. Two-year programs in Wyoming are designed to provide career training and build professional skills for students looking to enter the local workforce. Laramie County Community College boasts the largest student enrollment, offering a wide variety of degrees and certificate programs in liberal arts and sciences. Casper College is the second-largest two-year higher learning institution in the state, specializing in career-oriented programs in five departments, including business and industry and health science. Community college programs are developed with the demands of the local economy in mind, allowing students to prepare for a career in one of Wyoming's top industries. In any concentration, two-year schools in Wyoming provide accelerated training programs for career-driven students and adult professionals going back to school.
Wyomingites with a two-year degree tend to earn a higher salary than those with only a high school diploma. The economy of Wyoming is centered primarily on mineral production and tourism. Students enrolled in Wyoming's community colleges are allowed the opportunity to sharpen their skills in a local industry or trade, with options in mining technologies, energy and hospitality, to name just a few. To learn more about two-year programs, explore our list of the top schools in Wyoming.
Eastern Wyoming College
|Torrington, WY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Eastern Wyoming serves about 2,000 students each semester. The school offers four degree types across 35 majors: AS, AA, AAS, and ADN. The school maintains a partnership with 11 state colleges and universities, including the University of Wyoming, which allows students to transfer their credits to four-year programs. For prospective students, Eastern Wyoming has created the Bridge Program, intended to help students brush up on their math, reading, and English skills prior to their first semester to optimize their chances to succeed in college.
Similar to other Wyoming community colleges, Eastern Wyoming embraces its role as a learning institution for the community. The school responds to the educational, cultural, social, and economic needs of the residents in Torrington and in surrounding counties through its outreach programs. The school enrolls about 6,500 students in non-credit activities each year.
Central Wyoming College
|Riverton, WY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 28%||
Central Wyoming is an open-enrollment college serving about 1,800 students. It offers more than 50 programs of study across eight departments, with two-year degrees available in more than 45 fields and certificates in about 20. Among the best community colleges in Wyoming for culture, Central Wyoming is home to Wyoming PBS, the state's only public broadcasting station.
Central Wyoming supports lifelong learning through its community enrichment classes and professional development courses for residents of Fremont, Hot Springs, and Teton counties. Located in Riverton, the school maintains outreach centers in Lander, Jackson, and Dubois in an effort to accommodate students. The school offers five associate programs that can be completed entirely online: two in technical studies and the other three in criminal justice, business management, and social sciences. The nursing ADN is considered a distance-learning program, but it requires participation in Interactive Network classes on the Jackson campus.
|Laramie, WY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 79%||
Formerly known as Wyoming Technical Institute, WyoTech provides instruction for students interested in automotive, diesel, motorcycle, marine, and collision refinishing career fields. WyoTech emphasizes hands-on experience, with students splitting time between the classroom and the shop. Programs are short-term, with most taking less than a year and a half to complete. Courses are constantly changing in order to keep up with the latest advancements in technology and the demands of the job market. The school maintains a presence in three states, with its Wyoming campus located in the college town of Laramie.
Students have the opportunity to pair their program with a specialty, like applied service management in automotive, which teaches the principles behind setting up and running a successful shop. The other specialties are off-road power concentration, trim and upholstery technology, street-rod and custom fabrication, and motorsports chassis fabrication. WyoTech is one of the best two-year colleges in Wyoming.
|Powell, WY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
Located near the Shoshone River in Powell, NWC offers a wide range of programs that emphasize learning opportunities and affordability. The school's comprehensive catalog of associate degrees and certificates make it one of the top community colleges in Wyoming. NWC offers technical degrees in drafting technology, welding technology, and computer science that prepare graduates to pursue careers immediately after graduation.
The school offers an equine program that allows students to earn an AAS degree, such as equine business management. NWC also offers a strong agriculture program with AAS degrees in farm management and production that can be earned in two years. Students planning on pursuing baccalaureate degrees at four-year colleges can transfer associate of science degrees in agroecology, agriculture business, and animal science. NWC provides a number of support services, including tutoring through the Student Success Center and a center for childcare.
|Sheridan, WY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Located at the base of the Bighorn Mountains, Sheridan offers associate programs that are designed to meet the needs of the local economy. The school offers programs in agriculture, diesel technology, welding technology, and machine tooling, all of which are taught in state-of-the-art facilities.
Sheridan also offers several programs that prepare students for careers in agriculture, including an associate in applied science in animal science, agriculture business, and rangeland management. Learners also have the opportunity to earn technical AAS degrees, such as construction technology, computer aided design, environmental engineering, and machine technology. Sheridan is one of the top schools in Wyoming due to its programs in nursing and dental hygiene. The school also oversees teacher preparation programs that lead to associate degrees at the early childhood, elementary, and secondary education levels.
Living in Wyoming
If you're thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Wyoming, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Equality State.
Wyoming is both the 10th largest and least populous of all fifty states. Known for its spacious landscape and scenic terrain, Wyoming is where the Great Plains intersect with the Rocky Mountains. Amongst the many miles of mountain ranges covering the state are numerous rivers, national parks and historic sites. Wyoming is home to Yellowstone National Park, the historic Oregon Trail and the National Elk Refuge, among other geographical points of interest. Wyoming's unique culture supports strong ties to Native American spirituality, alongside a growing population of followers of fundamental Western religion; today, Mormons comprise the largest religious group in the state.
Wyoming had a per-capita income of $29,803 as of 2016. In addition, 25.7% of Wyomingites 25 and older had a bachelor's degree or higher, below the national average of 29.8%. 92.3% of residents age 25 and older had at least a high school diploma, however, which far exceeds the national average of 86.3%.
Below, we've profiled key components of two major regions of Wyoming:
- Eastern Wyoming
- Major Cities: Cheyenne, Laramie, Casper
- Attractions: Wyoming State Museum, Laramie Plains Museum, Union Pacific
- Cost of Living: Laramie's Numbeo Cost of Living
- Popular Schools: University of Wyoming, Laramie County Community College, Casper College
- Western Wyoming
- Major Cities: Rock Springs, Riverton, Powell
- Attractions: Yellowstone National Park, Rock Springs Historical Museum, Shoshone National Forest
- Cost of Living: Jackson's Numbeo Cost of Living
- Popular Schools: Western Wyoming Community College, Central Wyoming College, Northwest College
In order to pursue discounted tuition costs for state residents, students in Wyoming must prove residency. Students 18 or older must provide proof of state residency; minors must live in Wyoming with either a parent or legal guardian to qualify for reduced tuition.
- For Minors:
A student who is of minor age at the time of enrollment must prove that their guardians live permanently in Wyoming to claim personal residency. To establish residency in Wyoming a minor must live within state borders in a household with a parent or guardian. If the parents are divorced or separated, the minor must reside with the parent or guardian who lives in Wyoming. Minors must prove residency with their parent in Wyoming before they turn 18 and prove their intention to continue living with that parent until the start of the school year.
- For Adults:
Adult individuals (age 18 and older) who plan to claim residence must meet specific criteria, including:
- You must physically reside in Wyoming for at least one year prior to declaring residence.
- You must prove intent to make Wyoming your home.
- You should be able to demonstrate financial independence. Adults under age 23 may have to formally claim emancipation from their guardian.
Additional Resources for Wyoming College Students
Higher Education News
Official State Links
- Best Colleges in Wyoming of 2017
Rank School Location 1 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY 2 CollegeAmerica Cheyenne, WY Best Community Colleges 1 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY 2 Eastern Wyoming College Torrington, WY 3 Wyotech-Laramie Laramie, WY 4 Central Wyoming College Riverton, WY 5 Casper College Casper, WY
- Best Colleges in Wyoming of 2016
Rank School Location 1 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY Rank School Location 1 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY 2 Northwest College Powell NY 3 Casper College Casper, WY 4 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, WY 5 Eastern Wyoming College Torrington, WY 6 Central Wyoming College Riverton, WY 7 Sheridan College Sheridan, WY 8 College America-Cheyenne Cheyenne, WY