More students than ever before are turning to online education for college degrees and certificates. Working professionals can earn a degree without having to give up their jobs, and parents can pursue a college education without having to leave their homes. In addition, distance learning provides students with all the academic benefits of a traditional college experience. Transcripts and diplomas usually do not distinguish between online and on-campus courses, and online programs follow the same curricula as in-person programs. Distance learners also save money on room, board, and other campus fees.
Although Idahoans can take distance learning courses at any online school in the U.S., enrolling at a university or college close to home allows students to visit campus, access on-site student services, and participate in college community events. There aren't as many online schools in Idaho as in larger states, but there are still many distance learning options. Due to the religious landscape of the state, there are several Christian online colleges in Idaho. In addition to scripture-based education, students at these schools can obtain online degrees in subjects like marriage and family studies, Christian ministry, spiritual leadership, and theology.
Four reasons to find an online college in your state:
- Guaranteed in-state tuition saves you money
- Be a part of a university or college you know and love
- Get a degree from a school employers know and trust
- Be close enough to easily visit when desired
Ranking guidelines for the best online colleges in Idaho:
Note: In ranking the best online colleges in Idaho, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in Idaho may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that school rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who's leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in Idaho.
The Best Online Colleges in Idaho
1. University of Idaho
The University of Idaho, founded in 1889, is a land-grant and space-grant university. It was Idaho's sole university for over 70 years, including one of the few accredited law schools in the state. The University of Idaho has 10 academic colleges, over 11,000 students and offers more than 300 degree programs.
The University of Idaho favors blended degree programs over completely online degree programs. Online baccalaureate degrees include technical education and computer engineering. Master's degree options include civil engineering and electrical engineering. Doctoral degree offerings include athletic training and natural resources.
Resources for online students include disability services, online job board, technical support and an online library with librarian live chat, map database, scholarly article database and much more.
The University of Idaho is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
See some of The University of Idaho's top rankings on TBS
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2. Northwest Nazarene University
Northwest Nazarene University is a Christian liberal arts university established in 1913. It is the first Nazarene school to obtain accreditation of any kind and offers more than 70 degree programs, has 2 academic colleges and enrolls over 2,000 students. It is one of 8 Nazarene colleges in America and receives financial assistance from the Nazarene churches in its region. This includes churches in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Northwest Nazarene University offers a variety of associate's, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral programs online. Online associate's degrees include liberal studies and business administration. Online bachelor's degrees include nursing and liberal studies. Online master's degree programs include nursing and education, while online doctoral offerings include multiple topics in education.
Online students have access to resources such as online test proctoring, information technology services and an online library with librarian live chat and access to scholarly article and media databases.
Northwest Nazarene University is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
See some of Northwest Nazarene University's top rankings on TBS
- The 20 Best Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Degree Programs
- The 50 Best Online Bachelor's in Liberal Arts Programs
3. Brigham Young University - Idaho
Brigham Young University Idaho, also known as BYU-Idaho, is a private Christian university founded in 1888 and has been a four-year institution since 2001. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns and operates the university.
Students are required to adhere to an honor code which includes a dress code, abstinence and forbidding both drugs and alcohol. The university has 6 academic colleges, offers more than 80 degree programs and serves over 15,000 students. It also has sister colleges in Utah and Hawaii.
BYU-Idaho has many associate's, baccalaureate and certificate programs available online. Associate's degrees include web design and family history research. Baccalaureate degree options include nursing and software engineering. Certificates available include accounting and web media.
Online student resources include a university-wide online support center with Skype chat, online tutoring, online technical support, online degree advising and an online library with access to a number of online academic journals and video, music, essay and eBook databases.
BYU-Idaho is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
See some of Brigham Young University Idaho's top rankings on TBS
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4. Lewis-Clark State College
Renowned for its education, criminal justice, nursing and technical programs, the college has been around since 1893. It serves over 4,000 students and offers more than 80 degree programs in total. The college began as a teacher training school, but when World War II reared its head, the school expanded into nursing to help with the war effort. In 1951, the school closed but reopened in 1955 to alleviate the rising need for teachers once again. In 1971, the college finally became Lewis-Clark State College, the last institution in the country to move past being a normal school.
Lewis-Clark State College offers several associate's and baccalaureate degrees online. Associate's degrees include web design and nursing, while baccalaureate degree options include education and interdisciplinary studies.
Resources online students have access to include an online writing lab and an online library with access to a scholarly article database and librarian live chat.
Lewis-Clark State College is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
5. Boise State University
Boise State University first opened its doors in 1932, thanks to the Episcopal Church. It obtained the ability to award baccalaureate and master's degrees in 1965 and has grown into one of the largest universities in Idaho at 175 acres and approximately 20,000 students in attendance. The school now offers over 200 degree programs in more than 190 disciplines spanning 7 academic colleges.
Boise State University provides online baccalaureate, master and doctoral programs. Online baccalaureate degrees include nursing and imaging sciences. Online master's degree options include business administration and social work, while online doctoral degree offerings include nursing and educational technology.
Online student resources include online academic advising, undergraduate tutoring, an online writing center, disability services, technical support, health and wellness resources, career services, veteran's services and an online library with access to graduate, undergraduate and video databases.
Boise State University is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
See some of Boise State University's top ranking on TBS
Idaho's public colleges enroll about 100,000 students in a system known for affordability and rigor. Many students begin their educations at two-year colleges because they are the cheapest online colleges in Idaho, but learners who pursue an education at a public four-year college in Idaho also pay some of the most affordable tuition in the nation. The state ranks seventh in the nation for college affordability, according to the College Board. This ranking includes affordable associate and bachelor's programs that provide a high-quality education.
The Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs in Idaho
1. College of Western Idaho
The College of Western Idaho (CWI) offers comprehensive academic and career education courses leading to associate degrees. CWI operates several campuses in the Treasure Valley, plus a virtual college. The school enrolls 31,600 students, about 7,800 of whom attend the college specifically for academic transfer degrees.
Students interested in online learning join about 6,800 students who choose this mode of delivery at CWI. CWI Online offers 36 hybrid and fully online degrees that offer quality instruction, flexibility, and significant interaction with faculty and peers. Options include a 60-credit associate of arts in criminal justice that prepares learners for careers in law enforcement, corrections, victim services, and court administration. The degree covers policing, corrections, victimology, and a criminal justice capstone or internship.
The popular associate of arts in liberal studies provides students with the general education necessary to transfer to a four-year institution. The 60-credit degree requires courses in areas such as oral and written communication, humanities, math and science, and advanced study in areas of the student's choosing.
Learners interested in technical careers at CWI have several choices, including the associate of science in animal veterinary sciences, STEM, or transportation management. One of the most affordable online colleges in Idaho, CWI offers cheap tuition to those living in the state and competitive rates to those in other states.
The College of Western Idaho is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
2. College of Southern Idaho
Twin Falls, Idaho
The College of Southern Idaho (CSI), located in Twin Falls, is one of the fastest growing colleges in the state. The school offers several online degrees in fields such as business, education, and criminal justice. Those interested in getting a head start on their bachelor's degrees choose the 60-credit associate in liberal arts, a program designed to transfer to four-year colleges. Students complete general education courses with additional credits in specialty areas.
Faculty designed the 63-64-credit associate of arts in business as a transfer curriculum for those seeking a four-year degree. The two-year program covers general education in subjects such as writing and algebra while the business curriculum introduces students to core business skills such as financial accounting, personal finance, and business statistics for decision-making. This degree especially suits learners on the CPA track.
The 60-credit AAS in business management/entrepreneur requires little general education as the degree focuses on the skills needed to own and operate a business. Individuals planning careers as educators begin with the 65-credit associate of arts or applied science in early childhood education. The AA transfers to early childhood education programs at Idaho's four-year colleges, while the AAS prepares learners for careers in programs like Head Start. CSI also delivers an AA in criminal justice online for those interested in law enforcement.
One of the most affordable online colleges in Idaho, CSI tuition is almost half that of Boise State University, and significantly lower than other institutions.
The College of Southern Idaho is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Idaho
1. Brigham Young University - Idaho
A private college affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University-Idaho (BYU-Idaho) provides a learning community that blends faith and a quality education. BYU-Idaho's 40 online degrees and certificates include four baccalaureate programs in management, technology, marriage and family studies, and professional studies. The 120-credit BS in applied management equips learners with operations, marketing, finance, and leadership skills. Students must complete general education, three business certificates, electives, and an internship in order to earn this degree.
A 120-credit BS in applied technology trains IT professionals skilled in developing databases, computer programs, and webpages. The curriculum requires general education in subjects such as math, writing, and social sciences; three technical certificates; electives; and an internship or capstone.
Those interested in serving in human service organizations, advocacy groups, or youth organizations pursue the 120-credit BS in marriage and family studies. Students may also pursue a BS in professional studies, which is designed for customization so that learners may complete the school's signature certificates in fields of their choosing.
Students who complete PathwayConnect -- an entry program to these degrees -- enjoy reduced tuition no matter where they live in the United States. Other students pay less tuition than they would at other four-year colleges, making BYU-Idaho one of the most affordable online colleges in Idaho. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA for high school or college coursework and a minimum 3.0 GPA for PathwayConnect graduates.
Brigham Young University-Idaho is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
2. Lewis-Clark State College
Located in Lewiston, Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) offers undergraduate programs focused on academics and career and technical education. One of the top four-year colleges in the West, LCSC enrolls 3,600 students, who benefit from small classes that foster personalized learning. The school's virtual arm offers online programs in several fields.
LCSC's 120-credit BA/BS in business administration cultivates learners' management competencies for entry-level business careers or career advancement. Students complete a suite of general education courses in history, writing, biology, and chemistry. The major examines topics such as finance, marketing, business law, and human resource management.
Licensed practical and registered nurses can advance their nursing practices with the RN-to-BSN degree. The program includes general education and a 27-credit major that develops proficiency in areas such as transcultural healthcare, community health nursing, and professional role development. The 120-credit BA/BS in general studies - humanities offers a flexible curriculum that allows learners to customize their own degree plans in preparation for careers or graduate school.
Students interested in earning a bachelor's in a technical field choose the 120-credit bachelor of applied science in web design development, a program that allows learners to transfer up to 50 credits from an associate of applied science in web design and development. Students supplement these credits with general education courses and an internship in computer information technology.
Admission to LCSC -- one of the most affordable online colleges in Idaho -- requires a high school diploma or GED and school transcripts for transfer students.
Lewis-Clark State College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
3. Boise State University
Boise State University enrolls 25,000 students on a metropolitan campus located near the Boise River. The comprehensive college offers about 200 areas of study, and students enjoy a robust extracurricular life with 260 clubs and organizations. Boise State Online manages a catalog of 40 programs that students can complete on a full- or part-time basis.
All baccalaureate programs offered by Boise State Online require 120 credits that include 43-46 credits in foundation courses, which many students transfer. Faculty designed the bachelor of business administration in management for nontraditional learners with work experience and college credit they would like to apply to a bachelor's. Students acquire managerial and leadership skills as they examine topics such as design thinking, managing human resources, negotiation and conflict management, and finance for managers.
A BA in public health prepares learners for the certified health education specialist exam. Students learn about various aspects of public health, including health services administration, public health analysis, human health and disease, and strategic planning and project management. The bachelor of applied science allows learners to transfer an associate of applied science in a technical field, supplemented by foundational courses and upper-division electives completed at Boise State.
Students may also earn healthcare degrees online in nursing, respiratory care, and imaging sciences. Online learners pay the same tuition regardless of residency and benefit from a full complement of financial aid. Admission to Boise State -- one of the most affordable online colleges in Idaho -- requires a minimum 2.25 GPA on transfer credits and 2.0 on an AA or AS.
Boise State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
4. University of Idaho
The University of Idaho (U of I) provides 11,800 learners with comprehensive learning opportunities on a scenic campus in Moscow, Idaho, in its three educational centers, and at dozens of extension sites. The school, which is a national leader in student-centered learning, also operates a virtual campus with a select number of degrees.
The 120-credit BA/BS in communication offers an interdisciplinary curriculum that empowers learners with proficient communication skills for careers in sales, public relations, media, and other occupations. The degree explores topics such as intercultural communication, communication theory, social psychology, and organization communication.
Students receive a broad education as they earn the 120-125-credit bachelor of general studies, which allows them the flexibility to choose classes that meet their academic and career goals. Students work with faculty and advisors to design their four-year degree plans, which may include minors or academic certificates.
The 120-credit BA/BS in organizational science provides learners with leadership skills necessary for success within organizations. The degree offers two specializations: organizations and communities and organizational communication. Both specializations share core courses that examine topics such as intercultural communication, workplace motivation, personnel, and human relations in the workplace. Students may also earn an online degree in history, psychology, or sociology.
Full-time online students at U of I pay in-state tuition, making the school one of the most affordable online colleges in Idaho. Admission requires the SAT or ACT for freshmen and a minimum 2.0 GPA for transfer students.
The University of Idaho is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
5. Northwest Nazarene University
Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) provides students with learning that blends academics and faith. NNU administers 60 programs to about 2,000 students on campus in Nampa, Idaho. The school embraces online delivery to extend its reach to students unable to attend classes on campus.
NNU offers four baccalaureate degrees online, including the BA in liberal studies. In addition to general education, students complete 60 credits in one of three areas of emphasis: humanities, social science, or math and science. The BA in Christian ministry provides students with the educational requirements necessary for ordination in the Church of the Nazarene. The curriculum examines topics such as Christian theology, biblical interpretation, Old Testament studies, and spiritual formation and Christian discipleship.
The school's RN-to-BSN program develops leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills. Students with an associate degree or diploma in nursing complete the degree in five terms, examining topics such as the transition to professional nursing, systems management and nursing, nursing as servant leadership, and nursing with older adults. Students may also pursue a BS in business administration, which develops their proficiency in areas such as financial and managerial accounting, income taxation, business law, and management information systems.
Students can accelerate degree completion with transfer credits and they pay the same tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA on transfer credits. The school offers new start dates every eight weeks.
Northwest Nazarene University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Additional Online Colleges in Idaho Featured on TBS
College of Southern Idaho
Twin Falls, Idaho
New Saint Andrews College