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2021 Best Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in Washington

20 Colleges
$27,990 Avg Cost (With Aid)*
4.3 Years Avg Time to Graduate*

Trying to decide what college is best for you is no easy matter. College Factual has developed its Best Washington Schools For The Money For Those Getting Aid ranking as one tool you can use to help make this decision.

We analyzed 20 colleges and universities to determine which were the best for overall value for the money with aid in Washington. Quality is an important component in this ranking, so it is not just naming the schools with the cheapest price tag. Instead, it is identifying those institutions that offer the most value when taking their educational quality into consideration. So it is possible that College A may rank better than College B, while College B is less expensive to attend.

Find out more about our ranking methodology.

Our average cost calculation adds up all expenses, such as tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses, and then subtracts the average financial aid awarded to a student. This gives a rough estimation of how much money you can expect to pay out-of-pocket or through loans each year.

Custom Rankings

We've developed a number of other tools and rankings to help you make your college decision. Start by filtering this list by location or field of study and then explore our other rankings that feature schools great for different groups of students such as veterans or returnings adults.

We've created a tool called College Combat that lets you create your own customized comparisons based on the factors that matter the most to you. Test it out by comparing your favorite schools against others you are considering!

Top Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in Washington

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

Our analysis found University of Washington - Seattle Campus to be the best school for overall value for the money with aid in Washington in this year’s ranking. University of Washington - Seattle Campus is a large public school located in Seattle, Washington that handed out 9,269 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at UW Seattle about 4.2 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $15,200 for students who receive aid. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from UW Seattle be around $64,448. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.8%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%. UW Seattle not only placed well in our value rankings, but it is also #2 on our Best Colleges in Washington list.

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A rank of #2 on our Best Colleges for the Money in Washington list means University of Washington - Bothell Campus is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. University of Washington - Bothell Campus is a medium-sized public school located in Bothell, Washington that handed out 1,872 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at University of Washington - Bothell Campus is 4.4 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $15,552 per year to attend the school. This means that the average student pays around $68,118 to get a bachelor’s degree from University of Washington - Bothell Campus. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 88%.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend University of Washington - Tacoma Campus. The school came in at #3 in Washington on this year’s best value ranking. University of Washington - Tacoma Campus is a medium-sized public school situated in Tacoma, Washington. It awarded 1,523 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at University of Washington - Tacoma Campus graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $15,170 for students who receive aid. This means that the average student pays around $64,321 to get a bachelor’s degree from University of Washington - Tacoma Campus. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.8%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#4

Western Washington University

Bellingham, Washington

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Western Washington University. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best Value Colleges in Washington list. Located in Bellingham, Washington, the fairly large public school awarded 3,785 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at WWU about 4.5 years to graduate, and it costs students who receive aid about $17,168 per year to attend the school. This means that the average student pays around $77,256 to get a bachelor’s degree from WWU. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.7%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#5

Washington State University

Pullman, Washington

Out of the 20 schools in Washington that were part of this year’s ranking, Washington State University landed the #5 spot on the list. Pullman, Washington is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 5,827 students in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Wazzu about 4.5 years to graduate, and it costs students who receive aid about $18,459 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Wazzu is $82,327. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.1%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#6

Central Washington University

Ellensburg, Washington

Central Washington University ranked #6 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Washington list. CWU is a public institution located in Ellensburg, Washington. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 2,789 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at CWU is 4.5 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $16,731 per year to attend the school. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the CWU is $75,624. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#7

Eastern Washington University

Cheney, Washington

Eastern Washington University ranked #7 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Washington list. EWU is located in Cheney, Washington and has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 2,439 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

At EWU, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.5 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $14,363 per year to attend the school. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from EWU be around $65,064. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#8

The Evergreen State College

Olympia, Washington

The Evergreen State College came in at #8 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Washington ranking. This small public school is located in Olympia, Washington, and it awarded 881 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Evergreen, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.3 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $15,988 for students who receive aid. This means that the average student pays around $68,429 to get a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#9

Pacific Lutheran University

Tacoma, Washington

Pacific Lutheran University landed the #9 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Washington ranking. PLU is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Tacoma, Washington. It awarded 728 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.0 years for the average student at PLU to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $33,002 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the PLU is $133,328. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 3.4% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#10

Whitworth University

Spokane, Washington

With a ranking of #10, Whitworth University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Washington list. Whitworth is located in Spokane, Washington and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 625 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes the average student at Whitworth about 4.2 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $34,718 for students who receive aid. This means that the average student pays around $144,427 to get a bachelor’s degree from Whitworth. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.0%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#11

Whitman College

Walla Walla, Washington

With a ranking of #11, Whitman College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Washington list. Whitman is a private not-for-profit institution located in Walla Walla, Washington. The school has a small population, and it awarded 374 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Whitman, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $44,231. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Whitman is $180,462. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The student loan default rate at the school is 0.4%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%. Whitman not only placed well in our value rankings, but it is also #1 on our Best Colleges in Washington list.

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#12

Gonzaga University

Spokane, Washington

Gonzaga University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Washington ranking, coming in at #12. Gonzaga is a private not-for-profit institution located in Spokane, Washington. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 1,441 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Gonzaga about 4.2 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $41,090 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga is $170,934. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 1.5% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%. Gonzaga also took the #3 spot in our Best Colleges in Washington rankings.

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#13

Seattle University

Seattle, Washington

Seattle University ranked #13 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Washington list. Seattle, Washington is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,341 students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at Seattle U to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $40,363. This means that the average student pays around $169,121 to get a bachelor’s degree from Seattle U. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.9%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Seattle U not only placed well in our value rankings, but it is also #4 on our Best Colleges in Washington list.

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#14

Northwest University

Kirkland, Washington

Northwest University landed the #14 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Washington ranking. Located in Kirkland, Washington, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 250 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At Northwest University, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.2 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $26,740. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Northwest University be around $112,308. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1 is a sign that students will have more opportunities to engage with their professors one-on-one.

Full Northwest University Report

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#15

University of Puget Sound

Tacoma, Washington

University of Puget Sound landed the #15 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Washington ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Tacoma, Washington, and it awarded 664 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Puget Sound to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $45,180 for students who receive aid. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Puget Sound is $186,593. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.1%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Puget Sound also made our Best Colleges in Washington list, coming in at #5.

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#16

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle, Washington

Seattle Pacific University landed the #16 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Washington ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Seattle, Washington, and it awarded 723 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at SPU to complete their degree, and it costs students who receive aid about $37,188 per year to attend the school. This means that the average student pays around $158,049 to get a bachelor’s degree from SPU. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.9%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#17

Walla Walla University

College Place, Washington

Walla Walla University came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Washington ranking. Walla Walla U is a small private not-for-profit school situated in College Place, Washington. It awarded 352 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Walla Walla U graduates in less than 4.6 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $26,994 per year to attend the school. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Walla Walla U is about $125,252. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The low student loan default rate of 4.1% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#18

Cornish College of the Arts

Seattle, Washington

Cornish College of the Arts did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Washington ranking, coming in at #18. Cornish College of the Arts is a small private not-for-profit school located in Seattle, Washington that handed out 145 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Cornish College of the Arts about 4.0 years to graduate, and it costs students who receive aid about $31,526 per year to attend the school. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Cornish College of the Arts be around $127,365. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.9%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#19

Saint Martin's University

Lacey, Washington

With a ranking of #19, Saint Martin’s University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Washington list. Lacey, Washington is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 307 students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at Saint Martin’s to complete their degree, and it costs students who receive aid about $32,033 per year to attend the school. This means that the average student pays around $135,500 to get a bachelor’s degree from Saint Martin’s. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.8%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#20

DigiPen Institute of Technology

Redmond, Washington

With a ranking of #20, DigiPen Institute of Technology did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Washington list. This small private for-profit school is located in Redmond, Washington, and it awarded 185 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Digipen, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $38,095 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Digipen is $168,380. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.5%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 20 schools only.

  • For our state-specific rankings, we use in-state tuition to calculate average cost. For our national and regional rankings, we use a weighted average of in-state and non-resident tuition.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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