Best Online Colleges in Washington

Learn about the top online colleges in Washington and how they can get you on the path to a fast-growing career.
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Kathleen Curtis
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Updated on May 28, 2024
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Danika Miller
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Danika Miller is a senior writer at BestColleges and Accredited Schools Online. Her writing has also appeared in Grad School Hub, Best Value Schools, Affordable Colleges Online, and Her Campus. Her financial expertise has been featured in The Simple ...
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Stephanie DeBord has spent the past eight years working in higher education. She has held various academic advising roles, and she currently works as a quality assurance manager at the College Credit in High School program at the Metropolitan State U...
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Best Online Colleges in Washington

Washington offers many reasons to study in the state, including a robust job market, beautiful natural landscapes, and access to a wide variety of colleges and universities. The state also provides several opportunities for studying online, making it easy for residents and non-residents alike to secure a quality education. An online program can provide you with the flexibility to complete your education while working or balancing other obligations.

When reviewing potential programs, look for those that hold proper accreditation, offer reasonable tuition rates, and have strong data supporting employment after graduation. Check out our list of the best online universities in Washington.

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Online Colleges in Washington

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Best Online Colleges in Washington Best Value

University of Washington

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $231-$389  
Out-of-State | $231-$389

Credits to Graduate: 180 quarterly credits                  

Students can finish a bachelor's degree at UW Online in 1-2 years with enough transfer credits. The BA in early care and education and BA in integrated social sciences offer full-time and part-time enrollment options. Washington residents and non-residents pay the same affordable tuition for either program.

UW Online also offers master's degrees in fields such as aerospace engineering, library and information science, and infrastructure planning and management. A new and unique MS in healthcare simulation education teaches working healthcare professionals how to design and deliver real-life clinical education.

Admission to either bachelor's program requires between 45-75 quarter credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,927
Out-of-state
$38,757
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,004
Out-of-state
$30,477
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
94%
Acceptance Rate
48%
Students Enrolled
53,083
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#2 Best Online Colleges in Washington Best Value

Washington State University

  • Pullman, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $584
Out-of-State | $652

Credits to Graduate: 120

WSU Global Campus enrolls about 4,000 students in undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. Affordable tuition and a transfer-friendly policy help draw degree-seekers from around the world. 

You can complete one of 21 bachelor's degrees entirely online in fields such as accounting, data analytics, and criminal justice. A unique major prepares you for managerial positions in senior living communities. WSU Global's 12 master's degrees include an MBA, a master of healthcare administration and leadership, and an Ed.M. in special education. 

WSU Global's students have access to free tutoring, library services, and health and wellness resources. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate for first-year applicants.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,708
Out-of-state
$26,392
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,366
Out-of-state
$27,163
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
81%
Acceptance Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
26,873
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#3 Best Online Colleges in Washington Best Value

Central Washington University

  • Ellensburg, WA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $587
Out-of-State | $1,759

Credits to Graduate: 180 quarter credits

CWU Online's leadership in online learning goes back 20 years. You can pursue traditional online majors such as business administration, sociology, and psychology. CWU Online also develops innovative programs like the BS in paramedicine and BAS in risk, insurance, and safety management with a focus on applied learning.

Graduate students can choose from 12 master's programs in fields such as higher education, professional accountancy, and IT and information management. Learners interested in short-term certificates like cybersecurity or library media can flexibly pursue them.

Speed up your education by transferring up to 135 quarter credits into a baccalaureate degree. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA for first-year applicants and transfer students.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,816
Out-of-state
$23,881
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,401
Out-of-state
$24,361
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
67%
Acceptance Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
9,257
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#4 Best Online Colleges in Washington

Eastern Washington University

  • Cheney, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $246-$427
Out-of-State | $246-$427

Credits to Graduate: 180

Eastern Online's nine bachelor's degrees span several disciplines. The majors include health psychology, public relations, and healthcare administration. The BA in interdisciplinary studies' customizable curriculum allows you to choose courses from two or three disciplines, programs, certificates, or academic departments.

You can complete a graduate degree in 10-16 months for less than $15,000. Eastern Online's 10 online graduate programs include an MBA and M.Ed. in education each with several emphasis areas.

Undergraduates studying online pay the same tuition whether they live in Washington or another state. Undergraduate admission requires all school transcripts for first-year applicants and transfer students.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,080
Out-of-state
$25,464
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,661
Out-of-state
$27,987
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
67%
Acceptance Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
10,700
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

Cost of College in Washington

In Washington, the average tuition at public universities is actually less than the national average for in-state students. On the other hand, out-of-state learners can expect to pay more in Washington than the national average.

Keep in mind that universities often offer a lower flat rate for online degree programs, regardless of whether you live in Washington.

Cost of College in Washington in 2021-2022
Institution Type Average Tuition & Required Fees
Public Four-Year (In-State) $7,842
Public Four-Year (Out-of-State) $31,410
Private Four-Year $40,839
Public Two-Year (In-State) $4,727
Public Two-Year (Out-of-State) $8,421
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

10 Fast-Growing Jobs in Washington

With a large tech industry in the Evergreen State, it should come as no surprise that information security analysts are projected to be in high demand over the next decade. The Washington Employment Security Department projects roles for these professionals will grow 40% between 2021 and 2031.

Jobs for those with a religious calling are also in demand, with roles for directors of religious activities and education, religious workers, and clergy all slated to expand in the coming years.

10 Fast-Growing Jobs in Washington
Job Job Growth, 2021-2031 Average Annual Wage, 2022
Information Security Analysts 40% $112,000
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 35% $49,380
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists 34% $131,280
Religious Workers 34% $39,370
Music Directors and Composers 34% $62,940
Clergy 33% $55,550
Chief Executives 32% $100,090
Computer and Information Systems Managers 30% $164,070
Computer Systems Analysts 30% $102,240
Management Analysts 29% $95,290
Sources: Washington Employment Security Department, BLS

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges in Washington

What is the cheapest online college in Washington?

Many factors go into what makes the cheapest online college, including federal aid. From a strictly tuition-based standpoint, Washington State University's Global Campus charges among the cheapest tuition rates at $5,675 per semester for residents and $6,326 for non-residents.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities recognizes 26 accredited institutions offering bachelor's degrees, but more than 300 colleges, universities, and career schools exist in the state. Many of these provide online courses or even complete degrees, making it easy to learn at a distance.

Depending on your circumstances, you can attend college for free in Washington.

The Washington College Grant program provides funding for certifications, job training, apprenticeships, and college if you meet certain requirements. If your family of four makes $73,000 or less per year, you could attend college for free. If they make no more than $112,500 annually, you could receive some funding.

Colleges with higher acceptance rates are typically easier to get into, as it means they accept a higher number of applicants. Within Washington, Eastern Washington University is one of the easiest to gain admission to, as the school maintains a 96% acceptance rate.

The University of Washington is often recognized as the top college in Washington. With a student body approaching 50,000 learners and online and in-person offerings, you can choose from degree programs at every level.


Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed April 16, 2024.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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