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2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region

173 Colleges
$62,971 Avg Salary*
73% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

With all of the options you have for higher education today, it can be tough to choose which direction to take. Our mission at College Factual is to arm you with as much information as we can to help you make that decision. Our Top in the Far Western US Region Colleges and Universities ranking is one tool we have developed to help in this regard.

We analyzed 173 colleges and universities across the Far Western US Region to determine which were the best in terms of overall quality. Instead of depending on subjective information, we focus on over 20 objective factors to determine this ranking. These factors include such things as student-to-faculty ratio, average graduate earnings, and graduation rate.

Learn more about our ranking methodology.

Customizing Your List

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.

You can create your own custom comparison that focuses on the factors most important to you using our tool, College Combat. We encourage you to try it out and pit your favorite colleges and universities head to head!

Top Colleges in the Far Western US Region

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

Our analysis found California Institute of Technology to be the best school for overall quality in the Far Western US Region in this year’s ranking. Caltech is a private not-for-profit institution located in Pasadena, California. The school has a small population, and it awarded 241 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school boasts an average 4-year graduation rate of 84%, which is excellent when compared to the national rate of 33%. During the early years of their career, graduates from Caltech make an average of $85,900 a year.

Full California Institute of Technology Report

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#2

Stanford University

Stanford, California

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Stanford University. The school came in at #2 in the Far Western US Region on this year’s overall quality ranking. Located in Stanford, California, the fairly large private not-for-profit school handed out 1,892 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 98%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Stanford make an average of $94,000 per year during the early years of their career.

Full Stanford University Report

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#3

Pomona College

Claremont, California

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Pomona College helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in the Far Western US Region . Located in Claremont, California, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 449 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 7 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. During the early years of their career, graduates from Pomona make an average of $58,100 a year.

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#4

Harvey Mudd College

Claremont, California

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Harvey Mudd College helped the school earn the #4 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in the Far Western US Region . Harvey Mudd College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Claremont, California that handed out 211 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school boasts an average 4-year graduation rate of 86%, which is excellent when compared to the national rate of 33%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Harvey Mudd College go into careers with an average salary of $88,800 during the early years of their career.

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#5

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont, California

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Claremont McKenna College helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in the Far Western US Region .Claremont, California is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 453 students in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 97%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna is $72,900 during the early years of their career.

Full Claremont McKenna College Report

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#6

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

University of Southern California ranked #6 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region list. USC is a private not-for-profit institution located in Los Angeles, California. The school has a large population, and it awarded 5,337 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The 4-year grad rate at the school is 77%. That’s impressive when you compare it to the national rate of 33%. During the early years of their career, graduates from USC make an average of $74,000 a year.

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#7

Scripps College

Claremont, California

Scripps College ranked #7 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region list. Scripps is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Claremont, California. It awarded 278 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 91%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Scripps is $54,100 during the early years of their career.

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#8

University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

University of California - Los Angeles landed the #8 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking. University of California - Los Angeles is a large public school located in Los Angeles, California that handed out 9,069 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 97%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $60,700 during the early years of their career..

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#9

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, California

Santa Clara University landed the #9 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking.Santa Clara, California is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,495 students in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 0.7% 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% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from SCU go into careers with an average salary of $72,600 during the early years of their career.

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#10

University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley, California

University of California - Berkeley came in at #10 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking. UC Berkeley is a public institution located in Berkeley, California. The school has a large population, and it awarded 9,627 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

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% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley make an average of $64,700 per year during the early years of their career.

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#11

University of California - Davis

Davis, California

University of California - Davis ranked #11 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region list. University of California - Davis is a large public school located in Davis, California that handed out 8,711 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 93%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. During the early years of their career, graduates from UC Davis make an average of $58,200 a year.

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#12

University of California - San Diego

La Jolla, California

University of California - San Diego landed the #12 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking. UCSD is a public institution located in La Jolla, California. The school has a large population, and it awarded 8,037 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 1.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from UCSD is $59,900 during the early years of their career.

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#13

Whitman College

Walla Walla, Washington

With a ranking of #13, Whitman College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region list.Walla Walla, Washington is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 374 students in 2018-2019.

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% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Whitman make an average of $51,300 per year during the early years of their career.

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University of Washington - Seattle Campus landed the #14 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking. Located in Seattle, Washington, the large public school handed out 9,269 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

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% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from UW Seattle go into careers with an average salary of $57,700 during the early years of their career.

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#15

Soka University of America

Aliso Viejo, California

Soka University of America came in at #15 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Aliso Viejo, California, and it awarded 118 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors.

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#16

Occidental College

Los Angeles, California

With a ranking of #16, Occidental College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region list. Oxy is located in Los Angeles, California and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 529 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 91%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Oxy go into careers with an average salary of $50,600 during the early years of their career.

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#17

University of California - Irvine

Irvine, California

With a ranking of #17, University of California - Irvine did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region list. University of California - Irvine is a large public school located in Irvine, California that handed out 8,394 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 1.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from UC Irvine is $58,400 during the early years of their career.

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#18

University of California - Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California

University of California - Santa Barbara did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking, coming in at #18. UCSB is located in Santa Barbara, California and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 6,327 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 93%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from UCSB go into careers with an average salary of $55,300 during the early years of their career.

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#19

Gonzaga University

Spokane, Washington

Gonzaga University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking, coming in at #19. 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.

With a freshman retention rate of 94%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $56,100 during the early years of their career..

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#20

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, California

Loyola Marymount University came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking. Loyola Marymount is a private not-for-profit institution located in Los Angeles, California. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 1,674 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 91%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $61,300 during the early years of their career..

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#21

Reed College

Portland, Oregon

Reed College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking, coming in at #21. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Portland, Oregon, and it awarded 345 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

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% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Reed go into careers with an average salary of $42,200 during the early years of their career.

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#22

Thomas Aquinas College

Santa Paula, California

With a ranking of #22, Thomas Aquinas College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region list. Located in Santa Paula, California, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 83 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The school boasts an average 4-year graduation rate of 80%, which is excellent when compared to the national rate of 33%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from TAC make an average of $42,100 per year during the early years of their career.

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#23

Pepperdine University

Malibu, California

Pepperdine University landed the #23 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking. Pepperdine is a private not-for-profit institution located in Malibu, California. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 943 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 90%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. During the early years of their career, graduates from Pepperdine make an average of $65,500 a year.

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California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo came in at #24 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking. Located in San Luis Obispo, California, the large public school handed out 5,185 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 0.9%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $66,900 during the early years of their career..

Full California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo Report

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#25

University of San Diego

San Diego, California

University of San Diego did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Far Western US Region ranking, coming in at #25. This medium-sized private not-for-profit school is located in San Diego, California, and it awarded 1,501 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 1.8% 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% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from U of San Diego is $60,000 during the early years of their career.

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Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Colleges ranking:

Rank College Location
26 Pitzer College Claremont, CA
27 University of Portland Portland, OR
28 University of the Pacific Stockton, CA
29 Chapman University Orange, CA
30 Seattle University Seattle, WA
31 University of Puget Sound Tacoma, WA
32 Willamette University Salem, OR
33 University of California - Riverside Riverside, CA
34 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA

More Rankings >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

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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