#5 Best Public Universities in Washington

Central Washington University

Ellensburg, Washington

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Central Washington University overview
Location Ellensburg, Washington
Online cwu.edu
School Type Public 4 Year
Setting Distant Town
Central Washington University overview
Size Mid-size
Status Non-profit
On Campus Housing Yes
Level of Study Undergrad/Graduate
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Central Washington University (CWU) is a public university located in Ellensburg, Washington, approximately a two-hour drive from Seattle. Established in 1891, the university sits on a 380-acre campus featuring a blend of modern and historic architecture, including the iconic Barge Hall with its distinctive late-19th-century brick design. CWU offers a diverse range of academic programs with particular strength in education, geosciences, and aviation management. With a moderately selective admissions process, the university opens its doors to a wide range of students while maintaining a focus on academic achievement. Central Washington University provides on-campus housing to accommodate its student body, fostering an inclusive, residential college experience. While CWU competes in the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference, it is particularly recognized for its achievements in rugby.

In the most recent statistical year 6,409 prospective students applied, and 5,992 were granted admission.  Of those admitted 1,410 enrolled in the school.  7,803 students are enrolled on a full time basis, and 1,454 attend part time. In-state tuition for 2022/2023, excluding room and board, is $6,816 plus fees of $2,029. Central Washington University is ranked 610 nationally in the CollegeSimply.com 2024 U.S. Colleges Ranking.












Central Washington University is rated within the lower 49% of four-year colleges nationally and earns a CollegeSimply grade of 5 out of 10. Learn how ratings are calculated


Rankings for Central Washington University within the 2024 CollegeSimply Best Colleges Lists.

View the CollegeSimply ranking methodology.

Getting In

Admission Standards

Very Easy
Central Washington University overview
SAT 930/1150
ACT 17/24
GPA 3.08

Applications Accepted

Central Washington University overview
Applications Due Mar 1, 2024
Applicant Competition Very Low
Application Fee $60

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Annual Cost to Attend

Washington Resident Tuition

In State Costs for Central Washington University
Fee Cost
Books and Supplies$900
Other Fees$2,029
Room and Board $13,645
Budget for Other Expenses$2,922
Total One Year Cost$26,312

Out of State Resident Tuition

Out of State Costs for Central Washington University
Fee Cost
Books and Supplies$900
Other Fees$2,029
Room and Board $13,645
Budget for Other Expenses$2,922
Total One Year Cost$43,377

Tuition and financial aid details


Average Salary After 10 Years

$47,800 per year

Bachelor's Degree Graduation Rate

56% within 6 years

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Popular Areas of Study

Popular subjects studied by Central Washington University students
Subject Percent of Class
Business 29%
Education 16%
Social Sciences 14%
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting 7%
Visual and Performing Arts 4%

View All 109 Majors

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Primary data source, U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=234827 IPEDS survey data for Central Washington University.

Current students may use the Central Washington University GPA calculator to determine their current college GPA.