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Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

Why This Matters


    According to College Navigator, the four-year colleges in the Evergreen State include 42 public and 26 private non-profit options.


    For the 2022-23 school year, the average in-state tuition for public four-year colleges in Washington is $11,125, according to College Board.


    In the U.S., full-time undergraduate students attending college in 2021-22 received an average of $15,330 per year in financial aid.

Our Research

This list features some of the best brick-and-mortar colleges in Washington. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on our list are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) — this  organization examines the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of postsecondary education programs in the northwestern United States.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission standards, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the resources and services provided for on-campus students. Then, we used this information to calculate the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Colleges in Washington State

Best Colleges In Washington

University of Washington

Whitman College

Western Washington University

Seattle University

University of Washington - Bothell

University of Washington - Tacoma

Washington State University

University of Puget Sound

Walla Walla University

Whitworth University

Seattle Pacific University

The Evergreen State College

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What You Should Know About Graduating From College in Washington State

Location is an important factor to consider when choosing where to study and begin a career. As of May 2022, the five largest industries in the state of Washington are office and administrative support occupations, sales, food preparation and serving, transportation and material moving, and business and financial operations.

Also, the fastest-growing jobs for workers in Washington with a bachelor’s degree are information security analysts, special effects artists, market research analysts, film and video editors, and web developers.

To get an even better sense of your future employment opportunities, take a look at the top employers in the state. Some of the largest employers in Washington include Boeing, Microsoft, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Schweitzer Engineering Labs, and Costco.

What’s Next?

Federal and state assistance can make your four-year college education much more affordable. Here is a list of resources to help you understand the different types of financial aid available and how to apply:

  • Washington Student Achievement Council (WASC). WASC ensures educational access through needs-based, merit-based, and workforce programs at participating colleges. This includes the particularly generous Washington College Grant (WCG).
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Provided by the U.S. Department of Education, FAFSA is the main form students use to apply for financial aid for college. To determine if you’re eligible for aid, submit a completed FAFSA form online.
  • CareerOneStop Scholarship Finder. This tool will show you available scholarships, grants, and loans and can be filtered by state and degree type. It includes information such as dollar amounts, how to apply, qualifications, deadlines, and contact details.

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