Is it still worth it to go to college? Students, parents, and economists have been asking the question more and more, especially as tuition prices go up.

Best Colleges in Idaho 1

There’s not one answer that’s right for everyone, but it might be helpful to know that according to a study conducted by Georgetown University, 99 percent of new jobs created after the Great Recession have gone to people with at least some college education.

So if you’re from Idaho and looking to take advantage of in-state tuition at a public school, or considering one of the private colleges or public universities—whether from in or out-of-state—this ranking will be helpful in clarifying the options available to you in the state. While Idaho might be known by many for potatoes and outdoor adventure, it also offers high-quality educational opportunities.

Related: Best Online Schools in Idaho.

What are the best colleges in Idaho?

This ranking isn’t meant as the be-all, end-all of your college search process. You should also research the schools yourself, and if you have the chance, visit them to get a feel for what it’s like to be on campus. But if you’re curious about how each school stacks up based on the data, that’s what this list is for. Using three criteria—institutional excellence, return on tuition investment, and student satisfaction—we aggregated data from IPEDS, U.S. News & World Report, Payscale, and various sites students use to rank their own experience.

1

Brigham Young University-Idaho

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $12,798

School Website

Overview

Located in Rexburg, Idaho, Brigham Young University-Idaho (BYU-Idaho) is a private university that focuses on undergraduate education. Founded in 1888 as Ricks College, BYU-Idaho became a university in 2001. Like its sister schools in Hawai’i and Utah, BYU-Idaho is run by the Church Educational System of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The University offers a liberal arts education that includes the sciences, engineering, agriculture, management, and performing arts. And it operates under a three-semester system that is referred to as “tracks.”

Features

The University’s seven colleges (Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business and Communication, Education and Human Development, Foundations and Interdisciplinary Studies, Language and Letters, Performing and Visual Arts, and Physical Sciences and Engineering) offers 18 associate and over 70 bachelor’s degree programs. With a student population of over 43,000, BYU-Idaho has a student-to-faculty ratio of 25:1. The University’s popular majors include

  • Business
  • Health Professions
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Education
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences

Notables

Almost 99 percent of students are members of the LDS Church. All students are required to adhere to an honor code that mandates rules regarding chastity, dress, grooming, drugs and alcohol in addition to academic honesty. And a significant number of students will take a break from their study (18 months for women, 24 months for men) to serve as volunteer missionaries worldwide.

2

Northwest Nazarene University

College Choice Score: 97.49

Average Net Price: $38,750

School Website

Overview

Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) is one of eight US liberal arts colleges affiliated with the Evangelical Christian Church of the Nazarene. Located in Nampa, Idaho, the University draws its students from the Northwest states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska, and parts of Nevada and Utah. Founded as an elementary school in 1913, NNU was accredited as a junior college in 1931, as a four-year college in 1937 and in the mid-sixties Master’s programs were added. The name was changed from Northwest Nazarene College to Northwest Nazarene University in 1999. NNU currently offers 42 undergraduate majors and 11 master’s programs.

Features

The university serves over 1,300 undergraduate students, 700 studying for their master’s and over 6,000 taking courses online or for Continuing Education. The on-campus student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1 and popular undergraduate majors include:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Health Professions
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences

Notables

On its 90-acre, park-like campus, NNU has over 40 clubs and organizations that include interests in ministry, service, recreation, academics, and athletics. Off-campus study possibilities include an Honors Program in Oxford, England; the Los Angeles Film Studies Center; a Contemporary Music Program; and a Latin-American Studies Program. Students also receive a $10 printing allowance per semester, with access to printing, scanning and copying on multi-function machines located throughout the campus.

3

University of Idaho

College Choice Score: 97.2

Average Net Price: $34,298

School Website

Overview

Established in 1889 the University of Idaho (UI) was the state’s only university until 1963. As a flagship, land-grant and primary research university, UI has a 1,585-acre campus on the southwest side of north central Idaho college town of Moscow. The university offers 142-degree programs, that range from accountancy to wildlife resources and include bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and specialists’ degrees. UI is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and has awarded over 118,500 degrees. The University also spends $100 million annually on research.

Features

Spread across 10 colleges UI offers 85 undergraduate, 62 masters and 31 doctoral programs. With over 11,000 students, of which over 9,000 are undergraduates, the University of Idaho has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. The most popular undergraduate majors are

  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Social Sciences

Notables

Over half of the University of Idaho’s campus consists of farms with a further 150-acres being devoted to an 18-hole golf course. With 24 Greek chapters, 17 residence hall communities, university apartments and the Steel House woman’s co-operative, UI has a wide variety of on-campus accommodation options. The University’s library is the largest in the state with over 1.4 million items on its shelves. And UI offers over $25 million in scholarships annually.

4

The College of Idaho

College Choice Score: 90.71

Average Net Price: $38,600

School Website

Overview

Just 30 minutes from the center of the state capital of Boise in the city of Caldwell, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private, residential liberal arts college. Founded in 1891, the College’s residential campus provides 15 academic, athletic, student life and support buildings along with five residence halls, suite-style apartments and numerous rental houses adjacent to campus. The college offers 26 majors and 58 minors in the fine arts and humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences and history, and professional fields. And its “PEAK” curriculum allows undergraduate students to graduate with a major and three minors in four years.

Features

With just over a thousand students, The College of Idaho’s small class sizes ensures a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. Popular undergraduate majors include

  • Social Sciences
  • Business
  • Health Professions
  • Psychology
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences

 Notables

The college has three fraternities and four sororities along with more than 50 student clubs and organizations and an active student government. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the College of Idaho is No. 1 in Idaho for graduation rate, freshman retention rate, alumni giving, and has the highest percentage of freshmen in the top-10 percent of their high school class. And the College’s alumni include seven Rhodes Scholars, three state governors, and four NFL players.

5

Boise State University

College Choice Score: 87.2

Average Net Price: $34,422

School Website

Overview

In 1974 Boise State University became Idaho’s third state university and as such awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It was founded by the Episcopal Church in 1932. Two years later, in 1934, it became an independent junior college and since 1965 has been awarding bachelor’s and master’s degrees. It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Located in downtown Boise, the main campus covers 175 acres and has more than 170 buildings. The university has 190 fields of study that are organized through seven colleges: Arts and Sciences; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health Sciences; and Social Sciences and Public Affairs.

Features

With a student population in excess of 22,000, of which over 19,000 are undergraduates, Boise State University has a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1. The most popular undergraduate majors are

  • Health Professions
  • Business
  • Communications & Journalism
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology

Notables

There are eight fraternities and nine sororities on campus along with over 260 student clubs and organizations. Boise State awards more degrees annually than any other university in Idaho, has an internationally accredited business school, and offers the nation’s only master’s degree in raptor biology. The University also is known for its nationally-ranked undergraduate engineering program and has Idaho’s largest undergraduate nursing program.

6

Idaho State University

College Choice Score: 77.95

Average Net Price: $33,541

School Website

Overview

Founded in 1901 as the Academy of Idaho, The Idaho State University (ISU) is a public research university located in the city of Pocatello, Idaho. On its main campus and from its campuses in Meridian, Idaho Falls, and Twin Falls, ISU offers over 280 programs though its 11 Schools and Colleges. These include the College of Arts and Letters, the School of Performing Arts, The College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Science and Engineering, the College of Technology, the College of Pharmacy, The School of Health Professions, The School of Nursing, The Office of Medical and Oral Health and the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences. The University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Features

Offering Associate, Bachelor, Master’s and Doctorate degrees, the 13,500 plus students at IUS, of which over 11,000 are undergraduates, have a student-to-faculty ration of 15:1. The more popular majors are

  • Health Professions
  • Education
  • Business
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Engineering

Notables

ISU offers on-campus accommodation that is a mix of residence halls and campus apartments whose residents enjoy 24 hour Wi-Fi, computer labs and 12 on-campus dining options. Also, there are 140 registered professional, academic, cultural, service and social student organizations and four fraternity and sorority chapters. On campus student media includes a weekly student-run newspaper, The Bengal, and KISU-FM radio station that offers a mix of local and national programs, news and music.

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