Best Colleges & Universities Idaho 2023


Though most widely known for its potato farms, Idaho is also celebrated for its breathtaking scenery and magnificent Northern Rocky Mountain terrain. Imagine yourself hiking, camping, fishing, and stargazing on the wide-open plains and valleys, surrounded by the towering Grand Tetons and pine trees. The state is a haven for both nature lovers and those seeking a top-notch education. In Idaho, you'll get to experience cultivation of mind, body, and soul. Countless exhilarating adventures undoubtedly await you here in the Gem State.

Idaho offers the variety from small community colleges to large research universities. The state is home to public and private institutions that provide a range of programs and majors. Idaho is also home to several private, four-year Christian schools, the most significant being Brigham Young University - Idaho, which hosts a student population of over 19,000.

Online Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The tuition and cost-of-living averages at Idaho's best colleges are still some of the lowest in the nation. Additionally, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education offers a program called the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), helping non-resident students graduate with little-to-no debt. This non-resident tuition discount applies to students in 16 western states, including Idaho.

If you're looking for a large urban setting or a small rural setting, Idaho has a college or university that's right for you. EDsmart has brought together this list of some of the best colleges and universities in Idaho.


EDsmart assesses colleges in Idaho based on data that covers four main areas:

  • Cost (average net price)
  • Student satisfaction (retention rate)
  • Academic quality (graduation rate)
  • Salary After Attending (the median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, at 10 years after entering the school)

All data was gathered from the U.S. Dept of Education websites College Scorecard and College Navigator.

This ranking aims to help students assess the affordability and value of top online game design schools so they can make informed decisions about which college to attend.

Best Accredited Colleges in Idaho for 2023

1. Brigham Young University - Idaho

Score: 100.0

Average Net Price: $6,698
Retention Rate: 72%
Graduation Rate: 67%
Salary After Attending: $49,281

Founded by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints in Rexburg, Idaho in 1888, Brigham Young University - Idaho (BYUI) offers over one hundred degree options, including both bachelor's and associate's degrees. This private, faith-based institution's 430-acre campus is located in Idaho's scenic Snake River Valley. The campus serves as the perfect setting for obtaining an enriching education and developing spirituality. With an acceptance rate of 97%, and over 19,000 undergraduates in total, 4,500 of which attend online, BYUI's student population is well above-average. The school's course options are primarily science and humanities-based, a few of which include four-year programs in the physical sciences and engineering, performing and visual arts, and agriculture. BYUI also offers unique opportunities to earn bachelor's degrees in religious studies. The U.S. News and World Report rates it at #24 among the Top Performers in Social Mobility, and it sits at #4 on's list of Best Value Colleges in Idaho.

2. The College of Idaho

Score: 98.8

Average Net Price: $21,412
Retention Rate: 82%
Graduation Rate: 69%
Salary After Attending: $45,431

Initially established in 1891 to be an institute of Presbyterian learning, the College of Idaho is the oldest private liberal arts school in the state. Located in the small town of Caldwell, this institution sits within easy reach of both urban and rural locations. With a student enrollment of only about 900 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, students have the chance to enjoy a highly individualized educational experience. They can select from 26 undergraduate majors in fields like accounting, criminal justice, music, and more. Their 58 minor options, which range from environmental science to exercise psychology, allow students the flexibility to personalize their academic paths even further. Students are encouraged to choose three minors to embellish their portfolios, and the school encourages the study of different fields to help students best succeed in their professional careers. The U.S. News and World Report ranks the College of Idaho at #117 among National Liberal Arts Colleges.

3. University of Idaho

Score: 98.5

Average Net Price: $13,964
Retention Rate: 77%
Graduation Rate: 59%
Salary After Attending: $48,272

This public university was founded in 1889 with the purpose of teaching students to overcome obstacles and achieve success both in education and in life. The University of Idaho's main campus is located in Moscow, with additional teaching centers in Coeur d'Alene, Twin Falls, and Idaho Falls. For such a highly-ranked school, the 73% acceptance rate is both reasonable and realistic. U of I's student body is comprised of over 11,700 students in total, and the university offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate programs, including STEM-based degrees, medical education programs, and counseling degrees. For all its student and faculty-driven research, the Carnegie Foundation officially recognizes U of I as a higher research activity university, and ranks it at #1 among Best Colleges in Idaho.

4. Northwest Nazarene University

Score: 98.0

Average Net Price: $21,647
Retention Rate: 80%
Graduation Rate: 61%
Salary After Attending: $47,908

Eugene Emerson founded Northwest Nazarene University in 1913 to be a Christian liberal arts institution, and what began as a small group of grade school bible students has since expanded into a university supporting over 8,000 individuals both on-campus and online. The 90-acre campus is located in Nampa, Idaho but an additional NNU learning center can be found in Idaho Falls. Residential high school students can also complete college courses through Northwest's dual-enrollment. The U.S. News and World Report ranks it at #43 among Regional Universities West and #37 in Best Value Schools. Students can choose from 18 master's degrees and 74 undergraduate options, a few of which include chemistry, criminal justice, global business, mathematics, and more. Northwest offers theology, business, and social work programs for students pursuing master's degrees. For many of the more traditional subjects, online courses are also available.

5. Boise State University

Score: 97.3

Average Net Price: $16,153
Retention Rate: 79%
Graduation Rate: 50%
Salary After Attending: $43,100

Boise State University's campus sits on the banks of the Boise RIver just past the city's urban sprawl. The low tuition rates for in-state residents claims the #4 spot in's list of Best Colleges in Idaho, as well as #42 among Most Innovative Schools in the U.S. News and World Report. The university, which hosts over 22,000 students, is constantly expanding. Even though Boise State is the largest graduate school in Idaho, its class sizes still tend to stay under 20 students. The school offers over 200 different majors, a few of which include history, accountancy, and materials science and engineering. In addition to its renowned graduate programs, BSU grants opportunities for online degrees and even certificates in entrepreneurship, cybersecurity, and business anthropology.

6. Boise Bible College

Score: 96.3

Average Net Price: $13,757
Retention Rate: 73%
Graduation Rate: 51%
Salary After Attending: $33,307

When Boise Bible College was founded by the First Church of Christ in 1945 as a ministers' training school, it’s future impact was unknown. As the institution has expanded, its primary focus has remained the same: to equip servant leaders for the Church to advance the gospel worldwide. Boise Bible College students can earn associate's and bachelor's degrees in Christian ministry, education, psychology, and more. In addition, the college also offers a one-year Bible Certification that enables students to pursue careers teaching, proselyting, and spreading the Word of God. The Association for Biblical Higher Education has accredited Boise Bible College for its many distinguished programs. From its 16-acre campus in the scenic Pacific Northwest, Boise Bible College students have access to a plethora of outdoor escapes, scenic locations, and recreational activities. Since the school's establishment, BBC students and alumni have always made it their mission to evoke change and spread the light of Christ throughout the world, and continue to do so today.

Quick Facts

  • 99% of students receive Financial Aid
  • $482,078 of scholarships and grants awarded in 2018-2019
  • 77% of the semester cost covered by Financial Aid
  • 75 years of equipping students

Apply here:

7. College of Eastern Idaho

Score: 95.5

Average Net Price: $7,627
Retention Rate: 69%
Graduation Rate: 34%
Salary After Attending: $34,547

Founded in 1969 under the original title of Eastern Idaho Vocational Technical School, this community college adopted its current name in the year 2017. The College of Eastern Idaho offers several two-year degrees. The school brings over 1,300 students into Idaho Falls each year. Nearly two-thirds of Eastern Idaho students attend part-time. The school has programs that enable students to obtain certification in two years or less through courses in fields like general education, business, technology, health professions, and more. All Eastern Idaho course work is transferable to a four-year university. On the whole, ranks it at #1 among Best Community Colleges in Idaho.

8. Lewis-Clark State College

Score: 95.5

Average Net Price: $10,775
Retention Rate: 61%
Graduation Rate: 41%
Salary After Attending: $41,741

At its founding in 1893, Lewis-Clark State College was originally known as the Lewiston State Normal School, but in 1973, after several name-changes, it officially took on its current name. The school sits on the banks of the converging Clearwater and Snake Rivers in Lewistown, Idaho, and has the lowest tuition for any public four-year college in the state. 95% of Lewis-Clark State graduates are either currently employed or actively pursuing graduate degrees. Most of the 3,700 students at Lewis-Clark State College are international. The college offers 194 programs in psychology, music, interdisciplinary studies, and more. Lewis-Clark State also offers a pre-law pathway, as well as 178 various online courses.

9. Idaho State University

Score: 95.3

Average Net Price: $17,410
Retention Rate: 64%
Graduation Rate: 45%
Salary After Attending: $42,101

At its 1901 founding, this institution was known originally as the Academy of Idaho. Idaho State University's (ISU) main campus is in Pocatello. There are sattelite campuses in Twin Falls, Meridian, and Idaho Falls. ranks ISU at #7 among Best Value Colleges in Idaho, and the Carnegie Foundation officially recognizes it as a research-focused institution. Many of ISU's 12,000 students study remotely from across the United States. Idaho State offers 250 programs ranging anywhere from certificates to doctoral degrees, and students can find anything from business to rehabilitation undergraduate tracks, plus a variety of health professions and technology programs. As a highly-regarded research facility, ISU presents endless opportunities for funding new and existing research projects.

10. North Idaho College

Score: 95.0

Average Net Price: $7,207
Retention Rate: 56%
Graduation Rate: 27%
Salary After Attending: $36,382

This college calls the banks of the picturesque Lake Coeur d'Alene home. North Idaho College began in 1933 as a private college named Coeur d'Alene Junior College. In 1971, the institution took on the title of North Idaho College and has been known by that name ever since. With educational centers in Bonners Ferry, Kellogg, and Sandpoint, the school is able to serve a broad range of students. It offers vocational training at the Workforce Center, the Parker Technical Education Center, and the Aerospace Center for Excellence, and is committed to an open-door policy, inviting students from all walks of life to participate in the school's comprehensive learning processes. North Idaho maintains a 100% acceptance rate and, compared to other in-state tuitions, the cost is remarkably low. North Idaho's 5,000 undergraduate students enjoy majoring in accounting, culinary arts, geology, and much more. Through NIC's convenient dual-enrollment tracks, local high school students can also receive early college credit.

Honorable Mention

College of Southern Idaho

The College of Southern Idaho held its first official night class at the local Twin Falls high school in 1965. Today the school has grown to become part of the economic structure of Twin Falls. It is now one of the fastest-growing colleges in Idaho. Twin Falls itself serves as the gateway to the Snake River Canyon and subsequently offers a plethora of exciting outdoor opportunities, such as rock climbing and base jumping. CSI enrolls approximately 7,600 students in total, maintaining a student-to-instructor ratio of 19:1. The school offers over 80 different associate's and certificate programs to choose from, often centering in the travel industry, visual arts, library sciences, and much more. Students are also able to complete general studies courses, mathematics, and health-related programs. Additionally, Southern Idaho now offers a unique, four-year degree in advanced food technology. ranks it at #2 among Best Community Colleges in Idaho.

Stevens-Henager College-Boise

Founded originally as the Inter-Mountain Business College in 1891, Steven-Henager College-Boise adopted its current title in 1959. The mission of this non-profit institution is to prepare students for business-oriented fields and equip graduates with real-world workplace skills. The school's administration strives to provide the most beneficial tools and resources for students. The main campus is located in Boise; however, the school maintains additional campuses in Idaho Falls and throughout the state of Utah. With an acceptance rate of 100%, the school hosts only about 200 students in total, which allows for a highly personalized education experience. Students here study healthcare, business, graphic arts, technology, and more. The school's online degree programs operate through a partnership with Independence University. By offering job services, flexible class schedules, and minimal class sizes, Steven-Henager College helps students on the fast-track to success.

Now that you know about the Best Colleges in Idaho, you’re ready to get started on your new path. Whether you choose a large private school or a small public university, you’re already on the way to a better life through education!

Colleges in Idaho FAQ

How Many Colleges Are in Idaho?
Idaho is home to 15 Colleges and Universities with a total of 53,391 (as of Spring 2021) students attending according to a recent report by
What is the Biggest College in Idaho?
In terms of the student population, the largest university in Idaho is Brigham Young University - Idaho with a total undergraduate student enrollment of 37,547 online and on-campus students enrolled in Winter 2022.
What is the hardest college to get into in Idaho?
The hardest college to get into in Idaho is the College of Idaho with an acceptance rate of 48.4% in 2021.

Idaho Education News

Eighteen months, 5,000 students: Idaho colleges and universities face a deep enrollment decline

Not unlike the scientists and infectious disease experts who have tried to unlock the mysteries of the coronavirus, college and university officials have been trying to determine the pandemic’s effects on their institutions. Here's what we know about 2020-21.

Online Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.