Compare School Options

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

Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Washington. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. 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 like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

Nearly every listed institution is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the agency that holds regional colleges and universities to high standards regarding performance, integrity, and quality of merit. One of our listed institutions is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), which holds religious educational institutions in the United States and abroad to stringent educational standards.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated 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 Online Colleges in Washington State

Best Online Colleges in Washington Badge

University of Washington

Washington State University

Western Washington University

Gonzaga University

City University of Seattle

Eastern Washington University

Central Washington University

Northwest University

Seattle University

University of Washington Tacoma

Whitworth University

Discover More Options

Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Washington State

Does Washington State have good online colleges and universities?

Absolutely. The state offers some of the top online programs in the country, such as the University of Washington’s Hybrid MBA program and Washington State University’s Online Bachelor’s in Business program. If you do graduate from a business program, you should strongly consider staying in Washington, as the state offers many lucrative opportunities in the business management, operations, and finance industries. Washington offers many other types of online degrees and growing industries to choose from as well.

It’s also worth mentioning that we selected Washington State University as one of the 30 best schools in the entire United States for distance education. For more information, check out our guide to the best accredited online colleges. In addition to showing you the top options in the country for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

Do online college credits in Washington State cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. For example, if you’d like to take online classes at Bellevue College, you’ll need to pay a “Distance Education Fee” of $10.50 per credit.

Why should you choose Washington State for online higher education?

From affordable community colleges to private religious institutions to top public research universities, Washington has something to offer for every type of online college student. One option stands out as a particularly appealing choice for out-of-state students — with Central Washington University’s non-resident waivers, out-of-state students enrolled in online undergraduate programs can access the same tuition rates as in-state students.

The Cost of Online College in Washington State

How much does an online degree in Washington State cost?

The cost of an online degree in Washington depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you decide to pursue. For example, undergraduate degrees are usually much more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you’ll probably find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the lowest and highest rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Washington below:

Most affordable online college in Washington: Northwest University, $407 per credit

Most expensive online college in Washington: Central Washington University, $796 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Washington State to get in-state tuition rates?

In most cases, you will be eligible for in-state tuition rates after you’ve lived in Washington for one year. Some groups, such as military veterans, tribal members, and students who live just on the other side of the Oregon border, may be able to access in-state tuition rates without meeting this one-year requirement.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Washington State?

Depending on your income, the size of your family, and which institution you attend, you may be able to cover the entire cost of going to college through the Washington College Grant. It’s also worth noting that you should submit your FAFSA application every year to see if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Washington State

In addition to the Washington College Grant, there are many other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are also based on financial need, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

College Bound Scholarship

Like the Washington College Grant, this program is also managed by the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC). The scholarship provides financial support for tuition and fees, as well as a book allowance, at more than 65 colleges, universities, and technical schools in Washington.

Who’s eligible? Low-income seventh and eighth grade students who pledge to graduate high school with at least a 2.0 GPA and no felony convictions.

Contact information: [email protected] | 888-535-0747

Learn more

American Indian Endowed Scholarship

Yet another WSAC program, this scholarship is for students who both qualify for financial aid and have close social or cultural ties to an American Indian community in the state of Washington. About 15 applicants are chosen each year to receive this award, which ranges from $500 to $2,000.

Who’s eligible? Financially needy students who have close ties to an American Indian community and are not pursuing a degree in theology.

Contact information: [email protected] | 360-485-1311

Learn more

Washington State Opportunity Scholarship

This scholarship program is designed for students pursuing high-demand careers in Washington state. Overall, three awards are available — the Baccalaureate Scholarship (maximum benefit of $22,500), Graduate Scholarship (maximum benefit of $25,000), and Career and Technical Scholarship (maximum benefit of $1,500 per quarter for the duration of your associate degree, certification, or apprenticeship program).

Who’s eligible? Students majoring in a STEM or healthcare field who have a total family income that does not exceed 125% of the Washington state family median income. For the Baccalaureate Scholarship and Career and Technical Scholarship, you must have also graduated high school with at least a 2.75 GPA or passed the GED.

Contact information: [email protected] | 877-899-5002

Learn more

Opportunity Grants

The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges administers this grant program, which provides qualifying students with funding for up to 45 college credits, up to $1,000 for books and supplies, and access to resources such as tutoring, career advising, emergency child care, and emergency transportation.

Who’s eligible? Students enrolled in a community or technical college who have an income that does not exceed 200% of the federal poverty level and maintain a GPA of at least 2.0.

Contact information: [email protected] | 888-535-0747

Learn more

Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries in Washington

If you still don’t know where you’ll attend college, it’s possible you also don’t know your major yet. In that case, one of the most important factors you should consider is which industries are growing the fastest in Washington — this will make it easier to find a job, and more demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections (2020–2030), we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Washington:

Nurse Practitioners

NPs are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in diagnosing and treating patients with an emphasis on preventative care and health education. They are quickly becoming many Americans’ preferred primary care professionals. NPs tend to be well-compensated; in Washington they earn an average salary of $135,590.

Software Developers and Testers

Washington is the home of top tech companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, so it’s no surprise that there are many job opportunities for software developers and testers in the state. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high — in Washington, software developers earn an average salary of $152,010, and software testers make $111,380.

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants are one of the most in-demand health professionals. They work under physicians to support patient care and must complete extensive education and medical training. They are not as highly compensated as physicians, but they still tend to make six-figure salaries. The average annual physician assistant salary in Washington is $145,390.

Substance Use Disorder, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

Washington, like most states in the U.S., is experiencing a mental health and substance use disorder epidemic. There is a growing need to provide more professional support around addiction, behavioral issues, and mental health. In Washington, counselors in this field earn an average salary of $58,070.

  • Growth: 23.1%
  • Degree options: Bachelor’s in Clinical/Medical Social Work, Bachelor’s in Psychology, Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, Master’s in Clinical/Medical Social Work, Master’s in Clinical Psychology, Master’s in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling

Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specialize in treating speech impediments and other issues that arise in the mouth and throat area, including chewing and swallowing food. Demand for SLP services is expected to rise greatly in Washington and across the country, largely due to the aging population and prevalence of health issues such as stroke and Alzheimer’s, which can impair speech and eating skills. In Washington, SLPs make an average annual salary of $93,690.

  • Growth: 21.9%
  • Degree options: Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology

Discover More Accredited Online Colleges and Degree Programs

Online Colleges by State

Compare School Options