Idaho Online Colleges & Universities: Top Schools for 2017-2018

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An Inside Look of Online Colleges in IDAHO

When online learning first entered the scene, it was often relegated to only private institutions. As it has become more common, the scope has broadened to also encompass traditional colleges. These days, countless students have access to a multitude of online degrees and certificates that can be completed in the comfort of their own homes.

Colleges in Idaho Offer Diverse Online Learning Opportunities

Varied types of distance learning courses and programs are offered by numerous colleges and universities across the state, making it easier for students, especially those in rural areas, to work toward a degree. Institutions offering online programs are detailed below.

University of Idaho. The University of Idaho has a growing collection of master’s degree programs available fully online. Main subject areas include education, engineering, environmental studies, and science. The university’s College of Education uses an online learning platform called Elluminate to facilitate live discussion and interaction between students and professors.

Boise State University. Operating as Idaho’s largest educational institution, BSU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in almost 200 disciplines at their on-campus facilities. The university also boasts the state’s most extensive undergraduate nursing program and the country’s only master’s degree in raptor biology. The Extended Studies division focuses on distance education, concurrent enrollment, lifelong learning opportunities, and online professional workshops. The school’s eCampus program aims to increase access to education by offering 22 fully online programs and more than 250 courses. Undergraduate programs target adult learners in search of degree completion and certification, while graduate degrees and certificates are offered in various disciplines, such as nursing, business administration, and education.

College of Western Idaho. The College of Western Idaho is headquartered in Nampa, but also serves a large student population at its Boise campus. This public community college has over 9,000 degree-seeking students enrolled, in addition to nearly 11,000 students taking individual courses. With about half of the student body attending part-time, CWI addresses the varied needs of students by offering online and weekend classes. The college provides GED preparation, dual credit for high school students, degrees for transfer to four-year institutions, technical and career training degrees, certificates, and continuing education. Students can also find online and hybrid courses to satisfy general education requirements. CWI’s online associate degree programs include topics in liberal arts and humanities alongside studies in business, criminal justice, and geography.

Boise Bible College. Boise Bible College, situated on a 16-acre campus at the northwest edge of the city, is a community of nearly 500 students. Associated with the independent Churches of Christ, this school awards associate and bachelor’s degrees and one-year Bible certificates online.

Cost of Living and Tuition Considerations

Prospective students should consider the various costs associated with earning a certificate or degree before enrolling in a program. While tuition varies by school, in 2012 college students in Idaho paid an average of $9,500.

Nearly all colleges and universities charge student fees to help defray the cost of offering various activities and facilities not directly related to the classroom. In addition to tuition, these fees may cover laboratory materials, recreational facilities, parking, and technology resources. In 2012, Idaho students spent an average of $1,100 in student fees, with total costs for the college experience totaling $10,600 per year.

Living expenses should also be factored in when considering all the financial needs associated with college. These additional costs include housing, transportation, utilities, and food. While they vary city to city, Idaho’s cost of living runs approximately 7 percent lower than the national average. Here are the COL details for Idaho’s urban areas:

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Idaho Falls -9.4% -22.0% -0.5% -15.1% 2.1% -6.8% -3.7%
Twin Falls -8.5% -18.6% -4.5% -3.0% -0.8% -6.7% -5.4%
Boise -2.8% -16.0% -1.5% -0.4% 8.0% 6.6% 3.3%

Another cost-related issue to consider is return on investment (ROI). ROI is measured by calculating the lifetime salary of the average graduate and subtracting the total cost of attendance for four years. The following Idaho colleges have the highest lifetime ROI:

  1. University of Idaho
  2. Idaho State University
  3. Boise State University

Financial Aid and Paying for College

Students in Idaho have a number of options when it comes to paying for their degrees and certificates, ranging from school-specific scholarships to federal aid. The government awards funding based on financial need calculated from the FAFSA®. In 2012, Idaho ranked 22nd in the nation with 69 percent of students receiving federal aid.

Colleges and universities throughout Idaho also offer various types of merit or need-based scholarships. Likewise, many private organizations and companies within the state help students pay for college. Below, you can find a few of these benefactors:

  • Alert Magazine
  • ASTA Pacific Northwest Chapter
  • The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange
  • Donovan & Evelyn Grable Memorial Foundation
  • Epilepsy Foundation: Idaho
  • Idaho Board of Education
  • Idaho Community Foundation
  • Idaho Governor’s Cup
  • Idaho State University
  • Lewis & Jeanette Hower Fund
  • MGMA Western Section
  • Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation
  • Pride Foundation
  • Tschudy Family Foundation

Why Accreditation of Idaho Colleges is Important

Only students who attend accredited colleges in Idaho are eligible to receive federal financial aid. In Idaho, the Northwest Accreditation Commission (‎ ) evaluates both public and private non-profit institutions to ensure a maintained level of academic quality. Idaho schools may also seek accreditation from programmatic agencies. For example, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredits The University of Idaho’s College of Education.

Resources for Online Students in Idaho

Prospective students interested in attending an online college can use the list below to learn about resources specific to Idaho, including information from the State Department of Education, career preparation materials, and scholarships for online students.

Best Online Colleges In Idaho For 2016-2017

In Idaho, many colleges and universities throughout the state are attuned to the value of online learning options for today’s busy students. In an effort to make education easily accessible, some offer a wide range of degree programs available completely online. Based on their commitment to flexible degree opportunities, number of accredited programs, and reasonable tuition rates, the following schools rise above the competition. See which post-secondary institutions have been named as Idaho’s Best Online Colleges for 2016.

Rank School Name Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
College of Southern Idaho 95.36 46% 36 21:1 18%

Students who wish to complete an associate degree or a certificate program, but find that they are preoccupied with the commitments of their daily lives, may wish to consider studying in an online program offered by the College of Southern Idaho. Numerous fields are covered by the associate programs at CSI, allowing students to find the right fit for their educational needs. Online credits will transfer to 4-year schools, allowing students to work towards their bachelor’s degree at a pace at which they feel they work well. Students interested in a more traditional learning experience may still wish to consider completing their degree partially online.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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North Idaho College 91.93 28% 3 15:1 23%

Not only will students attending North Idaho College have the opportunity to take online classes, but they will also be provided with orientation sessions that will guide them through the online coursework process. Training workshops and course advisement will give new students the tools to take control of their college career and build the associate program that they will be happy with. In a typical year, NIC will provide its qualifying students with nearly $800,000 in scholarships; as there are countless scholarships available, students will likely be able to find at least one for which they are eligible.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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College of Western Idaho 91.27 36% 21 24:1 10%

College of Western Idaho has four different campuses across Treasure Valley, with the main campus of Nampa. Only associate degrees are offered. The college is not accredited, but in partnership with College of Southern Idaho, and all courses are transferrable to that institution. Events focus on the academic with the occasional student club meeting or campus field trip; services include financial aid, disability services, a crisis center and veteran’s services. Programs offered vary between three types of certification and three fields of degree. There are courses offered online, using the Blackboard program. Work-study programs are available to students on financial aid.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Rank School Name Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Brigham Young University-Idaho 97.16 36% 29 25:1 56%

Students attending the Brigham Young University (BYU) can obtain a bachelor's degree, associate's degree, and certificates fully online. Online courses have the same objectives and lesson plans as face-to-face courses on campus. Students are able to communicate with one another in the learning model. Students can also communicate with one another through various online communities. Facebook, devotionals, and live web interactions are just a few ways students can communicate with one another and find more information on campus events. Online degree advising is available for students who need guidance and assistance. The online support center is also available for students.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Lewis-Clark State College 91.36 62% 15 16:1 27%

Students who have time and location constraints have the option of taking online classes at Lewis-Clark State College. A variety of fully online, hybrid, and web-enhanced courses are available to students. Access to tests, quizzes, and materials can be found on the learning management system- Blackboard. E-learning services range from technical support to student services. The testing center works very close with e-learning services. Students can request appointments and schedule class exams at the testing center. Students who are interested in getting involved within the community, and practicing skills have over thirty clubs and organizations to choose from at the college.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Idaho State University 87.60 37% 3 16:1 33%

Idaho State University provides fully online and web conference courses for students who prefer distance learning. Fully online courses run entirely online with minor exceptions. Instructors may require students come to campus for group projects or for exams. Web-based courses may also include online participation in discussions, readings, and learning communities. Video conference courses (ViCC) are also available to students. Students can participate in video conferences through microphones, keyed, or video cameras. Web supplemented courses are available to students who prefer less in-class time. These courses require the use of email and other specified software that are stated in the course description.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Boise State University 86.00 33% 6 19:1 36%

Boise State University offers fully online courses for students. The university uses Blackboard as their learning management system where students can make all their class interactions. Students have access to tips on how to succeed in online courses. This information includes guidance on how to technically prepare for online courses and understanding the requirements of an online class. Students who take online courses will participate in online discussion and group work which are all accessed through blackboard. Boise State offers a great deal of online student services. Online tutoring is one of the many services that are available to students. Tutoring is also offered during the day or night.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Search Accredited Idaho Online Colleges

The search tool below contains up-to-date information about each of Idaho’s 39 postsecondary institutions and can make the process of choosing the right school easier for prospective students. The search results include a wealth of information for those interested in learning about online degree and training programs in Idaho, including insight into curriculum, tuition costs, degree types, and enrollment procedures.

Degree Level:
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Best Online Colleges in Idaho for 2015

RANK COLLEGE Tuition And Fees Enrollment Accredited MORE INFO
1 Brigham Young University-Idaho$3,77030,025YES
Brigham Young University-Idaho is one of the many online colleges in Idaho that offers a huge variety of online degree programs that provide students with the opportunity to earn either their associate or bachelor’s degrees, as well as several additional graduate certificates. Students interact with their professors and each other using various resources, including webcasts and virtual classrooms.
2 Lewis-Clark State College$5,5625,911YES
Lewis-Clark State College is somewhat unique among online colleges in Idaho in that each area of focus is handled by its respective division on campus. Students can earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a wide range of fields, and the college utilizes several online resources, including Blackboard and video chatting, to facilitate this.
3 Boise State University$5,88422,775YES
Boise State University offers 2 online bachelor’s degree programs and 6 master’s degree programs, many of which focus on the field of health care. Students have access to a wide range of academic support services that help promote successful online learning, and they receive personalized attention from professors with a variety of technology.
4 Idaho State University$6,07015,094YES
Idaho State University offers a limited selection of online degree programs, providing only two options for course studies. Students can earn their Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology or take the Pre-Professional Program, the latter of which is designed to act as a go-between for those who have earned their bachelor’s and are intending to pursue their master’s.
5 University of Idaho$6,21211,469YES
The University of Idaho is an online college in Idaho that offers a wide range in fields of study for students to earn their graduate’s degree. The fields all fall under engineering, education, science, or earth and environmental studies. Students may also attend online classes to earn one of several graduate certificate options.
6 Northwest Nazarene University$25,1901,533YES
Northwest Nazarene University is a primarily religious college that provides several online degree programs for students, all of which focus on working within the ministry, with nonprofits, or in education. The college uses the ANGEL online course management system to facilitate the education process, and it is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Idaho Educational Resources