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West Coast Universities and Colleges

There are hundreds of colleges and universities on the West Coast. See what a number of these schools have to offer their students to make the best decision about your education.

With such a large number of schools in the region, it is important to consider a variety of factors before choosing which West Coast school to enroll with. Learn about a variety of schools in California, Washington, and Oregon and see what each has to offer in terms of tuition, graduation rate, student population, and rankings. Statistics for the former three categories are provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Highly Ranked Schools on the West Coast

U.S. News & World Report ranks schools in the country based on several factors, all designed to inform you of the level of quality at a particular institution. The site separates different regions of the country in terms of geographic location to help pinpoint the best schools relative to their location. Based on the 2016 data collected by the organization, these are five of the highest ranked colleges and universities on the West Coast.

  • Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA (#2 West Universities)
  • Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA (#3 West Universities)
  • Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA (#4 West Universities)
  • Mills College in Oakland, CA (#5 West Universities)
  • Seattle University (#6 West Universities)

Largest Schools on the West Coast

Attending school with a large number of students can be beneficial given the increased opportunities for forging relationships with others and the increased number of services and activities offered on campus. Given how populated the West Coast is, many of the schools located there have high student enrollments. Based on the 2015 population data from every school in the region, these are the largest five schools:

  • University of Washington - Seattle Campus (45,408 students)
  • Ashford University in San Diego, CA (42,452 students)
  • California State University - Northridge (41,548 students)
  • California State University - Fullerton (38,948 students)
  • California State University - Long Beach (37,446 students)

Lowest Average Tuition

Price is always a major consideration for anyone attending college. The NCES provides figures on school-specific costs that a full-time undergraduate student will be responsible for out of pocket. These tuition rates are based on the 2015-2016 school year and account for average in-state tuition costs for first-time students and other common fees. The West Coast tuitions with the lowest average tuition are:

  • San Diego City College ($1,142)
  • Seattle Vocational Institute ($3,794)
  • Olympic College in Bremerton, WA ($3,837)
  • Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, WA ($3,846)
  • Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, WA ($4,407)

Highest Graduation Rate

The NCES offers data regarding undergraduate graduation and retention rates. Graduation rate can often be a helpful metric in determining the effectiveness of a school's curriculum. In particular, both Asher College and University of the West have graduation rates of 100%, though they are both fairly small and specialized schools. The following statistics are based on bachelor's degree students who first began studying in 2009 and earned their 4-year degree in 150% of the normal time (six years or less).

  • Stanford University in Stanford, CA (95% graduation rate)
  • Pomona College in Claremont, CA (93% graduation rate)
  • University of California - Berkeley (91% graduation rate)
  • University of California - Los Angeles (91% graduation rate)
  • University of Southern California in Los Angeles (90% graduation rate)

When making the decision on which school to attend in the West Cost area, remember to consider tuition, graduation rate, student population, and ranking before choosing.

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