Washington Colleges Summary

The number of Washington colleges is impressive. Among its 38 public four-year universities are two state university systems: the University of Washington, with three campuses, and Washington State University, with four campuses. WSU is also known as a research institution.

There are eight public technical and community colleges in Washington, including some that award bachelor's degrees.

There are 34 private, four-year universities in Washington -- several of them earning high marks from U.S. News & World Report in 2018. Gonzaga University, a liberal arts college, ranked No. 4 in Regional Universities West. Another liberal arts college, Pacific Lutheran University, regularly ranks among Best Universities in the West. Seattle University, an urban college rooted in Jesuit tradition, was also named one of the best colleges in the U.S. by the Princeton Review (2018).

Thirty-nine private trade and technical schools round out the state's higher education offerings.

Higher Education Initiatives in Washington

The State of Washington promotes online learning among college students. For example, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges created the eLearning and Open Education program. Other colleges and universities in Washington also offer many of their courses online. The state participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), making it easier for students to take online courses offered by colleges based in another state.

Washington high school students can gain a competitive edge through the Dual Credit program which allows them to earn high school credit and college credit at the same time.

For more information on higher education in Washington, visit the Washington Student Achievement Council.


  • Washington Student Achievement Council, Accessed April 2018, https://www.wsac.wa.gov/
  • Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Accessed April 2018, https://www.sbctc.edu/
  • University of Washington, Accessed April 2018, http://www.washington.edu/
  • Washington State University, Accessed April 2018, https://wsu.edu/
  • Gonzaga University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.gonzaga.edu/
  • Seattle University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.seattleu.edu/
  • Northwest University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.northwestu.edu/
Education Institutes in Washington
Total Number of Educational Institutes
Total Enrollment in all institutes
Number of Public Educational Institutes
Number of Private For-Profit Institutes
Number of Private Non-Profit Institutes
Graduation Rate
Total Graduates With Bachelors Degree
On Campus and Online Programs in Washington
Number of Institutes Offering on-campus programs
Number of Institutes Offering on-line programs
Number of Institutes Offering both

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/