Best Colleges in Washington 2022

Here are the best colleges and universities in Washington. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you.

Best Colleges in Washington 2022

Colleges and Universities in Washington

Of the 40 public options, the University of Washington in Seattle is the largest. Roughly 40,000 students attend classes in fields like nursing, education, biology, and computer science. This public research institution is also affordable, charging about $11,000 for tuition. In fact, none of the public schools in Washington exceed $12,000 in price. This includes community colleges, technical colleges, and four-year universities, making Washington a uniquely affordable place to earn your associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

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Washington also has 24 private institutions. Of those, nine are religious. The most widely known of these, Catholic university Gonzaga enrolls roughly 7,000 students, at a cost of $40,000, in areas such as religious studies, engineering, and law. Central Washington University (CWU) is a smaller public school, serving just over 12,000 students, and has a tuition of $8,000. With 15% of its population being Hispanic, CWU is now recognized as an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution. Washington health professions also have the opportunity to receive funding for loan repayment through Washington’s Health Professional Loan Repayment Program.

Set in the Pacific Northwest, Washington offers ocean beaches and lush forests. In fact, over half the state is covered in forests, earning Washington its nickname as The Evergreen State. Viewers atop the Space Needle in Seattle can take in the sights of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, and both the Cascades and Olympic mountain ranges. In addition, prospective students can choose from over 60 higher education institutions in the state.

Check out the top higher education programs and find an affordable degree in Washington.


What are Washington’s Colleges & Universities?

Washington’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Washington's best colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

We’ve identified 47 colleges and universities in Washington that meet our criteria. This list of the top 25 colleges in Washington below focuses on schools that offer bachelor’s degrees. The ranking features fully accredited public and private colleges and universities in Washington.

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10 Best Colleges in Washington 2022

  1. #1

    University of Washington

    Seattle , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/30

    What is University of Washington known for?

    University of Washington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Washington State University

    Pullman , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    What is Washington State University known for?

    Washington State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #3

    Seattle University

    Seattle , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/27

    What is Seattle University known for?

    Seattle University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Law
    • Engineering
    • Religious Studies
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Education
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Western Washington University

    Bellingham , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    What is Western Washington University known for?

    Western Washington University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Gonzaga University

    Spokane , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1280/27

    What is Gonzaga University known for?

    Gonzaga University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Law
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    Whitman College

    Walla Walla , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/30

    What is Whitman College known for?

    Whitman College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/20

    What is Eastern Washington University known for?

    Eastern Washington University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  8. #9

    University of Puget Sound

    Tacoma , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    3K

    What is University of Puget Sound known for?

    University of Puget Sound’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #10

    Seattle Pacific University

    Seattle , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/22

    What is Seattle Pacific University known for?

    Seattle Pacific University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #11

    Central Washington University

    Ellensburg , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/20

    What is Central Washington University known for?

    Central Washington University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Anthropology
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #12

    Pacific Lutheran University

    Tacoma , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/26

    What is Pacific Lutheran University known for?

    Pacific Lutheran University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1264/27

    What is DigiPen Institute of Technology known for?

    DigiPen Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    City University of Seattle

    Seattle , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Student body

    1K

    What is City University of Seattle known for?

    City University of Seattle’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Walla Walla University

    College Place , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Walla Walla University known for?

    Walla Walla University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Religious Studies
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #16

    Bellevue College

    Bellevue , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    10K

    What is Bellevue College known for?

    Bellevue College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    Whitworth University

    Spokane , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    What is Whitworth University known for?

    Whitworth University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/20

    What is University of Washington Tacoma known for?

    University of Washington Tacoma’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/23

    What is University of Washington Bothell known for?

    University of Washington Bothell’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
  19. #20

    Saint Martin's University

    Lacey , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/20

    What is Saint Martin's University known for?

    Saint Martin's University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Columbia Basin College

    Pasco , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Columbia Basin College known for?

    Columbia Basin College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #22

    Peninsula College

    Port Angeles , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Peninsula College known for?

    Peninsula College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Medical
  22. #23

    Seattle Central College

    Seattle , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Seattle Central College known for?

    Seattle Central College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #24

    Wenatchee Valley College

    Wenatchee , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Wenatchee Valley College known for?

    Wenatchee Valley College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #25

    Highline College

    Des Moines , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Highline College known for?

    Highline College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

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Washington’s Best Colleges in Your Area of Interest

Resources for College-Bound Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. University of Washington
  2. Whitman College
  3. Evergreen State College
  4. University of Puget Sound
  5. Seattle University
  6. Saint Martin's University
  7. Washington State University
  8. Pacific Lutheran University
  9. Seattle Pacific University
  10. Western Washington University
  11. University of Washington Bothell
  12. University of Washington Tacoma
  13. Walla Walla University
  14. Gonzaga University
  15. Whitworth University
  16. Northwest University
  17. Central Washington University