2022 best colleges in Washington

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.

Earningsplus: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state.

Rankings: The ranking order is based on the economic score. The economic score is calculated using a school’s payback and earningsplus performance.

Net cost
Payback
Earnings
EarningsPlus
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Washington

University of Washington-Tacoma Campus

Tacoma, Washington

Economic score: 0.75

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $10,817

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 1.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $68,925

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $23,966

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 87%
Graduation rate: 76%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#2 in Washington

University of Washington-Bothell Campus

Bothell, Washington

Economic score: 0.78

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $11,060

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 1.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $68,925

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $23,966

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 88%
Graduation rate: 74%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#3 in Washington | #19 in National Universities

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Seattle, Washington

Economic score: 0.88

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $13,297

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 1.3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $68,925

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $23,966

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 56%
Graduation rate: 84%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#4 in Washington | #88 in National Universities

Washington State University

Pullman, Washington

Economic score: 1.62

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,358

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $61,080

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $16,121

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 80%
Graduation rate: 64%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#5 in Washington

Central Washington University

Ellensburg, Washington

Economic score: 2.00

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $15,397

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $55,685

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $10,726

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 86%
Graduation rate: 63%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#6 in Washington

Eastern Washington University

Cheney, Washington

Economic score: 2.05

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $12,607

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $52,667

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $7,708

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 79%
Graduation rate: 58%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#7 in Washington | #137 in National Universities

Gonzaga University

Spokane, Washington

Economic score: 2.14

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $33,793

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $69,468

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $24,509

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 73%
Graduation rate: 86%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#8 in Washington

Western Washington University

Bellingham, Washington

Economic score: 2.22

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,529

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.7 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $54,976

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $10,017

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 94%
Graduation rate: 72%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#9 in Washington | #147 in National Universities

Seattle University

Seattle, Washington

Economic score: 2.24

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $34,802

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $69,303

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $24,344

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 84%
Graduation rate: 78%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#10 in Washington

Pacific Lutheran University

Tacoma, Washington

Economic score: 2.51

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $23,058

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $57,049

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $12,090

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 87%
Graduation rate: 68%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#11 in Washington

Heritage University

Toppenish, Washington

Economic score: 2.62

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $10,056

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.7 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $46,046

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $1,087

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: N/A
Graduation rate: 50%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#12 in Washington | #239 in National Universities

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle, Washington

Economic score: 2.98

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $26,505

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $57,097

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $12,138

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 91%
Graduation rate: 67%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#13 in Washington | #79 in Liberal Arts

University of Puget Sound

Tacoma, Washington

Economic score: 3.04

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $35,149

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $61,842

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $16,883

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 87%
Graduation rate: 76%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#14 in Washington

Whitworth University

Spokane, Washington

Economic score: 3.07

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $25,557

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $55,248

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $10,289

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 92%
Graduation rate: 77%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#15 in Washington

Walla Walla University

College Place, Washington

Economic score: 3.09

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $20,571

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.7 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $53,236

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $8,277

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: N/A
Graduation rate: 63%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#16 in Washington

Saint Martin's University

Lacey, Washington

Economic score: 3.31

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $22,668

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $55,283

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $10,324

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 95%
Graduation rate: 69%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#17 in Washington

Northwest University

Kirkland, Washington

Economic score: 4.11

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $22,194

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $48,096

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $3,137

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 93%
Graduation rate: 60%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#18 in Washington | #131 in Liberal Arts

Whitman College

Walla Walla, Washington

Economic score: 4.61

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $38,672

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 6.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $59,340

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $14,381

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 55%
Graduation rate: 89%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#19 in Washington

The Evergreen State College

Olympia, Washington

Economic score: 4.87

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $13,604

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $40,782

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $4,177

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 99%
Graduation rate: 64%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#20 in Washington

Faith International University

Tacoma, Washington

Economic score: 5.76

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $17,309

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 5.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $42,958

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $2,001

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: N/A
Graduation rate: 58%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

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