The widespread rural areas of Idaho make it an ideal state for pursuing a college education online. Recent reports show up to 20 percent of residents live at least an hour’s drive from a college campus, and growing distance learning programs in the state providing opportunities for those without close proximity to a college or university to easily earn a college degree. If you’ve never considered the possibility of attending college, or are interested in finding more information but aren’t sure where to start, this page provides answers to common questions about online colleges and universities in Idaho and advice on how to pay for school, take advantage of transfer credit opportunities and more.
For more than two decades, Idaho has been a leader in the online learning space. Several of Idaho's best colleges and universities have expanded their curriculum to offer more options for busy students to pursue degrees online. We have evaluated the best online universities in the state by a variety of factors to find those that provide the best combination of high-quality education and student support services for online students. See our picks for 2018 below:
Every major college and university in Idaho—including big public universities like the University of Idaho, Boise State University, and Idaho State University—offers online education in a variety of fields for bachelor's, master's and post-doctoral programs. To find which offer the programs and majors that interest you, start on the web. Each college should provide a comprehensive list of their online programs, like Degree Finder at the University of Idaho.
A list of all colleges registered in the state of Idaho can be found on the Idaho State Board of Education website. To search for all accredited colleges and universities in the state, click the search button to the right.
Understanding different college transfer credit policies can be complicated, which is why the State of Idaho provides the Course Transfer program. Whether you're transferring credits from another institution or anticipate having to do so in the future, this portal can help you navigate the process in Idaho.
Most schools will accept transfer credits from other regionally accredited colleges and universities around the country. Some Idaho colleges will also offer to apply college credits for your life skills and work experience, as evaluated through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). There are a number of other potential credit-for-experience opportunities at Idaho colleges, including credit for military service, credit for adult education and extended learning, study abroad experiences and high school honors classes. Check with the Admissions Office at your prospective school for details.
Fact or fiction: do college grads earn higher salaries? In the state of Idaho, yes. Based on numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs that require higher education pay, on average, more than jobs that do not, meaning earning an online degree from a school in Idaho is an investment in your future that also has the potential to really pay off. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.
Mean Annual Salary for All Occupations in Idaho, by Degree Level:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
The BLS also shows many occupations in Idaho require graduate-level education—the state ranks sixth-highest in the nation when it comes to the percentage of careers that require a master’s degree. And Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, due in part to a boom in the technology sector. For students interested in earning their college degree online, tech careers are highly popular and well-paying. Other fast-growing industries in the state include utilities, educational services and healthcare and social assistance.
A college’s accreditation status is an important factor when choosing an online college in Idaho. Accreditation assures that your program has been recognized for providing a high-quality education, but also shows future employers that the skills you have learned are from a reputable source. Here are the types of accreditation to look for in online colleges and universities in Idaho:
The NWCCU is the accrediting body measuring educational effectiveness and quality for Idaho colleges, and is one of seven accreditors recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member schools from six other states—Alaska, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington—are regulated by the NWCCU.
These optional, additional accreditations vary by school, and focus on a specialized department of study. For example, the University of Idaho carries more than 20 additional, specialized accreditations on top of their regional accreditation from the NWCCU. These specialized accreditations ensure educators are keeping on par with industry-specific standards.
Paying for college is a concern for many students. It's more than just tuition: additional fees for books, technology, and student services can contribute significantly to your total cost. But unlike many other states, general tuition costs in Idaho are below the national average:
In-State Tuition, Public Colleges & Universities: $6,915
Change from 2015 $81
In-State Tuition, Private Colleges & Universities: $6,006
Change from 2015 $450
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
These figures do not account for students who are not Idaho residents. As with the fees mentioned above, be sure to understand the full cost associated with attending an online program in Idaho if you are from another states.
The Idaho Residency Determination Worksheet is a helpful resource for prospective students trying to determine if they qualify for in-state tuition. If you don't meet these requirements, some institutions offer programs to help offset tuition costs for non-residents. Several universities in Idaho give tuition reductions to students from the 14 states participating in the Western Undergraduate Exchange: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
The cost of online credits differs by school. Most online universities in Idaho offer calculators to help you estimate tuition and fees after financial aid is factored in. Some online colleges in Idaho may also offer their distance learning students the same tuition rate as on-campus students. To see how tuition rate prices per credit vary amongst Idaho and other Western states, take a look at the 2018-2019 published rates for undergraduate online tuition comes out to below:
Beyond national scholarships and federal financial aid (FAFSA), there are many scholarships and financial aid opportunities reserved exclusively for Idaho students. Idaho State University, for example, offers generous funding, gifting approximately $10 million in scholarships and grants each year. The Idaho State Board of Education also offers a scholarship specifically for adult learners, awarding eligible applicants up to $3,500 per year. Check with your school’s financial aid office for more details on state- and institution-specific scholarship options.
For many people, deciding to go back to college as an adult is more difficult than simply sending in an application. Those who have been away from the classroom for a number of years may feel unprepared for the rigors of academic life, but there are programs designed to help adult learners make the transition from family or workplace commitments back into college.
Adult education programs helping Idaho residents get a step closer to college:
Adult Basic Education – For students needing a refresher course in basic reading, writing and math skills, look for local basic education courses. English language courses and college readiness classes are also generally provided.
High School Diploma – Prepare to take the GED test through these high school equivalency programs provided through adult education.
Transferring Credits to College – The Next Steps Idaho program prepares students to navigate the college transfer process.
Professional Development – After college graduation, adult education programs can also help students develop stronger professional and technical skills and certifications.