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Tell me about Fort Collins and Boulder

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

We live in Northern California but will be moving next year for my husband to start grad school. We are thinking of applying to the schools in Forth Collins and Boulder. I'm wondering if anyone can help me with the questions I have about living in those areas ...


We will have medicaid (or whatever Colorado's version of that is) for healthcare. Is it possible that they would cover a homebirth?


Are there any good charter schools in those areas? Maybe Montessori or Waldorf? Or a good homeschool community?


In California we have the option of signing a philosophical exemption for vaccines. Is it like that in Colorado?


How about cost of living? Could we find a 2 or 3 bedroom place to rent (with a yard or property) for around $800 or less?


Anything else anyone can tell me I would love to hear! It's really hard to choose both a school and a place to raise our family from so far away!

post #2 of 19

Hi BabyMommee,


I just moved to the Denver area Feb 2010 so I don't know the area as well as others but I can answer a couple of your questions. I've NEVER been to Fort Collins but I have heard good things about it. I don't know the negative of Ft. Collins but I'm sure there are some. Boulder is a lot of fun and depending on the lifestyle you live it can be a perfect fit or a huge turn off. Medical Marijuana is legal in Colorado and Boulder is the "hub" essentially. It's a very laid back life style where people are very focused on biking, hiking, organic  and natural health foods/activities. I'm guessing the reasons you've narrowed it down to Ft. Collins and Boulder is because Colorado University and Colorado State University are in both towns, so they are both big sports towns although Boulder seems to be more of the party town and Ft. Collins not so much.


As for the price of living, it is difficult to say. Since you are coming from California it might not be that big of an adjustment. The prices are definitely higher than in the midwest (where I came from).  When dh and I were looking to rent we found 2 bedroom apartments ranging from  $650-$2000 dollars depending on location and niceness.


I have seen advertisements for Montessori schools but I don't know anything about them (just that we have them lol) and I have two friends who went to very nice charter schools although one is in Brighton, CO which is quite a drive from both Ft. Collins and Boulder. I want to home school my children so I too am looking for information on home schooling communities (I'm hoping they are good also).


Unfortunately (or fortunately) I can't help you with the medical questions because I just don't know. =)


I absolutely LOVE Colorado. I don't ever want to move. The environment is great, the people are great, the mountains are GREAT and the Broncos rock! (HeeHee). I think you guys will absolutely love it here.


Hopefully other Coloradans will chime in and help you with the things I couldn't. Good luck. I hope you and your family are comfortable and happy no matter where you end up.



post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank You!

post #4 of 19
The CO version of public health does not currently cover home birth. They will cover a natural birth with a MW, but I know that isn't really the same. There is a large and active MW community here so you might be able to find a HBMW who is willing to barter with you or do a sliding scale.

Boulder is an interesting combo of the largest university in the state, wealthy tech business, and outdoorsmen. Yes, there are also hippies, but honestly I think it is the place to go to see BOB strollers, Northface coats, silk baby slings, and $150 sandals. In other words, there is a natural community there, but it is mostly an affluent one. Home prices are steep, but you could most likely get family student housing. If you are a skier, Eldora is an easy day trip and a decent slide. Denver is also just 30 minutes away if you want the zoo, theater, etc.

Fort Collins is a little different. There is money here too, but maybe a little less. The Uni is smaller, so the party scene is also a bit smaller and more confined to the areas near campus. People here bike, hike, paddle, etc., like those in Boulder, but are more likely to also hunt, fish, and own an ATV, truck, or boat. Skiing is at leat 2 hours away, so a day trip with the kids is a haul. Denver and all it's attractions are a little over an hour away, so not as convenient. Fort Collins is a little more relaxed in it's style. You will see fewer top end cars and gear, and more people just making do with what they have. Personally, I prefer the NoCo vibe which is why I live here. smile.gif

Both areas have excellent schools, including Montosorri and Waldorf. The public schools in therpse two areas are also ome of the best in the state. There is a homeschool connection organization in Boulder. Not sure if there is one up here.

Ys, you can opt out of vaccinating for "personal opposition to vaccines.". It is somewhat funny because you still have to submit a vaccine record (blank, if they have had none) but that's it.

Unless you get into family student housing there is no way you will find a property with 2 bedrooms and a yard for $800. In student land, that will run you closer to $1000 or $1200 min. If, however, you have a car then yes, you can find that, but it will be way out of town.

Honestly, I would make the decision based more on your DH career path than on the area. Both are nice places to live. CU is huge with a variety of decent programs. CSU is smaller, but has certain areas in which it shines. UNC (Greeley) is the best school for Education degrees, while Mines is excellent for science/technology stuff. Good luck with your decision. It's hard to choose from a distance!

Hope this helps!
post #5 of 19

Medicaid only cover cnms, which have not until really recently done homebirths, so basically no they won't cover. However, there is one group here advertising as being able to do them because they have a cnm with them. The birthing center in Denver does not accept it and due to law they can not accept private pay from anyone on state aid so if you get it her that option would be out for you. There are lots of cnms in the are doing hospital births, but I found it hard to find any care provider in the area accepting new medicaid patients. They are several homebirth midwives in the area if you can make payments, my last birth was $3000 about 3 years ago.




post #6 of 19
You don't specify what field your husband's graduate degree is. So it seems to me that it would be more appropriate to look at grad schools first, rather than location. However what has been written previously here is correct: Boulder is very hip and affluent. It's the only town where I have gotten a contact high. Financially, I wonder how a family on Medicaid could afford a Waldorf or Montessori school. Rents appear to be high for you, so the availability of student family housing should be a priority, as well as your husband's area of study. Good luck.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you guys - all this helps so much! I think the program in Fort Collins fits with what my husband wants to research a little more (he's a mechanical engineering major and wants to research clean energy, etc.) Right now we're just trying to narrow down what schools to apply to (since that in itself is expensive and a lot of work!) But once we narrow it down to what programs fit and where we would be willing to live, it will just depend on who gives us the best financial offer. If all goes well and he gets his Phd, that's going to take at least 4 years, so we want to end up somewhere we like and can afford. LunarLady - we do have a car, so I am envisioning living just out of town (we'll have to be close enough that my husband doesn't have a commute over a half an hour, but we've got 2 kids and one on the way and we've gotta have a little space for play and a garden if we're gonna be there that many years!


I've looked on Craigslist to get a sample of rent prices - Boulder seemed way out of our price range. Are there any names of towns or areas I should know sort of "just" out of town that might be more rural/affordable?


FruitfulMama - just in case we end up there, do you happen to remember the name of the group advertising that they can do medicaid homebirths with their cnm?


Thanks, guys, this is all great info to have!

post #8 of 19
You don't specify what field your husband's graduate degree is. So it seems to me that it would be more appropriate to look at grad schools first, rather than location. However what has been written previously here is correct: Boulder is very hip and affluent. It's the only town where I have gotten a contact high. Financially, I wonder how a family on Medicaid could afford a Waldorf or Montessori school. Rents appear to be high for you, so the availability of student family housing should be a priority, as well as your husband's area of study. Good luck.
post #9 of 19
We're moving to Fort Collins from the northeast in the fall, so I can't speak from experience, yet, but I have been doing a ton of research. There are both Waldorf and Montessori schools in Fort Collins - all the ones I found were private but almost all also say they offer financial aid to those that qualify. There are charter schools as well, but they seem to be mostly for high school age. Also, I haven't looked into it too extensively, but it also seems that the public schools offer pre-k.

As for home costs, in Fort Collins, you'd probably have a hard time finding something for $800 with a yard, etc. For that amount, or thereabouts, you could probably get a 2 br apartment. Fort Collins has made regular appearances on "Top 10 Places to Live in the US" lists for the past 10 years or so, so it's my understanding that has led to an influx of new arrivals and therefore, an increase in housing prices. Loveland, just to the south, seems a bit more affordable and Greely even moreso (though I know almost nothing about either of those towns!)

Hope to have helped!
post #10 of 19

I am noot finding it again but Lynette Chambers is one of the midwives and I think the cnm with them is Janelle Komorowski.


Laport borders Ft Collins and might be a little cheaper. We live out east in a small rural town, there are several of them if a drive is not a concern, but it sounds like you would want to have daily access, so probabaly would not work with fuel prices. We homeschool but as pp siad there are several private and charter optionsfor schools.Colorado is fairly homeschool friendly if you want to go that route. 

post #11 of 19
As far as rural areas around boulder go they're All kind pricy because of the proximity to the mountains. I live in Broomfield which is about a 20 minute drive to Boulder and a 20 minute drive to Denver. The prices sre still high in my opinion but they are a little more affordable than Boulder.

Some Towns closer to Boulder are Superior, Gunbarrel, Lafayette and I think Erie is closer, but prices stay high in these areas.
Rent.com, realtor.com, and zillow.com are all good places to look.
post #12 of 19
If you want to live close to fort Collins, but not pay the Fort Collins rent, I recommend Windsor or Loveland. Greeley is cheeper because they are a major meat packing center, so the whole town smells like feed lots. I can't stand it! If I was just moving to the area I would do Windsor. The public school system there is very good, homes are affordable, and the community is nice.

The clean energy program at CSU is supposed to be quite good, so a potential good fit there. We also have several clean energy companies in the area, which may be a good fit for an internship.

My daughter has attended Discovery Montosorri on Skyway for years. And excellent private school with quite reasonable tuition. Colorado is a school of choice state, which means you can take your kid to any school you want to within your district, as well as enroll your child in a neighboring district if space permits. Just pay attention to school district when choosing your home so that you are in the boundaries of one you like.
post #13 of 19
If you do decide to go the public school route look into cut off dates too. Poudre (ft Collins, LaPorte, Wellington) has a September 15 cut off, Thompson Valley (Loveland/berthoud) is Oct 1 and Windsor is May 1. There are homeschool groups in all areas; it's a pretty homeschool friendly area. Loveland is not significantly cheaper than Ft Collins like it was 10+ years ago and honestly, there is less going on in Loveland for families, except the Rec Center. Most charter/ magnet schools in FoCo are K-12. Two of my kids go to traditional HS but one goes to an amazing alternative. If you want the info deal free to PM me. I've live here since 1990 when I came here to go to grad school, now my oldest is graduating from HS!
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone!

post #15 of 19

Please consider Boulder! CU-Boulder has an awesome engineering program and is nationally known. People in Boulder are very smart, educated, and involved in the community in general. The campus is amazing and everything is connected via buses etc. Fort Collins also has a good school, but Colorado State is traditionally one of the state schools (think agricultural college) and Ft. Collins is an agricultural town. It is very spread out, has no where near the downtown charm or social life options in Boulder. Boulder has the Flatirons for hiking, Boulder Creek for playing with the kids, Pearl Street mall, and everything. In my mind there is no contest between Boulder and Ft. Collins -- people come from around the world just to be in Boulder. Also, you will not get high just walking around Boulder (never happened to me). Yes, it's a college town and is very liberal, but its also very professional (highest rate of start up companies/entrepreneurs). Obama just spoke at CU-Boulder two weeks ago. Awesome parenting networks in Boulder -- lots of Waldorf, Montessori, and the author of the famous "You Are Your Child's First Teacher" book lives in Boulder and has her own Waldorf Preschool. Great parenting resources (like Parenting Place), midwives, outdoor camps for kids etc.


Maybe apply to both? And at least check out Boulder! It is amazing! If you visit both places I think you will see a major difference.

post #16 of 19

By the way, in Colorado, CHP Plus insurance (state insurance that is for those that make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to really be able to afford good insurance) WILL cover a homebirth.

post #17 of 19
I didn't mean to bad mouth Boulder. I love Boulder, if dh want so against it I would move there. Its a fun community and I have never gotten high walking around there although I have had a natural "high" from all the fun I was having, plus the clean air and green trees (which you'll find all over CO)
post #18 of 19

My ex lives in Boulder, CO...and I used to have a boyfriend in Fort Collins, so I kind of know both areas from visiting a lot.  I like Boulder more.  I am younger and alternative, and just fit in there better.  Fort Collins is more grown up and I get a lot of scowls around there for having purple hair and piercings.  They are both nice outdoorsy places though and both can be pricey.  I know that Boulder has a Waldorf school, but I'm sure that Fort Collins has alternative options too.  Imo, Boulder is a little more crunchy if that matters to you.  They are both nice places to live, but they have very different vibes.  I think where you fit in better is not really something that you can know with out visiting the area first.  Good luck to you!

post #19 of 19


I've been here a long time, and tend to be pretty quiet, but wanted to speak up about Fort Collins -- which is where my family and I live. There is a large and active homeschooling community as well as a new, public-charter, no-cost K-5 Waldorf school. I'm affiliated with and sometimes work for CSU's College of Engineering and graduated several times from CU Boulder's College of Engineering. Both would be good for graduate school. I will refrain from discussing the undergraduate situation(s). While there are towns to the east of Fort Collins where rent is cheaper, the cheaper rent will come with a very, very steep price: time in the car, gas money, and fracking, fracking, fracking. It is hard to put a dollar amount on bad air and bad water. Overall, Northern Colorado is very friendly. For me, it is more real than the Boulder area and is more wheel-chair friendly as well (I realize that that will not be so important to others, but it effects my family and also does characterize the communities).


Moving is exciting! Best of luck!



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