Top Public Universities in the West

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    Coming up with your initial college list is an important step in the college application process. For many students, public universities in the West are at the top of their lists. Public colleges and universities offer affordable in-state tuition rates, a wide range of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

    Many of the top public universities in the US are West Coast colleges. This means that if you are interested in attending one of the best public universities in the West — such as California Polytechnic State University or  California State University in Long Beach — you will need to write a unique college essay and focus on your extracurricular activities and volunteer hours.

    In this article, we will review some of the top colleges on the West Coast, as well as provide you with key facts and figures concerning.

    How many public universities are in the U.S.?

    There are approximately 5,300 institutions of higher learning in the US. But how many public colleges are in the US? According to Education Unlimited®, there are 1,626 public colleges and universities. Many of these colleges are clustering along the West Coast, particularly in the state of California. 

    How many public colleges in California?

    This statistic can vary depending on various factors and criteria. That said, it’s important to note that over 2 million students currently attend college in California. 

    The California State University system has 23 campuses in different parts of the state and the University of California system has 10 college campuses. Additionally, the California community college system includes 116 colleges. 

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    Advantages of attending a public university

    There are several reasons why public universities are better for many college students. One of the biggest factors is affordability. Because public colleges and universities receive state and federal funding, in-state tuition is subsidized. Attending college is a huge financial commitment, so it makes sense that financial factors play a large role in where students choose to attend. 

    In addition to their overall affordability, public colleges and universities tend to have more diverse student bodies and offer a wider range of academic programs than private schools. Many public universities also have ample research funding. Because of this, some public universities, particularly the top public universities in the country are known for their prestigious research opportunities. 

    List of top west coast universities

    Are you wondering what are the top public universities in the West? 

    In this section, we will review key facts and figures for the best public universities in the West. For each of these top West Coast schools, we will include its:

    • Location
    • Undergraduate student population
    • Acceptance rate
    • In-state tuition
    • Out-of-state tuition
    • 2022 Top Public Schools ranking (U.S. News)
    • 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West (U.S. News)

    If you are interested in learning more about top West Coast colleges, refer to the top 25 West Coast colleges and universities, as ranked by U.S. News. 

    01

    California Polytechnic State University

    California Polytechnic State University, also known as Cal Poly, is located in San Luis Obispo, California, and has an acceptance rate of 38% and an undergraduate population of 21,447. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $8,658 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $22,116. According to the U.S. News, California Polytechnic State University is #1 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #2 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    02

    California State University (Long Beach)

    California State University in Long Beach, California, has an acceptance rate of 42% and an undergraduate population of 33,919. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $6,846 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $17,142. According to the U.S. News, California State University (Long Beach) is #2 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #12 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    03

    California State Polytechnic University

    California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California, has an acceptance rate of 65% and an undergraduate population of 27,911. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,438 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $19,318. According to the U.S. News, California State Polytechnic University is #3 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #14 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    04

    Western Washington University

    Western Washington University is located in Bellingham, Washington, and has an acceptance rate of 94% and an undergraduate population of 14,194. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $8,703 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $25,930. According to the U.S. News, Western Washington University is #4 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #14 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    05

    California State University (Fullerton)

    California State University in Fullerton, California, has an acceptance rate of 68% and an undergraduate population of 36,770. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $6,975 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $17,632. According to the U.S. News, California State University (Fullerton) is #5 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #19 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    06

    New Mexico Tech

    New Mexico Tech, is located in Socorro, New Mexico, and has an acceptance rate of 97% and an undergraduate population of 1,229. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $8,425 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $24,254. According to the U.S. News, New Mexico Tech is #6 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #20 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    07

    San José State University

    San José State University is located in San Jose, California, and has an acceptance rate of 67% and an undergraduate population of 27,702. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,852 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $19,466. According to the U.S. News, San Jose State University is #7 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #22 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    08

    California State University (Los Angeles)

    California State University in Los Angeles, California, has an acceptance rate of 76% and an undergraduate population of 22,566. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are ​​$6,782 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $18,662. According to the U.S. News, California State University (Los Angeles) is #8 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #23 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.   

    09

    California State University (Monterey Bay)

    California State University (Monterey Bay) is located in Seaside, California, and has an acceptance rate of 86% and an undergraduate population of 6,519. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,143 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $19,023. According to the U.S. News, California State University (Monterey Bay) is #9 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #25 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    10

    University of Washington (Bothell)

    The University of Washington in Bothell, Washington, has an acceptance rate of 74% and an undergraduate population of 5,350. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $11,649 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $39,018. According to the U.S. News, the University of Washington (Bothell) is #10 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #27 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    11

    San Francisco State University

    San Francisco State University is located in San Francisco, California, and has an acceptance rate of 84% and an undergraduate population of 24,025. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,484 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $19,364. According to the U.S. News, San Francisco State University is #11 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #29 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    12

    California Polytechnic State University (Humboldt)

    California Polytechnic State University (Humboldt) is located in Arcata, California, and has an acceptance rate of 83% and an undergraduate population of 5,869. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,870 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $16,124. According to the U.S. News, California Polytechnic State University (Humboldt) is tied for #12 for 2022 Top Public Schools and tied for #30 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    13

    California State University (Stanislaus)

    California State University (Stanislaus) is located in Turlock, California, and has an acceptance rate of 89% and an undergraduate population of 9,903. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,644 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $19,524. According to the U.S. News, California State University (Stanislaus) is tied for #12 for 2022 Top Public Schools and tied for #30 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    14

    University of Washington (Tacoma)

    The ​​University of Washington in Tacoma, Washington, has an acceptance rate of 87% and an undergraduate population of 4,588. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $11,889 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $39,258. According to the U.S. News, ​​the University of Washington (Tacoma) is tied for #12 for 2022 Top Public Schools and tied for #30 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    15

    Montana Technological University

    Montana Technological University is located in Butte, Montana, and has an acceptance rate of 96% and an undergraduate population of 2,110. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,397 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $22,560. According to the U.S. News, Montana Technological University is #15 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #35 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    16

    California State University (San Bernardino)

    California State University in San Bernardino, California, has an acceptance rate of 78% and an undergraduate population of 17,123. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,046 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $13,629. According to the U.S. News, California State University (San Bernardino) is tied for #16 for 2022 Top Public Schools and tied for #37 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    17

    Sonoma State University

    Sonoma State University is located in Rohnert, California, and has an acceptance rate of 89% and an undergraduate population of 7,255. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,988 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $22,114. According to the U.S. News, Sonoma State University is tied for #16 for 2022 Top Public Schools and tied for #37 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    18

    California State University (Chico)

    California State University in Chico, California, has an acceptance rate of 90% and an undergraduate population of 15,676. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,776 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $19,686. According to the U.S. News, California State University (Chico) is tied for #18 for 2022 Top Public Schools and tied for #39 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    19

    California State University (Northridge)

    California State University (Northridge) is located in Northridge, California, and has an acceptance rate of 65% and an undergraduate population of 34,741. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $6,747 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $18,897. According to the U.S. News, California State University (Northridge) is tied for #18 for 2022 Top Public Schools and tied for #39 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    20

    California State University (Channel Islands)

    California State University (Channel Islands) is located in Camarillo, California, and has an acceptance rate of 86% and an undergraduate population of 7,112. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $6,802 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $18,682. According to the U.S. News, California State University (Channel Islands) is tied for #20 for 2022 Top Public Schools and tied for #41 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    21

    California State University (San Marcos)

    California State University in San Marcos, California, has an acceptance rate of 79% and an undergraduate population of 13,962. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,712 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $17,216. According to the U.S. News, California State University (San Marcos) is tied for #20 for 2022 Top Public Schools and tied for #21 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    22

    California State University (Sacramento)

    California State University in Sacramento, California, has an acceptance rate of 83% and an undergraduate population of 28,697. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $9,068 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $16,988. According to the U.S. News, California State University (Sacramento)  is tied for #22 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #46 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    23

    Central Washington University

    Central Washington University is located in Ellensburg, Washington, and has an acceptance rate of 85% and an undergraduate population of 10,353. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,733 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $23,809. According to the U.S. News, Central Washington University is tied for #22 for 2022 Top Public Schools and is tied at #46 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    24

    The Evergreen State College

    The Evergreen State College is located in Olympia, Washington, and has an acceptance rate of 98% and an undergraduate population of 2,576. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $8,325 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $28,515. According to the U.S. News, the Evergreen State College is #24 for 2022 Top Public Schools and #50 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    25

    California State University (Bakersfield)

    California State University in Bakersfield, California, has an acceptance rate of 78% and an undergraduate population of 9,979. Its annual in-state tuition and fees are $7,582 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $17,086. According to the U.S. News, California State University (Bakersfield) is #25 for 2022 Top Public Schools and is tied for #51 for 2022 Best Regional Universities in the West.  

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    Many students favor public colleges and universities due to their affordability (especially in regards to in-state tuition), diverse student bodies, and ample world-class research opportunities. There are lots of colleges on the West Coast, many of which are notable public universities. In fact, some of the top West Coast public universities are among the most prestigious public universities in the US.

    Regardless of where you are in the college application process, here at Prepory, we have the resources to help. College application season can be a stressful time. This is why it’s important to stay organized and keep track of important college admissions dates. Consider reaching out to learn more about our services. Whether you are interested in tips and resources for college freshmen or are considering transferring colleges, Prepory can provide you with the professional, one-on-one guidance that you need.

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