Ranked: Best Value Colleges in Washington State

See which Washington state college provide the best return on investment.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

Smartasset, a New York startup providing personal finance information and guidance, ranked colleges across the nation on how much bang a student gets for the bucks invested.

It weighed tuition, average financial aid and student living costs against student retention rates and the average starting salaries of graduates.

Here’s how 16 Washington schools ranked.

State Rank School Scholarships/Grants Tuition Average Starting Salary National Rank
1 UW Seattle $15,313 $12,397 $55,100 29
2 UW Bothell 13,614 11,911 51,800 97
3 UW Tacoma 12,503 11,902 50,300 159
4 Western Washington 6,971 8,863 47,900 183
5 Washington State 9,365 12,428 50,400 193
6 Eastern Washington 8,056 7,961 47,100 202
7 Gonzaga University 18,333 18,333 51,700 211
8 Walla Walla University 12,203 12,203 51,000 234
9 Central Washington 6,969 6,969 45,800 265
10 Seattle Pacific University 22,131 33,813 47,200 386
11 Seattle University 19,407 36,485 52,000 393
12 Whitworth University 22,601 36,012 42,300 551
13 Pacific Lutheran University 23,284 34,740 44,500 589
14 The Evergreen State College 8,724 8,574 40,400 670
15 Whitman College 21,334 44,800 44,000 805
16 University of Puget Sound 18,212 43,428 46,500 817

Colleges in the top ten of SmartAsset's "Best Value Colleges" ranking include Stanford University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Harvey Mudd College, Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus, SUNY Maritime College, Missouri Institute of Science and Technology and Massachussets Institute of Technology, which topped the list, scoring a perfect 100 on the "College Education Value Index."

Harvey Mudd Coillege in Claremont, California, ranked second, and also ranked first on the ranking of highest average starting salary at $78,500. Also joining the starting salary top list are several institutions of higher learning with the armed forces, including the United States Military Academy, United States Naval Academy and United States Air Force Academy, all of which have average starting salaries higher than $68,800. 

By state rankings, Washington scores wll on overall best value, with the following averages:

  • Average scholarships and grants: $7,643
  • Average starting salary: $47,829
  • College tuition: $12,869
  • Student living costs: $5,633
  • Student retention rate: 73%

See more from the study here

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