Metro State College was established by an act of the Colorado State Legislature in 1965 and renamed Metropolitan State College of Denver in 1990. Since its inception, more than 210,000 students have taken MSCD courses, or 30,000 have received degrees, and the College has been transformed from a grand adventure with about a thousand students attending classes in buildings rented in the Denver central business district to the third largest institution of higher education in Colorado. Today more than 24,000 students are enrolled in over 2,400 classes each semester and Metro State has become the largest public four-year undergraduate institution in the United States. In 1976-77 Metro State moved from its rented facilities to the newly constructed Auraria Higher Education Center adjacent to downtown Denver. It continues to share this 171-acre campus with the Community College of Denver and the University of Colorado of Denver, and it also offers courses at two other locations--Metro South and Metro North. Metro State College of Denver currently offers Bachelor's degrees in more than 50 major areas and graduates over 1,900 students per year. Teaching is, and always has been, the highest priority of both its full-time and part-time faculty members.
Several characteristics mark Metro State College of Denver as a unique higher-education institution:
- Metro State students are older (average age is currently about 26.2)
- The student body comprises 61% full-time and 38% part-time
- Persons of color comprise 26.2 % of the population
- More than half of the new students each fall semester are transfers from other colleges or universities, and a majority of each graduation class consists of students who have transferred to Metro State.
- The student body is almost entirely non-residential and overwhelmingly from the greater Denver metropolitan region, with 94% coming from Denver, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Adams, Boulder and Douglas counties.
- A relatively large percentage of Metro State courses are offered at times other than the traditional 9-3 Monday through Friday college schedule.