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Central Washington University

CWU—Again—Found to Provide Excellent Educational Return on Investment

Central Washington University is listed as a top school in the state for providing educational value. A survey by the financial technology company SmartAsset compared institutions based on quantitative data from the 2014 College InSight, 2014 National Center for Educational Statistics, and 2016 Payscale.

“Time and again, Central has been found to deliver educational bang for the buck,” said university President James L. Gaudino. “This is another indication of that fact, as is our rising enrollment. But these findings also show that, while cost effective, Central provides top quality education, as evidenced by the fact that our graduates can—and do—successfully compete for high-paid positions upon graduation.”

For its study of America’s Best Value Colleges, SmartAsset made the determination based on a system involving tuition, student living costs, scholarship and grant offerings, retention rate and starting salary.

“We gave 25 percent weighting to starting salary, tuition, and living costs; and 12-and-a-half percent weighting to scholarships and grants and student retention rate to come up with a ranking of schools in our analysis,” explained AJ Smith, vice president for SmartAsset. “With that ranking, we created an index—a sort of grading on a curve.”

Overall, Central’s student-retention (the rate of students that re-enrolled at the institution the following year) bettered the averages of all of its state peers, while CWU also offer more scholarships and grants at the same time.

Smart Asset also found that CWU had among both the lowest tuition ($8,976) and student-living-cost rates ($13,809), while graduates earned an average annual starting paycheck of $46,500 in the second year of the study.

“This year Central ranked fifth in the state in the overall study and ninth in starting salary,” Smith noted. “Last year Central placed sixth in Washington in the overall study.” 

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of radio services and integrated communications, 509-963-1487,

July 19, 2016

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