Best Private Colleges in Washington 2024

Badge for BEST IN WASHINGTON PRIVATE COLLEGES

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.

10 Best Private Colleges in Washington

Sort by:
  1. Seattle University
  2. Gonzaga University
  3. Whitman College
  4. University of Puget Sound
  5. Seattle Pacific University
  6. Pacific Lutheran University
  7. DigiPen Institute of Technology
  8. City University of Seattle
  9. Walla Walla University
  10. Whitworth University
  1. Seattle University
  2. Gonzaga University
  3. Whitman College
  4. University of Puget Sound
  5. Seattle Pacific University
  6. Pacific Lutheran University
  7. Walla Walla University
  8. Whitworth University
  9. City University of Seattle
  10. DigiPen Institute of Technology
  1. Northwest University 96%
  2. Seattle Pacific University 92%
  3. Whitworth University 91%
  4. University of Puget Sound 88%
  5. Pacific Lutheran University 88%
  6. Seattle University 82%
  7. Gonzaga University 76%
  8. Saint Martin's University 72%
  9. Whitman College 59%
  10. DigiPen Institute of Technology 46%
  1. Charter College 25 to 1
  2. Walla Walla University 15 to 1
  3. Seattle Pacific University 13 to 1
  4. Pacific Lutheran University 12 to 1
  5. Saint Martin's University 12 to 1
  6. Whitworth University 11 to 1
  7. Gonzaga University 11 to 1
  8. Seattle University 10 to 1
  9. DigiPen Institute of Technology 10 to 1
  10. Northwest University 10 to 1
  1. Whitman College $55,982
  2. University of Puget Sound $55,670
  3. Seattle University $49,335
  4. Gonzaga University $48,470
  5. Pacific Lutheran University $48,226
  6. Whitworth University $47,590
  7. Saint Martin's University $40,690
  8. Seattle Pacific University $35,646
  9. DigiPen Institute of Technology $34,900
  10. Northwest University $33,980
  1. University of Puget Sound $36,047
  2. DigiPen Institute of Technology $29,100
  3. Pacific Lutheran University $29,084
  4. Seattle Pacific University $24,273
  5. Walla Walla University $24,048
  6. Northwest University $18,829
  7. Antioch University Seattle $18,024
  8. Saint Martin's University $15,840
  9. Gonzaga University $14,499
  10. Seattle University $13,770
  1. Heritage University
  2. Charter College
  3. Northwest University
  4. Antioch University Seattle
  5. Saint Martin's University
  6. Whitworth University
  7. Walla Walla University
  8. City University of Seattle
  9. DigiPen Institute of Technology
  10. Pacific Lutheran University
  1. Antioch University Seattle
  2. Heritage University
  3. Charter College
  4. Northwest University
  5. Saint Martin's University
  6. DigiPen Institute of Technology
  7. City University of Seattle
  8. Whitworth University
  9. Walla Walla University
  10. Pacific Lutheran University
  1. DigiPen Institute of Technology 46%
  2. Whitman College 59%
  3. Saint Martin's University 72%
  4. Gonzaga University 76%
  5. Seattle University 82%
  6. Pacific Lutheran University 88%
  7. University of Puget Sound 88%
  8. Whitworth University 91%
  9. Seattle Pacific University 92%
  10. Northwest University 96%
  1. Antioch University Seattle 3 to 1
  2. City University of Seattle 6 to 1
  3. Heritage University 6 to 1
  4. Whitman College 8 to 1
  5. University of Puget Sound 9 to 1
  6. Seattle University 10 to 1
  7. DigiPen Institute of Technology 10 to 1
  8. Northwest University 10 to 1
  9. Whitworth University 11 to 1
  10. Gonzaga University 11 to 1
  1. City University of Seattle $13,658
  2. Charter College $17,289
  3. Heritage University $18,500
  4. Antioch University Seattle $21,600
  5. Walla Walla University $30,531
  6. Northwest University $33,980
  7. DigiPen Institute of Technology $34,900
  8. Seattle Pacific University $35,646
  9. Saint Martin's University $40,690
  10. Whitworth University $47,590
  1. Heritage University $9,732
  2. City University of Seattle $11,812
  3. Whitworth University $12,456
  4. Seattle University $13,770
  5. Gonzaga University $14,499
  6. Saint Martin's University $15,840
  7. Antioch University Seattle $18,024
  8. Northwest University $18,829
  9. Walla Walla University $24,048
  10. Seattle Pacific University $24,273

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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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.

Washington's Best Private Colleges and Universities Badge
Download Badge

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.

Back to Top

Best Private Colleges in Washington

  1. #3

    Whitman College

    Walla Walla , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1330/31

    Career Outlook for degree at Whitman College

    Cost of Degree: $58,622
    Expenses: $16,420
    Starting Salary: $59,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 18 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  2. Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Puget Sound

    Cost of Degree: $57,626
    Expenses: $17,944
    Starting Salary: $59,100
    Cost Recoup Time: 19 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/23

    Career Outlook for degree at Seattle Pacific University

    Cost of Degree: $37,158
    Expenses: $18,579
    Starting Salary: $54,200
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  4. Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    3K

    Career Outlook for degree at Pacific Lutheran University

    Cost of Degree: $50,256
    Expenses: $14,976
    Starting Salary: $53,500
    Cost Recoup Time: 18 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  5. Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1240/28

    Career Outlook for degree at DigiPen Institute of Technology

    Cost of Degree: $35,900
    Expenses: $18,344
    Starting Salary: $82,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is DigiPen Institute of Technology known for?

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

  6. #9

    Walla Walla University

    College Place , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Walla Walla University

    Cost of Degree: $31,758
    Expenses: $12,717
    Starting Salary: $50,900
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  7. #10

    Whitworth University

    Spokane , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    Career Outlook for degree at Whitworth University

    Cost of Degree: $48,990
    Expenses: $17,323
    Starting Salary: $48,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 19 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  8. Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/19

    Career Outlook for degree at Saint Martin's University

    Cost of Degree: $42,220
    Expenses: $17,840
    Starting Salary: $51,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 18 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Saint Martin's University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Student body

    1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Antioch University Seattle

    Cost of Degree: $19,410
    Starting Salary: $41,800
    What is Antioch University Seattle known for?

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

  10. #13

    Northwest University

    Kirkland , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1107/22

    Career Outlook for degree at Northwest University

    Cost of Degree: $35,000
    Expenses: $13,848
    Starting Salary: $46,300
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Northwest University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #14

    Charter College

    Vancouver , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    4K

    Career Outlook for degree at Charter College

    Cost of Degree: $16,784
    Starting Salary: $46,400
    What is Charter College known for?

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

  12. #15

    Heritage University

    Toppenish , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Heritage University

    Cost of Degree: $19,500
    Starting Salary: $36,800
    What is Heritage University known for?

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

Back to Top

Washington’s Best Private Colleges in Your Area Interest

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 utilized 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

Check out our directory of private colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top private schools in every state.

Do you have a question about this topic? Ask it here