Looking for a gem of a school? Look in Idaho.
Accurately dubbed "The Gem State," Idaho is rich in natural resources and minerals. And peppered throughout the state is a handful of colleges and universities that are great options for degree-seeking prospective students.
Idaho is one of 14 states that participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange tuition reciprocity program. For you, it means that you can kick-start your academic journey knowing it will be affordable! With growing online education everywhere, this is a great option.
This is a big factor as to why 38% of students at the graduate level (according to the Department of Education) are enrolled in distance courses—cut costs combined with a busy lifestyle and high-quality education opportunity equals earning an online degree from Idaho!
Idaho is a particularly good option for Christian and religious students looking for a faith-centered education. There are several colleges on this list that are dedicated to a biblical foundation for their programs, even for online students.
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What are the best online colleges in Idaho?
To help you with choosing a school, we have compiled a ranking based on several data points. These include: Considering a college's institutional excellence through student-to-faculty ratio, institutional reputation, students' entering test scores, determining student overall return on investment, and finally looking at student satisfaction on the basis of retention rate and student reviews. Our data comes from Payscale, college websites, U.S News & World Report, and IPEDS.
See our rankings methodology page.
The oldest public university in Idaho, the University of Idaho has 5 locations in Idaho including its campus in Moscow, Idaho. It has over 11,000 students enrolled, with educational centers in three cities. It is a high research, land-grant university. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, with separate departmental accreditations as well. New online courses are added every semester calendar.
The University of Idaho uses rolling admission, resulting in a fast admission decision for prospective students. The university offers a large selection of majors and a good portion online. Many online programs are engineering master’s degrees or education-related. Here are some of the highlights:
- Psychology (B.A., B.S.)
- Geological Engineering (M.S.)
- Bioregional Planning and Community Design (M.S.)
- Special Education (M.Ed)
- History (B.A., B.S.)
- Master of Natural Resources (M.N.R.)
The University of Idaho offers the most scholarships of any public university in the state. Prospective students need to check whether their state is part of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement and approved for this university. UI also offers online independent study to its students.
Northwest Nazarene University
Northwest Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts institution. The campus is located in the populous city of Nampa, Idaho. Today, Northwest Nazarene University serves over 10,000 total students, of which about 6,000 are online or continuing education students.
Northwest Nazarene University follows a semester-based academic calendar. The university offers a multitude of degree programs, which vary from associate’s to doctoral degrees. Many of these pertain to education or theology. Some highlights include:
- Educational Leadership (Ed.D or Ph.D.)
- Spiritual Formation (M.Div.)
- Christian Ministry (B.A.)
- Elementary Education (A.A.)
- Liberal Studies (B.A.)
Northwest Nazarene Universities is known to be a top military-friendly university. Traditional-age students taking fully online classes have the option of living on-campus.
Brigham Young University-Idaho
Also known as BYU-I, Brigham Young University-Idaho is a private institution located in Rexburg, Idaho. It is a liberal arts school that transitioned to a four-year university in 2001. This not-for-profit university is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Faith is rooted in the whole of the college experience. The affordable university was founded in 1881 by Latter-Day Saints settlers. Today, BYU-I is Idaho’s largest just private university. Its physical campus spans 430-acres, and online programs reach over 33,000 online students.
Brigham Young University follows the structure of a semester-based calendar. It offers associate’s and bachelor’s online degrees and certificates. The programs are designed to be “stackable”, where students can earn a certificate, their associate’s degree, and their bachelor’s degree for the cost of just the bachelor’s degree. The following are some popular major choices:
- Marriage and Family Studies (B.S.)
- Family History Research (A.A.S.)
- Business Management (A.A.S.)
- Public Health (B.S.)
- Web Design and Development (B.S.)
In order to take an online program, students must have completed at least 15 credits on campus at an institution operated by the church of Latter Day Saints, or have completed Pathway Connect. Online students must commit to the schools BYU-I’s honor code, which includes participating in church services and abstaining from substance use like alcohol.
Boise State University was founded in 1932 and stands today as Idaho’s largest public university. It is located in the capital of Idaho, Boise. Boise State is part of a research university consortium with colleges such as Purdue and Georgia Tech. It is fast-growing, with a total enrollment of about 23,886 students currently. Over 7,000 students at Boise State University take at least one course online.
Boise State University accepts transfer credits, though students need to talk with an adviser to see which credit hours will be accepted. In total, BSU confers 32 online programs. Total online student enrollment is 1,963, 60% of which are out-of-state. Popular majors include:
- Educational Technology (Ed.D.)
- Social Work (M.S.W.)
- Nursing RN-to-BSN (B.S.)
- Imaging Science (B.S)
Boise State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Online Colleges and Universities. The Boise State eCampus is rich with student support centers. These include career services, online writing center, health and wellness resources, and more. Most programs have a flat rate for all students regardless of their state residency. Boise State University is connected with Harvard Business School’s online program, which allows BSU students to enroll in HBX CORe. BSU is also home to Idaho’s largest undergraduate nursing program.
Founded in 1901, Idaho State University is a public research university in Pocatello, Idaho. Idaho State offers many online programs today and is particularly known for its health sciences department. The school also has several other campuses throughout Idaho and a Museum of Natural History on campus.
The university welcomes transfer students. It offers courses with synchronous, asynchronous, and blended formats. These are available through the online platform Moodle or web conferencing using Blackboard Collaborate. Programs range from associate to doctoral degrees. Here are some highlights of major options:
- Business Administration (B.S.)
- Dental Hygiene (M.S.)
- Workplace Training and Leadership (B.S.)
- Emergency Management (A.S. or B.S.)
- Nursing (Ph.D.)
Boise State University has a 15:1 student to faculty ratio, ensuring small class sizes. Scholarships are available through the Bengal online scholarship system to help pay for tuition. The university follows a semester-based schedule.
Lewis-Clark State College
Lewis-Clark State College is a public, liberal arts 4-year state college. Today, the institution has a total of 2,924 students and a 46-acre campus. It boasts affordability with the lowest tuition among 4-year public institutions in Idaho and is a popular option among online students.
Lewis-Clark State College follows a semester based-academic calendar. It offers nine total online degree programs and 372 online courses. Online programs are offered at the associate’s and bachelor’s level. Popular majors include:
- Early Childhood Development (B.A.S)
- Business Administration (B.A./B.S.)
- Liberal Arts (A.A.)
- Nursing RN-to-BSN
Lewis-Clark State College has a 99% acceptance rate. It is ranked #8 in Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report in Regional Colleges West.