Updated on May 23, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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Western Washington University (WWU) is located far north in Washington, in the seaside town of Bellingham. There, over 14,000 undergraduates pursue degrees alongside over 1,000 graduate students. Undergrads have over 200 academic programs to choose from in areas that span interests in business, science, humanities, and allied health, to name a few. WWU also offers students the option of creating their own major degree program through the Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Overview of Western Washington University (WWU)

WWU students do more than buckle down with academics, however. They can achieve a well-rounded college experience with active pursuits that include fitness, sports, and an array of student organizations. The recreation center is a hub of extra-curricular activity on the Bellingham campus. There, students can swim laps, enjoy the climbing wall, or take a fitness class such as yoga, MMA Kickboxing, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

There are also sports clubs that offer students the opportunity to compete against other colleges in the area. Each year, WWU fields teams in sports that include lacrosse, golf, hockey, cycling, and wrestling. Intramural options include 5v5 basketball, dodgeball, and wiffleball, among others. Students who enjoy outdoor activities are sure to love the opportunity to kayak in Bellingham Bay, ski or snowboard on Mt Baker, or hike on the innumerable paths in the area.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 17 : 1
Graduation Rate 68%
Year Founded 1893

Student Enrollment

Total Students15,125


Undergraduate Student

Male 6,028
Female 7,991

Graduate Student

Male 476
Female 630

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WWU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 3,988
Female 6,592


Male 3,828
Female 6,328

Acceptance Rate96%

Male 96%
Female 96%

Enrollment 2,844

Male 1,187
Female 1,709
Application Fee $65
High School GPA Required
High School Rank N/A
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Recommended
Formal demonstration of competencies Recommended
SAT/ACT Considered But Not Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline January 31
Common Application Accepted Yes

WWU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Western Washington University is a publicly funded institution that can contain costs for students who qualify for in-state tuition. This includes both Washington residents and students from states that participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange program. Those fortunate enough to qualify for in-state tuition rates pay a bit more than $10,000 for a year of tuition, books, and academic fees. Non-residents, on the other hand, pay upwards of $28,000 for a year of learning.

Naturally, students need a place to live and food to eat, on top of other living costs. The university estimates that these costs, on top of the academic expenses, bring a gross cost for in-state tuition students that rises to just under $29,000. Out-of-state students can pay quite a bit more, with gross costs rising to upwards of $47,000.

These gross figures are dramatically ameliorated by the financial aid office. They apply grants and scholarships to the costs and can bring the average net price tag to a mere $11,000 for a year of learning and living in Bellingham. The lowest-income students see their costs fall even further, with average net costs coming to a mere $4,000. Even the highest earning households only see their average net cost rising to $16,000.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $11,388
Average Total Aid $7,112
Students Receiving Financial Aid 86%
Room & Board $14,691

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $8,967
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $26,873
  • Books and Supplies - $1,086
  • Room & Board - $14,691
  • Other - $4,131

Popular Academic Programs at WWU

Western Washington University has so much to offer its students. While students may be attracted to the campus location, the sports teams, or the fact that their friends are there, WWU's academic programs solidify their college experience. Our researchers went in search of the academic statistics that support WWU's reputation and found very good things in the retention rate and graduation rate, among other statistics.

The retention rate is a measure of how many first-time, full-time students return to the Bellingham campus for a second year. Since WWU reports a staggering 81% retention rate, it's clear that their students, and their families, are very satisfied with the school's faculty, curriculum, and campus resources. This figure is all the more impressive at a publicly funded university.

The retention rate is further bolstered by the school's graduation rate. WWU reports a strong 68% graduation rate, which is impressive when you consider that many WWU students could potentially transfer to the main Washington University campus in Seattle, if not Eastern Washington University, or some other campus.

Many are tempted to attribute the lack of attrition to WWU's bucolic surroundings, but there's more to it than that. Researchers point to the 17 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio. This indicates smaller classes and an academic experience that fosters real learning and intellectual growth.

Student Population Total

Student Population 15,125

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 405 Total Graduates / 12%
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 113 Graduates
Business Administration and Management, General 73 Graduates
Accounting 65 Graduates
Management Information Systems, General 41 Graduates
Social Sciences 352 Total Graduates / 11%
Sociology, General 112 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 86 Graduates
Anthropology, General 52 Graduates
Economics, Other 40 Graduates
Education 265 Total Graduates / 8%
Special Education and Teaching, General 97 Graduates
Elementary Education and Teaching 49 Graduates
Early Childhood Education and Teaching 26 Graduates
Physical Education Teaching and Coaching 16 Graduates
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 234 Total Graduates / 7%
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other 100 Graduates
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, General 67 Graduates
Sustainability Studies 22 Graduates
Biological and Physical Sciences 22 Graduates
Psychology 232 Total Graduates / 7%
Psychology, General 218 Graduates
Developmental and Child Psychology 14 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 55%

Outcome & Salary

Western Washington Students enjoy a terrific academic and social experience at a fantastic financial value. Our researchers found that their return on investment is likely to be phenomenal, as well. When they reviewed the outcomes from past graduates, they found that the computer and information sciences students were reporting a median salary in excess of $100,000. The top five was also well-distributed among departments, with business students who focused on management information science earning $83,000 and chemistry students starting their career with a median salary of $73,000. Registered nursing students and industrial production degree holders also made the top five.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary NA
College Grads Average Salary $76,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary NA
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $760,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential NA
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $45,552
10 Year Projected ROI $714,448
20 Year Projected ROI NA
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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