Idaho is not small potatoes when it comes to higher education.
The state has a number of resources designed to make education — especially online education — more accessible to all Idahoans. From countless grant programs to institution collaborations to online course hubs, it is clear that the state is working hard to serve students.
Overview of Higher Education in Idaho
Despite being a relatively large state, Idaho is home to just 15 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of the 15, 8 are public schools, 6 are private non-profit schools and 1 us a private for-profit school.
To attend one of the state’s 4-year institutions, NCES reports that residents will pay an average of $7586 in tuition and fees. Out-of-state students will pay $23,850, on average. Both totals are well below the national average ($9212 and $26,382, respectively).
Residents in other western states may pay less, thanks to Idaho’s partnership with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). WICHE’s Student Exchange Program allows students to enroll in degree programs at any of the 16 participating states and territories for no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.
Another tremendous resource for students is Next Steps Idaho, sponsored by the Idaho State Board of Education. Next Steps Idaho is a “comprehensive clearinghouse of resources and tools pertaining to education, training, and career exploration and development.” The site provides timelines and checklists, can help students choose a major or a college, offers financial aid guidance and so much more.
About Online Colleges in Idaho
Idaho has been involved in web-based education since its early developmental stages, launching what was eventually known as the Idaho Electronic Campus in 2000. The site was a marketplace for online courses available at the state’s public colleges and universities.
Today, Independent Study in Idaho (ISI) offers almost 100 courses online, which can be transferred to most postsecondary institutions for college credit. The program is headed by University of Idaho in conjunction with Idaho State University, Boise State University and Lewis-Clark State College.
Most of Idaho’s colleges and universities also offer their own online degree programs.
For instance, Boise State University offers more than 60 online degree and certificate programs. You can find single online courses or pursue an entire bachelors or graduate level degree online.
A much smaller school – Christian-based Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) – is known as one of the best online colleges in Idaho. They offer online and hybrid degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. NNU’s degree programs follow unique schedules that allow students to graduate in as little as 16 months.
With options like these, it’s no surprise that the state has some of the highest percentages of online learners.
According to a 2018 report by the NCES, 25.7% of Idaho undergraduate students were enrolled in fully online degree programs. Another 25.1% were enrolled in some but not all online courses.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Idaho
If you are interested in attending a college or university in Idaho, the first thing you will need to do is complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will give you access to federal, state and private financial aid.
The FAFSA becomes available each year on October 1st. It should be filled out as early as possible, since funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis.
Completing the FAFSA application is fairly simple. You will need to input financial information for yourself and your parents (unless you’re considered “independent” by FAFSA’s standards). The data you provide will be reviewed and then you will find out how much and what type of aid you qualify for.
The most desirable forms of financial aid are grants and scholarships, because they do not have to be paid back.
Typically, grants are awarded based on financial need. Scholarships, on the other hand, may be awarded based on need, merit, geographic location, race or ethnicity, course of study, community involvement, artistic or athletic ability, unique hobbies and so on.
Here are some of the many scholarships open to Idaho residents:
|Scholarship Name||Details||Scholarship amount|
|Idaho Opportunity Scholarship||High school graduate; Cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher; Accepted all available federal grant aid||Up to $3500 per year, renewable up to 4 years|
|Idaho Governor’s Cup Scholarship||High school senior; Cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher; Priority to students who demonstrate commitment to public service||$3000 per year, renewable up to 4 years|
|Idaho Latino Scholarship||Hispanic or Latino descent; Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher; Demonstrated leadership in organizations that promote diversity||Up to $5000 per year|
|Tschudy Family Scholarship||Senior at or graduate of Emmett High School; Attending specific colleges; Cumulative GPA of 2.6 or higher; Merit and need-based||$2500 per year, renewable up to 5 years undergraduate and 2 years graduate study|
Additional scholarship opportunities can be found through scholarship search sites such as Fastweb.com. You will simply need to enter some basic information, and then you will be matched with dozens of scholarships that may be available to you.
You should also check with the financial aid office at the schools you are considering. They will be able to tell you about any private scholarships that you may be eligible for.
List of Online Colleges in Idaho
|Online Colleges in Idaho||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|Boise State University||Boise, Idaho||$7,080||Regional||$50|
|University of Idaho||Moscow, Idaho||$7,232||Regional||$60|
|Northwest Nazarene University||Nampa, Idaho||$28,650||Regional||$40|
|Idaho State University||Pocatello, Idaho||$6,956||Regional||$50|
If you choose to pursue a postsecondary degree in Idaho, you will be in good hands.
The northwestern state is truly committed to improving education, enhancing online learning opportunities, and making the Idaho of tomorrow smarter, stronger, and more competitive than ever!