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Online Colleges in Washington

Most Affordable Online Colleges

Data from the Lumina Foundation shows that 42.5 percent of Washington's working adults possess a college degree, yet the organization predicts 67 percent of future jobs in the state will require some form of postsecondary credential by 2018. These include careers in aerospace engineering and computer software development, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fields associated with well-known companies in the state like Boeing and Microsoft.

There are 6.7 million people living in Washington, and of the 4.5 million who are older than 25, more than 11 percent have a graduate or professional degree and 20 percent have a Bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly half have either attended college without earning a diploma or have earned a two-year Associate's degree. Among those between 18 and 24 years old, more than 9 percent have a Bachelor's degree and 44 percent have attended college or earned an Associate's degree.

Washington's nearly 2.9 million workers earn an average of $25.04 per hour, for an average annual wage of $52,090, according to the BLS. Those who are looking to earn a Bachelor's degree can apply to any one of 45 public and private colleges or universities in the state.

Affordable Online Colleges in Washington

The following list features a few of the two-year and four-year schools in Washington that offer online degree programs at the lowest tuition costs. To see schools in Washington ranked on other factors, visit the Top Colleges tool. 

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Washington

1

Clark College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,280
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Institution Type
Public

About

Clark College's online Associate in Arts degree is a Direct Transfer Agreement program that is designed for students who want to transfer seamlessly to a four-year bachelor's degree program without having to retake any General Education courses that most students have to take during their first two years.

School Website: 
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2

Grays Harbor College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,347
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
40.35%
Institution Type
Public

About

Gray's Harbor's completely online Associate in Arts degree is another Direct Transfer Agreement program that allows students to complete their General Education courses during their first two years before transferring to a four-year bachelor's degree program without having to retake those freshman and sophomore general classes. Additionally, Gray's Harbor's online associate degree program can include online courses in Criminal Justice that prepare students for a four-year degree in that field.

School Website: 
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Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Washington

1

Olympic College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,846
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Institution Type
Public

About

Olympic is located in Bremerton, Washington, but some of its online degree programs are available to students far from campus. Olympic is closely aligned with Western Governors University, so students at Olympic can get their two-year degrees and move seamlessly into the online bachelor's and master's degree programs offered through WGU. WGU offers 26 undergraduate programs and 29 Master's programs in a wide variety of subjects, from Business to Teaching.

School Website: 
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2

Bellevue College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,388
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Institution Type
Public

About

Bellevue offers a range of degrees and online degree programs for students who can't make it to the college's Bellevue campus. Its online associate degree programs include Arts and Sciences; Business; and General Studies. The online bachelor's degree program is in Healthcare and Technology Management.

School Website: 
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3

Skagit Valley College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,800
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Institution Type
Public

About

Skagit Valley offers associate degrees in two areas: Arts, which is a Direct Transfer Agreement degree that satisfies most four-year college's requirements for General Education courses, and Multimedia & Interactive Technology, which prepares students for careers in website design and the graphic arts.

School Website: 
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4

Faith Evangelical College & Seminary

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$7,425
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
99.73%
Institution Type
Private

About

Faith Evangelical College & Seminary offers a religion-based education and degree programs that can be taken completely online or through a combination of online and resident courses. The three bachelor's degree programs are in Religion; Education; and Leadership. The master's degree programs are in Leadership Ministry; Christian Education; Theological Studies; and Divinity.

School Website: 
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5

Western Washington University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$7,734
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
6.45%
Institution Type
Public

About

Western Washington University started doing home-study courses more than 100 years ago, so it's no surprise that it's leading the way in offering affordable online courses. In addition to its courses, it offers an undergraduate degree in Human Services as well a certificate program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

School Website: 
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College Accreditation in Washington

Students planning to attend school in Washington will want to be sure their chosen college is accredited before making the decision to attend school there. In Washington, the regional accrediting agency is the:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities oversees regional accreditation in seven states total. Students who find that the Washington college of their choice is not accredited by this commission can check with the U.S. Department of Education to determine if their school is accredited through another recognized agency.

School Interviews

Ekaterina Stoops
Online learning is evolving at an increasing pace thanks to newly introduced technologies and new delivery methodologies such as the 'flipped' classroom.

Ekaterina Stoops

eLearning Director

Bellevue College

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at Bellevue College?

Bellevue College is one of the leading distance education providers and is authorized to provide online courses and degrees to students in many states, in addition to our home state. The number of online enrollments in 2013-2014 included 23,072 students. We offered 901 online courses that year. Students who are interested in taking online degrees and certificates have an array of choices. We offer three associate Degrees and thirteen certificates in fully online modalities. Additionally, Bellevue College has a fully online Bachelor of Applied Science in health care and technology management program.

Q. What advice would you give students interested in an online degree program?

All our online courses are taught by highly qualified and talented faculty. Online classes are delivered through the CANVAS Learning Management System. We encourage all students to take advantage of different student support services that we have available for them, including eTutoring and our Technology Help Desk, with the phone line and a Live Chat feature. It is important for students new to online instruction to understand what to expect in terms of technology and participation requirements.

Since Bellevue College online courses are taught via the CANVAS Learning Management System, we strongly advise students to participate in CANVAS student orientations and complete CANVAS Online Learning Workshops that are taught by experienced online instructors. These workshops are designed to help students better understand the requirements of online learning and CANVAS Learning Management System navigation. Additional information about CANVAS workshops can be obtained through our Bellevue College eLearning Website.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

Online learning is evolving at an increasing pace thanks to newly introduced technologies and new delivery methodologies such as the "flipped" classroom. Virtual face-to-face interactions will become the norm. There is increased importance being placed on accessibility in online classes and the need to embed Universal Design for Learning elements in our classes. Students require flexibility and mobility. The average age of our students is going up. We need to be responsive to, and supportive of, their needs. We are constantly increasing our online offerings and adding new exciting opportunities for our students. Starting this summer, Bellevue College will embark on the first phase of what will become our "Global Classroom" initiative, by developing an all online Direct Transfer Degree (DTA) which will allow students to earn a two-year transfer degree in a cost-effective manner, and then move more seamlessly on to complete a four-year degree.

Financial Aid in Washington

Washington Loans

The state of Washington prefers to focus their efforts on State Need Grants through the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) as opposed to offering state-based student loans. Students are strongly encouraged to seek scholarship, grant and work-study opportunities, since those forms of aid do not need to be paid back. However, if you've exhausted those options and are still in need of financial assistance, you can apply for federal or private loans to help defray your tuition costs. To qualify for federal loans, you will need to fill out the FAFSA with details about your family's financial situation.

Find out more about student loans in our Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Washington

  • Financial Aid Overview details all of Washington state's student financial aid programs (collectively known as Washington Opportunity Pathways), including scholarships, grants, work-study and more.

Featured Cities in Washington

While there are many places to live and study in Washington, these three cities offer particular advantages. The data for the charts regarding these locations is sourced from the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).

Fun Facts

Many visitors head down to Seattle's historic Pike Place Market, where the fishmongers toss around salmon and shoppers get lost in the "Down Under" warren of small shops. The Space Needle, with its revolving restaurant, and Olympic Sculpture Park are also popular destinations. Tacoma supports both a museum district, with six facilities to take in, and a theater district, which supports three venues. Shopping and dining are also popular activities, and for those who prefer active outdoor pursuits, skiing, golf, camping and hiking are all plentiful in the area.

Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA Metro Area

Total Population

537,348

Median salary for high school grads

$26,965

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$44,372

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

30.2%

Median rent

$776

Fun Facts

Spokane is a paradise for those who like outdoor adventure. It offers top-notch skiing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and kayaking, and golf.

 
Article Sources

Sources:

  1. Bellevue College, http://www.bellevuecollege.edu/elearning/degrees/
  2. Bellevue College Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellevue_College#Notable_alumni
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wa.htm
  4. "C2ER," The Cost of Living Index, http://www.coli.org/
  5. Central Washington University, http://www.cwu.edu/online-learning/
  6. Central Washington University Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Washington_University#Notable_alumni
  7. City University of Seattle Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_University_of_Seattle#Notable_alumni_and_faculty
  8. City University of Seattle, http://www.cityu.edu/programs/som/bsba.aspx
  9. Clark College, http://www.clark.edu/academics/catalog/2014/index.php?id=211
  10. Clark College Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clark_College_%28Washington%29#Notable_alumni
  11. College Navigator, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=WA&l=93
  12. Diversitydata.org: Profiles by Metro Area, http://diversitydata-archive.org/data/profiles/show.aspx?loc=1157
  13. Ekaterina Stoops, interview with the author, June 2015
  14. Faith Evangelical College & Seminary, http://faithseminary.edu/academics/program-overview/
  15. Fun Things to Do in Spokane, http://www.visitspokane.com/things-to-do/
  16. Fun things to do in Tacoma, http://www.traveltacoma.com/what-to-do/
  17. Gray's Harbor College, http://www.ghc.edu/academia.htm
  18. Gray's Harbor College Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grays_Harbor_County,_Washington#Notable_people
  19. Heritage University, http://www.heritage.edu/AcademicPrograms/OnlineDegrees.aspx
  20. Olympic College, https://www.olympic.edu/Campuses/AboutOC/UniversityPartnerships/
  21. Seattle Top 10 attractions, http://seattletimes.com/html/travel/2020948293_sightseeingsummerguidexml.html
  22. Skagit Valley College, http://www.skagit.edu/news.asp_Q_pagenumber_E_2871
  23. Spokane economy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Spokane,_Washington
  24. Tacoma: Economy, http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-West/Tacoma-Economy.html
  25. Tacoma: American Factfinder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF
  26. U.S. Census Bureau: American Factfinder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
  27. Western Washington University, http://www.wwu.edu/ee/main/programlist.shtml
  28. Western Washington University Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Washington_University
  29. WSAC - State Need Grants, Accessed April 2017, http://www.wsac.wa.gov/state-need-grant
  30. WSAC - Financial Aid Overview, Accessed April 2017, http://www.wsac.wa.gov/sfa-overview
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Article Sources