Our 2016 Ranking of the Best Western Regional Universities are based exclusively on factors actual college freshmen said were most important to their college decision. According to the most recent nationwide survey published by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, these factors include academic reputation, financial aid offerings, overall cost, and success of graduates in the post-college job market. Each of these factors were weighted equally in our ranking and data was derived from a variety of publicly available sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and PayScale.

50
Central Washington University

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Located on 380 acres on the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains in the town of Ellensburg, WA, lies Central Washington University. Central Washington offers its 10,423 undergraduates a choice among 150 majors and they can also participate in over 130 clubs. It has a student/faculty ratio of 17:1 and 45.3 percent of its classes have less than 20 students. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at Central Washington University total $20,522 per year and 44 percent of students had their financial needs met in full. Graduates from CWU averaged $45,000 per year at their first jobs.

Academic reputation score: 38
Average financial aid: $7,039
Average net price: $14,374
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
49
California State University—Los Angeles

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Located in the heart of Los Angeles, just a few miles from the cities civic and cultural center, is California State University—Los Angeles. Home to 19,574 students, Cal State Los Angeles is made up of six colleges. It has a student/faculty ratio of 27:1, 65.3 percent of its classes have fewer than 30 students, and 82 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Out-of-state tuition and fees at Cal State Los Angeles total $15,263 and the average starting pay for graduates is $43,600.

Academic reputation score: 27
Average financial aid: $9,979
Average net price: $4,756
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website

48
Weber State University

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Weber State University is home to 24,498 students who can choose among 250 undergraduate degree programs—the most two- and four-year degree offerings in the state of Utah. Located at the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains in the city of Ogden, Weber State has a small student/faculty ratio at 21:1, 44.9 percent have less than 20 students, and Weber State has a 71.5 percent freshman retention rate. Weber State University accepts 100 percent of its applicants, its out-of-state tuition and fees total $13,780 per year, and graduates earn on average $49,800 a year in their first jobs.

Academic reputation score: 32
Average financial aid: $4,318
Average net price: $10,209
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
47
California State University—Northridge

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California State University—Northridge is one of the largest single-campus universities in the United States. Northridge is home to 33,398 undergraduate students who can participate in over 200 students clubs and organizations. Located in heart of Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley, Cal State Northridge has a student/faculty ratio which is 27:1 and has rather small class sizes with 72 percent having less than 30 students. Northridge has a 75.8 percent freshman retention and only accepts 61.3 percent of its applicants. Its out-of-state tuition and fees total $17,716 per year and the average starting salary for graduates is $43,700.

Academic reputation score: 32
Average financial aid: $10,747
Average net price: $10,500
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
46
University of Colorado—Colorado Springs

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University of Colorado—Colorado Springs sits upon 502 acres at one of the highest parts of Colorado Springs. UCCS offers 37 bachelor’s degrees to its 9,051 undergraduate students. UCCS’s commitment to growth and excellence can been seen in their plans to build more than $270 million in new facilities by 2020. UCCS has a student/faculty ratio of 17:1, and 37.2 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. The acceptance rate is 91 percent and 69 percent of students return for their second year. University of Colorado—Colorado Springs has a total out-of-state cost for tuition and fees of $21,522 per year and the average starting salary for graduates is $46,000.

Academic reputation score: 38
Average financial aid: $4,513
Average net price: $12,167
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
45
Texas State University

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Texas State University was founded in 1899 and sits on 455 acres in the town of San Marcos, TX. Texas State is home to 31,005 students, who can choose among 96 baccalaureate degree programs and areas of study. The student/faculty ratio at Texas State is 20:1 and 25.6 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students. Texas State accepts 73.8 percent of its applicants, 78 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Out-of-state tuition and fees at Texas State University total $20,376 per year and graduates earn on average $43,700 their first year out of school.

Academic reputation score: 39
Average financial aid: $7,565
Average net price: $12,358
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
44
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

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University of Mary Hardin-Baylor is a private, baptist university in Belton, TX, between Dallas and Austin. It offers 54 undergraduate majors/programs to its 3,063 to choose from. Mary Hardin-Baylor boasts a student/faculty ratio of 16:1, 48.5 percent of its classes have fewer than 20 students, and 64.3 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor total $25,750 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $49,400.

Academic reputation score: 42
Average financial aid: $11,903
Average net price: $23,097
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
43
Notre Dame de Namur University

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Founded in 1851 on 47 acres just south of San Francisco in Belmont, CA, Notre Dame de Namur University is the third oldest college in California. Home to 1,178 undergraduate students, Notre Dame de Namur offers 20 Undergraduate degrees and aims to expose students to broad interests and perspectives through others with diverse backgrounds. Notre Dame de Namur has a student/faculty ratio of 11:1 and an average class size of 16 students. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at Notre Dame de Namur total $31,206 per year and the average starting salary for graduates is $48,400.

Academic reputation score: 38
Average financial aid: $20,087
Average net price: $27,008
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
42
California State University—San Bernardino

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California State University—San Bernardino sits on 430 acres at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains. San Bernardino State has highly respected programs in computer science, geographic information and decision sciences, psychology, health and public administration, accounting and finance, nursing and a nationally acclaimed writing program. San Bernardino State is home to 16,083 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is 27:1, 58.6 percent of classes have less than 30 students, and San Bernardino State has an 88 percent freshman retention. The university accepts 54.7 percent of its applicants, its out-of-state tuition and fees total $17,709 per year, and the average starting salary for graduates is $43,300.

Academic reputation score: 33
Average financial aid: $10,675
Average net price: $6,571
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
41
San Francisco State University

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San Francisco State University has a total out-of-state cost for tuition and fees of $17,628 per year. Undergraduates at SF State can participate in over 300 student organizations and participate in the #2 ranked study abroad program in the nation. San Francisco State offers bachelor’s degrees in 114 areas, has a student/faculty ratio of 22:1, and 55.5 percent of its classes have fewer than 30 students. Of its 26,156 students, 80 percent returned for their second year and 13 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from San Francisco State University is $47,100.

Academic reputation score: 35
Average financial aid: $10,220
Average net price: $11,654
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
40
Hardin-Simmons University

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Hardin-Simmons University was founded in 1891 and sits on 220 acres in Abilene, TX. Hardin-Simmons is home to 1,790 students who are seeking a Christian, liberal arts, pre-professional and professional education. HSU offers more than 50 major and minor programs between its two colleges. Hardin-Simmons has a student/faculty ratio of 12:1 and 70.6 percent have fewer than 20 students. HSU only accepts 37.6 percent of its applicants, 65.3 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Hardin-Simmons University total $22,350 per year, and the average starting salary for graduates is $46,600.

Academic reputation score: 45
Average financial aid: $10,760
Average net price: $21,284
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
39
Mills College

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An education at Mills College is distinguished by its collaboration between students and faculty. Located in the city of Oakland, CA, the all women’s college is home to 985 students. Mills boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 10:1, 74.7 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 79.3 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Mills College total $42,918 per year and 84.7 percent of students received some form of need-based financial aid.

Academic reputation score: 81
Average financial aid: $27,716
Average net price: $26,773
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
38
The Evergreen State College

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Located on 1,000 wooded acres in Washington State’s capitol of Olympia, Evergreen State College is home to 4,087 students. Evergreen State is a public liberal arts college, and faculty provide students with written evaluations rather than letter grades. The most popular areas of study at the college are Social Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences, Environmental Studies, and Liberal Arts and Sciences. Evergreen State College has a student/faculty ratio of 23:1 and 38.3 percent of its classes have less than 20 students. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at Evergreen State total $21,735 per year and the average starting salary for graduates is $39,300.

Academic reputation score: 49
Average financial aid: $7,079
Average net price: $13,147
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
37
University of Alaska—Anchorage

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University of Alaska—Anchorage is a young school, founded in 1954. It sits upon 387 acres in Anchorage, AK and is home to 16,577 students. University of Alaska—Anchorage accepts 79.7 percent of its applicants, 71.3 percent return after their freshman year and 9 percent graduate in four years. The student/faculty ratio is 12:1 with 53.1 percent having less than 20 students. Out-of-state tuition and fees at UAA total $19,322 per year and graduates earn an average of $52,100 per year as a starting salary.

Academic reputation score: 32
Average financial aid: $5,729
Average net price: $7,276
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
36
California State University—Stanislaus

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California State University—Stanislaus blends modern facilities with the pastoral charm of the countryside on its 228 acres in Turlock, CA. It has a total out-of-state cost for tuition and fees of $17,651 per year. Cal State Stanislaus offers more than 100 majors, minors, concentrations and teaching credentials. Cal State Stanislaus has a student/faculty ratio of 21:1, and 70.3 percent of its classes have fewer than 30 students. Of its 7,754 students, 85.8 percent returned for their second year and 18 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from Cal State Stanislaus is $43,000.

Academic reputation score: 37
Average financial aid: $10,006
Average net price: $7,190
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
35
California State University—Sacramento

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California State University—Sacramento was founded in 1947 and sits on 300 acres in downtown Sacramento, CA. It is home to 26,012 students, who can choose among 60 undergraduate degrees. Sacramento State accepts 70.6 percent of its applicants, 81.3 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Out-of-state tuition and fees at Sac State total $17,808 per year and first year graduates earn an average of $46,500 per year.

Academic reputation score: 35
Average financial aid: $10,364
Average net price: $9,006
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
34
Sonoma State University

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Sonoma State University is noted for collaborative educational experience between students and faculty. SSU offers 46 major and 47 minor programs to its 8,351 undergraduate students. SSI has a student/faculty ratio of 25:1 and 51 percent of its classes have fewer than 30 students. Sonoma State accepts 90.2 percent of its applicants and 80.5 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Out-of-state tuition and fees at Sonoma State University total $18,436 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $46,400.

Academic reputation score: 42
Average financial aid: $9,087
Average net price: $14,396
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
33
Oklahoma City University

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Located on 104 acres in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City University is home to 1,821 undergraduate students. The most popular areas of study at the university are Visual and Performing Arts, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Business, Management, & Marketing, Health Professions, and Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Oklahoma City University’s student/faculty ratio is 11:1 and 72 percent of its classes have less than 20 students. The cost for tuition and fees at Oklahoma City University total $30,726 per year and 83.7 percent of students had their financial needs met in full. The average starting salary for Oklahoma City University graduates is $40,400.

Academic reputation score: 54
Average financial aid: $16,538
Average net price: $25,056
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
32
George Fox University

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George Fox University has a total cost for tuition and fees of $31,866 per year, and 34.8 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. George Fox is a Christian university that offers small class sizes and faculty who integrate their Christian faith into their teaching. George Fox has 2,383 undergraduate students who enjoy a student/faculty ratio of 14:1, and 54.8 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Roughly seventy-five percent of applicants are accepted into George Fox each year, 82 percent of whom returned for their second year and 52 percent of whom graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from George Fox University is $43,700.

Academic reputation score: 50
Average financial aid: $17,410
Average net price: $24,404
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
31
California State University—Fresno

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California State University at Fresno was founded in 1911 and sits upon 363 acres in Fresno, CA. It is home to 20,295 students, who can choose among the school’s bachelor’s degrees in more than 60 areas of study. Fresno State accepts 59.9 percent of its applicants, 85 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Out-of-state tuition and fees at Fresno State total $17,458 per year and on average graduates make $42,200 a year their first year out of school.

Academic reputation score: 41
Average financial aid: $10,046
Average net price: $6,228
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
30
California State University—Fullerton

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Offering more than 50 undergraduate degrees and nearly 50 master’s programs, California State University—Fullerton is home to 33,116 students. Cal State Fullerton has a student/faculty ratio of 26:1, 68.2 percent of its classes have fewer than 30 students, and 86.5 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Out-of-state tuition and fees at Cal State Fullerton total $17,476 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $42,600.

Academic reputation score:43
Average financial aid: $9,583
Average net price: $6,885
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
29
California State University—Chico

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On 119 acres in Chico, CA lies the California State University at Chico. Chico’s 15,292 undergraduate students can choose among 300 areas of study and 200 campus clubs. The most popular areas of study at the university are Business, Management, & Marketing, Health Professions, Social Sciences, Political Science, and Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies. Cal State Chico’s student/faculty ratio is 24:1 and 59.4 percent of its classes have less than 30 students. The four-year graduation rate is 17 percent and 67.2 percent of applicants are admitted into the university. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at California State University at Chico total $19,632 per year and the average starting salary is $47,300.

Academic reputation score: 45
Average financial aid: $9,884
Average net price: $12,836
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
28
Pacific University

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Pacific University is located on 55 forested acres in the town of Forrest Grove, OR (just a 30 minute drive from Portland). Pacific is home to 1,785 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 10:1, class sizes are quite small, with 67 percent having less than 20 students, and Pacific has a 79.3 percent freshman retention. The university accepts 86.2 percent of its applicants, its tuition and fees total $38,510 per year, and average starting salary for graduates is $44,000.

Academic reputation score: 54
Average financial aid: $20,132
Average net price: $27,790
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
27
University of St. Thomas

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University of St. Thomas has a net cost for tuition and fees of less than $13,000 per year after financial aid. UST students can choose from over 35 undergraduate and almost 20 graduate degrees. The student/faculty ratio is 10:1 with an average class size of 16. On average, there is a 60% interview rate and 57% acceptance rate for medical school students. Over 95% of certified education graduates find jobs in an educational setting or are accepted into graduate school. The average starting salary for UST students is over $51,000according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Academic reputation score: 52
Average financial aid: $20,607
Average net price: $12,093
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website

26
Point Loma Nazarene University

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Point Loma Nazarene University was founded in 1902, and sits upon 90 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, CA. It is home to 2,556 students, who enjoy small classes (44.7 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 14:1. Point Loma accepts 66.5 percent of its applicants, 84.5 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Point Loma total $31,406 per year and the average starting salary for graduates is $42,100.

Academic reputation score: 65
Average financial aid: $14,057
Average net price: $29,013
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
25
California State University—Long Beach

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California State University—Long Beach is a vibrant, comprehensive, urban university located on a 320-acre campus near the Pacific Ocean. Cal State Long Beach is home to 30,474 students who can choose 83 undergraduate degrees. Cal State Long Beach has a student/faculty ratio of 22:1, 67.3 percent of its classes have fewer than 30 students, and 88 percent of freshmen return for their second year. The out-of-state tuition and fees at Cal State Long Beach total $12,108 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $43,600.

Academic reputation score: 48
Average financial aid: $9,931
Average net price: $8,169
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
24
San José State University

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San José State University offers more than 130 bachelor’s degrees across 11o areas of study. Located on 154 acres in Silicon Valley, SJSU was the founding school of California State University and is now home to 25,862 students. The acceptance rate at SJSU is 64.1 percent, 85.8 percent of whom return after their freshman year. The student/faculty ratio is 29:1, 64.5 percent of classes have 30 or fewer students, and 8 percent of students graduate in four years. The total out-of-state cost for tuition and fees is $13,172 and the average starting pay for graduates of SJSU is $51,500.

Academic reputation score: 44
Average financial aid: $9,757
Average net price: $11,138
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
23
Western Washington University

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Located atop 215 acres overlooking Bellingham Bay sits Western Washington University. Western is home to 14,026 students who can choose from among 160 academic programs. The student/faculty ratio is 20:1, the average class size is 30 students, 84.3 percent of students return for the second year, and 38 percent graduate within four years. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at Western Washington University total $20,406 per year and the average starting salary for graduates is $45,100.

Academic reputation score: 57
Average financial aid: $7,618
Average net price: $14,253
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
22
Mount Saint Mary’s University

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Mount Saint Mary’s University is a predominantly female school that offers a dynamic learning experience in the liberal arts and sciences to a diverse student body. Located in Los Angeles, CA, Mount Saint Mary’s is home to 2,625 undergraduate students, 94 percent of whom are female. The student/faculty ratio is a small 12:1, 53.6 percent of classes have less than 20 students, and the  freshman retention rate is 81.8 percent. Ninety percent of applicants to Mount Saint Mary’s are admitted, and the average starting salary for graduates is $44,600.

Academic reputation score: 56
Average financial aid: $21,550
Average net price: $26,473
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
21
St. Mary’s University of San Antonio

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St. Mary’s  University of San Antonio has a total cost for tuition and fees of $25,126 per year, but 100 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Founded in 1852, St. Mary’s offers a rigorous education that integrates the liberal arts with professional education across more than 20 disciplines. St. Mary’s has a student/faculty ratio of 12:1 and 53.1 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 2,393 students, 73 percent returned for their second year and 35 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from St. Mary’s University is $41,200.

Academic reputation score: 57
Average financial aid: $16,506
Average net price: $18,828
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
20
California Lutheran University

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California Lutheran University was founded in 1959 and sits upon 225 acres midway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara in Thousand Oaks, CA. It is home to 2,888 students, who can choose among 36 undergraduate majors in areas such as management, education, psychology, science and the humanities. The faculty/student ratio is 15:1, 55.2 percent have fewer than 20 students, 61 percent of students graduate in four years. California Lutheran University only accepts 48 percent of its applicants, 84 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at California Lutheran University total $37,140 per year the average starting salary for graduates is $40,900.

Academic reputation score: 66
Average financial aid: $18,768
Average net price: $29,718
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
19
California State Polytechnic University—Pomona

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Sitting on a 1,428 acre campus what was originally the winter ranch home of W.K. Kellogg, California State Polytechnic University in Pomona is home to 20,952 students who can choose from more than 60 majors from eight colleges and schools. Cal Poly Pomona has a student/faculty ratio of 28:1 and 71.9 percent of its classes having less than 30 students. The four-year graduation rate is 10 percent while the freshman-retention rate is 94 percent. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at Cal Poly Pomona total $17,510 per year and the average starting salary for graduates is $50,500.

Academic reputation score: 49
Average financial aid: $8,918
Average net price: $10,693
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
18
Regis University

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Located on 90 acres in Denver, CO, Regis University is home to 5,172 students. Regis University is made up of three colleges: Regis College, The Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, and the College for Professional Studies. Regis has a student/faculty ratio of 14:1 and 70.6 percent of its classes have less than 20 students. The four-year graduation rate is 42 percent and the freshman retention rate is 84 percent. The cost for tuition and fees at Regis University total $33,060 per year and the average starting salary for graduates is $51,100.

Academic reputation score: 51
Average financial aid: $19,636
Average net price: $23,873
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
17
Seattle Pacific University

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Seattle Pacific University is a Christian liberal arts school located on Queen Anne hill in Seattle, WA. SPU is home to 3,366 students who can choose among 60 undergraduate programs. The most popular programs at Seattle Pacific are psychology, business administration, nursing, physiology, and communication. The student/faculty ratio is a small 15:1, 44 percent of classes have less than 20 students, and Seattle Pacific has an 85.5 percent freshman retention rate. The university accepts 83.2 percent of its applicants, its tuition and fees total $35,472 per year, and the average starting salary for graduates is $42,200.

Academic reputation score: 63
Average financial aid: $19,152
Average net price: $25,990
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
16
Abilene Christian University

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Abilene Christian University offers 71 baccalaureate majors in more than 125 areas of study. Located in Abilene, TX, the total undergraduate enrollment is 3,727 students. At Abilene it is easy to get involved in one of the school’s 100 plus student organizations. Thirty-seven percent of students graduate in four years, 75 percent of freshman return for their second year, and only 48.9 percent of applicants are admitted to Abilene Christian University. The average starting salary for graduates is $45,500 and the total for tuition and fees is $29,450.

Academic reputation score: 64
Average financial aid: $14,649
Average net price: $25,143
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
15
LeTourneau University

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Founded to serve GIs returning from Wold War 2, LeTourneau University sits upon 162  acres in Longview, TX, a progressive hub city nestled among beautiful pine-forested hills and the lakes of East Texas. LeTourneau offers 90 programs such as Business, Management, Marketing, Education, Engineering, Engineering Technologies, and Psychology. It is home to 2,305 students who enjoy small classes (63.2 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 13:1. LeTourneau only accepts 41.4 percent of its applicants, 76.3 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at LeTourneau University total $26,910 per year, and the average starting salary for graduates is $55,400.

Academic reputation score: 52
Average financial aid: $15,599
Average net price: $21,474
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
14
Pacific Lutheran University

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Pacific Lutheran University is located in the Parkland neighborhood of Tacoma, Washington and is home to 3,300 students who can choose from 44 majors. Pacific Lutheran offers more than 100 clubs and activities to its student body and has a student/faculty ratio of 14:1, and 82.3 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Pacific Lutheran University total $36,530 per year, and the average starting pay for graduates is $42,100.

Academic reputation score: 64
Average financial aid: $20,885
Average net price: $24,489
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
13
Westminster College

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Located on 27  acres in the center of Salt Lake City, UT, sits Westminster College. Westminster is home to 2,295 students who can choose among 38 undergraduate majors. The most popular areas of study at the university are Business, Management, & Marketing, Health Professions, Psychology, Social Sciences, and Natural Resources and Conservation. With a student/faculty ratio of 9:1 and with 67.0 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at Westminster enjoy a personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Westminster College total $30,364 per year and the average starting salary for graduates is $49,800.

Academic reputation score: 61
Average financial aid: $15,429
Average net price: $22,688
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
12
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

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New Mexico Tech is a world leader in many areas of research, including hydrology, astrophysics, atmospheric physics, geophysics, homeland security, information technology, geological sciences, energetic materials engineering, and petroleum recovery. Located in Socorro, NM, New Mexico Tech is home to 1,604 undergraduate students, over 70 percent of whom are male. The student/faculty ratio is 13:1, 55.9 percent of classes have less than 20 students, and 74 percent of freshman return for their second year. The university only accepts 32.2 percent of its applicants, out-of-state tuition and fees total $18,184 per year, and the average starting salary for NM Tech graduates is $51,500.

Academic reputation score: 56
Average financial aid: $6,778
Average net price: $10,735
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
11
Whitworth University

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Located in Spokane, WA, Whitworth University’s 156 full-time faculty’s primary commitment is to teaching. Whitworth has a total cost for tuition and fees of $37,456 per year and an enrollment of 2,260 undergraduate students. Whitworth has a student/faculty ratio of 11:1, 83 percent of its classes have fewer than 30 students, and 85 percent returned for their second year. The average starting salary for students from Whitworth University is $40,800.

Academic reputation score: 74
Average financial aid: $19,899
Average net price: $25,750
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
10
Seattle University

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Located on Capital Hill overlooking downtown Seattle, Seattle University has a total cost for tuition and fees of $38,205 per year. In addition to a top notch education on campus, Seattle University students have access to one of the most dynamic centers for business, technology, and entrepreneurship in the nation. Seattle University has a student/faculty ratio of 12:1 and 57.7 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 4,666 students, 87 percent returned for their second year. The average starting salary for students from Seattle University is $46,100.

Academic reputation score: 82
Average financial aid: $16,270
Average net price: $34,340
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
9
University of Redlands

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University of Redlands was founded in 1907 and is known for it’s robust study abroad program that allows its students to learn around the world. Located on 160 acres in Redlands, CA, the university is home to 3,609 students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 14:1, class sizes are relatively small with 57.9 percent having less than 20 students, and Redlands has an 88 percent freshman retention rate. The university accepts 67.2 percent of its applicants, tuition and fees total $43,186 per year, and the average starting salary for graduates is $41,300.

Academic reputation score: 71
Average financial aid: $26,852
Average net price: $28,164
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
8
Chapman University

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Located on 78 acres in Orange, CA, Chapman University is home to 6,005 students who can choose among 45 majors. Chapman is distinguished by its four educational pillars: intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual. Chapman accepts 44.7 percent of applicants, has a student/faculty ratio of 14:1, and 41.9 percent of its class have less than 20 students. The school has a freshman retention rate of 91.5 percent and 60 percent of students graduate in four years. The cost for tuition and fees at Chapman University total $45,393 per year and graduates earn an average salary of $42,200.

Academic reputation score: 79
Average financial aid: $24,091
Average net price: $32,932
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
7
St. Mary’s College of California

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The University of St. Mary’s Catholic tradition encourages an appreciation of all faiths, a respect for the dignity of human life, a willingness to explore the mystery of existence, and an understanding of the whole person, mind and body, soul and spirit. St. Mary’s is home to 5,323 students. Located in Moraga, CA, the university boasts a student/faculty ratio of 12:1, with 50.1 percent of its classes having fewer than twenty students, and 88.3 percent of freshmen returning for their second year. Tuition and fees at St. Mary’s University total $41,380 per year, and the average starting pay for graduates is $50,600.

Academic reputation score: 72
Average financial aid: $23,301
Average net price: $33,206
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
6
University of Portland

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University of Portland was founded in 1901 on 108 acres overlooking the Willamette River and downtown Portland, OR. It is home to 3,494 students, who can choose from about 40 majors and areas of study. Class sizes are fairly small, (35.5 percent have fewer than 20 students) and UP has a student/faculty ratio of 13:1. University of Portland accepts 66.8 percent of its applicants, 89.8 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at University of Portland total $38,520 per year, and the average starting pay for graduates is $48,800 a year.

Academic reputation score: 75
Average financial aid: $20,758
Average net price: $30,273
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
5
California Polytechnic State University—San Luis Obispo

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California Polytechnic State University—San Luis Obispo has a total out-of-state cost for tuition and fees of $20,079 per year. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is home to 18,739 students who participate in a hands-on educational experience that prepares them for today’s scientific and technical world. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo offers 147 bachelor’s degrees, 49 master’s degrees, and 7 teaching credentials. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has a student/faculty ratio of 19:1 and 71.1 percent of its classes have fewer than 30 students. Ninety-two percent of students returned for their second year and 30 percent graduate in fours years. The average starting salary for students is $56,200.

Academic reputation score: 73
Average financial aid: $6,583
Average net price: $17,365
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
4
Loyola Marymount University

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Loyola Marymount University is the largest Catholic university on the West Coast. Located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the city of Los Angeles, California, Loyola Marymount is home to 6,205 students who can choose among 60 majors. The student/faculty ratio is 11:1, 46.8 percent of classes have less than 20 students, and Loyola Marymount has a 90.3 percent freshman retention. The university only accepts 54.1 percent of its applicants, tuition and fees total $41,372 per year, and the average starting pay for graduates is $48,900.

Academic reputation score: 89
Average financial aid: $18,880
Average net price: $36,650
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
3
Gonzaga University

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Located in Spokane, WA, Gonzaga University is one of the premiere Catholic university’s on the west coast. Gonzaga offers more than 75 areas of study to its 4,896 undergraduate students. Gonzaga admits 68.1 percent of its applicants, 92.8 percent of whom return for their sophomore year, and 71 percent of whom graduate in four years. The most popular areas of study at the university are Business, Management, & Marketing, Social Sciences, Engineering, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and Psychology. With a student/faculty ratio of 12:1 and with 41 percent of its classes having fewer than 20 students, students at Gonzaga enjoy a personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Gonzaga total $36,535 per year and the average annual pay for graduates is $47,600.

Academic reputation score: 89
Average financial aid: $16,315
Average net price: $30,181
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website

2
Santa Clara University

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University of Santa Clara’s closeness to silicon valley means its 5,435 students plenty of opportunity for internships during school and jobs upon graduation, with an average starting salary of $56,600.  Santa Clara was founded by the Jesuits in 1851 and is the oldest institution of higher learning in California. Santa Clara’s student/faculty ratio is 12:1, 40.4 percent of all classes have fewer than 20 students, and a freshman retention rate of 94.3 percent. Students at Santa Clara can choose among more than 100 student organizations on campus. The total cost to attend Santa Clara is $43,812 and 29.6 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 99
Average financial aid: $18,470
Average net price: $38,844
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
1
Trinity University

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Trinity University was founded in 1869 on 117 acres atop a hill in the heart of San Antonio, TX and is home to 2,237 students. Trinity’s rigorous yet flexible Common Curriculum is intentionally interdisciplinary and provides real-world experiences and international exposure for its students. Students at Trinity enjoy very small classes (62.8 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 9:1. Trinity accepts a 63.9 percent of its applicants, 89 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Trinity University total $36,214 and the average starting salary for graduates is $43,700.

Academic reputation score: 100
Average financial aid: $20,261
Average net price: $26,013
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website

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