Best Private Colleges in Washington 2022

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Washington.

Best Private 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

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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How do we determine Washington's best private 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.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 15 private universities in Washington. To be included in the list below of the best private universities in Washington, schools must be fully accredited, private, non-profit institution, and must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

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Best Private Colleges in Washington

  1. #1

    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
  2. #2

    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
  3. #3

    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

  4. #4

    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
  5. #5

    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
  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. #8

    City University of Seattle

    Seattle , WA

    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

  9. #9

    Walla Walla University

    College Place , WA

    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

  10. #10

    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

  11. #11

    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

  12. #12

    Antioch University Seattle

    Seattle , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Antioch University Seattle known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Northwest University

    Kirkland , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/23

    What is Northwest University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #14

    Charter College

    Vancouver , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Charter College known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
  15. #15

    Heritage University

    Toppenish , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Heritage University known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
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Washington’s Best Private Colleges in Your Area 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. Whitman College
  2. University of Puget Sound
  3. Seattle University
  4. Saint Martin's University
  5. Pacific Lutheran University
  6. Seattle Pacific University
  7. DigiPen Institute of Technology
  8. Walla Walla University
  9. Gonzaga University
  10. Whitworth University
  11. Northwest University