Washington is home to more than 50 accredited schools of higher education. The diversity fits everyone’s needs: Choose from major research universities, small liberal arts colleges, private career colleges, technical schools and religious schools. Affordable college education is a state priority, and some Washington college programs are free to the most cash-strapped students.
Studying out-of-state can be affordable too. Most notably, Washington residents can take advantage of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). This program provides tuition discounts at about 150 schools in various western states. Community colleges and four-year schools take part. Some participating states are California, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii. See the full list below. Washington voters and government leaders take good care of higher education. It’s given them some reasons to be proud. Here’s a quick rundown of their approach and the payoffs.
- Washington invests in higher education. At a public Washington college you’ll notice consistent high quality in terms of the instructors, instructional materials and campus maintenance — and maybe also when you’re given a financial aid package. The state allocates about $11 billion to higher education every year, which is impressive for a state with just 7 million people.
- Washington’s tuition assistance pays off. For every $1 Washington spends to help students pay for college, taxpayers get about $1.48 back. That calculation reflects tax revenue from successful graduates and a reduced need to spend on social services.
- The economy is hopping! Education is a big part of the state economy. Washington’s public colleges alone employ about 50,000 people. Plus, Washington’s investment in academic research generates more than $2 billion in local economic activity every year.
- Students are satisfied. Washington college students have higher-than-average completion rates for college. At the University of Washington for instance, about 95 percent of freshmen return for sophomore year. The average time to earn a bachelor’s degree at UW is 4.1 years.
Among ranked National Universities, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2019–2020 school year was $41,426 at private colleges, $11,260 for state residents at public colleges and $27,120 for out-of-state students at state schools, according to data reported to U.S. News in an annual survey.
If your child receives free or reduced lunch, or has an EFC of $0, we can bring your costs down even more! Please mention this during your consultation.