Central Washington College

Ellensburg, WA

Located in Ellensburg, Washington, Central Washington University offers two aviation bachelor’s degree paths, each with two concentration options. Established in 1975, CWU’s aviation program is the only fully accredited public university aviation program in the Pacific Northwest.

Program Highlights

Central Washington University is an FAA-approved Part 141 pilot school, and flight operations are conducted at Bowers Field (KELN), which is directly adjacent to the campus. 

Programs the school offers include:

  • Bachelor of Science
    • Aviation Professional Pilot Degree
      • Flight Officer 
      • Commercial Pilot 
    • Aviation Management Degree
      • Aviation Management 
      • Aviation Maintenance Management 

CWU has established direct-hire agreements with Horizon Air, American Eagle, and Pinnacle Airlines. 


Central Washington’s tuition is competitive for the size of school and the facilities it provides. For in-state students, base tuition is just under $27,000. For out-of-state students, it will hover around $43,000.

On top of base tuition, flight students will have additional costs for flight courses. Over the course of flight training, before financial aid or scholarships, flight costs will come in around $90,000 for all necessary licenses to be a professional pilot. 

Central Washington University offers more than 320 CWU scholarships, accepts outside scholarships, and provides financial aid to students. 

It also accepts veterans’ benefits such as the GI Bill.

Fleet and Facilities

The fleet of aircraft at Central Washington include:

  • Piper Archers 
  • Piper Seminoles 

Graduates from Central Washington University’s Part 141 flight training program are eligible for the restricted ATP of 1,000 hours. 

Campus Life

Central Washington is a midsized school, enrolling around 15,000 students at any given time. It offers on-campus housing with 22 different residence halls and many dining halls from which to choose. 

There are 22 sports clubs, varsity sports, campus organization projects, and music groups, so there’s never a shortage of things to do.

The university hosts 150 student clubs and organizations, spanning diverse interests, academic majors, beliefs, and hobbies, including:

  • Archery Club 
  • Child Life Club 
  • Dance Team 

Greek life is also very big at CWU, which is home to dozens of different chapters of sororities and fraternities.

The Bottom Line

Central Washington University offers interested students an option for flight school in the Pacific Northwest. Airline partnerships and eligibility for a restricted ATP gives students the professional incentive to choose CWU. Traditional college experiences like on-campus housing and student organizations are also offered there.

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Other Information

  • In-State Tuition (Per Year) $27,000
  • Out-of-State Tuition (Per Year)$43,000
  • Flight Cost $90,000
  • In-State Total Estimated Program Cost$198,000
  • Out-of-State Total Estimated Program Cost$262,000
  • NIFA (Y/N)No
  • NIFA RegionN/A

Central Washington College Score

Overall: 31 out of a possible 50 points in Colleges

Points Earned

7 out of 10 in Industry Partners

7 out of 10 in Fleet

8 out of 10 in Campus Life

9 out of 10 in Facilities and Location

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