Idaho has several higher education options, including four state universities, three community colleges, a public technical school, five religious colleges and several online colleges. Many of the public colleges in Idaho are part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, a network of colleges and universities in the Western states that offer reduced tuition to qualifying students outside of their home state. Read on to learn about Idaho’s top colleges, see which ones have the highest-paid graduates, how costs compare to the national average, and much more.

Idaho College Rankings: Best-in-State for 2017

Idaho Idaho

To create our ranking of the best Idaho colleges and universities, we collected and analyzed data for tuition cost, financial aid, graduation rate, student-to-teacher ratio, graduate earnings, and other key metrics. Our final results show the colleges in Idaho that provide the best academic quality while also keeping an eye on affordability.

Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
North Idaho College
99.84
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,000
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
28%
23% N/A 1 140 Yes No
2
Eastern Idaho Technical College
99.43
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$28,400
8:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
6%
58% N/A 0 32 Yes No
3
College of Southern Idaho
99.31
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,900
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
46%
18% N/A 12 179 Yes No
4
College of Western Idaho
86.00
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
36%
10% N/A 7 83 No Yes
Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
University of Idaho
99.58
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$39,900
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
78%
56% 67% 18 164 Yes Yes
2
The College of Idaho
97.77
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,900
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
64% 93% 0 27 Yes No
3
Idaho State University
92.55
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,400
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
37%
31% N/A 5 169 Yes Yes
4
Brigham Young University-Idaho
90.17
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$39,000
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
36%
52% 100% 8 70 Yes No
5
Lewis-Clark State College
87.63
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,700
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
62%
26% 99% 5 61 Yes Yes
6
Boise State University
87.03
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,300
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
33%
29% 77% 4 135 Yes Yes
7
Northwest Nazarene University
86.00
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$36,500
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
55% 65% 15 94 No No

Find & Compare Idaho Colleges

Researching colleges in Idaho can seem overwhelming at first, but the search can be made easier by knowing what to look for. The following search tool lets students find and compare colleges in Idaho using specific criteria such as tuition costs, school type, location, subject of interest and degree level desired. A map shows school location and contact information.

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College Support and Prep Programs for Idaho Students

Many potential and current college students need extra resources to pursue and complete college, but are unaware of their options. Luckily, there are several programs designed to support and prepare future Idaho students while expanding statewide college accessibility. The following section provides information on college planning and outreach programs offered by the state of Idaho.

Fast Forward

This Idaho Department of Education allocates $4,125 for each public school student in grade 7 to 12. Students can use this allocation to take part in Advanced Opportunities, which includes overload courses, dual credits and credit-by-exam tests like AP, CLEP and professional certification exams. The idea behind Advanced Opportunities is to give students a head start on college by creating individualized college plans and opportunities to earn college credits while still in high school. Students must request Fast Forward Funds through their local school district.

Idaho Adult Basic Education Program

The Idaho Adult Basic Education Program provides free basic reading, writing, math and ESL instruction to adults whose skills fall below the grade 12 level. The goal of the program is to provide quality education, learning goals and skills to Idaho state community members and prepare them for post-secondary education, training and employment. To be eligible for the program, students must be over the age of 16, and not currently enrolled in high school.

GEAR UP Idaho

This Idaho State Department of Education aims to increase statewide college accessibility by helping high school students and their families overcome barriers to higher education. It offers a six-year learning and college preparation plan, advising and support. GEAR UP students will have the opportunity to participate in supplemental academic programs, qualify for GEAR UP scholarships and earn college credits while still in high school.

Comparing College Costs in Idaho

One of the most important factors to consider when looking at colleges is tuition. Location, in-state versus out-of-state tuition, financial aid received and the type of school the student will attend all play a part in the total cost of tuition. The following section shows how Idaho colleges and universities compare to the rest of the country regarding average tuition, percentage of students receiving financial aid and the average amount they receive.

Average Idaho Tuition &
Fees at 4-Year Public Colleges

Source: CollegeBoard

% of Idaho Students
Receiving Financial Aid

Source: IPEDS

Average Financial Aid Award
for Idaho Students

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Affordable Idaho Colleges: Schools With the Lowest Net Price

Students can benefit financially by taking a look at the final cost of college, which can vary significantly from the sticker price. The following section provides a ranking of the six most affordable colleges in Idaho based on net price – the cost of attendance minus financial aid received – and how they compare nationally.

Average
Annual Net
Price

Cost for students awarded federal financial aid, after school and government aid is deducted. At public colleges, only applies to in-state students.

Idaho College Net Price vs. National Average
IDAHO $16,468 Average
Annual Net Price
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Which Idaho Colleges Have the Highest-Paid Alumni

Interested in what Idaho college alumni are earning? The following section offers a snapshot of which Idaho colleges’ graduates earn the biggest paychecks 10 years down the road. One can also compare how these earnings compare with national averages.

Annual
Median Earnings
10 Years
After Entering
College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

Idaho Alumni Salaries vs. National Average
IDAHO $36,175 Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Six Idaho Colleges Offering the Least Educational Debt

In addition to alumni salaries, it’s a good idea to consider which colleges produce graduates with the least amount of student debt. The following spotlights the top six Idaho colleges linked to the lowest amount of student debt, and how these ranges compare to the national average.

Median
Federal Student
Loan Debt After
Graduation

Only for undergraduates who completed college; does not include Parent-PLUS loans.

Idaho College Grad Debt Vs. National Average
IDAHO $23,112 Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Cost of Living for Idaho College Students

Since the cost of living can vary significantly within a state, it’s important to think about student expenses beyond tuition when researching colleges in Idaho. The following section takes a closer look at the Idaho’s cost-of-living and how it compares nationally. We also highlight living expenses in the state’s largest metropolitan areas.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 88% 73% 90% 87% 103% 103% 94%
Boise 91% 80% 86% 85% 106% 106% 97%
Idaho Falls 83% 59% 93% 83% 104% 104% 90%
Twin Falls 90% 79% 89% 95% 98% 100% 94%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

College Accreditation in Idaho

When colleges and universities hold national or regional accreditation from recognized agencies, it means these schools have met certain criteria and standards regarding their curricula, faculty and facilities. It’s important to choose an accredited school for many reasons: graduate schools, employers, financial aid officers and professional licensing organizations often require it. Attending an unaccredited school might negatively impact whether an institution accepts transfer credits.

The regional accrediting agency that oversees Idaho colleges is the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Programs within a college or university can also be accredited. Here are some examples of organizations that give programmatic accreditation:

Exploring College Cities in Idaho

Boise

Boise, Idaho's capital and largest city, consistently receives high marks on the livability scale, as evident by several publications' top-10 lists. The largest urban area between Portland and Salt Lake City, Boise offers college students a balance of big city and small town living. There are several colleges in and around Boise, including a major state research university, two non-profit private colleges, a large community college, a Christian college and several private specialty schools.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

BoiseBoise State University Public $17,149 $58,600
Boise State is the largest university in Idaho, posting about 22,000 annual enrollments. Although Boise State is known for being a research university, it offers a wide variety of majors: nursing, psychology and communications programs are among the most popular. Its main campus is centrally located in the heart of Boise and offers a plethora of student activities, clubs, organizations and Division I athletics teams.
BoiseCollege of Western Idaho Public $11,904 $52,100
CWI is a public community college with several campuses in Boise and Nampa. Each year more than 20,000 students enroll in CWI's degree, career, technical, certificate, academic transfer, dual credit, non-credit and Basic Skills Education programs. CWI also offers online courses and fast-track career training for working professionals. The college's health, liberal arts and business programs are popular, as are its academic transfer programs.
BoiseBoise Bible College Private not-for-profit $18,668 $21,500
BBC is a four-year independent, non-denominational Christian college serving less than 200 students in the suburb of Garden City. It is accredited by the ABH
Moscow

Moscow is the quintessential small college town with student-friendly businesses, live music, several yearly festivals, a strong art scene and, due to its location, many opportunities to experience the outdoors. Moscow is situated in the rolling Palouse Hills, making it one of the most picturesque towns in Idaho. The public, four-year University of Idaho has the largest presence here, although University of Pullman (in Washington) and Lewis-Clark College are nearby. Moscow is also home to New Saint Andrews College, a private Christian liberal arts college.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

MoscowUniversity of Idaho Private not-for-profit $23,541 $30,600
The oldest public university in Idaho, UI is a national land-grant research institution with branch campuses throughout the state. The Moscow campus is impressive with an 80-acre arboretum, 860 acres of farms, a golf course, the nation's tallest college climbing wall, a commons area with many amenities, an activity center for Division I sports and the state's biggest library. UI enrolls about 11,500 students each year with and a student-to-teacher ratio of 17:1. Popular majors here include psychology, general studies and finance.
MoscowNew Saint Andrews College Private not-for-profit $29,810 $41,500
Located in downtown Moscow, NSA is an accredited, private non-profit Christian college with about 170 students. NSA is a member of several Christian college organizations, including the Association of Reformed Colleges and Universities (ARCU). Students are encouraged to be active in the Moscow community and required to attend a local Christian church while enrolled. Rather than choosing a major, all undergraduates follow the same curriculum of a classical liberal arts education. Grad

Source: College Scorecard

Extra Resources for Future Idaho Students

The following resources can help current and potential students find programs, assistance, support and more information on Idaho colleges.

The College Assistance Migrant Program (C.A.M.P.)

This national program, funded by the US Department of Education, is designed to provide access to post-secondary education and encourage migrant and seasonal farm workers and their children to go to college. The Idaho C.A.M.P program is provided through Boise State University.

Idaho Department of Labor

This department is part of the Idaho government, and the website provides information on subjects such as jobs, careers, colleges, financial aid and employment related data.

Idaho Career-Technical Education (CTE)

The Idaho Division of Career-Technical Education oversees the public school and adult professional-technical programs in Idaho. The website provides information on training and education, career exploration, information on colleges and degrees available.

Idaho State Department of Education

The Idaho SDE has a section listing resources and programs available to students, including information about testing, preparing for college and online courses available.

Next Steps Idaho

Next Steps Idaho is a statewide initiative with the goal to encourage 8th-12th-grade students to think about and prepare for higher education and life beyond high school. The website helps to demystify the idea of college while providing students with valuable tools to keep them on track and focused on goals, such as grade-by-grade timelines, calendars and checklists. In addition, students can use the college directory to learn about Idaho colleges, discover career and training options, get help with college applications and access to several other resources and support services available.

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

WICHE is made up of 15 Western states that participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) which allows undergraduate students from Idaho to enroll in college programs in one of these western states at a reduced tuition rate. WICHE also has a regional graduate program that allows Idaho residents to enroll in other states’ graduate programs that aren’t available in Idaho at a reduced rate.