Best Colleges in Idaho

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Idaho has over a dozen colleges and universities, offering both two-year and four-year programs in a variety of disciplines. The diversity in programs and learning platforms attracts a range of students to Idaho’s schools. To distinguish between schools, prospective students typically compare a few defining features, including location, affordability and the length of programs at each college they consider.

Fortunately, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Idaho, including the top four-year and two-year schools. Below, you will find Idaho’s top colleges.

Idaho is home to four public universities offering baccalaureate degrees. The state also has a few private Christian or LDS schools with four-year programs. Some of these schools are nationally recognized for their research departments, while others offer small programs in ministry or the liberal arts.

Idahoans with a four-year college degree earn a higher salary than non-degree holders. Graduates from four-year institutions in Idaho typically earn significantly more than those who never finished college, with post-college salaries exceeding the average national income. Though there aren’t many colleges in Idaho, the state is home to a variety of programs that accommodate students from all backgrounds. If you’re interested in browsing what these schools have to offer, our list of the top colleges in Idaho can help you begin your research.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1College of Idaho 4/559.85%Caldwell, ID

The College of Idaho offers a variety of majors in the fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Small class sizes allow students to communicate effectively with peers and professors during class. In addition to the school’s excellent academics, students enjoy the opportunity to get involved in a diverse array of activities, such as intramural sports, student organizations, and Greek life. Graduates from the College of Idaho include seven Rhodes Scholars, four NFL players, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and an Academy Award-winning composer.

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2Brigham Young University-Idaho 1/556.09%Rexburg, ID

Brigham Young has a campus in Rexburg, and the school is home to nearly 20,000 students. Students can pursue 25 associate degrees and more than 100 bachelor’s programs. Additionally, the university offers more than 300 online courses, which allows students to earn their degree on a flexible schedule. BYU-Idaho’s internship pipeline is one of the most robust programs of its kind, and makes the school one of the largest suppliers of interns in the United States.

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3University of Idaho 2/557.79%Moscow, ID

Idaho offers undergraduates and graduates over 300 programs to choose from. Students can pursue a range of fields, including agricultural and life sciences, architecture, business, education, engineering, social sciences, and much more. Idaho is home to hundreds of student-led organizations, which provide attendees with an opportunity to develop leadership and communication skills while making friends and participating in a fun and engaging activity. Students can also participate in a study abroad program with one of the university’s 370 partners.

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4Northwest Nazarene University 4/551.83%Nampa, ID

NNU is a Nazarene-affiliated college located in the southwest region of Idaho. The school offers more than 60 areas of study for undergraduate and graduate students. Students who want to immerse themselves in a different culture may choose to participate in one of NNU’s study abroad programs, which allows students to travel all over the globe, including to Australia, China, Latin-America, Egypt, Russia, Oxford, and Uganda.

NNU also has a vibrant internship program that allows students to develop practical experience in a professional setting. Students have completed internships at ESPN, Unilever, Hewlett Packard, Disney, and many more recognizable companies.

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5Boise State University 2/535.71%Boise, ID

Boise State is the largest university in Idaho. The school has a nationally-ranked engineering program, and is also home to Idaho’s largest undergraduate nursing program. Boise State has seven academic schools and an honors college. Students, particularly graduate students, will find diverse research programs in a variety of disciplines, including biomolecular sciences, health and public policy, raptor studies, nanoelectronics and integrated systems, and geochemistry and geophysics.

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6Lewis-Clark State College 2/526.89%Lewiston, ID

Lewis-Clark State College, which opened in 1893, is one of the oldest colleges in the West. The school offers more than 90 degree and certificate programs. In addition to traditional academic majors, students can also train to become paralegals, paramedics, accounting assistants, and mechanics. LCSC has the lowest in-state tuition rates of any four-year public colleges in Idaho. Additionally LCSC offers students the opportunity to participate in a variety of clubs, activities, and events.

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7Idaho State University 2/5N/AID

Idaho State offers 250 programs, including bachelor’s, associate, master’s, and doctoral degrees, along with several certificates. Students and faculty conduct innovative research in a variety of subjects, including health care, energy, nuclear research, teaching, engineering, humanities, technology, biological sciences, performing and visual arts, pharmacy, and business. The school’s Career Path Internship Program helps link students with internship opportunities in their field of choice, providing them an opportunity to develop practical experience as they prepare for their career.

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Students in Idaho attend a variety of two-year programs through the state’s technical and career-training facilities and community colleges. Two-year programs in Idaho provide an accelerated and affordable education to students entering the workforce. The state’s community college system has campuses across the state, offering a range of classes and training. Some schools, including Eastern Idaho Technical College and McCall College, offer programs in technology and other trades that can be completed in two years or less.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, graduates from top two-year schools in Idaho can expect to earn more than residents with only a high school diploma. Manufacturing, specifically in electrical and computer components, is the state’s top industry and many community colleges and trade schools in Idaho produce qualified labor for the field. Other schools provide students access to introductory courses in traditional disciplines, preparing them to earn a bachelor’s degree at a four-year school. To see what each school offers, take a look at our ranking of the top two-year colleges in Idaho.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Eastern Idaho Technical College 1/550.94%Idaho Falls, ID

At EITC, students can pursue high-quality technical training programs in a variety of disciplines, including health, business, and various trades. EITC also offers apprenticeship programs that allow students to pursue hands-on work experience in conjunction with their courses. Students can take classes to improve certain skills, or enroll in a two-year associate degree program. These programs help students develop the skills they need to succeed both in a four-year school and in introductory positions across a range of industries.

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2North Idaho College 1/519.5%Coeur d'Alene, ID

NIC offers associate of arts and science degrees in a number of subjects. Additionally, the school has associate of applied science degrees and technical certificates to students enrolled in professional-technical programs. Students at NIC also receive a thorough general education that reflects the college’s commitment to preparing students to become educated and community-driven citizens.

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3College of Southern Idaho 1/518.63%Twin Falls, ID

Students at CSI can pursue a variety of academic programs. Subjects include agriculture, business, education, information technology, computer science, engineering, library and information science, health sciences, human services and fine arts.

The versatile class schedule offered by CSI allows students to pursue their education or training around their work schedule. The campus also offers a variety of extracurricular programs for students, including special interest clubs, athletic teams, and fine arts training, providing students with plenty of opportunities to get involved.

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4College of Western Idaho 1/59%Nampa, ID

CWI offers a variety of academic and technical programs, offerings that prepare students to enter the workforce or to continue their education at a four-year school. The average class size at CWI is 24 students. At CWI, students can achieve technical certificates, along with associate degrees in the arts, sciences, and applied sciences.

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5Stevens-Henager College – Boise 3/541.57%Boise, ID

At Stevens-Henager, students can earn an associate degree in healthcare, business, technology, and graphic arts. All instructors at Stevens-Henager have practical experience in their field, and students will benefit from their knowledge and expertise. The college offers associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees.

Stevens-Henager has military-friendly policies and staff to help active duty military, veterans and military spouses enroll and succeed. Military tuition assistance, scholarships, and grants are also available to qualified students.

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6CollegeAmerica – Stevens Henager College 3/5N/AIdaho Falls, ID

Like Stevens-Henager, the Idaho Falls campus allows students to pursue associate degrees in healthcare, business, technology and graphic arts. Unlike other colleges in Idaho, all of the instructors at Stevens-Henager College in Idaho Falls are professionals with practical experience in their fields. They are able to draw from their backgrounds to educate students about what to expect when they enter the workforce.

Students at Stevens-Henager College enjoy dedicated advisers who work closely with students to help them improve their grades, build a professional network, and start new careers.

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If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Idaho, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Gem State.

Idaho is the 14th largest and 7th least densely populated state in the U.S. Renowned as America’s “potato state,” Idaho is also the gem capital of the country, and contains nearly every type of gemstone known to man. A mountainous region bordering the Pacific Northwest, more than half of Idaho’s land is forested, and rivers, lakes, canyons and waterfalls abound throughout the state. Idaho recently incorporated science and technology into its commercial economy, expanding on its traditional origins in agriculture and tourism; college programs in the last decade have reflected this economic change, enhancing career training programs that prepare graduates for employment in the tech industry.

Idaho ranked 44th for per-capita income in the U.S. in 2009, with residents earning an average personal income of $33,074 a year. At the time of the last U.S. census, 25.1% of Idahoans 25 and older held a bachelor’s degree or higher, slightly under the national average of 28.8%. Nearly 90% of state residents have a high school diploma however, one of the higher percentages in the nation.
Below, we’ve highlighted two of the larger regions in Idaho:

Regional Spotlight: Northern Idaho

  • Major Cities: Moscow, Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston
  • Attractions: Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center, McEuen Park, Nez Perce County Historical Society
  • Cost of Living: Coeur d’Alene’s Numbeo Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: University of Idaho–Coeur d’Alene, New Saint Andrews College, Lewis-Clark State College

Regional Spotlight: Southern Idaho

  • Major Cities: Boise, Twin Falls, Pocatello
  • Attractions: Idaho State Historical Museum, Boise Art Museum, Evel Knievel Snake River Canyon Jump
  • Cost of Living: Boise’s Numbeo Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: Boise State University, Idaho State University, College of Southern Idaho


Establishing residency allows students access to in-state tuition at public colleges in Idaho. Students 18 or older must provide proof of state residency; minors must live with either a parent or legal guardian in Idaho to qualify for reduced tuition.

For Minors:

If a student is a minor when they enroll, they must prove that their guardians are domiciled in the state to claim residency themselves. To establish Idaho residency, a minor must live with a parent or guardian in a household within state borders. If the parents are divorced or separated, the minor must reside with a parent living in Idaho. Minors must provide evidence that they lived with their parent in Idaho before turning 18 and prove their intention to continue living with that parent until the school year begins.

For Adults:

Individuals age 18 and older who plan to claim residence must meet specific criteria, including:

  • You must physically reside in Idaho for at least one year prior to declaring residence.
  • You must prove intent to make Idaho your home.
  • You should be able to prove your financial independence. Adults under age 23 may have to formally claim emancipation from their guardian.

Additional Resources for Idaho College Students

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