State of Washington University System Overview

With six public four-year universities and colleges within the Washington state university system, there are a number of options for potential applicants to consider. Read through the article below to compare the four institutions with the highest enrollment in several categories to help find the right school for you.

School Ranking Overview

Students are considering a post-secondary education in the state of Washington have a number of institutions to consider. This article will assist potential scholars by comparing the state's four most populous schools, ranking the top three in the categories below:

  • Program Variety
  • Net Price
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Program Variety

While entering students may already have a potential major in mind, having a variety of programs to explore may help diversify their education, making them more viable employment candidates upon graduation. The following three schools offer the most programs of study to choose from:

1. University of Washington-Seattle

With its campus located in Seattle, with a premiere academic medical center, the University of Washington has 306 academic programs to offer its students. Ranging from undergraduate to doctoral programs, the university has 16 schools and colleges in areas such as dentistry, business, education, engineering, law and liberal arts.

2. Washington State University

Washington State University (WSU) offers 286 programs of study at its main campus in Pullman. With over 200 undergraduate majors and minors, 113 graduate programs, and three professional programs, WSU offers concentrations in everything from arts and sciences to engineering and architecture.

3. Western Washington University

Located in Bellingham, Western Washington University offers numerous academic programs. With 150 programs of study, ranging from accounting to urban planning and sustainable development, students are able to explore a multitude of subjects.

Net Price

The net price of enrollment is undoubtedly on the mind of applicants when deciding where to attend school. Listed below are the least expensive net prices for attendance according to statistics from the NCES, based on the 2013-2014 academic year:

1. University of Washington-Seattle

Students at UW paid an average net price of $10,374. The least expensive among the schools compared, the University of Washington-Seattle's undergraduates received an average of over $13,000 to help pay for the cost of college.

2. Eastern Washington University

According to the NCES, students at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, averaged a total net price of $11,954. This is a small decrease from the year before, as students saved more than $500 than in the previous year.

3. Western Washington University

Rounding out the rankings is Western Washington University with an average net price of $15,184. Although slightly more expensive than the two previous schools listed, students attending Western Washington University can apply for a State Need Grant, as well as numerous institutional and private scholarships to help with the cost of attendance.

Graduation Rate

Indicative of consistency within an institution, the graduation rate of a college or university is another factor for prospective applicants to consider. Among the four most populated universities in the state of Washington, these three had the highest graduation percentages for full-time students who graduated within six years of their initial enrollment:

1. University of Washington-Seattle

Topping the list at 84%, the University of Washington-Seattle has the highest graduation rate of the compared schools. Also, with a 94% retention rate, the vast majority of first-time students at this university are returning for their second year.

2. Western Washington University

Western Washington University is graduating undergraduate students at a rate of 72%. They are also seeing a high number of first-year students returning for their second year of instruction, at a rate of 83%.

3. Washington State University

Third on the list is Washington State University with a graduation rate of 67%. Although a bit lower than the other universities on this list, first year students have an 80% retention rate for this institution.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Getting individual attention from faculty can greatly increase a student's experience at an institution. According to the NCES, of the compared schools these are three with the lowest student-to-faculty ratio:

1. Washington State University

With the lowest student-to-faculty ratio of the compared schools at 15:1, Washington State University is at the top. In the fall of 2014, the NCES reported the school as having 2,123 full and part-time faculty members and 1,669 graduate assistants.

2. University of Washington-Seattle

The University of Washington boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1, which is impressive considering their total student population tallies over 44,000. With 6,073 full-time and 1,950 part-time faculty members, this institution can provide close instruction for its students.

3. Western Washington University

At 19:1, Western Washington University's student-to-faculty ratio ranks third. Although the university has only 898 total full-time and part-time faculty members, it is close behind the University of Washington on this list.

State of Washington Schools: At a Glance

School NameLocation School TypePrograms OfferedArea Ranking
Eastern Washington University Cheney Public Less than one year, post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #2 in Net Price
University of Washington-Seattle Seattle Public Post-master's certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #1 in Program Variety, #1 in Net Price, #1 in Graduation Rate, #2 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Washington State University Pullman Public Less than one year, post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #2 in Program Variety, #3 in Graduation Rate, #1 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Western Washington University Bellingham Public Less than one year, post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates; bachelor's and master's degrees #3 in Program Variety, #3 in Net Price, #2 in Graduation Rate, #3 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio

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