The Best Universities Near Seattle, WA

Sep 15, 2021 Filed to: Local Highlights Last Update on Sep 15, 2021

The Best Universities Near Seattle, WA

Steel Gate of Brown Brick Building, College School campus

Whether you’re a Pacific Northwest local or just contemplating your next big move, Washington’s lush forests, mountain ridges, and bustling metropolitan centers have plenty to offer. The state is also home to six public universities (four of which reside within Seattle city limits) and with its low out-of-state tuition rates fresh graduates and aspiring entrepreneurs have plenty of incentive to consider studying in the Emerald City.  


green forest near WA college school campus Public Universities in Washington 


Washington and its residents have always been committed to education as a top priority. It’s no wonder that many successful brands and businesses have emerged from its robust higher education network which includes research facilities, comprehensive universities, and technical colleges. 


There are currently six public universities within Washington state: Central WA University, Eastern WA University, The Evergreen State College, University of WA, WA State University, and Western WA University. 


Here’s a couple of our top picks from across the state: 


Central Washington University

Located just over 100 miles from Seattle in Ellensburg, CWU scores high in diversity, affordability, and accessibility. The school offers over 135 majors, more than 135 student clubs and organizations, and a robust varsity sports community. With eight locations throughout the state, it’s no wonder that CWU has seen a huge surge in popularity and enrollment rates over recent years. 


Eastern Washington University

The town of Cheney, just 17 miles from Spokane, is a true haven for outdoor enthusiasts and academics alike. Surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rivers and with close proximity to Washington’s second-largest city, Eastern WA College is a great option for students who are seeking a balance between small-town charm and urban excitement. Education is truly a value here, as evidenced by Cheney’s high percentage of college-educated residents the school’s graduate success rate.


Aerial View Of City Buildings


Universities in Seattle


Seattle is the largest city in WA and is home to over 700,000 residents, incredible landmarks, beautiful coastal scenery, and a rich history. There are 7 four-year colleges within city limits and 23 four-year colleges within a 50 mile radius of Seattle. 


University of Washington

Washington’s largest university boasts an exhaustive catalog of undergraduate and graduate programs, research organizations, as well as stellar rankings among national and global universities. Located between Union and Portage Bays in its namesake University District, the Seattle campus of Washington’s flagship university has been rated as one of the most beautiful in the United States. With a diverse student body, supreme nearby dining, and amazing local housing options, you’re sure to find a warm welcome in Seattle at UW. 


City University of Seattle

Located in downtown Belltown, this private university deserves a mention for its focus on preparing students for professional success. Their curriculum offers programs including business management, leadership, and IT, and their collaboration and partnership with global institutions promotes a highly international and diverse student body. They advertise a commitment to keeping tuition rates down and provide a variety of both merit and need-based scholarships for academics.CityU truly aims to give you easy access to a great education and the very best of Seattle life.

college graduate students studying

Cheapest University in Washington State

There’s no doubt that a good education is priceless. However, if the very idea of student loans, cost of living, and buying pricey textbooks make higher learning seem out of reach, fear not: here are some of the most affordable schools in the greater Washington area that offer top-notch education without breaking the bank.


Lake Washington Institute of Technology

LWTech is the only public institute of technology in the state and coincidentally has been rated as one of the most affordable higher learning institutions. The school’s location in Kirkland, just fifteen minutes by car from Seattle, makes it a convenient choice for those looking to live in the city while enjoying lower tuition. They offer a wide range of bachelor and associate degree programs, as well as certifications. Also worth mentioning are the school’s ample campus amenities: they include a dental clinic, fitness center, and an auto repair shop.


Bellevue College

Bellevue is a satellite city located in the Eastside region of King County. It’s noted for its abundant parks, natural features, and Bellevue College. Their in-state tuition rates rank among the lowest in the state, and their accredited programs in nursing and sonography make Bellevue an especially great option for students entering the healthcare field.

Although scenic and well-resourced, their campus does not offer housing. However, with many great housing options available in Seattle, it’s well worth the commute. 


Evergreen State College

Evergreen is a public liberal arts and sciences college in Olympia. As their name would imply, the school has beautiful green surroundings, as well as close proximity to Seattle and Portland. In addition to their undergraduate programs, they offer master’s programs in environmental studies, teaching, and public administration.

As participants in the Western Graduate Exchange, their competitive tuition rates can also help students from other participating states reduce their tuition costs and enjoy what Evergreen State College and Olympia have to offer. 


Happy multiracial group of graduate students in casual clothes sitting together on grass and studying with laptop and books


The Best University for You

Ultimately, where you choose to begin or continue your academic career will depend on what you study, what programs are available, what your resources are, and a variety of other factors. Although the search can be overwhelming at times, rest assured that there are tons of incredible schools and great resources out there. 


The best choice for you will be the university that helps you achieve your goals and gives you access to the best student life possible. If you’re considering colleges in Seattle or the Washington area, you can be confident that there are plenty of options and many wonderful experiences to be had!

Also, any students looking for housing when relocating to the seattle area can check out Seattle housing here.


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