Colorado State University is one of the top public universities in the country in terms of educational quality and affordability according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine. Colorado State ranked 48th in the "Summa Cum Laude: 100 Best Values in Public Colleges" report in the October issue of the magazine. The criteria used by the magazine for the ranking are the overall quality of education and affordability. The magazine cites as its goal to determine which public universities offer not an inexpensive education but "a combination of top-quality academics and low cost."
The bulk of the data used was supplied by Wintergreen-Orchard House, a major commercial clearinghouse for statistics on American colleges and universities. Kiplinger’s then supplemented that information with their own reporting and with statistics from the U.S. Department of Education. In an instance of a tie, the magazine took into consideration the cost to out-of-state students, giving the higher ranking to the school that charges out-of-state students less.