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2021 Best Schools in Washington

41 Schools Ranked
$43,331 Average Earnings
$25,925 Avg Student Debt

When it comes to higher education, there are a lot of options for students. You can choose a traditional brick and mortar school, or with the growth of online education, you can attend a school half-way across the country without even leaving your house. Alternatively, you may choose a trade school or bootcamp that prepares you to enter the workforce with knowledge in a specific field.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Course Advisor has developed this Best Schools in Washington ranking. Our analysis looked at 41 schools in Washington to see which programs offered the best educational experiences for students.

View our full ranking methodology.

Top Schools in Washington

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

$45,129 Average Earnings
$22,797 Avg Student Debt

Our analysis found Northwest University-College of Adult and Professional Studies to be the best school for students in Washington.

Degree recipients from Northwest University-College of Adult and Professional Studies accumulate an average of $22,797 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $307. Once they receive their degree, Northwest University-College of Adult and Professional Studies graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $45,129 during the early year of their career.

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$50,867 Average Earnings
$23,207 Avg Student Debt

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend University of Washington - Tacoma Campus. The school came in at #2 on this year’s Best Schools in Washington list.

On average, students take out $23,207 in loans while pursuing their degree. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $242. During the early years of their career, University of Washington - Tacoma Campus graduates make an average of $50,867 annually.

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#3

Washington State University

Pullman, Washington
$49,622 Average Earnings
$27,511 Avg Student Debt

The excellent programs at Washington State University helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in Washington.

On average, students take out $27,511 in loans while pursuing their degree. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $299. During the early years of their career, Wazzu graduates make an average of $49,622 annually.

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$56,034 Average Earnings
$34,781 Avg Student Debt

A rank of #4 on this year’s list means University of Washington - Seattle Campus is a great place for students.

On average, students take out $34,781 in loans while pursuing their degree. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $369. During the early years of their career, UW Seattle graduates make an average of $56,034 annually.

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#5

Gonzaga University

Spokane, Washington
$47,604 Average Earnings
$29,912 Avg Student Debt

Out of the 41 schools in Washington that were part of this year’s ranking, Gonzaga University landed the # 5 spot on the list.

Degree recipients from Gonzaga accumulate an average of $29,912 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $350. During the early years of their career, Gonzaga graduates make an average of $47,604 annually.

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$55,105 Average Earnings
$22,148 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #6, University of Washington - Bothell Campus did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $22,148 in student loans. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $222.After graduating from University of Washington - Bothell Campus, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $55,105 during the early years of their career.

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#7

Central Washington University

Ellensburg, Washington
$38,608 Average Earnings
$23,758 Avg Student Debt

Central Washington University ranked #7 on this year’s Best Schools in Washington list.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $23,758 in student loans. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $229 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from CWU, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $38,608 during the early years of their career.

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#8

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle, Washington
$51,858 Average Earnings
$32,203 Avg Student Debt

Seattle Pacific University came in at #8 in this year’s edition of the Best Schools in Washington ranking.

Degree recipients from SPU accumulate an average of $32,203 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $396 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, SPU graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $51,858 during the early year of their career.

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#9

Pacific Lutheran University

Tacoma, Washington
$39,747 Average Earnings
$29,955 Avg Student Debt

Pacific Lutheran University came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Schools in Washington ranking.

On average, students take out $29,955 in loans while pursuing their degree. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $339.After graduating from PLU, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $39,747 during the early years of their career.

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#10

Whitman College

Walla Walla, Washington
$28,833 Average Earnings
$15,696 Avg Student Debt

Whitman College ranked #10 on this year’s Best Schools in Washington list.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $15,696 in student loans. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $173, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from Whitman, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $28,833 during the early years of their career.

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#11

Eastern Washington University

Cheney, Washington
$39,507 Average Earnings
$26,638 Avg Student Debt

Eastern Washington University landed the #11 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best programs.

On average, students take out $26,638 in loans while pursuing their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $269 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, EWU graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $39,507 during the early year of their career.

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#12

University of Puget Sound

Tacoma, Washington
$36,715 Average Earnings
$27,663 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #12, University of Puget Sound did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working.

Degree recipients from Puget Sound accumulate an average of $27,663 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $341 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, Puget Sound graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $36,715 during the early year of their career.

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#13

Bellevue College

Bellevue, Washington
$50,333 Average Earnings
$15,635 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #13, Bellevue College did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working.

On average, students take out $15,635 in loans while pursuing their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $160 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, BC graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $50,333 during the early year of their career.

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#14

Heritage University

Toppenish, Washington
$53,867 Average Earnings
$32,863 Avg Student Debt

Heritage University landed the #14 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best programs.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $32,863 in student loans. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $456 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from Heritage University, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $53,867 during the early years of their career.

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#15

Seattle University

Seattle, Washington
$46,297 Average Earnings
$33,743 Avg Student Debt

Seattle University landed the #15 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best programs.

Degree recipients from Seattle U accumulate an average of $33,743 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $403, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan. During the early years of their career, Seattle U graduates make an average of $46,297 annually.

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#16

Highline College

Des Moines, Washington
$44,133 Average Earnings
$11,533 Avg Student Debt

Highline College ranked #16 on this year’s Best Schools in Washington list.

On average, students take out $11,533 in loans while pursuing their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $91, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan. During the early years of their career, Highline graduates make an average of $44,133 annually.

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#17

Whitworth University

Spokane, Washington
$39,669 Average Earnings
$25,450 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #17, Whitworth University did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working.

Degree recipients from Whitworth accumulate an average of $25,450 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $269, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan. During the early years of their career, Whitworth graduates make an average of $39,669 annually.

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#18

Northwest University

Kirkland, Washington
$46,500 Average Earnings
$23,315 Avg Student Debt

Northwest University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for students. It came in at #18 on the list.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $23,315 in student loans. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $309, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from Northwest University, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $46,500 during the early years of their career.

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#19

Western Washington University

Bellingham, Washington
$34,178 Average Earnings
$20,540 Avg Student Debt

Western Washington University ranked #19 on this year’s Best Schools in Washington list.

On average, students take out $20,540 in loans while pursuing their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $213, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from WWU, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $34,178 during the early years of their career.

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#20

City University of Seattle

Seattle, Washington
$56,289 Average Earnings
$36,299 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #20, City University of Seattle did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working.

On average, students take out $36,299 in loans while pursuing their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $415 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, CityU graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $56,289 during the early year of their career.

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#21

Charter College

Vancouver, Washington
$30,637 Average Earnings
$18,933 Avg Student Debt

Charter College landed the #21 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best programs.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $18,933 in student loans. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $194. During the early years of their career, Charter College graduates make an average of $30,637 annually.

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#22

Bastyr University

Kenmore, Washington
$28,350 Average Earnings
$96,406 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #22, Bastyr University did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working.

Degree recipients from Bastyr University accumulate an average of $96,406 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $1,506, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, Bastyr University graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $28,350 during the early year of their career.

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#23

Pierce College-Fort Steilacoom

Lakewood, Washington

Pierce College-Fort Steilacoom landed the #23 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best programs.

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#24

Pierce College-Puyallup

Puyallup, Washington

Pierce College-Puyallup came in at #24 in this year’s edition of the Best Schools in Washington ranking.

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#25

Saint Martin's University

Lacey, Washington
$45,500 Average Earnings
$29,871 Avg Student Debt

Saint Martin’s University ranked #25 on this year’s Best Schools in Washington list.

Degree recipients from Saint Martin’s accumulate an average of $29,871 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $364 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. During the early years of their career, Saint Martin’s graduates make an average of $45,500 annually.

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • 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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