From the School

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, Naropa University is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian liberal arts institution whose mission is contemplative education. This learning approach integrates the best of Eastern and Western educational traditions, enabling students to integrate academic knowledge with self-knowledge through contemplative practice. Founded in 1974 by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a lineage holder in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the university offers BA and BFA degrees through its four-year undergraduate program as well as MA, MDiv and MFA degrees through its graduate school.

The student body currently comprises a mix of 1,069 students, 464 of which are undergraduates. Undergraduates come from 45 states and 8 countries; 61% are female and 39% are male. Naropa's student/faculty ratio is 12:1, and the average class size is 14 students.


Acceptance Rate
Average HS GPA

GPA Breakdown

Over 3.75
3.50 - 3.74
3.25 - 3.49
3.00 - 3.24
2.50 - 2.99
2.00 - 2.49

Test Scores

SAT Reading
SAT Math
ACT Composite

Other Admission Factors


Rigor of Secondary School Record
Academic GPA
Application Essay



From The School

Naropa University's learning approach integrates academic study, artistic and contemplative practices, and service to the community in a way that encourages students to develop an understanding of themselves, their individual fields of study and the world around them. A Naropa education allows students to be who they are while exploring who they want to become.

A Naropa education values both the Western liberal arts tradition and the Eastern heritage of Buddhist meditation practice and study. In addition to their academic pursuits, Naropa's students, staff and faculty work together to develop mindfulness and awareness, learning directly from their experience—and from each other—moment by moment.

Through core courses, students are introduced to the values, modes of inquiry and essential skills of contemplative education at Naropa University. Grounded in Naropa's mission, courses strike a living balance between scholarship, contemplative practice, artistic expression and civic engagement. This multidimensional approach to teaching and learning is unique to Naropa, reflecting its singular goal to bridge the gap between knowledge and wisdom.

Students Say

Central College provides a "family-like" and "a very home-y feeling" where you are treated like "a face and not a number." "It's easy to become part of a community here." The college is "big enough to give me the ‘college experience,' yet small enough to offer a similar environment to my hometown." On a practical level, "going out of state is ridiculously expensive," and students enjoy the familial atmosphere that might even include actual family members: "My mother went here, my brother is currently a junior, and now I am a freshman. We have all had great experiences!" Many students are attracted to the "fantastic study abroad program." "Even being a biology major, I was able to study abroad in Bangor, Wales," one student says. Environmentalism and sustainability are important for the planet, and Central College "has high standards in going green" and "urges students to know about the betterment of the Earth." "Our previous president, Dr. Roe, signed an agreement that Central will no longer consume more carbon than it produces." Students see the stresses on "sustainability and academics" as a way to "to motivate students to drag themselves to class every day, so they too can make a difference."

Faculty and Class Information

Total Faculty
with Terminal Degree


Most frequent class size
10 - 19
Most frequent lab / sub section size
2 - 9

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years


First professional

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

On Campus Interviews
Opportunities at School


Prominent Alumni

Tim Hernandez
Writer, teacher, award winner

Seth Braun
Author, teacher and nutritionist

Jeff Salzman
Director of Integral Institute


From The School

Full-time undergraduate tuition for 2009-10 was $23,420 Part-time undergraduates were charged $726 per credit. Both fulland part-time students pay a $250 per semester registration fee. It costs an average of $1,300 per month to live in Boulder. This estimate includes room and board, transportation, books and miscellaneous expenses.


Financial Aid Rating
Application Deadlines
Notification Date
Mar 1

Required Forms


Financial Aid Statistics

Average Freshman Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Undergraduate Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Need-Based Loan

Average amount of loan debt per graduate

Undergraduates who have borrowed through any loan program

Average amount of each freshman scholarship/grant package

Financial aid provided to international students

Expenses per Academic Year

Required Fees
Average Cost for Books and Supplies

Tuition / Fees Vary by Year of Study
Board for Commuters
Transportation for Commuters

Available Aid

Financial Aid Methodoloy

Scholarships and Grants
Need-Based College/University Scholarship or Grant Aid from Institutional Funds
Need-Based Federal Pell
Need-Based Private Scholarships
Need-Based SEOG

Federal Direct Student Loan Programs

Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFEL)
Federal Perkins Loans
FFEL Subsidized Stafford Loans
FFEL Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender


From The School

Naropa students are encouraged to participate in university governance by taking part in university committees. Town Hall meetings bring together students, faculty and staff to discuss issues of shared concern.

Some student groups active in the last year include: Allies in Action, Amnesty International; A TONO (Latina/o student group); Bombay Gin (literary journal); El Centro de la Gente Committee (multicultural center); Chanoyu Club (tea ceremonies); Community Kitchen, Dharma Clowns, International Student Group; LGBTQIA Group; Naropa Healers, ROOT (Reconnecting on Outer Terrain: outdoor group); Salsa Dance Club; Students of Color Group; Student Union of Naropa; Tendrel Collective (Naropa's diversity journal)

Students Say

Central College students stress that the school "truly feels like a community." "Everyone here is very friendly," and "we're all kind of like one big family. There are cliques, but everyone still gets along really well." Ethnically, "there isn't a whole lot of diversity. Most of the students are Caucasian from middle-class families." Athletics is very important—"sports is our life"—and more than "60 percent of the student body is involved in a sport" ensuring that "the weight room is always full." Despite being a dry campus, "alcohol can be seen everywhere, you just might get in trouble for it." Dutch heritage can be readily seen in the student body and in student activities. "We have a Tulip Festival every spring," one student notes. "It's an opportunity to postpone studying for finals to eat fried food and dance in wooden shoes." "Students who actively participate in events or activities are able to fit in better because of their level of involvement," and generally the students are involved in many activities or clubs. "I think that is what makes Central so special," one student says. "When you are in several groups you meet so many different people that you have an entire network by the time you graduate." The Inside Word Located in the middle of the Midwest, but sporting an expansive study abroad program that a full 50 percent of students enjoy, Central College can provide the best of both worlds. Students can enjoy a small town college life that is close to home while still traveling far away for new experiences and a broad education.

Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Out of State

Foreign Countries Represented


61% female
39% male
74% are out of state
90% are full time
10% are part time


From The School

Naropa University is located in Boulder, Colorado, at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills and twenty-five miles northwest of Denver. Boulder has earned a reputation for great quality of life with a dynamic arts community. Hiking, skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts have ample opportunity to pursue their sport and recreation activities. Boulder has extensive bike paths, and public transportation provides a frequent and comprehensive bus schedule throughout the day.

Naropa has three Boulder campuses, two of which serve undergraduate programs. The Arapahoe Campus is home to undergraduate advising, administration, a performing arts center, a meditation hall, the Allen Ginsberg Library, a computer lab, student lounges, the bookstore, classrooms for most undergraduate courses and the Naropa Café. The Nalanda Campus, 3.5 miles from the Arapahoe Campus, is home to performing and visual arts programs. The Paramita Campus, 2.3 miles from the Arapahoe Campus, houses the graduate school of psychology.

Students Say

When not in far-flung countries enjoying the "amazing study abroad program," students at Central College enjoy a small community that one student says "reminds me of my home town." However, this fact combined with the schools religious affiliation with the Reformed Church in America can make students feel constrained. "There are few other organizations that aren't religious-based," and the rules are seen as very strict. "They need to understand we are college students, and this is not the high school after prom," one student opines. Due to the school's strict no-tolerance policy when it comes to alcohol, even students who are older than 21 are not "able to come back on campus after being at a bar without the possibility of getting in trouble." Although "the food program offers a wide variety of options," "meal times are at the oddest hours, and [students] have such a slim window for the main food" that the cafeteria "is always crammed the moment it opens." Students also wish they had the "option of living off campus after freshman year."

Campus Life

Undergrads living on campus
Help finding off-campus housing

Quality of life rating
First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment
Small Urban
Fire safety rating

Housing Options

Apartment Married
Apartment Single

Special Needs Admissions

College Entrance Tests Required

Interview Required

Special Need Services Offered

Student Activities

Registered Student Organizations
Number of Honor Societies

Number of Social Sororities
Number of Religious Organizations


Athletic Division

Student Services

LGBT Support Groups: We have a student organization, a center for under-represented peoples, a Diversity student advocate and a counselor.

Minority Support Groups: We have a student organization, a center for under-represented peoples, a Diversity student advocate, diversity training and a counselor. Allies in Action: Mission: - Organizing anti-oppression trainings and workshop; Serve as a campus resource to under- represented groups; Foster dialog around issues of oppression.


The breadth and depth of Naropa University’s commitment to sustainability places it among the highest echelon of colleges and universities in the United States. Naropa University is one of a dozen colleges in the country who have fully divested from fossil fuels—without any negative impacts on its endowment—and was an early signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The University offers a BA in Environmental Studies, an MA in Environmental Leadership, as well as twelve related minors. Naropa’s investments in becoming climate neutral are equally robust, and includes deriving 100 percent of its power from renewable energy sources, a commitment to zero waste, and the recent installation of on-site solar panels. From zero-waste student orientations to doubling their recycling infrastructure initiatives, Naropa is a school that’s serious about going green . Naropa’s energy use is 100 percent offset through Renewable Energy Credits, tapping into locally produced wind energy. In 2014, Naropa completed the installation of its second solar array which moved the campus closer to its commitment to being carbon neutral by 2040. All bathroom paper towels are composted, as well as all food scraps from Naropa Café—in fact, the composting system has grown tenfold in recent years. Naropa is strict about holding itself accountable for environmental progress. The university even conducts weekly trash audits to find opportunities for further waste reduction. To promote alternative transportation, Naropa provides every student, faculty, and staff member with Every student is provided with a bus passes for local and regional travel, free bike fleet usage, bike and public transportation maps, and transportation consultants. Composting and recycling are pervasive throughout the University—in fact, the composting system has grown tenfold in recent years through zero-waste stations placed throughout all campuses. and 120 bicycles are available on campus for use by the community. The campus maintenance crews skip gasoline during the spring and summer months, using biodiesel fuel in the spring and summer months instead of gasoline. Many visitors to Naropa’s campuses are impressed by the university’s green 100 percent organic and mostly edible landscaping. On its Parmita campus, Naropa has a parking lot was transformed a parking lot into a green space with an onsite weather station that waters the lawn only when necessary and delivers water directly to the plant roots, preventing almost all evaporation – an especially important feature in the dry Colorado climate Naropa operates entirely on wind power Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). If that doesn’t blow you away, gardens on campus provide food to the café and plants for landscaping, and serves as a catalyst for working on insurance issues using homegrown foods. The university’s dining services purchases exclusively local and organic products. Naropa is internationally renowned for its convening power in organizing and hosting some of the world’s most prominent environmental activists, and hosts is a hotbed of environmental events, including a popular environmental speaker series, and Campus Sustainability Day, a celebration with music and organic food from local farms, and a community-wide celebration of Earth Day. The university offers a BA in environmental studies as well as twelve minors in subjects ranging from horticulture to sacred ecology.

Green Rating
School Has Formal Sustainability Committee

Sustainability-focused degree available

Public GHG inventory plan

% food budget spent on local/organic food

Available Transportation Alternatives

Bike Share

Carpool/Vanpool Matching Program

Cash-Out Parking

Incentives Or Programs To Encourage Employees To Live Close To Campus
Data provided by Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS®, as of February, 2014.

Campus Security Report

Campus Security Report

The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose their security policies, keep a public crime log, publish an annual crime report and provide timely warnings to students and campus employees about a crime posing an immediate or ongoing threat to students and campus employees.

Please visit The Princeton Review’s page on campus safety for additional resources:

The Princeton Review publishes links directly to each school's Campus Security Reports where available. Applicants can also access all school-specific campus safety information using the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education:

Other Information

Campus-wide Internet Network

Email and Web Access Available

% of Classrooms with Wireless Internet

Number of Computer Labs / Classrooms

Average Number of PC's per Lab

Network Access in Dorm Rooms

Network Access in Dorm Lounges

Fee for Network Use

Student Web Pages Permitted

Student Web Pages Provided

Partnerships with Technology Companies

Online Class Registration Available

Personal computer included in tuition for each student

Require Undergraduates to Own Computers

Undergraduates that Own Computers

Discounts Available with Hardware Vendors

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Courses

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Campus Radio / TV Stations

Campus Visits Contact

Nadine Gressett
Events and Visitation Coordinator

2130 Arapahoe Ave.
Boulder, CO 80302



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Lincoln Building
Nalanda Event Center
Meditation Hall
Naropa Cafe
Visual Arts Studio

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Chautauqua Park
Pearl Street Walking Mall
Dushanbe Tea House
Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
Boulder Theatre

Campus Tours

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: 2:00pm and 3:30pm
Average Length: 1 hour

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions

2-3 times per year

Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Advance Notice
1 week

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays
Not Available

Contact Admissions Office


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
Taxi, shuttles, buses. Denver International Airport (DIA) 30 miles

Driving Instructions to Campus

Local Accommodations
Posted on website:
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Key Stats

Acceptance Rate

Rankings & Lists