Best Oregon Colleges & Universities

Become Team
Become Team
November 20, 2020

Oregon is on the cutting edge of higher education with the Oregon Promise program, an initiative that allows Oregon students to attend the first two years of community college at no cost. Oregon is the second state to do this, preceded only by Tennessee, in response to the growing national movement to make community college tuition free for all U.S. citizens. Students who are ready to take advantage of the Oregon Promise program and discover other college and university options in the state can begin here. We looked at factors like tuition rates, average financial aid and how well alumni are doing to provide a well-rounded view of higher education in Oregon.

Oregon College Leaderboard: Rankings

Choosing the best college to attend can be a daunting task. To help, prospective students can look at our rankings to discover information without having to do the in-depth research themselves. Our rankings take into account numerous factors, including tuition cost, the availability of financial aid and graduation rates. Students can look to these rankings as a barometer of quality during their intensive college search.

Rankings Methodology Minimum Qualifications
  • Located in Oregon
  • Public or private not-for-profit
  • Institutionally accredited
  • At least 10 total programs
Ranking Metrics
  • Median annual alumni earnings 10 years after entering the college
  • In-state tuition and fees for undergraduates
  • Student/teacher ratio
  • 6-year graduation rate
  • % of students receiving institutional financial aid (first-time, full-time undergrads)
  • Average amount of institutional aid awarded per student (first-time, full-time undergrads)
  • Availability of placement services upon completion
  • Availability of academic/career counseling services
  • Availability of employment services
  • 3-year student cohort loan default rate
Data Sources

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): National Center for Education Statistics

Latest 'Final Release' data available as of Fall 2016 College Scorecard: U.S. Department of Education

2-Year Programs

Southwestern Oregon Community College View School Profile $ 20% 99.78 $27,600 16:1 51% N/A 6 47 Yes Yes
Clackamas Community College View School Profile $ 13% 99.58 $33,800 21:1 8% N/A 1 111 No Yes
Columbia Gorge Community College View School Profile $ 41% 99.53 N/A 12:1 11% N/A 0 22 Yes No
Chemeketa Community College View School Profile $ 12% 99.34 $29,700 22:1 5% N/A 8 91 Yes Yes
Mt Hood Community College View School Profile $ 18% 99.24 $33,100 20:1 9% N/A 2 106 Yes Yes
Linn-Benton Community College View School Profile $ 16% 99.07 $31,500 19:1 4% N/A 3 95 Yes Yes
Treasure Valley Community College View School Profile $ 18% 98.8 $28,800 17:1 30% N/A 0 91 No Yes
Portland Community College View School Profile $ 19% 98.69 $33,100 22:1 N/A N/A 8 142 Yes No
Lane Community College View School Profile $ 10% 98.68 $28,100 21:1 5% N/A 0 90 Yes Yes
Blue Mountain Community College View School Profile $ 20% 98.4 $28,800 14:1 17% N/A 2 55 No Yes
Rogue Community College View School Profile $ 14% 98.37 $24,800 18:1 4% N/A 0 68 Yes Yes
Central Oregon Community College View School Profile $ 17% 98.17 $29,500 20:1 8% N/A 0 57 Yes Yes
Umpqua Community College View School Profile $ 15% 97.33 $27,300 17:1 N/A N/A 0 61 Yes Yes
Clatsop Community College View School Profile $ 25% 95.91 $23,900 14:1 N/A N/A 0 33 No Yes
Klamath Community College View School Profile $ 2% 86.51 $24,000 14:1 16% N/A 2 45 No Yes
Tillamook Bay Community College View School Profile $ 32% 86 $33,100 12:1 12% N/A 6 37 No Yes

4-Year Programs

Willamette University View School Profile $$$$ 77% 99.71 $49,200 11:1 99% 81% 1 58 Yes No
Linfield College-McMinnville Campus View School Profile $$$$ 67% 98.79 $51,300 12:1 99% 94% 1 43 Yes Yes
University of Portland View School Profile $$$$ 74% 97.38 $51,700 14:1 98% 63% 0 62 Yes No
Pacific University View School Profile $$$$ 63% 96.75 $42,300 10:1 97% 80% 0 67 Yes No
Lewis & Clark College View School Profile $$$$ 76% 96.06 $43,400 12:1 89% 67% 0 53 Yes No
Oregon State University View School Profile $$ 61% 95.56 $46,400 19:1 55% 78% 26 161 Yes No
George Fox University View School Profile $$$$ 64% 94.86 $43,300 14:1 94% 78% 0 57 Yes Yes
Oregon Institute of Technology View School Profile $$ 48% 94.24 $50,100 19:1 63% 60% 10 33 Yes Yes
University of Oregon View School Profile $$ 67% 94.07 $41,600 19:1 56% 75% 1 148 Yes No
Portland State University View School Profile $$ 42% 92.67 $42,800 19:1 45% 69% 0 136 Yes No
Warner Pacific College View School Profile $$ 54% 91.62 $36,100 12:1 97% 53% 0 26 Yes Yes
Oregon Health & Science University View School Profile $$ N/A 91.4 $74,100 8:1 N/A N/A 4 28 No No
Marylhurst University View School Profile $$$ 38% 91.27 $33,300 6:1 100% 100% 4 26 Yes Yes
Concordia University-Portland View School Profile $$$$ 45% 91.04 $41,800 17:1 99% 53% 7 32 Yes Yes
Northwest Christian University View School Profile $$$$ 39% 90.84 $38,500 15:1 100% 72% 9 45 No Yes
Western Oregon University View School Profile $$ 45% 90.6 $38,500 17:1 54% 89% 5 67 Yes No
Reed College View School Profile $$$$ 74% 90.5 $36,200 9:1 49% 39% 0 29 Yes No
Corban University View School Profile $$$$ 52% 89.44 $34,200 14:1 100% 37% 5 14 Yes Yes
Southern Oregon University View School Profile $$ 32% 88.06 $37,300 21:1 54% 77% 0 49 Yes Yes
Multnomah University View School Profile $$$ 45% 87.26 $31,400 14:1 98% 57% 0 22 Yes Yes
Pacific Northwest College of Art View School Profile $$$$ 22% 87.22 $22,600 7:1 100% 82% 0 14 No No
Eastern Oregon University View School Profile $ 32% 86 $37,800 25:1 48% 64% 11 29 No Yes

Search & Compare Colleges in Oregon

For some students, one college factor might matter more than another. For instance, one student might want to see a low student-to-teacher ratio while another might care more about student population. This search tool can allow students to find Oregon colleges based on their own unique qualifications and then compare the results side by side to make a more informed decision.

College Outreach Programs in Oregon

Planning for college should begin as early as possible. Some college planning and assistance programs begin as early as elementary school, but the majority of them really kick in during high school. These resources help students plan for college both financially and academically, help students get through their college years and then work to assist them in entering the workforce. Here are a few of the worthy programs offered to students at Oregon colleges.

FAFSA PLUS

This helpful program is designed to prepare students through FAFSA training, financial literacy information, scholarship resources and help with award letters. Over 110 sites in the state are currently hosting FAFSA events, which help students understand and complete the FAFSA well before the deadlines. This entirely free program is not just for high school students; those who are going back to school or heading to college for the first time after a period in the workforce are also welcome to attend any of the information sessions.

Oregon College Application Week

Filling out college applications can be very time-consuming and sometimes confusing. The college application week in Oregon is a week dedicated to giving students the time and space they need to focus on applications and complete them before the deadlines. The program is especially helpful for first-generation college students and those who have never considered going to college before as the application process can be quite rigorous. The program has been expanding rapidly; in 2014, 86 sites across the state served over 4,000 students.

ASPIRE

This mentoring program matches supportive volunteers with middle and high school students in an effort to motivate them to work hard to meet their goals, especially the goals of higher education. Volunteers will help students with a variety of college planning questions and concerns, including helping them figure out what they want to do after high school, what kind of training it will take to get there and how to handle many steps along the way, such as admissions and financial aid packages

Cost Analysis of Colleges in Oregon

Understanding the cost of college can be confusing, and tuition can be jaw-dropping. Keep in mind, however, that those numbers are what you might pay without financial aid, and typically most students do get financial aid packages. These charts lay out what students can expect from tuition rates as well as the average financial aid packages that help offset those costs.

Source: CollegeBoard

Source: IPEDS

Source: IPEDS

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Oregon's Most Affordable Colleges

Tuition is not the bottom line when it comes to paying for college, but net price is. The net price is what you get when you subtract financial aid from the cost of attendance. These rankings of the six most affordable colleges in Oregon can give students an idea of what their out-of-pocket costs might be.

Oregon College Net Price vs. National Average

Average
Annual Net Price
OREGON $22,490
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Oregon Colleges Offering Grads the Biggest Paychecks

One of the things many students are curious about is what the alumni are making now. Prospective students usually want to see if a college investment has paid off. These six colleges in Oregon produced the highest paid alumni in the state ten years after they started college. We have also compared them to the national average for a broader view.

Oregon Alumni Salaries vs. National Average

Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
OREGON $41,907
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Colleges in Oregon With Least Alumni Debt

Most students might see graduation as the final hurdle before pulling in a nice paycheck. But what happens when most of that paycheck goes to pay for student debt? Fortunately, there are schools that tend to produce graduates with the lowest student debt after college, and these are the top six.

Oregon College Grad Debt Vs. National Average

Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
OREGON $23,923
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

What Does it Costs to Live in Oregon?

Though some points about cost of living in Oregon are on a par with the national average, such as utilities and grocery costs, according to Sperling's Best Places, others are above the national norm, meaning that Oregon can be a costlier place to live in the U.S. That's why it is important for students to look at the total college experience, including the area in which the college is located, to get a firm grasp of what it might cost to attend there. This chart breaks down the cost of living in various metropolitan areas and compares them to the national average.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 104% 102% 100% 106% 117% 106% 101%
Klamath Falls 93% 82% 94% 96% 119% 103% 92%
Portland 114% 121% 106% 117% 115% 110% 109%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

Oregon College Accreditation

When seeking out the ideal school, students should consider accreditation. A school that has earned accreditation has been evaluated by an independent body and found to meet the standards of a quality education. That quality matters for many reasons, including employers readily accept a degree from an accredited school as valid, students who attend accredited schools might be eligible for more financial aid and transfer credits are usually recognized by receiving institutions.

Oregon colleges earn accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities In addition to regional accreditation, schools might also acquire programmatic accreditation. This means that a specific program has been evaluated and found to meet the requirements of a particular accreditation agency that focuses on that specific field. Here are a few examples:

Oregon Cities with a Large College Presence

Eugene

As Oregon's second-largest city, Eugene is home to over 140,000 residents. One-third of those residents have completed at least four years of college, according eugene-or.gov, which might help explain the high percentage of doctors, lawyers, educators and architects in the area. Here are some of the colleges that students in Eugene might turn to in order to join the well-educated population.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

EugeneUniversity of Oregon Public $16,057 $41,600
A member of the Association of American Universities, University of Oregon is dedicated to interdisciplinary research and scientific research. Twenty-four thousand students are enrolled with the vast majority of them pursuing their education full-time. Students appear to love studying at UO as the one-year retention rate sits at 87 percent. The college offers 316 programs, ranging from metalsmithing, Chinese language and sculpture classes to accounting, political science and psychology.
EugeneLane Community College Public $9,115 $28,100
As the third largest community college in Oregon, LCC serves a student population of 36,000 with half of those students attending full-time. Those students can choose between four campuses and an Aviation Academy across the 4,600-square mile service area. Students get started with rolling admissions, which allows them to start their education at various times throughout the year. The college, founded in 1964, is a member of the League for Innovation in the Community College.
EugeneNew Hope Christian College Private not-for-profit $13,628 $23,200
Established in 1925, NHCC has a strong focus on ministry studies. Though most programs culminate in a bachelor's degree, the school also offers an associate in ministry leadership and a master's in Christian ministry; these degrees are available online. Students receive excellent attention at NHCC with a 10-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. Those instructors are at the top of their game with 75 percent of full-time instructors holding a terminal degree in their field.
Portland

The city of Portland acts as an arts and culture hub in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to a lively atmosphere, the city also offers over a dozen institutions of higher learning that help students meet their academic goals. Below are a few colleges and universities to consider in the area.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

PortlandPortland State University Public $14,145 $42,800
Over 29,000 students make their way to PSU for small, intimate classes, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 19-to-1. Undergrads at this popular university can choose from 120 majors, minors and concentrations within seven distinct schools, while graduate students can enroll in more than 70 master's programs, 30 graduate certificate programs and 18 doctoral programs. Online programs are also a very popular addition to PSU's lineup and include topics in crime analysis, infant and toddler mental health and craft brewing.
PortlandPortland Community College Public $8,335 $33,100
As the largest postsecondary institution in the state, PCC serves a whopping 90,000 students each year. The school consists of four large campuses, eight centers, numerous independent locations and a comprehensive online presence. The average age of students here is 29, and most of them are attending PCC to earn credits toward their bachelor's degree.
PortlandConcordia University Portland Private not-for-profit $19,866 $41,800
Though Lutherans founded this private college, the doors are open to those of any faith. Founded in 1905, the college was originally a four-year academy for pastors and parochial school teachers. Located in a residential area of Portland, today, the school sits on 24 acres and welcomes over 2,000 students each year in a variety of majors. In 2002, the college branched out with their first fully online program.

Source: College Scorecard

Oregon College Resources for Further Research

Seeking out college resources is a very important part of the journey to higher education. These are a few resources unique to Oregon to help students get started on creating their resource toolbox.

College Goal Oregon

This initiative by the state of Oregon encourages students to get the ball rolling for college by hosting FAFSA events and the like.

Office of Community College and Workforce Development

Part of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, this site focuses on preparing workers for skilled trades through community college and then connecting grads with businesses who are hiring.

Office of Student Access and Completion

This site helps individuals plan and pay for college by introducing numerous state and federal programs that might be of help to aspiring students.

Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities (OAICU)

OAICU is made up of 12 colleges plus six affiliate colleges and universities all dedicated to ensuring educational achievement for their students.

Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC)

The HECC serves all the higher education needs for the state, including public and independent schools, vocational and trade schools, and career colleges.

Worksource Oregon

Graduates of Oregon colleges can sort through job listings, resources, information on employment processes and training options on this website.

Become Team
Become Team
Contributing Writer