2022 best colleges in Washington best-colleges

Featuring an iconic coastline, deep green forests, and high-quality public and private institutions, Washington offers students a healthy mix of nightlife, wildlife, and activity. Evergreen State College in Olympia was founded in the 1960s as an experimental institution and still encourages students to design their own academic programs. Established in 1861, the University of Washington is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast and renowned for its contribution to medical, engineering, and scientific research. Not to mention the opportunity for small classes at the state’s private and liberal arts schools, like Whitman College, which has a 9:1 student-to-teacher ratio.

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Net cost: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

Earnings: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

Payback: The amount of time in years it takes to pay off the median net cost by the median earnings. For this calculation, the median earning of high school graduates (in the school’s home state) are deducted from the median earnings.

Degree premium: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state. This is called “Vs. state average” in school profiles below.

Ranking: The payback rate is divided by the degree premium (set as a percentage), the lower the number the higher the rank. (i.e. payback=1, degree premium 20% higher than state school median: 1/120% = .883.

Net cost
Earnings
Payback
Degree premium
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Washington

University of Washington-Tacoma Campus

Tacoma, Washington

Admission rate: 87%

Grad rate: 76%

Net cost: $10,817

Payback: 1.1 Years

Earnings: $68,925

Vs. state average: + $23,966

Economic score: 0.75

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#2 in Washington

University of Washington-Bothell Campus

Bothell, Washington

Admission rate: 88%

Grad rate: 74%

Net cost: $11,060

Payback: 1.2 Years

Earnings: $68,925

Vs. state average: + $23,966

Economic score: 0.78

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#3 in Washington

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Seattle, Washington

Admission rate: 56%

Grad rate: 84%

Net cost: $13,297

Payback: 1.3 Years

Earnings: $68,925

Vs. state average: + $23,966

Economic score: 0.88

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#4 in Washington

Washington State University

Pullman, Washington

Admission rate: 80%

Grad rate: 64%

Net cost: $16,358

Payback: 2.2 Years

Earnings: $61,080

Vs. state average: + $16,121

Economic score: 1.62

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#5 in Washington

Central Washington University

Ellensburg, Washington

Admission rate: 86%

Grad rate: 63%

Net cost: $15,397

Payback: 2.5 Years

Earnings: $55,685

Vs. state average: + $10,726

Economic score: 2.00

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#6 in Washington

Eastern Washington University

Cheney, Washington

Admission rate: 79%

Grad rate: 58%

Net cost: $12,607

Payback: 2.4 Years

Earnings: $52,667

Vs. state average: + $7,708

Economic score: 2.05

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#7 in Washington

Gonzaga University

Spokane, Washington

Admission rate: 73%

Grad rate: 86%

Net cost: $33,793

Payback: 3.3 Years

Earnings: $69,468

Vs. state average: + $24,509

Economic score: 2.14

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#8 in Washington

Western Washington University

Bellingham, Washington

Admission rate: 94%

Grad rate: 72%

Net cost: $16,529

Payback: 2.7 Years

Earnings: $54,976

Vs. state average: + $10,017

Economic score: 2.22

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#9 in Washington

Seattle University

Seattle, Washington

Admission rate: 84%

Grad rate: 78%

Net cost: $34,802

Payback: 3.4 Years

Earnings: $69,303

Vs. state average: + $24,344

Economic score: 2.24

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#10 in Washington

Pacific Lutheran University

Tacoma, Washington

Admission rate: 87%

Grad rate: 68%

Net cost: $23,058

Payback: 3.2 Years

Earnings: $57,049

Vs. state average: + $12,090

Economic score: 2.51

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#11 in Washington

Heritage University

Toppenish, Washington

Admission rate: N/A

Grad rate: 50%

Net cost: $10,056

Payback: 2.7 Years

Earnings: $46,046

Vs. state average: + $1,087

Economic score: 2.62

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#12 in Washington

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle, Washington

Admission rate: 91%

Grad rate: 67%

Net cost: $26,505

Payback: 3.8 Years

Earnings: $57,097

Vs. state average: + $12,138

Economic score: 2.98

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#13 in Washington

University of Puget Sound

Tacoma, Washington

Admission rate: 87%

Grad rate: 76%

Net cost: $35,149

Payback: 4.2 Years

Earnings: $61,842

Vs. state average: + $16,883

Economic score: 3.04

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#14 in Washington

Whitworth University

Spokane, Washington

Admission rate: 92%

Grad rate: 77%

Net cost: $25,557

Payback: 3.8 Years

Earnings: $55,248

Vs. state average: + $10,289

Economic score: 3.07

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#15 in Washington

Walla Walla University

College Place, Washington

Admission rate: N/A

Grad rate: 63%

Net cost: $20,571

Payback: 3.7 Years

Earnings: $53,236

Vs. state average: + $8,277

Economic score: 3.09

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#16 in Washington

Saint Martin's University

Lacey, Washington

Admission rate: 95%

Grad rate: 69%

Net cost: $22,668

Payback: 4.1 Years

Earnings: $55,283

Vs. state average: + $10,324

Economic score: 3.31

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#17 in Washington

Northwest University

Kirkland, Washington

Admission rate: 93%

Grad rate: 60%

Net cost: $22,194

Payback: 4.4 Years

Earnings: $48,096

Vs. state average: + $3,137

Economic score: 4.11

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#18 in Washington

Whitman College

Walla Walla, Washington

Admission rate: 55%

Grad rate: 89%

Net cost: $38,672

Payback: 6.1 Years

Earnings: $59,340

Vs. state average: + $14,381

Economic score: 4.61

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#19 in Washington

The Evergreen State College

Olympia, Washington

Admission rate: 99%

Grad rate: 64%

Net cost: $13,604

Payback: 4.4 Years

Earnings: $40,782

Vs. state average: - $4,177

Economic score: 4.87

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#20 in Washington

Faith International University

Tacoma, Washington

Admission rate: N/A

Grad rate: 58%

Net cost: $17,309

Payback: 5.5 Years

Earnings: $42,958

Vs. state average: - $2,001

Economic score: 5.76

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