Even though college tuition nationwide is rising faster than both inflation and median family income, you can still get a good deal at Washington state public colleges.
In fact, University of Washington ranked 19th out of 1,572 colleges in Washington Monthly magazine’s new “Best Bang for the Buck” rating. Western Washington University was ranked 54th and Washington State University came in 91st.
To get on this list, colleges first had to meet four criteria:
- A minimum of 20% of students on Pell Grants (typically targeting annual household incomes below $50,000)
- 50% graduation rate
- Graduation rate must meet or exceed predicted rate based on income of students
- Graduates must earn enough to at least cover student loans; student default rate of 10% or less
Colleges that made this first cut were ranked on net price of attendance, which was calculated as the average tuition that first-time, full-time students with an annual income of $75,000 or less actually pay based on the financial aid they receive. Under this calculation, UW came in at $8,334, WWU at $10,814 and WSU at $12,490.
Washington Monthly’s Bang for the Buck rating is especially timely given that our Regional Economic Strategy noted the widening gap between the advanced training employers require and the education that the workforce actually has. As a result, the strategy outlines several action initiatives to meet this challenge.