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Online Colleges in Idaho: The Best Schools for 2018

Updated on: 01/04/2018
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Picking the place where you’ll spend the next two to four years is a big decision. Some online learners may be more concerned with questions about affordability and student-to-faculty ratios, while others may be zoomed in on the programs available at various schools and how they rank against other colleges and universities throughout Idaho. In the page that follows, students can find answers to some of their most common questions and ensure they have the information needed to make an informed decision about their academic future.

Best Online Colleges in Idaho: 2018

When choosing a perfect school, some students are most interested in finding the best accredited online colleges in Idaho, while others only want to know about the best affordable online colleges in Idaho. Whatever your priorities may be, the following ranking allows students to take a comprehensive view of online postsecondary options throughout Idaho and thereby gives them the information needed to make an informed decision. Rather than focusing only on quality or affordability, the metrics used to create this ranking delve deeply into other important factors and data sets to make sure each student’s bases are covered before selecting a school.

  • Accredited public or private not-for-profit institution

  • At least 3 online associate degrees or certificate programs (2-year schools)

  • At least 3 online bachelor’s or master’s degrees (4-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition below $5,000 (2-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition below $25,000 (4-year schools)

Colleges receive a total score based on performance in the following categories:

  • Average in-state net price for first-time/full-time undergraduates

  • Count and breadth of online programs available

  • Student-teacher ratio

  • 6-year graduation rate (4-year schools only)

  • % of beginning, full-time undergrads receiving scholarship/grant aid from the college

  • Average $ of financial aid students receive directly from the college

  • Availability of academic/career counseling services

  • Availability of job placement services for students and graduates

  • 3-year loan default rate

  • AC Online Peer-Based Value (PBV)*

*PBV is a proprietary metric that compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or a similar) qualitative score. It also compares the qualitative score of the program to the score of other programs with the same (or similar) cost. In short, the PBV calculation denotes the overall value – or ‘bang for your buck’ – of an online degree.

Our college rankings are backed by data collected and analyzed from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, a program managed by the National Center for Education Statistics. Surveying over 7,500 colleges annually, it is among the most longstanding and trusted providers of U.S. postsecondary information.

  • Most recent “Final Release” data available as of October 2017

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 University of Idaho Moscow, ID 100.00 $4,784 17 74% 16:154%yes yes yes
2 Boise State University Boise, ID 98.01 $4,621 4 39% 17:138%yes yes yes
3 Idaho State University Pocatello, ID 96.92 $4,910 7 51% 15:131%yes yes yes
4 Lewis-Clark State College Lewiston, ID 96.45 $5,900 3 63% 14:124%yes yes yes
5 Brigham Young University-Idaho Rexburg, ID 95.68 $3,750 10 43% 25:154%no yes yes
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2-Year Best College Rankings

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls, ID 100.00 $3,760 19 45% 19:1N/Ano yes yes

The Growing Number of Online Colleges in Idaho

Although Idaho has a relatively small number of public and private colleges as compared to other states, online learning is a vibrant platform for students seeking distance learning opportunities. In 1997, long before online learning was widespread, the state launched the Idaho Electronic Campus to encourage both K-12 and postsecondary digital learning. Idaho Digital Learning is another organization in the state that’s working to make digital learning a reality for students who may not otherwise have access to quality educational opportunities. At the University of Idaho, students can currently select from 26 undergraduate and graduate degree paths, with additional options available for those seeking certificate programs.

Tuition & Financial Aid for Colleges in Idaho

For countless students, the difference in cost between in-state and out-of-state tuition is often the deciding factor in where they attend college. Every state has different requirements for establishing residency and paying a reduced tuition rate, and Idaho is no different. According to the Title 33 legislation passed by the state’s congressional leaders, all individuals, regardless of whether they are considered dependent or independent of their parents, must have lived in the state for at least 12 months prior to the first day of class.

In-state tuition: $6,915

Out-of-state tuition: $20,624

Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2017

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Do online college students in Idaho pay in-state or out-of-state tuition?

Generally, the decision of whether to allow online students to pay in-state tuition is made by individual universities. Some schools may elect to charge differentiated rates, while others may break with tradition and offer tuition discounts to those students logging in from outside the state. The University of Idaho allows resident and non-resident students alike to pay the same tuition and fees – provided they complete all classes online.

Idaho is also a member of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, making it possible for students from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming to receive tuition discounts. As of 2017, the agreement stipulates that students from any of these areas can attend a participating Idaho institution for no more than 150 percent the cost of in-state tuition.

Quick summary on tuition:
  • 1. Numerous public schools in the state offer in-state tuition to online students.

  • 2. Thanks to membership within the Western Undergraduate Exchange, students in 16 states and territories can receive discounted tuition in Idaho, and vice versa.

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How do I apply for financial aid in Idaho?

Like students living in any other state, all Idaho learners should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn about federal grants, scholarships, loans and work-study funds available to them. Because these funds are disbursed on a rolling basis, it’s also important to be timely in filling out the application and try to get it finalized by March at the latest.

At the state level, the Idaho Board of Education provides a range of scholarships based on need and/or merit. Scholarships are open to students attending both four-year and career/technical institutions, provided they meet eligibility requirements.

Idaho has requirements outside those used on the FAFSA application, so prospective learners should familiarize themselves with these before sitting down to apply for scholarships.

  • GPA

    2.0 to 3.0, depending on individual requirements of Idaho scholarships

  • Time commitments

    Students must be enrolled on a full-time basis, meaning at least 12 hours per semester. Some scholarships also require students to complete a certain number of community service hours to maintain the scholarship.

  • Other requirements

    Students must take the ACT/ACT no later than December. They must also have a social security number, email address, and be a resident of Idaho.

Idaho College Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships and grants for college-bound Idahoans are innumerable, with specific options existing at the federal, state and private levels. And unlike loans, the majority of need- and merit-based scholarships don’t need to be paid back, provided students continue to meet all the requirements while receiving funds. Even though free money may sound very appealing, it’s important for students to make sure they meet all the requirements before agreeing to take the funds. In the following section, a few of the most pressing questions students have about scholarships and grants are answered.

What scholarships and grants can I apply for?

Whether attending online or in-person, students in Idaho can take advantage of countless funding options. In addition to learning about scholarships or grants available at prospective colleges and universities, students should also check out the Idaho pages on both Scholarships.com and Niche.com.

How do I apply for scholarships and grants in Idaho?

After reviewing the range of scholarships available in Idaho, the next step is to narrow down the list to those that are aligned to your academic interests and required funding amounts. Take time to review all the requirements for applying, which typically include a completed application, minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, academic samples, a personal statement and possibly an interview. Find a handful of scholarships to which you want to apply, create a calendar to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines, and get to work pulling together all the needed information. If possible, ask a peer or teacher to review your applications to make sure no careless mistakes were made.

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Locating the Perfect Idaho College for You

When searching for the perfect college, every student has a different set of metrics. Some may be most concerned about academic rigor and student-to-faculty ratios, while others are interested in affordability and if they feel at home on campus. Whatever your individual requirements may be, chances are you have many of the same questions as your peers. The following section highlights some of the most common questions college hopefuls have about picking the right school for them.

Which Idaho colleges accept transfer credits and work/life experience?

Simply put, nearly every college in Idaho accepts transfer credits, provided they meet specific requirements. If a previous college credit counts toward a student’s degree program, their new institution should accept the credits. Although no statewide articulation agreement is currently in place, individual universities provide details about their transfer policies for colleges and universities throughout both the state and the country. To get a sense of what to look for when trying to transfer existing classes, check out the University of Idaho’s Transfer Assistance website.

In addition to previous college credits, numerous schools in the state also award credits for previous life and work experiences. This is especially common for adult learners or members of the military preparing to move into a civilian career, and these types of students can often gain numerous credits for their prior learning. Idaho State University has numerous alternative credit opportunities, ranging from CLEP and AP credits to experiential learning assessments and correspondence courses. Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus is also set up to accept basic training military credits from incoming service members.

I live in Idaho. Do I need to pick an online college in Idaho?

Not necessarily. These days, many colleges outside Idaho welcome students from this state, and an increasing number are even allowing online students to pay in-state tuition rates.

How do I pick an online college in Idaho?

Students should begin by creating a list of all the things that are important to them in a school, be that program availability, school reputation, ranking against other institutions, personalized study opportunities, or the availability of support services. They should also look at a list of all the schools in Idaho to identify colleges and universities that meet their criteria. After creating the list of schools, start thinking about which qualities are most important. If you had to choose between location and reputation, which one would be more important? Once you’ve narrowed the list to a handful of options, consider learning more about each one. Whether than means driving to the campus for a visit or emailing with the director of potential departments, these conversations can often provide information that makes it easier to eventually pick just one school.

Read about all the accredited online colleges in Texas to find a degree path that’s perfectly tailored to your goals.