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Online and On-Campus Colleges in
WASHINGTON

Online and On-Campus Colleges in & Washington

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed March 2, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2, 2016, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed April 27, 2017: About EWU, Eastern Washington University, https://www.ewu.edu/about; Undergraduate Degree Completion, Eastern Washington University, https://sites.ewu.edu/easternonline/majors/; About, Clover Park Technical College, http://cptc.edu/about; About UW Bothell, University of Washington Bothell, https://www.uwb.edu/about; About, University of Washington Tacoma, http://www.tacoma.uw.edu/about-uw-tacoma/about-university-washington-tacoma; Green Campus, Western Washington University, http://www.wwu.edu/about/green; Goals and Commitments, Office of Sustainability, Western Washington University, https://sustain.wwu.edu/goals-and-commitments/; Online Bachelor's Programs, Washington State University, https://online.wsu.edu/undergrad/Default.aspx; Prior Learning from Experience (PLE), The Evergreen State College, http://www.evergreen.edu/eveningweekend/ple; Fast Facts, Heritage University, http://www.heritage.edu/About-Heritage/Fast-Facts; Online Degrees, Heritage University, http://www.heritage.edu/Academic-Programs/Online-Degrees;
  • "Washington's community college transfer students do well in four-year colleges," The Seattle Times, Katherine Long, January 23, 2016, accessed April 27, 2017, http://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/washingtons-community-college-transfer-students-do-well-in-four-year-colleges/
  • Washington State University, Best Online Colleges, U.S. News & World Report, https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/washington-state-university-236939
  • Financial Aid Overview, Washington Student Achievement Council, accessed April 27, 2017, http://www.wsac.wa.gov/sfa-overview
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The state of Washington is home to colleges and universities both large and small, and it's no easy task to figure out just which one of them is the right one to help you meet your educational goals. There are six public four-year colleges in the state, including the University of Washington with its three different locations. And there are more than a dozen private four-year schools.

If you're currently attending (or planning to attend) one of the 34 community colleges that are part of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges system, you'll also want to know about your options for moving on to a bachelor's degree program in the state. A 2016 report showed that Washington community college transfer students were the best in the nation at finishing their four-year degrees after transferring. Remember to check with your advisor and find out if you're eligible for transfer assistance.

Best 4-Year Colleges in Washington

Thanks to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and other sources within the U.S. Department of Education, we were able to pull together enough data to rank Washington schools on 13 separate metrics and add up their scores to determine the top ten. You can find some details about our methodology at the bottom of the page, where we've listed each of the metrics we used and how they were weighted in the final calculation of the rankings. Here it is: the list, from No. 1 to No. 10, of the best traditional and online schools in Washington.

Methodology
1University of Washington-Seattle Campus+
ADMISSION RATE
53%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$70
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
9

The flagship campus of the University of Washington landed in the top ten on nearly every metric in our analysis, including no fewer than seven placements in the top four. The size and variety of its catalog of degree programs gave it a runaway No. 1 placement among Washington schools — the 626 academic programs available at the Seattle institution were the most of any school of the more than 1,600 included in our nationwide analysis.

UW also took the No. 1 spot in the state for its institutional grant aid awarded as a percentage of tuition and fees. Plus, its students were among the best at managing their college debt load both during and after their degree programs. The median debt for newly minted UW alumni was under $16,000 in 2014-15, and more than 81 percent of graduates reported being able to pay off their loans within three years.

Additional Info
2Eastern Washington University+
ADMISSION RATE
82%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

The raw cost of tuition and fees at Eastern Washington University ranked No. 2 among our top ten for affordability in 2015-16, according to NCES data, and its proportion of institutional grant aid awards also placed second among schools on our list. The Cheney-based school was also one of the best online colleges in Washington. Its selection of degrees and degree completion programs available via distance education tied for the No. 4 spot among our top ten schools.

Campus-based flexibility measures for nontraditional students were another driver of EWU's No. 2 overall ranking. Weekend and evening degree plans, course credit exams for relevant life experience and remedial services for students who need to be refreshed on the academic basics are all available.

Additional Info
3University of Washington, Bothell+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$60
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The Bothell campus of the University of Washington recorded the third-highest 2015-16 graduation rate among our top ten schools and doled out an amount of institutional grant aid that just two other schools on our list could beat. Its average net price figures for both middle- and low-income students placed it at No. 5 in the state.

Although it offers the second-smallest catalog of degree programs of any school on our list, UW Bothell works to accommodate its students however it can. Certain degree programs can be completed entirely with courses offered in the evening and on weekends, and degree completers have access to placement services after graduation.

Additional Info
4University of Washington, Tacoma+
ADMISSION RATE
83%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$60
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

This campus on the southern edge of Puget Sound posted an affordable average net price that placed No. 3 in the state, for both middle-income and low-income students. It took the No. 5 spot among schools on our list for the proportion of institutional grant aid awarded to students, and it shares the state's No. 3 ranking for the manageable amount of debt incurred on average by its graduating students.

The numbers suggest that students tended to stick around through the ups and downs of their degree programs at UW Tacoma, as well. Only one other school on our list posted a better rate of first-year student retention, and its graduation rate placed above the midline among our top ten schools.

Additional Info
5Western Washington University+
ADMISSION RATE
82%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$55
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
2

Western Washington University placed at No. 6 in the state for the raw affordability of its tuition and fees, and its average net price for low-income students took the No. 7 spot among all Washington schools. Its catalog of degree programs was larger than those at all but four other institutions in the state, and its graduation and retention rates ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, among the schools on our list.

If ecology and environmental sustainability are important to you, WWU offers you plenty to be glad about. The Bellingham campus has a dedicated Office of Sustainability, has been purchasing 100 percent renewable energy to meet its power needs since 2004 and plans to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

Additional Info
6Washington State University+
ADMISSION RATE
80%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
30

It should come as no surprise that the second largest school in the state also features the second-largest academic catalog. Washington State University offered its students 366 different degree programs in 2015-16, according to NCES numbers, and did so while charging the lowest raw cost of books and supplies of any school on our list.

Students looking for an online bachelor's degree in Washington are likely to find a whole host of reasons to consider WSU for their online education. It took the No. 1 ranking in the state for its number of degree programs available in the virtual classroom, for one, and U.S. News & World Report listed the Pullman institution among its top 20 schools in the country for online undergraduate study.

Additional Info
7Central Washington University+
ADMISSION RATE
82%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
13

The selection of degree programs at this Ellensburg institution placed third in the state in 2015-16, and the average net price reported for both low- and middle-income students landed at No. 9 statewide. Just four other schools on our list charged a lower amount for tuition and fees than Central Washington University, and its affordability of books and supplies ranked No. 2 among our top ten colleges.

CWU was also one of the best online colleges in Washington, both by enrollment and by the size of its online degree catalog. It took the No. 1 spot among schools on our list for the percentage of its student body taking at least some of their courses via distance education, and its array of online degrees was the third-largest in the state.

Additional Info
8The Evergreen State College+
ADMISSION RATE
98%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

This liberal arts college in Olympia posted an affordable tuition and fees expense that placed at No. 3 out of our top 10 schools and average net price figures that ranked No. 8 in the state for students across the income spectrum. The Evergreen State College also ranked No. 4 among schools on our list for the proportion of its average tuition cost awarded to students as institutional grant aid.

As a fully brick-and-mortar school, Evergreen focuses on campus-based flexibility measures for its nontraditional students. Weekend and evening degree programs are available, and students who have spent some time outside the academic pipeline can earn course credit for the things their lives have taught them through the Prior Learning from Experience (PLE) program.

Additional Info
9Heritage University+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

Heritage University has the smallest student body of any of the Washington schools in our top 10, and it's also one of the youngest. Founded in 1981 by two Yakama Nation women, Heritage has grown into a strong regional university that offers more than 70 degree programs on campus — good for the No. 7 spot in that category among schools on our list.

Heritage was also a top-tier online institution, taking the No. 2 spot on our list for its percentage of students enrolled in at least some distance education coursework. Students seeking a fully online bachelor's degree program in Washington can study English and humanities entirely in the virtual classroom at Heritage. It was also one of just a few schools in the top ten to offer remedial services and a tuition payment plan.

Additional Info
10Faith International University+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
6

This evangelical faith-based institution in Tacoma squeaked past our No. 2 school to take the top spot in the state for its affordable raw cost of tuition and fees in 2015-16. On top of that, the manageable amount of debt typically carried by its graduates gave Faith International University the No. 4 ranking in the state in that category, and just one other Washington school reported a higher graduation rate.

The student body at Faith is exceedingly small — the institution's website counts just 400 students — but distance education is a significant part of their path through school. According to the NCES, more than 99.7 percent of students enrolled at Faith took at least one course in the virtual classroom in 2015, nearly 30 percentage points higher than the second-place school in that category.

Additional Info

Most Popular Degree Programs in Washington

Students in Washington have a fairly wide range of interests when it comes to the subjects they choose as their college major. Check out this list of the most popular degree programs in Washington and see if the one you're considering made the list.

In-demand Careers in Washington

Employment projections show that the Washington job market is expected to grow over the next several years, and that certain employment sectors are likely to have greater demand than others for new applicants. Here's a list of the state's hottest occupations, to help you plan a route through college and into the workforce.

Career Title Total Employment Projected Job Growth Annual Salary
Pediatricians, General1805.7%$204,930
Psychiatrists28014.8%$201,720
Nurse Anesthetists57016.3%$183,740
Dentists, All Other Specialists-16.3%$183,650
Chief Executives5,91019%$177,000
Dentists, General2,29021.8%$165,420
Architectural and Engineering Managers4,4607.7%$145,690
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary3,41017.2%$142,240
Computer and Information Systems Managers11,79035.9%$140,620
Petroleum Engineers1607.1%$135,480

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Washington

Several state-based and workforce-targeted financial aid programs may be available to Washington students:

  • The College Bound Scholarship provides need-based financial assistance to qualifying students who apply for the program in the seventh or eighth grade, and who complete the formal pledge requirements by their senior year of high school.
  • The State Need Grant (SNG) awards aid to first-time undergraduate students in eligible degree programs whose family income is less than 70 percent of the statewide median.
  • The Washington State Work Study (SWS) program makes available part-time employment opportunities for low- and middle-income students.

 
Sullivan Award
Applicant must have demonstrated scholastic potential and leadership skills.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$29,175

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 15

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA and completion of at least 45 credit hours.

 
Provost Scholarship
Applicant must be an out-of-state resident with a minimum 3.75 GPA and minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 1400 (composite ACT score of 32).
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.

 
7th GotScholarship $20K Give Away
Applicant must be a current or future college student/graduate with outstanding loans in any area of study. Applicant must be 18 years of age or older and register with GotChosen.com in ordered to be entered into the random drawing. Selection not based upon GPA, essay, or financial need. Award required to be used for educational expenses.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 28

 

 

 
President's Non-Resident Scholarship
Applicant must be an incoming freshman student who is not a resident of Utah. Applicant is automatically considered with application for admission.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$17,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.

Additional Resources

Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    • Remedial services
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Guaranteed tuition plan
    • Tuition payment plan
    • Any other alternative tuition plan
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Central Washington University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
400 East University Way
City
Ellensburg
State
WA
Zip Code
98926
Website
www.cwu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
420-550
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
430-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
410-500
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
17-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
11,112
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
82%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,688
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
25
Number of Online Programs Offered
13
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
32%
Eastern Washington University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
526 5th Street
City
Cheney
State
WA
Zip Code
99004
Website
www.ewu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
420-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
430-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
410-520
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
18-23
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Fringe
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
11,300
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
82%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,866
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
24
Number of Online Programs Offered
4
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
17%
The Evergreen State College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
2700 Evergreen Pkwy NW
City
Olympia
State
WA
Zip Code
98505
Website
www.evergreen.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
490-630
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-560
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
460-590
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,872
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
98%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,364
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
24
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
Heritage University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
3240 Fort Rd
City
Toppenish
State
WA
Zip Code
98948
Website
www.heritage.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Rural: Fringe
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
834
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$19,122
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
11
Number of Online Programs Offered
4
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
25%
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1400 NE Campus Parkway
City
Seattle
State
WA
Zip Code
98195
Website
www.washington.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
540-660
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
580-710
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
530-650
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
26-31
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
31,063
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$70
Admission Rate
53%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$11,839
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
0
Number of Online Programs Offered
9
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
10%
Western Washington University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
516 High Street
City
Bellingham
State
WA
Zip Code
98225
Website
www.wwu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
500-620
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
500-600
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
470-590
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
22-27
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
14,402
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$55
Admission Rate
82%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,611
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
25
Number of Online Programs Offered
2
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
6%
University of Washington-Bothell Campus
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
18115 Campus Way NE
City
Bothell
State
WA
Zip Code
98011
Website
www.uwb.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
450-570
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-590
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
430-550
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
4,696
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$60
Admission Rate
79%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$11,758
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
25
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
1%
University of Washington-Tacoma Campus
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1900 Commerce St
City
Tacoma
State
WA
Zip Code
98402
Website
www.tacoma.uw.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
410-550
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
440-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
400-520
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
16-22
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,921
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$60
Admission Rate
83%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$11,905
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
0
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
7%
Faith Evangelical College & Seminary
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
3504 N Pearl St
City
Tacoma
State
WA
Zip Code
98407
Website
www.faithseminary.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
179
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,845
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
14
Number of Online Programs Offered
6
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
100%
Washington State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
French Administration Building
City
Pullman
State
WA
Zip Code
99164
Website
wsu.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
450-570
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
460-580
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
430-550
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
24,470
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
80%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$11,967
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
19
Number of Online Programs Offered
30
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
17%
X