Overview of Washington Colleges & Schools

Finding the Best College in Washington State

MatchCollege is organized to help you quickly find the best college in Washington given your unique priorities.  In fact, our leading-edge search technology help students everywhere efficiently gather information about four-year universities and 2-year colleges in Washington State.  Learning more about Washington colleges is more than just data which is why we have included review pages for each school. Garnering a full-view of a school is the next best thing to a school tour so take the time to research schools of interest via MatchCollege today.  Locating great schools that match your educational needs and objectives is followed by requesting information from top colleges in Washington state.  Admissions packets will be sent to you as you continue to complete your college research.  Once you have narrowed down your search to a handful of top schools, reach out directly to the admissions office to move the process forward with those schools.

What Colleges are in Washington State?

Students seeking information on the colleges found in the State of Washington can find all accredited schools with MatchCollege.  In fact, our advanced portal includes a list of all types of higher education institutions from liberal arts colleges and public universities to private colleges and community colleges across the Washington state college system.  Top ranked colleges can quickly be found indexed by geography, area of emphasis, and school type.  In addition to a unique college profile for each school, we include salient information such as enrollment trends, student to teacher ratios, degree programs for each school, acceptance rates, 3D campus tours, attendance statistics, courses, career insights, and online college degree programs for prospective college students.

The State of Washington is home to a large number of public and private post-secondary and graduate institutions. Many of the larger institutions are found in urban centers, with smaller colleges and universities located throughout the state. The capital of the state is Olympia. The state’s largest cities are Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma. Washington is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, Oregon to the South, Idaho to the east, and British Columbia to the North. It is the 13th largest state by population, and is home to one of the oldest universities on the west coast.

There is no formal state university system in the state of Washington. Eight public colleges and universities are funded by the state with two having branch campuses in other cities in the state. The University of Washington is the largest University in the Pacific Northwest and carries the designation of Public Ivy, which identifies it as being on par in terms of educational quality with private Ivy League schools. The school has two branch campuses with a third one proposed and in consideration.

University of Washington campuses:

Washington State University was founded in 1890 in Pullman, Washington. The school is comprised of four campuses and is known for a variety of programs including chemical engineering, agriculture, and food science. The school is considered among the most active research institutions in the United States, and is ranked in the top ten schools in the country for clean technology. The school is the oldest in the area, having been established five month after Washington became a state.

WSU campuses:

  • Washington State University, Pullman (Pullman)
  • Washington State University, Tri-Cities (Richland)
  • Washington State University, Vancouver (Vancouver)
  • Washington State University, Spokane (Spokane)

In addition to the above two schools, the state funds six more four year institutions. These schools, though not as large nor as renowned as the above, provide quality education to residents of the state as well as out of state and foreign students.

Public four year institutions:

Washington State has a large number of private colleges and universities. A large number of these schools provide a liberal arts education, which in turn provides students with a well rounded curriculum that develops skills for graduate education and/or the workplace. Other schools may provide specialized education, such as an art school or faith based college. Private institutions tend to have higher tuition costs and lower student populations. This in turn results in better student to teacher ratios than public institutions. Additionally, private schools tend to have more educational opportunities, such as research positions, study abroad programs, and internships.

Private institutions in Washington state include:

The State of Washington is also home to a number of community colleges and private career and technical schools. Community colleges are publically funded two year institutions that provide vocational training for entry into the work force upon graduations and transfer opportunities for students wishing to enter a four year institution. Students wishing to transfer will complete their freshman and sophomore years at the community college. Career schools provide short term training programs for high demand fields, often assisting students with job placement upon completion. These schools tend to have a higher cost that community colleges, but are specialized in their areas of study and typically take less than a year to complete.

The most populous city in Washington is Seattle, followed by Spokane, Tacoma, and Vancouver.  While the most populous county in Washington is King County with Pierce County and Snohomish County a distant second and third.   If you are interested in visiting the state of Washington, consider visiting their state page or the state chapter of the Chamber of Commerce.

College Degree Breakdown for the State of Washington

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, NCES, O*NET Online

Doctoral or professional degree 69,080 2.3
Master's degree 52,730 1.7
Bachelor's degree 752,930 24.5
Associate's degree 75,700 2.5
Postsecondary nondegree award 173,580 5.7
Some college, no degree 89,190 2.9
High school diploma or equivalent 1,028,680 33.5
No formal educational credential 825,220 26.9

Public Universities & Colleges

Image of Public College Campus

There are twenty-six public 4-year state universities and colleges in Washington. These four-year institutions predominantly offer bachelor's or higher level programs and some may even include research facilities. See a state-wide list of the state universities and colleges in Washington.

Private Universities & Colleges

Image of Private College Campus

In Washington there are nineteen accredited private four-year colleges. Similar to public schools, private colleges and universities offer bachelor's or higher level programs and research opportunities, although they usually have smaller classes and higher tuition. Compare admission requirements and tuition details for private colleges in Washington.

Community Colleges

Community College in Washington

Community colleges are public institutions that offer low cost, high quality education for residents throughout the state. These schools offer 2-year programs that grant associate degrees or offer training courses in specialized trades. Washington" Community colleges also are the number one transfer-out programs available for four-year colleges and universities. Learn more and compare community colleges in Washington.

Bible & Christian Colleges

Christian Colleges

Bible and Christian colleges generally provide specialized undergraduate education with a focus on religious or biblical study. There are approximately ten such colleges in Washington located throughout the state. See a full list of Christian colleges in Washington along with program and tuition information.

Browse Schools by Career in Washington

Follow the links below to get information on accredited schools in our database that offer programs or degrees.

Medicine & Healthcare

Law & Criminal Justice

Washington College Student Resources

We have created hundreds of free educational resources and quality career guides for high school students and Washington college graduates. Our tools include exclusive research, tips and resources to find the perfect college match for you based on your personal criteria. The key to finding your perfect college match is to understand your personal criteria, learning style, career objectives, and vocational goals before selecting a school. Utilize our resources below to make the most of your educational experience.

Washington State Educational Resources