dcsimg

Online Colleges in Idaho

Most Affordable Online Colleges
School Interviews
Terry Ratcliff
Director, Distance & Extended Education, University of Idaho
"Online learning will continue to evolve, as it has done in the 15 years I have been involved in it. The increasing acceptance of fully online programs by students and employers will continue."
See entire interview

Introduction

With state colleges, such as Boise State University, increasing their emphasis on online and hybrid-learning programs, and national online colleges offering a wide range of distance education options, Idaho students now have more opportunities for postsecondary training than ever before.

Idaho is home to many postsecondary institutions that offer online learning options, many of which can be found through the Idaho Electronic Campus (IEC). As of February 2013, IEC lists more than 1,600 online courses available from the state's seven publicly funded colleges and universities. The University of Idaho's online courses range from undergraduate to graduate to professional development, with a multitude of subjects from Anthropology to Theater. Similarly, Lewis-Clark State College offers online, hybrid and Web-enhanced courses that supported nearly 70 percent of its students in the fall 2012 term. Boise State University features online bachelor's degree completion programs in Nursing and Respiratory care, along with several full graduate degrees and certificates.

Idaho students also have access to many national online colleges, such as Kaplan University, some of which even have physical locations in the state. These campuses may allow students to take advantage of blended learning opportunities, which can be particularly helpful for programs that incorporate hands-on training.

Idaho is home to 1.5 million people, including 613,000 workers. Of the 1 million workers who are 25 years old or older, 17 percent have a bachelor's degree and nearly 8 percent have a master's degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the mean annual wage for all workers is $38,840, and the Census Bureau reports that Idaho workers with some college or an associate degree earn a median annual salary of $27,672, while bachelor's degree holders earn $40,215 and master's degree holders earn $58,335.

Twenty colleges and universities offer two- and four-year programs in Idaho. Eight of those 20 institutions are publicly funded and the rest are private for-profit and nonprofit schools.

Most Affordable Colleges in Idaho

The following list ranks schools in Idaho that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs. This ranking is based on a number of factors that are important to prospective students such as the actual degree programs that are taught online, and information on tuition fees, accreditation and notable alumni. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (2013-2014) and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.

1

Eastern Idaho Technical College

Tuition/Year
$2,342
Graduation Rate
58%
# of Online Degrees
0
Accredited
 
School Type
2-Year

About

Eastern Idaho offers no fully online degree programs but it offers a variety of online classes that can help students earn credit toward a degree. Courses are offered in such areas as business; computer networking; health professions and the trades.
School Website: 
GO
2

College of Southern Idaho

Tuition/Year
$3,640
Graduation Rate
18%
# of Online Degrees
14
Accredited
 
School Type
2-Year

About

The College of Southern Idaho is a resource for students who want to earn an Associate degree, but have time or work obligations that prevent them from traveling to a campus classroom. These online Associate degree programs include Business; Business Management; Economics; both Elementary and Secondary Education; Liberal Arts; Library and Information Science; Social Science; Criminal Justice; and History.
School Website: 
GO
3

Brigham Young University-Idaho

Tuition/Year
$3,850
Graduation Rate
60%
# of Online Degrees
17
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

BYU's Idaho school offers fully online Associate degrees in Administrative Assistant; Business Management; Computer Programming; Family History Research; General Studies; and Web Design & Development. Its online Bachelor's degree programs are: Applied Management; Business Management; Computer Information Technology; Health Science; Healthcare Administration; Interdisciplinary Studies; Marriage & Family Studies; Nursing; Software Engineering; University Studies; and Web Design & Development.
School Website: 
GO
4

North Idaho College

Tuition/Year
$3,982
Graduation Rate
23%
# of Online Degrees
3
Accredited
 
School Type
2-Year

About

This small school in Coeur d'Alene offers three Associate degrees -- an Associate of Arts; Associate of Science; and an Associate of Applied Science -- and many courses are offered entirely online using the Blackboard system.
School Website: 
GO
5

College of Western Idaho

Tuition/Year
$4,264
Graduation Rate
10%
# of Online Degrees
7
Accredited
 
School Type
2-Year

About

The College of Western Idaho in Nampa allows students to earn an Associate degree while they continue to work or raise a family. Its online programs are self-directed and delivered through an easy-to-use learning management system. Online degree programs are offered in Business; Criminal Justice; English; Geography; History; Liberal Arts; and Political Science.
School Website: 
GO
6

Lewis-Clark State College

Tuition/Year
$5,786
Graduation Rate
27%
# of Online Degrees
9
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Although not all general education core requirements are offered online, Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston offers several Associate and Bachelor's degree programs that can be completed online. The Associate degrees online include Business Administration; Entrepreneurship; Early Childhood Development; Web Development; and Liberal Arts. Bachelor's degrees are available in Business Administration; Management; Early Childhood Development; and Nursing.
School Website: 
GO
7

Boise State University

Tuition/Year
$6,292
Graduation Rate
38%
# of Online Degrees
20
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Boise State has been offering distance learning opportunities for 25 years, starting before the Internet was a practical option for everyday activities. Since its first course in 1989, the school has expanded to add scores of courses and 10 fully online degree programs. Its online Bachelor's degrees are offered in Nursing; Respiratory Care; and Technology Accentuated Transformative Education for Rural Specialists. Its online graduate degree programs include Business Administration; Educational Technology (Master's, Master's of Science and Doctorate programs offered); Idaho K-12 Teaching Endorsement; Gerontology; Nursing (a doctorate program); Organizational Performance (including several different programs); and Victim Services.
School Website: 
GO
8

Idaho State University

Tuition/Year
$6,344
Graduation Rate
34%
# of Online Degrees
8
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

ISU offers seven graduate degree programs fully online and several more are offered as blended courses that combine online learning with in-person meetings on campus. In addition to its online Associate degree programs in Nursing, ISU offers online graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology; Nursing Practice (doctorate); Public Health; Deaf Education; Elementary Education; Instructional Technology; and Secondary Education.
School Website: 
GO
9

University of Idaho

Tuition/Year
$6,524
Graduation Rate
54%
# of Online Degrees
22
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

In addition to 22 online Master's degree programs, the University of Idaho offers a wide range of online courses, ranging from Engineering to freshman World Literature. The fully online Master's programs are in the areas of Education; Engineering; and Earth and Environmental Science.
School Website: 
GO
10

Boise Bible College

Tuition/Year
$11,080
Graduation Rate
57%
# of Online Degrees
0
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Boise Bible College offers a handful of distance learning courses for students who are unable to attend regular classes on campus. Although the courses are discounted, the school says that classes maintain the same rigor as the in-person sessions offered on campus. The classes include "Acts of the Apostles," "The Life of Christ," "Biblical Interpretation", among others.
School Website: 
GO
11

Broadview University-Boise

Tuition/Year
$13,500
Graduation Rate
50%
# of Online Degrees
40
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Broadview offers online degree programs in more than 30 disciplines and seven different study areas, including Accounting; Animal Science; Creative Arts; Business; Health Science; Legal Studies; and Technology. Its online Master's degrees include Accounting; Management Accounting; Accounting and Tax Specialist; Business Administration; Business Management; and Internet Marketing.
School Website: 
GO
12

Stevens-Henager College

Tuition/Year
$16,972
Graduation Rate
30%
# of Online Degrees
34
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Stevens-Henager offers online Associate degrees in Graphic Arts and Business Management (with different emphases), as well as 22 online Bachelor's degrees. Its online Master's degree programs are in Healthcare Administration; Nurse Education; Nursing Administration; Business Administration; Business Administration with an Entrepreneurship emphasis; Healthcare Informatics; and Information Systems.
School Website: 
GO
School Interviews

Terry Ratcliff, Director of Distance & Extended Education, University of Idaho

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at the University of Idaho?

The University offers 22 graduate programs and 11 certificate programs online. Students can also take a variety of online course offerings that can be applied to their academic major or for general interest.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Since online programs are more convenient than traditional delivery, they represent a great opportunity to access education that you would not otherwise have. However, determine if online learning is for you. Success in online programs takes discipline and dedication. Look for programs that promote student-to-student as well as instructor-to-student interaction. Employers are looking for employees who can work well in teams and with others, and you can develop those skills in a well-designed online program just as well as in a face-to-face program.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

Online learning will continue to evolve, as it has done in the 15 years I have been involved in it. The increasing acceptance of fully online programs by students and employers will continue. The convenience of mixing online and face-to-face courses in traditional programs will also continue as faculty and students become more accustomed to the model. Online technology will continue to enhance traditional face-to-face courses as well. The adoption of "flipped" classrooms, where lectures are available online prior to class meetings and face-to-face time is utilized for more interactive tasks, is an example of new and innovative ways that technology and traditional realms combine. This combination will continue in ways we can't predict, as technology continues to expand in ways we cannot anticipate today.

Top Cities For Students In Idaho

Boise, Idaho

Mean Wage

$41,070

Average Cost of a House

NA

# of Employed People

270,000

Total Population

215,000

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$41,246

Economics

Boise's metro area is home to nearly 270,000 workers, according to the BLS. They earn a median annual wage of $41,070, or about $19.74 per hour.

Demographics

Boise's workforce accounts for more than a third of the state's entire 613,000 workers. Among Boise's 215,000 residents, roughly one in four people over the age of 25 has a Bachelor's degree, and 13.5 percent of that age group has a graduate or professional degree.

Fun Facts

Boise is a vibrant city that is close to the mountains but also makes outdoor recreation enjoyable right in the city limits. The Boise greenbelt along the Boise River offers parks, hiking trails and bike paths, and Bogus Basin is an excellent ski resort a short drive from town. Boise State University athletic events are also popular with residents and visitors.

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Mean Wage

$35,260

Average Cost of a House

$142,400

# of Employed People

50,100

Total Population

35,924

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$41,969

Economics

Idaho Falls and its surrounding metropolitan area is home to just over 50,100 workers - about 8 percent of the state's workforce. The median annual wage is $35,260, and median home price is $142,400.

Demographics

Among the 35,924 residents of Idaho Falls who are older than 25, 17 percent have a Bachelor's degree and 8 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Fun Facts

Idaho Falls is a small, friendly town that offers golfing, historic sites, breweries, an amusement park, and four museums. In the winter, snowmobiling is popular, and a rafting tour of the nearby Salmon River is popular among history buffs interested in the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery.

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Mean Wage

$37,000

Average Cost of a House

$171,800

# of Employed People

53,500

Total Population

30,000

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$36,138

Economics

Coeur d'Alene, spreading out along the northern shoreline of the massive Lake Coeur d'Alene, supports 53,500 workers - about 8 percent of the state's entire workforce. Workers there earn just a little over $37,000 a year, and the median home value is 171,800.

Demographics

There are nearly 30,000 residents within the city limits of Coeur d'Alene who are 25 or older, and among them, 17 percent have a Bachelor's degree and 6.5 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Fun Facts

Coeur d'Alene is an outdoor wonderland, with miles of shoreline hiking and cycling available, as well as nearby skiing and bountiful boating. Many visitors make it a point to ride of the oldtime sternwheeler boats that ply the waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Nearby casinos, wineries and live musical performances are also popular.

 
Other Idaho Resources

Idaho is a member of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE), an organization that works to boost higher education in 15 Western states. WICHE has initiatives related to distance education and workforce development, as well as a student and professional exchange program at colleges throughout the member states. Boise State University and Lewis-Clark State College have joined the Internet Course Exchange (ICE), which allows students enrolled at participating schools to take online courses from other WICHE ICE institutions.


  1. Boise Bible College, http://www.boisebible.edu/2014/catalog/p83_display
  2. Boise State University, http://ecampus.boisestate.edu/programs/grad/
  3. Brigham Young University-Idaho, http://byui.edu/online/degrees-and-programs
  4. Broadview University-Boise, http://www.broadviewuniversity.edu/degrees-programs
  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
  6. C2ER, The Cost of Living Index, http://www.coli.org/
  7. College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?
  8. College Of Southern Idaho, http://www.csi.edu/coursesAndPrograms_/onlinedegree.html
  9. College of Western Idaho, http://cwidaho.cc/academics/online-learning
  10. Eastern Idaho Technical College, http://www.eitc.edu/
  11. Fun Things to Do in Boise, http://riversideboise.com/over-50-things-to-do-in-bosie
  12. Fun Things to Do in Coeur d'Alene, http://coeurdalene.org/what-to-do/parks
  13. Fun Things to Do in Idaho Falls, http://www.visitidahofalls.com/exploring.cfm?ID=3
  14. Idaho State University, http://www.isu.edu/areg/policy-proc/televised.shtml
  15. ITT Technical Institute-Boise, http://www.itt-tech.edu/
  16. Lewis-Clark State College, http://www.lcsc.edu/e-learning/online-degrees/
  17. North Idaho College, http://www.nic.edu/websites/default.aspx?dpt=25&pageId=
  18. Stevens-Henager College, http://www.stevenshenager.edu/online/our-programs
  19. Terry Ratcliff, interview with the author, January 2015
  20. University of Idaho, http://dee.uidaho.edu/programs-courses/
  21. The United States Census Bureau The America Community Survey, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/
  22. U.S. Census Bureau, American Fact Finder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_12_1YR_S1501&prodType=table