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The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Washington

What’s Covered:

 

Calling all Washington residents! If you call the Evergreen State home and want to advance your education, you don’t need to go into debt to do it. You can attend college right in your backyard — at a cost-effective price.

 

Tips for Saving Money on College

 

1. Apply to colleges that meet 100% of financial need.

 

There are many colleges and universities across the U.S. that commit to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need. Take a look at our list here, and investigate the policies of the schools that interest you.

 

2. Secure scholarships.

 

Scholarships — both institution-based and external — are an excellent resource to help you pay for college. Start applying for awards early, and cast as wide a net as possible, while targeting niche scholarships for which you qualify.

 

3. Consider commuting.

 

Many in-state public schools, along with some other institutions, allow you to commute, rather than live on campus. This will save you money on room and board, which can end up being expensive.

 

Most Affordable Colleges in Washington

 

1. Highline College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $3,351/$3,351

Location: Des Moines

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: $6,500

 

Established in 1961, Highline offers comprehensive community college programs and applied bachelor’s degrees. The first community college in King County once had 15 instructors for 385 students and has grown into a robust institution with more than 15,000 current students in 350,000 alumni. 

 

It is a two-time recipient of the Award of Excellence from the American Association of Community Colleges and a four-time recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.

 

Learn more about Highline and what it takes to get accepted.

 

2. Skagit Valley College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $3,600/$6,484 

Location: Mount Vernon

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,100

 

Comprised of two campuses and three centers, SVC offers several pathways, including professional/technical degrees and three Bachelor of Applied Science degrees in Bachelor of Applied Science Degrees: Environmental Conservation, Applied Management, and Healthcare Management. The college also offers extensive support services to help students succeed in their chosen pathway.

 

Learn more about Skagit Valley and what it takes to get accepted.

 

3. Olympic College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $3,726/$9,117

Location: Bremerton

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,600

 

OC provides flexible class formats and schedules to ensure that students have maximum access to a model that supports their needs. Established in 1946, today, the public community college offers four bachelor’s degrees in Nursing, Digital Filmmaking, Information Systems, and Organizational Leadership and Technical Management, along with associate degrees and professional/technical certificates.

 

Learn more about Olympic and what it takes to get accepted.

 

4. Pierce College-Fort Steilacoom

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $3,726/$4,180

Location: Lakewood

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,000

 

Pierce offers comprehensive educational and support services, including plenty of eLearning and hybrid options. The college has been ranked among the country’s Top 5 Community Colleges. The Fort Steilacoom compass was a Rising Star college for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and was named a finalist for the award in 2021, along with the Puyallup campus. Currently, the college offers six Bachelor of Applied Science degrees.

 

Learn more about Pierce College and what it takes to get accepted.

 

5. Bellevue College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $3,727/$9,118

Location: Bellevue

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 13,200

 

Ranked no. 1 for return on investment among public colleges in Washington and no. 1 for best community colleges in Washington, BC is the largest of the 34 schools in the Washington Community and Technical Colleges system, as well as the third-largest institution of higher education in the state. 

 

The open-access college offers transfer associate degree programs, professional-technical degrees and certificates, continuing education programs, and bachelor’s degrees, including plenty of distance education and online options.

 

Learn more about Bellevue and what it takes to get accepted.

 

6. Wenatchee Valley College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $3,768/$4,182

Location: Wenatchee

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,400

 

WVC is known for serving a large district — one of the biggest in the state. It is committed to DEI, with a variety of programs catering to diverse learners, including transfer, liberals arts, professional/technical, basic skills, and continuing education programs for people of a range of ethnic and economic backgrounds. It also seeks to support sustainability. 

 

Learn more about Wenatchee Valley and what it takes to get accepted.

 

7. Centralia College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $4,230/$4,691 

Location: Centralia

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,100

 

Primarily offering certificates and associate’s degrees, Centralia also grants a handful of bachelor’s degrees, with programs at different levels in Information Technology, Healthcare, Business, Diesel Technology, Welding, and more. It is the oldest continuously operating community college in Washington State, founded in 1925.

 

Learn more about Centralia and what it takes to get accepted.

 

8. Yakima Valley College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $4,230/$4,691

Location: Yakima

Acceptance Rate: N/A 

Undergrad Enrollment: 4,400

 

Today, YVC offers five Bachelor of Applied Science degree programs, 55 associate degree programs, and more than 100 certificate programs. The college also has programs catering to qualified high school students, including Running Start, a statewide program that allows high school juniors and seniors to attend college classes tuition-free. The college is mostly first-generation, with 84% of its students being the first in their families to pursue higher education.

 

Learn more about Yakima Valley and what it takes to get accepted.

 

9. Columbia Basin College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $5,088/$6,817

Location: Pasco

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,000

 

Comprised of eight schools, CBC offers programs in Arts, Humanities, & Communication; Business; Career & Technical Education; Computer Science; Education; Health Sciences; Math, Science & Engineering; and Social & Behavioral Science — more than 60 programs and 140 degree paths in all. CBC also provides access to the Running Start program and ESL and GED prep classes.

 

Learn more about Columbia Basin and what it takes to get accepted.

 

10. Northwest Indian College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $6,382/$6,382

Location: Bellingham

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 500

 

Primarily serving the educational and training needs of Pacific Northwest Tribes and their people, NWIC offers a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and associate degrees. The college has a diverse student body, including students representing 90 different Tribal nations. The main campus is located on the Lummi Indian Reservation, and the school is the only accredited tribal college serving Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

 

Learn more about NWIC and what it takes to get accepted.

 

See more affordable colleges in Washington.

 

How Much Will You Pay for College?

 

Colleges advertise the sticker price, which is intimidating for many students. The good news is that very few families actually end up paying full freight. The vast majority of students receive financial aid.

 

CollegeVine’s financial aid calculator can give you an estimate of what you can expect to pay to attend hundreds of schools across the country, helping you plan accordingly. Try it out for free!

 


Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.