Cheapest Colleges in Oregon in 2021 - Best Value Schools

Cheapest Colleges in Oregon in 2021

January 15, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Earning a degree can be expensive, it should be an investment, not a risk.  Finding the right college to go to that is both affordable and high quality is key to making the right choice in higher education.  Oregon has large universities as well as small private colleges that make our list for the cheapest colleges in Oregon. Some institutions offer hundreds of programs while others focus on a specific area of study such as art, each institution has been considered using a matrix of tuition, faculty to student ratio, and graduation rate.  

Anytime a prospective student is considering an institution to earn their degree from they will always research the cost of attending.  The base tuition is the first large cost, followed by books and fees and possibly housing if they choose to live away from home.  This list only considers the base cost of tuition.  Although after our list be sure to read ways to decrease costs of tuition through financial aid options as well as housing options.  

The second area to consider when choosing a college is the faculty to student ratio.  The reason for considering this item is that the lower this ratio is will determine how much face time students get with their professors who are often experts in their fields.  Students are more likely to be mentored and receive a more personalized education, be more engaged and complete their degree when their professors know them.  They are not merely a number on a roll. 

Last, we consider the graduation rate in determining high quality institutions for the following reasons: high graduation rates means students felt the cost of the degree was worth it to complete it.  Institutions with higher graduation rates also have higher student satisfaction with their overall experience.  

Only accredited institutions made this list.  The matrix for ranking is simple, those with low tuition costs, low faculty to student ratios, and high graduation rates will rank at the top and so forth.  The cheapest colleges in Oregon will still be high quality institutions you can count on for excellent education that will prepare you for success in your chosen career.  Be sure to read after to learn about ways to lower the cost of attending college in Oregon.  

Here are the 19 Cheapest Colleges in Oregon

1. University of Oregon      Points 11

Established in 1876, the University of Oregon is a public flagship research institution in Eugene, Oregon.  Students have access to many affordable undergraduate and graduate degrees from UO.  With seven professional schools and five colleges there are over 300 academic programs for students to find what fits their interests, talents and educational goals. A sampling of degree programs include economics, architecture, environmental science, philosophy, geography, biology, and so many more.  Enrolling over 23,000 students per year there are plenty of student activities to be involved in, from sports to clubs to student led organizations student life is vibrant and engaging.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Eugene, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $11,898
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $35,478
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 72%

2. Multnomah University        Points 11

Established in 1936, Multnomah University is a private non-denominational institution for higher learning.  Multnomah University offers undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, online programs, and a seminary.  Degree programs include exercise science, theology, youth ministry, business, psychology, environmental science and more.  One of the unique programs that Multnamoah implements is their Link Project, this is a required 20 hour project that students will either intern or volunteer at a place within the community that will connect students to organizations, non-profits, and ministry organizations.     

At A Glance

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $25,900
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $25,900
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 63%

3. George Fox University         Points 11

Established in 1891, George Fox University is a private institution originally founded as a school for the Quakers.  It is the oldest accredited Christian college in Oregon.  Students can pursue degree completion programs, undergraduate and graduate degree programs.  Majors that students can enroll include education, politics, computer science, health professions, visual and performing arts, Christian ministries, and more.  Those seeking graduate degrees will find programs in seminary, counseling, physical therapy, business, social work, and psychology.  Newberg is also rated as one the safest towns in Oregon.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Newberg, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $36,020
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $36,020
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 64%

4. Pacific University           Points 11

Established in 1849, Pacific University is a private institution that has since grown to include three additional campuses.  Student enrollment is approximately 3,800 with 39% attending at the additional campuses.  Students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of fields including public health, integrated media, chemistry, finance, dance and more.  Pacific University has consistently ranked among the top college in the West in areas of research, best value, social mobility, sustainability, and more.  Students also enjoy a rich student life with NCAA athletics, cultural activities, Forest Grove Farmers Market, and Outdoor Pursuits.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Forest Grove, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $44,298
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $44,298
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes

5. University of Portland          Points 11

Established in 1901, The University of Portland is a private institution for higher learning affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The University of Portland has been recognized as one of the best  colleges in ORegon and the sixth best regional university in the west by the U.S. News and World Report.  Those pursuing undergraduate degrees will find majors in biology, psychology, civil engineering, management sciences, information technology, and more.  All students are required to complete 13 core courses prior to pursuing their major courses.  Students enjoy a vibrant student life with over 90 student run clubs and organizations and athletics.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $45,904
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $45,904
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 12 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 81% 

6. Linfield College       Points 11

Established in 1858, Linfield College is a private institution for higher learning that provides a unique and proven method for teaching skills and concepts that will propel students’ careers.  Linfield provides a liberal arts core for all students and degrees that is organized into four key components.  First students learn critical thinking skills, they will then have a writing intensive requirement, next is diversity studies, and last is an inquiry seminar.  Majors that students can choose from include business management, marketing, nursing, humanities, psychology, sociology and more.  Students also have a vibrant student life with cultural activities, intramural sports, performing arts groups, and clubs.   

At A Glance

  • Location: McMinnville, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $43,402
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $43,302
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 70%

7. Oregon Institute of Technology           Points 9

Oregon Institute of Technology is a public polytechnic university with campuses in Klamath Falls, Wilsonville, Salme, and Seattle.  Students will find career focused degree programs in engineering, health technology, information technology, applied sciences, management, communications and more.  Students are always engaged with an experiential teaching model held at Oregon Tech through clinics, externships, and labs.  Students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees at a very affordable cost.   To foster success beyond the classroom students have opportunities to participate in research, project-based learning and more.  According to Oregon Tech more than 96% of graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $10,118
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $28,668
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 43%

8. Oregon Health and Science University           Points 9

Established in 1887, Oregon Health and Science University is a public institution that awards degrees in the fields of health and sciences.  A place where healing, teaching, and discovery can take place.  As a Health and Sciences institution there is a School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Dentistry, School of Public Health, and a College of Pharmacy.  Students can choose affordable degrees in a variety of majors including applied health and fitness, health nursing, radiation studies,  public health and more.  Students are engaged with various activities such as student council, intramural sports, on campus magazine, and more. 

At A Glance

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $20,365
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $31,957
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 9 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: N/A

9. University of Western States    Points 9

Established in 1904, The University of Western States is a private non-profit institution.  It also happens to be the second oldest Chiropractic institution for higher learning in the world.  Approximately 1,000 students enroll each year between their main campus and courses available online.  University of WEstern States is accredited both as an institution and programs.  Students can pursue degrees in sports medicine, nutrition, functional medicine, performance psychology, chiropractic, and more.  Students benefit from the knowledge and research they are able to gain on campus but also from the hands-on skills and experiences they will receive within the many clinics they will rotate through as part of the degree.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $9,950
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $9,950
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: N/A

10. Portland State University     Points 9

Established in 1946, Portland State University has been ranked by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the most innovative universities in the nation.  Enrolling close to 26,000 students yearly, Portland State University is among the most affordable colleges in Oregon.  Students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in over 120 majors.  The student body is composed of culturally diverse students, making it an inclusive campus.  In-demand degree programs include environmental science, accounting, social work, biology, health studies, urban planning, and more.  Student life is engaging with cultural activities, student government, intramural sports, and more.     

At A Glance

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $9,105
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $27,437
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 20 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate:  49%

11. Eastern Oregon University           Points 9

Established in 1929, Eastern Oregon University was first opened as an institution to train teachers, but has since grown to offer degrees through their six colleges as well as online.  EOU works with Oregon State University to offer unique programs and degrees in agriculture and nursing in addition to their other programs. Undergraduate degrees include biology, history, education, art, psychology, public administration, and many more.  Students pursuing a graduate degree can enroll in an MA in Teaching.  There are also many pre-professional degree programs in dentistry, medicine, law, veterinary, and nursing.    

At A Glance

  • Location: La Grande, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $8,679
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $20,739
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate:  33%

12. Western Oregon University           Points 9

Established in 1856, Western Oregon University has had many previous names throughout its years as it was founded by pioneers of Oregon to educate teachers.  The university comprises two colleges, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Education.  It is a diverse institution as an emerging Hispanic serving institution, the only four year college wih that designation in the state or Oregon.  Students can pursue a number of cheap undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas such as education, exercise science, english, american sign language, philosophy, sociology, and many more.  Students can also participate in student run plays, sports, cultural activities, musicals, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Monmouth, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $10,197
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $26,420
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 39%

13. Warner Pacific University        Points 9

Established in 1937, Warner Pacific University is a private institution affiliated with the Church of God.  Students at Warner Pacific can pursue degrees at various levels, from associate degrees to graduate degrees.  Offering an affordable education that is career focused in over 60 fields of study including criminal justice, social work, business administration, and many more.  Warner Pacific has ranked among the best colleges for seven years in a row by U.S. News and World Report.  With a diverse faculty and student body inclusion is very important as well as a welcoming atmosphere for all who attend.  It is also a Designated Hispanic serving institution.  Students can take advantage of student sports, clubs and organizations, internships, and research.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $18,660
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $18,660
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 12 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 48%

14. Pacific Northwest College of Art     Points 9

Established in 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art is a private institution for the fine arts and design.  Numerous degrees are awarded in various areas of study such as animated arts, graphic arts, fine art, creative writing, photography, painting, and illustration.  Students have unique opportunities to participate in workshops, industrial design, technology and tech programs.  Student enrollment is about 500 students per year as they participate in interdisciplinary and collaborative work.  Each year students and faculty participate in Portland’s cultural activities through lectures, exhibits and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $38,250
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $38,250
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 47%

15. Corban University          Points 9

A private Christian institution for higher learning, Corban University is an affordable college in Oregon.  With an average enrollment of 1,200 students that attend on campus in Salem and another 2,900 students that enroll online across the globe Corban University has been recognized as an accredited best value college.  Students enjoy a vibrant community, beautiful large campus, personalized teaching, it is no wonder it has been ranked among the best universities in the West by the U.S. News and World Report. Each program has a built in Christian view.  Students can pursue over 50 programs of study.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Salem, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $33,040
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $33,040
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate:  59%

16. Oregon State University           Points 9

Oregon State University is the state’s largest institution for higher learning as it enrolls nearly 32,000 students each year.  It is a public institution that offers cheap undergraduate degrees in over 200 programs as well as many graduate degrees and doctoral programs.  Another distinguishing feature that OSU holds is that it is the only institution in ORegon that holds two Carnegie Classifications: Community Engagement and HIghest Research Activity. OSU is recognized regionally as well as nationally for its outstanding programs including forestry, big data, and oceanography.  It is a top 1% university in teh world as well as a land, sea, space, sun grant university.  Students have hundreds of degree programs to choose from knowing they are learning from the best.     

At A Glance

  • Location: Corvallis, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $11,166
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $30,141
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

17. Southern Oregon University           Points 9

Southern Oregon University is one of the cheapest colleges in Oregon.  With an average of 6,000 students enrolling each year for undergraduate and graduate degrees there is a vibrant student life as well as a wide array of academic offerings.  Ashland has been voted as one of the top 10 finalists in “Outside Magazine” best town in America.  With a rich cultural offering, beautiful landscape, entertainment, and tourism students have a rich student life on and off campus.  Students can pursue a degree in the arts, education, health and physical education, outdoor adventure leadership, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Ashland, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $9,615
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $25,545
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 20 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 40%

18. Bushnell University       Points 9

Established in 1895, Bushnell University which was formerly Northwest Christian University is a private Christian institution in Eugene, Oregon affiliated with the Christian Church.  Enrolling approximately 1,200 students that will grow in wisdom, faith, and service through Christian learning.  Students receive a personalized education with a low faculty to student ratio and 135 hours of field experience.  Students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of fields such as nursing, forensic psychology, business administration, and more.  Students can also pursue a degree online from Bushnell University.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Eugene, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $30,050
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $30,050
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 46%

19. New Hope Christian College           Points 7

Established in 1925, New Hope Chirstian College is a private bible institution that is also a best-value college of Oregon.  Students participate in a curriculum that is focused on vocational bible training in areas of pastoral studies, Christian counseling, Christian Education, intercultural studies, business, worship arts, and youth ministry.  Students can choose either a Bachelor of Science in creative arts with an emphasis in technology and production, music and worship, or drama and dance. Students can also choose a Bachelor of Science in Ministry Leadership.  The latter has specializations in pastoral leadership, youth ministry, Christian Counseling, Christian education, and interdisciplinary studies.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Eugene, Oregon
  • Resident Tuition: $14,830
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $14,830
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 5 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 20%

Methodology in Points Assigned


Cost $0 to $4,999  5 points

Cost $5K to $9,999 3 points

Cost $10K+ 1 point

Faculty to Student Ratio

10 to 1 and lower 5 points

20 to 1 3 points

Above 20 1 point

Graduation Rate

Above 50%  5 points

Between 25% to 40% 3 points

Attending college in Oregon can be very expensive for many reasons, tuition and cost of living are the two big ones.  Many of the cities that the collges are located in are very expensive to live in, luckily there are a few things students can do to decrease the cost of college.  

First, financial aid, whether that is in the form of grants, scholarships, work study programs or other avenues nearly every college will offer some financial aid package.  The first thing Oregon students need to do is stop by the Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC). OSAC will provide advice on the FAFSA, grant information, important deadlines, as well as information of over 500 scholarships.   It is important to file your FAFSA as early as possible to be considered for state aid.  Students can apply for both state aid and any numbers of scholarships to decrease the cost of college tuition.  

Second, the cost of living for students in Oregon can be very expensive especially if students have to leave home to attend college. As a resident of Oregon, if you are struggling to afford heat, food and healthcare you may qualify for state assistance.  For more information on this students can check our services here.   

Housing is usually the largest expense aside of tuition that students will need to come up with.  There are pros to on campus housing.  On campus housing includes furniture, utilities, students are not paying for commuting costs, and they can rest well knowing their building is up to code.  Some institutions in Oregon require first year freshmen to live on campus such as OSU, PSU, and WOU.  Many students will find that the financial aid package they receive will not cover housing costs.  

Off campus housing in Oregon can be difficult to navigate.  Many schools offer a housing map that shows students apartments and housing availability near campus.  Some students find living off-campus is cheaper when they split rent with other students, but there may be other costs to consider such as utilities, groceries, and commuting costs. Finding a place to live off campus can be done with a little research and some help from websites such as Adobo.com, CampusRent.com, and ApartmentGuide.com.  

When living off-campus students will often need to pay some utilities, knowing what those are before you sign a rental agreement will be important to budget how much it is really cost.  Speak to the Landlord and get in writing what they cover (typically sewer) and what you need to cover (water, heat, electricity, internet).  There are payment assistance programs in the state of Oregon should a student have a financial crisis and need help.

Students also need to consider the cost of medical and dental needs. Most institutions have their own health clinics that provide affordable healthcare services.  More institutions than ever before also offer mental health and have 24 hour hotlines where students can receive help. U of O’s university health center is staffed by board certified physicians that are able to help students.  Dental coverage is another issue, most institutions do not have dental services available on campus and dental services can get expensive.  Searching for local dental clinics in the area would be a start to finding affordable dental care especially if students do not have dental insurance.  

Transportation is another cost that students living off campus need to consider.  Luckily Oregon is a “green” state that prides itself on offering low cost public transportation.  Many colleges have programs where students can rent bikes or catch a ride on a free shuttle or bus.  Others offer discounted public transit passes to students.  

The last thing every student needs, food.  There is no reason to go hungry to pay for college.  Many colleges have food pantries on campus that serve students anywhere from weekly to once a month.  Students can go and get some basic food items such as canned goods, bread, dairy, and produce.   There are also other Oregon Food Pantries that students can see if they are in the area where they will be welcomed and assisted.   

Paying for college should be an investment not a risk.  With the cheapest colleges in Oregon and a variety of ways to make it even more affordable students can save thousands of dollars but not sacrifice quality or living life to the fullest.       

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