WUE Schools in Washington

WUE Schools in Washington in 2024

Last Updated on June 1, 2024 by II Editor

With its stunning natural scenery, ranging from alpine forests to rugged coastlines, Washington is a beautiful place to call home and get an education. As an out-of-state student considering college options in Washington, you may qualify for Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) discounts at participating public schools across the state.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore some of the top WUE schools in Washington and what each has to offer. By the end, you’ll better understand your education and career options as a WUE student in the Evergreen State. Please stick with us through the comprehensive overview for all the insider details. 

What is WUE? Understanding the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program 

Before diving into specific schools, let’s define the WUE program that makes reduced tuition costs possible for non-resident students. The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a regional tuition reciprocity agreement among 163 participating public institutions in 16 Western states.

Schools participating in WUE agree to charge eligible out-of-state students reduced tuition rates to roughly 150% of in-state tuition. To qualify for WUE as an out-of-state student, you must be accepted to a participating public college or university. Individual schools determine their application deadlines and availability of WUE slots on a program-by-program basis.

The reduced WUE tuition saves prospective students thousands compared to standard non-resident rates, allowing them to access high-quality public higher education at a more affordable price point. With its natural beauty and opportunities for adventure, Washington is a premier destination for WUE candidates seeking all that the Northwest has to offer both in and outside the classroom.

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Benefits of Attending a WUE School

Let’s explore some of the main benefits WUE provides:


With WUE lowering tuition costs significantly, you gain access to quality schools you may not yet be able to afford as an out-of-state student. The program makes private and public colleges within reach financially.

New Opportunities

WUE expands your higher education choices beyond your home state. It allows you to cast a wider net in your college search and consider programs not offered locally. You have more options to find the right academic, extracurricular, and location fit.

Broadened Perspectives

Attending an out-of-state college immerses you in a new environment, culture, and way of life. You’re exposed to diverse viewpoints and ways of thinking from students all over the western region. This diversity of experience and backgrounds broadens your perspectives.

Career Advantages

An undergraduate degree from an out-of-state college can give your resume an edge for jobs and grad school admissions. Employers and programs may favourably view your willingness and ability to thrive outside your comfort zone. Networking opportunities also widen.

Those are some of the most compelling benefits. Next, we’ll introduce a sampling of top WUE schools located in Washington to consider.

WUE Schools in Washington

In the table below, we have compiled a list of WUE schools in Washington. Be sure to research each in depth to see which may be the best personal fit:

1. Eastern Washington University

In Cheney, EWU focuses on blended liberal arts and professional programs. With over 12,000 students and 200+ degrees, EWU stresses hands-on learning and individual attention. Popular majors include communications, biology, and criminal justice. While Eastern leans more regional than the other schools, it still provides ample opportunities as a mid-sized public university. Using WUE slashes annual tuition from about $22,000 to $10,790 for out-of-staters.

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2. Central Washington University

Nestled in the scenic central Cascades, CWU’s Ellensburg campus is known for its friendly community atmosphere. With over 10,000 students pursuing degrees across 130+ programs, CWU emphasizes student success through internship placements, research opportunities, and faculty mentorship. Top areas of study encompass aviation, sciences, visual arts, and more. The WUE tuition at Central Washington University is $11,426.

3. Washington State University

Founded in 1890, WSU is one of the largest public universities on the West Coast, with over 27,000 students system-wide across multiple campuses. The flagship Pullman campus is renowned for agriculture, veterinary medicine, and more, while the Vancouver campus excels in health sciences. With annual non-resident tuition around $16,961 versus the $42,000 standard rate, the WUE 150% tuition reduction is a huge money-saver. Computer science, business, and communications are highly rated. 

Additional WUE Options in Washington

While the universities above represent some of the largest and most renowned public options, Washington has numerous additional four-year colleges and several community colleges open to WUE participants as well:

#. Western Washington University

Located in scenic Bellingham near the Canadian border, WWU is known for its unique liberal arts focus within a public institution. Marine and environmental sciences and visual communication design rank among the top programs.

#. Evergreen State College

This public liberal arts college in Olympia takes an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to higher education with student-designed majors. Creative writing, natural science, and public service inspire independent thinking. 

Making Your Decision

Now that you know what WUE offers and some top participating schools in Washington, how do you determine the right choice? Here are a few tips for the decision process:

  • Narrow options based on academic programs and majors that interest you most
  • Research admission requirements and your chances of being accepted
  • Visit campuses virtually or in person if possible to experience the environment
  • Weigh location factors like size, climate, distance from home, activities
  • Consider career outcomes from different schools and majors
  • Speak to current students for their honest perspectives
  • Discuss options with family, mentors, and your high school counsellor.
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Take your time weighing these aspects. Don’t rush into a choice—you want to feel confident about where you’ll spend the next few years of your life. With WUE, you have an incredible opportunity to find the perfect school at an advantageous price point. Please make the most of it through thorough research.


The Western Undergraduate Exchange broadens your higher education horizons in ways that may not have seemed possible before. By lowering non-resident tuition costs, WUE-qualifying schools in Washington and beyond become financially within reach. You gain access to new experiences, environments, and learning opportunities across state lines.

Use the substantial cost savings to your advantage as you research which WUE programs and colleges best match your goals and interests. Pay special attention to the schools highlighted in this guide as top WUE options in Washington. With the right information, campus visits, and decision process, you can confidently choose where to pursue an affordable, quality education outside your home state.

The WUE program opens many educational doors. We hope this overview provided helpful context, definition, and ideas to start exploring. Feel free to conduct additional research on your own to find the right fit. Let the journey to an out-of-state college you can afford begin!

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