Idaho is home to several colleges, and many of them offer some form of online instruction. Schools with an online presence, including Northwest Nazarene and Boise State University, offer both bachelor’s and graduate degrees entirely online. Additionally, Idaho is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement’s (SARA) western branch, which makes distance education programs more accessible and affordable for students in that part of the country. We’ll explore that institution, along with other major proponents of distance learning in Idaho, below.
So, before we dive into our list of best online colleges in Idaho for 2017, let’s look at the state of higher education and online education in particular in Idaho today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Idaho
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Idaho had 19 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 8 public schools, 4 nonprofits and 7 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 6,313 at public schools, 3,911 at private nonprofits and 112 at private for-profits.
- 8 public
- 4 non-profit
- 7 for-profit
Over a decade, starting in 2002, total full-time enrollment at Idaho’s public schools rose 30%, indicating the state’s major institutions are steadily drawing in more students.
Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the ’15-’16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $6,820, while the out-of-state average was $20,470.
As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Idaho awarded $1.42 million in need-based grants and $3.55 million in non-need grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up only 1.3% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education. Idaho also awarded $1.18 million in work study over the same period.
An Idaho study, with data released by Georgetown University, projects that by 2018 68% of Idaho’s jobs will require some form of postsecondary credential. Today, only 35% of Idaho’s adult residents hold such a credential. The good news is that online colleges in ID have relatively low tuition and indications that momentum is on the state’s side, with more students, generally speaking, enrolling and earning degrees every year.
The State of Online Higher Education in Idaho
The NCES estimates that at least 12.6% of students enrolled in Idaho’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 85.2% were reported to be undergraduates and 42.4% were found to be living in Idaho. Overall, it’s reported that over 23% of students currently enrolled in Idaho engage in some form of distance learning, whether that be a course or a component of a course ― compare that to an estimated 13.3% online engagement nationwide.
Idaho is also part of the SARA regional education compact known as the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). The WICHE Internet Course Exchange (ICE) offers opportunities for state residents, through their local college or university, to access high quality distance programs offered at out-of-state WICHE institutions, often at greatly reduced rates.
Lastly, the state maintains the Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON), an organization that operates “a dedicated high-speed fiber optic network infrastructure to support Idaho’s unique research, health care, education and government needs.” Such an organization benefits Idaho’s distance students immensely, ensuring that for years to come they will have first-rate tech powering their research efforts, regardless of where in the state they live.
Best Online Colleges in Idaho
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Idaho. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in Idaho, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Idaho or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Northwest Nazarene University||Nampa||$$$$$||623 S. University Blvd.|
Nampa, ID 83686-5897
Northwest Nazarene, located in Nampa, Idaho, is a nonprofit, Christian university of the liberal arts. The university is one of the best online colleges in Idaho. NNU serves more than 10,000 students, with at least 60% of them taking online courses. NNU offers undergraduate majors in 42 fields of study, and fully online bachelor's in liberal studies, business administration, and RN to BSN. Each online program has its own schedule and benefits. With the online liberal Studies degree, start dates are every eight-weeks. In the business administration bachelor's degree, students can take up to six courses per 15-week semester. Students can complete the program in 16-months. The RN to BSN can be finished in five-semesters. Students enrolled in online courses have access to all the same resources and facilities as on-campus students, including library services, workout facilities, and chapel services.
|2||Brigham Young University - Idaho||Rexburg||$$$$$||525 S Center|
Rexburg, ID 83460-1690
Throughout its almost 130-year history, BYU-Idaho has undergone several name changes and many campus renovations and expansions, but it has always maintained its affiliation with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The campus is located in Rexburg, Idaho. More than 50% of the school's 65,000 students are enrolled in online programs, making Brigham Young one of the leading online schools in Idaho. BYU offers more than 300 courses and 11 bachelor's degrees online, including degrees in business management, healthcare administration, and software engineering. The online degrees at Brigham Young are structured by semesters. Distance learners have access to the online support center, full e-library privileges, and an active online community that engages students in campus events. BYU is the largest private school in Idaho. About 26,000 students enroll online each semester. Summer sessions last seven-weeks.
|3||Lewis-Clark State College||Lewiston||$$$$$||500 8th Ave|
Lewiston, ID 83501-2698
Lewis-Clark is located near the state border of Idaho and Washington and the city border of Lewiston and Clarkston. The college offers more than 370 courses and seven bachelor's degrees that can be completed fully online. Online degrees include business administration, early childhood development, general studies: humanities, and more. The school is among online colleges in Idaho to offer accelerated programs; the RN to BSN can be completed in nine-months. Online students at Lewis-Clark receive e-library access, technical support, and access to Read & Write, a software tool that helps students become more proficient users of the English language. Community involvement is central to Lewis-Clark’s mission; online students are encouraged to engage with the student organizations available online and get involved with their local communities. The student body represents 25 states and 34 countries, and over 76% over students receive some form of financial aid.
|4||Boise State University||Boise||$$$$$||1910 University Dr|
Boise, ID 83725
Boise State draws more than 20,000 students each year, and more than 6,500 students take online courses, making it one of the leading online schools in Idaho. The university has 27 online programs. BSU offers fully online bachelor's degrees in applied science, imaging sciences, nursing (RN to BS), and more. Online student services include academic advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and numerous computer and technology resources. Online programs follow the traditional 16-week semester schedule, but certain courses do offer condensed schedules. The eCampus Center works with the school's faculty and administrators to create an innovative and uncompromising online experience. BSU's online programs each go through a design process, ensuring that online students receive the best education possible. Online programs are taught through Blackboard. The school’s most popular undergraduate program is in health science studies.
|5||Stevens-Henager College - Boise||Boise||$$$$$||1444 Entertainment Avenue|
Boise, ID 83709-6733
For over 125 years, Stevens-Henager has focused on delivering career-specific education. SHC has grown from a business-only school to offering courses in the fields of healthcare, business, technology, and graphic arts, including a number of bachelor's degree programs that are available online. Stevens-Henager is one of the top online colleges in Idaho, allowing students to complete bachelor's degrees in 36 months. The school provides all bachelor's degree students with laptops, tablets, textbooks, and resources required for study. Stevens-Henager provides personalized support services to students. The college’s Better Life Blog provides students with study tips, career guidance, and facts about the school. The college constantly updates the blog with new information. Stevens-Henager is a nonprofit school. Undergraduate business degrees are offered in a hybrid format. Programs include accounting, forensic accounting, and multiple business administration degrees.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Idaho
Below you’ll find another ranking of the online schools in Idaho, listed by the tuition rate offered at each school.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Idaho
The University of Idaho provides scholarships based on academic merit to incoming freshmen and transfer students. Selection and award amount is based on academic record and financial need. Incoming students are automatically evaluated for eligibility based on their application to the university, so no separate application is required. Explore the university’s financial aid website for details.
Idaho State University provides this scholarship to freshmen who are Idaho residents, and graduated high school in the state. Selection is based on students’ rank within the pool of applicants. Rank is primarily determined by high school GPA. Leadership, subject-area talent, extracurricular involvement, and financial need will also be considered in some cases. The maximum award is full tuition for 4 years.
National Merit Scholarship
The University of Idaho provides this scholarship to incoming freshmen who are National Merit finalists and selected University of Idaho as their first-choice school. The award covers tuition, room and board for up to 4 years of undergraduate study.
Out-of-State Tuition Assistance Scholarship
The University of Idaho provides tuition assistance scholarships for out-of-state students. The amount of the awards vary based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Students with a GPA of 3.0+ qualify for the minimum award of $2,000 per year. Students with a GPA of 3.9 to 4.0 qualify for the maximum award of $8,000 per year. No separate application is required.
Idaho State University provides this scholarship to incoming transfer students. To be eligible, students must have earned between 24 and 100 transferable credits with a GPA of 3.5+. Selection is based on financial need and academic merit. Award amounts vary.
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