Best Online Colleges in Washington for 2022

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Washington is a state with plenty of outstanding education and work opportunities, as well as a mild climate, making it a great place to call home. Seattle, the largest city in Washington, is also one of the United States’ leading technology and biology hubs, making it an outstanding place for scientists, programmers, and business professionals alike. In particular, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Washington had an unemployment rate of around 4.2% in March 2022, making the state an attractive area for young professionals to build their careers.

The BLS also found the fastest growing industries in Washington for twelve months to be leisure & hospitality (24% change), information (6.8%), and professional & business services (6.8%). According to the BLS, Washington’s mean annual wage in 2021 was $68,740, with a mean hourly wage of $33.05 and a median hourly wage of $24.25. Certain careers, like computer and information systems managers, earned a mean annual salary of $178,130.


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Online Higher Education in Washington


Washington State offers strong post-secondary schooling options spanning the associate, bachelor’s, and graduate levels. Importantly, students can choose from a plethora of traditional and online programs to study in a manner that best supports their schedules, educational needs, and financial circumstances. Below is a quick Q&A to introduce Washington’s online higher education opportunities and compare them to traditional on-campus programs.

  • What is the average cost of on-campus and online higher education programs in Washington?

    According to UnivStats.com, in-state college students in Washington pay an average of $5,806 to attend an on-campus program, while out-of-state students pay an average of $11,678 per year. However, the cost of attendance can vary dramatically between universities, with Whitman College costing around $55,982 per year to attend. At the low end of the spectrum is Northwest Indian College, which costs $3,969 per year.

    Furthermore, the cost of attendance for distance learning programs in Washington can also differ, as it depends on the institution a student is looking to attend. For instance, in-state students attending Washington State University (WSU) can expect to pay around $10,000 per year whether they are online learners or not. In comparison, an out-of-state student attending WSU would pay around $11,000 per year in tuition as a distance learner, but more than $24,000 if they were studying on campus. As such, students should compare the online and on-campus costs of the institution they are interested in attending before committing.

  • What are the qualifications a student needs to be considered for in-state tuition?
    In general, to be considered for in-state tuition, a student, or their legal guardian if the student is still financially dependent, must have an established domicile in Washington at least one year before the first day that the student would attend college within the state. Legal documents that confirm residency include changing to a Washington driver’s license, registering a vehicle, changing voter registration, or leasing a home.
  • What percentage of higher education students in Washington are online learners?
    For the 2020-2021 school year, Washington had a total of 337,082 students, of which 298,238 were undergraduates. Of those, 127,372 were exclusively online students, while an additional 62,774 took at least some online classes.

Our School Rankings Methodology


University HQ leverages a mix of many essential factors to provide an in-depth view of Washington schools for ranking purposes. Specifically, the methodology focuses on online programs, which in recent years have become an increasingly important aspect of helping students achieve education on their terms. Additional metrics that were analyzed include the school’s graduation rate, financial aid, and net price - data that can help students and families determine whether the cost of their degree is an investment well-taken. Additional factors like the university’s student-to-faculty ratio can help prospective students understand the school’s atmosphere and whether they would be able to build close connections with peers. Post-graduation numbers like the average graduate’s starting salary can help students understand their employment prospects in more detail.

What are the Best Online Associate & Community College Programs in Washington?


Online community college program rankings draw upon many of the same factors that are used to rank on-campus associate and bachelor’s programs. Important data, like the cost of attendance and graduation rate, factor into those considerations. When choosing the right online associate program, accredited community colleges will provide students with the best long-term prospects since employers will generally prefer to hire from these programs, which help ensure students have a high degree of job preparedness. Additionally, students seeking to transfer to a four-year institution will often be able to count coursework taken at an accredited online community college toward their bachelor’s degree.

Renton Technical College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Student Population
3,214
Graduation Rate
57%
Net Price
$7,595
Grads Salary
$45,041
Edmonds College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Student Population
6,545
Graduation Rate
30%
Net Price
$8,554
Grads Salary
$43,700
Pierce College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Student Population
8,329
Graduation Rate
32%
Net Price
$8,147
Grads Salary
$42,100
Bates Technical College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
3,369
Graduation Rate
37%
Net Price
$6,869
Grads Salary
$39,200
Shoreline Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
5,382
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$8,272
Grads Salary
$47,200
Walla Walla Community College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Student Population
2,940
Graduation Rate
42%
Net Price
$6,770
Grads Salary
$37,179
Spokane Community College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Student Population
7,081
Graduation Rate
30%
Net Price
$4,947
Grads Salary
$37,900
Skagit Valley College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Student Population
4,227
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$7,762
Grads Salary
$38,300
Charter College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Student Population
2,120
Graduation Rate
52%
Net Price
$24,737
Grads Salary
$36,600
Carrington College-Spokane
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
360
Graduation Rate
66%
Net Price
$27,913
Grads Salary
$31,600

What are the Best Online Universities & College Programs in Washington?


Students may be able to find the best online colleges in Washington through a trustworthy college ranking. When determining if an online program is strong or not, items like cost of attendance, the number of programs offered, and graduation rate can be very insightful. Those who are looking to attend college within the next few years and want to take all or part of their classes online should review some rankings and keep your own requirements in mind. Does it need to provide 100% online classes (in which case, you can attend schools that are farther away) or are you looking for part-time online learning so that you can attend some classes in person but have flexible time for a job or even your social life? In this case, you’ll want a school that offers dorms or a town that has low costs for apartments.

No matter what your specific requirements are, you can apply your subjective needs to these objective rankings in order to find the best option for you.

University of Washington
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
48,149
Graduation Rate
82%
Net Price
$9,661
Grads Salary
$81,000
University of Washington-Tacoma
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
5,364
Graduation Rate
60%
Net Price
$10,113
Grads Salary
$74,000
Western Washington University
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
15,197
Graduation Rate
68%
Net Price
$18,398
Grads Salary
$73,000
Seattle University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
7,050
Graduation Rate
73%
Net Price
$36,843
Grads Salary
$81,000
Washington State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
31,159
Graduation Rate
59%
Net Price
$17,931
Grads Salary
$74,000
Central Washington University
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
11,174
Graduation Rate
58%
Net Price
$16,441
Grads Salary
$70,000
Gonzaga University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
7,295
Graduation Rate
88%
Net Price
$36,880
Grads Salary
$75,000
Eastern Washington University
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
12,349
Graduation Rate
53%
Net Price
$12,322
Grads Salary
$65,000
Northwest University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
1,184
Graduation Rate
58%
Net Price
$21,825
Grads Salary
$73,000
Pierce College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Student Population
8,329
Graduation Rate
32%
Net Price
$8,147
Grads Salary
$63,000
Full Ranking Report

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