If you are looking for an affordable bachelor’s degrees in Idaho, the state is home to more than a dozen institutions of higher learning that offer both two- and four-year programs in a number of disciplines. While its options for academic programs are not as varied as, say, those in California or Texas, many postsecondary institutions offer superior academic programs to undergraduate and graduate students alike. Due to significant diversity in both learning platforms and programs as well as some of the most affordable tuition rates in the country, students from all backgrounds flock to the state to pursue a college degree.
In order to distinguish between colleges and universities as well as the programs they offer, future students generally compare several defining features such as graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and the average cost of attendance. However, whether you already have an idea of the institution you would like to attend or you are just starting out on your college search, keeping track of this information and narrowing down your options can be a time-consuming and challenging process. Therefore, we decided to apply a rigorous methodology with the goal of ranking the most affordable bachelor’s degree colleges in Idaho.
In order to provide our readers with a comprehensive list of the most affordable bachelor’s degree colleges in Idaho, we gathered a list of colleges and universities across the state and awarded points based on three core metrics related to the size of classes, level of student success, and affordability. We accomplished this by evaluating each institution’s tuition rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and graduation rates. Although there are certainly many other factors to consider when selecting a program such as concentrations or majors that are offered, opportunities for hands-on learning or internships, and the availability of extracurriculars such as student-run clubs or organizations, we used these three factors as they are usually what prospective students first consider when they set out to choose an on-campus or online bachelor’s degree program in Idaho. To gather our list of schools, we conducted a search for the term “colleges in Idaho” and cross-referenced the data we obtained with the information provided on each school’s website.
Average Cost of Attendance
When creating a ranking list of the most affordable bachelor’s degree colleges in Idaho, we would be remiss if we did not discuss tuition rates. Not only is the average cost of attendance likely the first thing you search for when comparing programs, but it is also among the most important. After all, why waste your time researching a school’s location, programs, faculty, and other offerings if you ultimately know it is not affordable with or without financial aid? Rather than digging through websites of colleges and universities across the state, we have taken the liberty of compiling this information here in one place for your reference. We also used the average cost of attendance as a basis for awarding points, ranking tuition based on how much on-campus, in-state students can expect to pay for one year of study if they take 15 hours of courses each semester. Although we did not use out-of-state tuition rates in our ranking, we felt it necessary to provide these figures for students who may be considering an Idaho school from elsewhere in the country.
Under $7,500: 3 points
$7,500 to $15,000: 2 points
$15,001 and above: 1 point
Next, we used each school’s student-to-faculty ratio to get a better understanding of not only the size of the school itself but also the size of its classes. When thinking about whether you prefer to learn in a large and busy environment or whether a small, close-knit setting best meets your needs, consider your own personal academic experience and priorities. In other words, some students need to learn in a small setting as they require a greater level of accountability in order to complete their course requirements. Other students thrive in a large environment in which they disappear into the background, free to complete their studies without extra or unnecessary personal attention. Although there are benefits to both, for the purpose of this ranking, we determined that schools with the lowest student-to-faculty ratios and, ultimately, the smallest class sizes would earn the highest amount of points based on the following ranges.
10:1 or less: 3 points
11:1 to 15:1: 2 points
Greater than 15:1: 1 point
As prospective students compare their options in order to find the bachelor’s degree program that best meets their academic needs and professional goals, many look at a school’s admissions rate to determine their likelihood of getting into their program of choice. Although this is beneficial to know for the application process, another important factor to consider is the graduation rate, or the number of students that stick with the program and eventually earn their degree. For example, if a school has a low graduation rate, it might mean that students are leaving midway through the program for some reason or another, possibly due to poor academic support, unhelpful faculty members, or unaffordable tuition rates. Therefore, we awarded the highest amount of points to colleges and universities that reported the highest graduation rates.
More than 50 percent: 3 points
Between 30 percent and 50 percent: 2 points
Less than 30 percent: 1 point
Ranking Top 10 Best Affordable Bachelor’s Degree Colleges in Idaho
10. Stevens-Henager College
Established in 1891, Stevens-Henager College is a private, nonprofit college with two campuses in Boise and Idaho Falls, Idaho as well as four locations throughout Utah. SHC confers affordable bachelor’s and master’s degrees to more than 350 undergraduate students across both Idaho locations, and students may pursue highly sought-after career fields such as graphic arts, information technology, business, and healthcare. Students may earn their bachelor’s degree in as few as 36 months if enrolled full-time. Inexpensive online programs are also provided through Independence University, and coursework is delivered in a 24/7, flexible distance learning format with outstanding academic support. Thanks to the school’s incredible 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, SHC offers personalized tutoring and mentoring as well as scholarships and grants to help offset the cost of tuition.
In-State Tuition: $16,972
Out-of-State Tuition: $16,972
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Graduation Rate: 18 percent
9. Boise State University
Founded by the Episcopal Church in 1932, Boise State University is a public research university located in Boise, Idaho. At BSU, students can choose from more than 200 inexpensive areas of study, and they have the opportunity to combine certificates, minors, work experiences, hands-on research, and internship to make their academic experience unique. The school is known for its undergraduate research, and students are encouraged to conduct projects in alternative energy, art history, choreography, and economics. BSU is also recognized for its School of Nursing, which boasts the state’s largest undergraduate nursing program, as well as its “Finish in Four” completion programs. Students work and regularly meet with an advisor who offers career development and helps them register for courses. Students who meet all requirements and follow BSU’s procedures and who are unable to graduate in four years are entitled to free tuition for any courses they have left to take.
In-State Tuition: $7,694
Out-of-State Tuition: $23,776
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Graduation Rate: 44 percent
8. Northwest Nazarene University
Located in Nampa, Idaho, Northwest Nazarene University is a private, Christian liberal arts university. Established in 1913 as a combination of a Bible school and a grade school, NNU enrolls more than 8,000 students from 31 states and 14 countries. The school is comprised of five academic and support units: the School of Theology and Christian Ministries, the School of Business, the College of Adult and Graduate Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, and Academic Services. NNU provides more than 60 low-cost degree programs in professional and adult, graduate, and undergraduate areas of study, including bachelor’s degrees in athletic training, pastoral ministries, criminal justice, and Chinese studies. Several programs are available through an accelerated track. NNU is also the first Christian university in the state to offer an agricultural concentration for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering. NNU is known across the state for its veteran support services, providing a number of education benefits for veterans, including the Yellow Ribbon Program.
In-State Tuition: $29,800
Out-of-State Tuition: $29,800
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Graduation Rate: 56 percent
7. Boise Bible College
Established in 1945 as a ministry of First Church of Christ in Boise, Idaho, Boise Bible College focuses on preparing students to serve in a number of ministry careers. To accomplish this, all of BBC’s inexpensive academic programs are comprised of three elements: Bible, general education, and professional ministry studies. The school offers four-year Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, each of which includes a major in Bible. Students may then choose an additional major or minor to complete such as youth ministry, worship ministry, intercultural studies, early childhood education, Christian education, or children’s ministry. BBC also allows students to develop not only their spirituality but also their leadership skills both inside and outside the classroom. Students are encouraged to take advantage of on-campus events such as retreats and banquets, opportunities for student employment, and mission trips as well as chapel services, student organizations, committees, student devotions, and intramural sports such as running, volleyball, basketball, and flag football.
In-State Tuition: $12,520
Out-of-State Tuition: $12,520
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Graduation Rate: 49 percent
6. The College of Idaho
Founded in 1891, the College of Idaho, located in Caldwell, Idaho, is a private liberal arts college and the oldest of its kind in the state. Enrolling fewer than 950 undergraduate and graduate students, it is also one of the smallest colleges in Idaho. C of I offers a number of cheap academic programs in business, education, and anthropology, and graduates of this affordable bachelor’s degree college have gone on to become Rhodes, Goldwater, Truman, and Marshall scholars. Several of the C of I’s most popular undergraduate majors include the biological and biomedical sciences, psychology, the health professions, business, and the social sciences. The school’s “professional, ethical, articulate, knowledgeable” (PEAK) program provides students the opportunity to specialize in four “peaks” or separate academic areas: a professional field, the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Students who follow this program can graduate in four years with one major and three minors.
In-State Tuition: $30,155
Out-of-State Tuition: $30,155
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Graduation Rate: 67 percent
5. University of Idaho
Established in 1889, the University of Idaho is a public university in Moscow, Idaho and the state’s primary research and land-grant university. U of I also operates satellite campuses in Boise, Idaho Falls, and Coeur D’Alene, enrolling more than 11,700 total students per year through its 10 colleges. The school provides more than 300 affordable degrees for undergraduate and graduate students, including popular programs in conservation biology and ecology, wildlife resources, and environmental science as well as music theory, scientific modeling, fire ecology and management, and broadcast and digital media. The Division of Distance and Extended Education provides non-traditional course offerings in the areas of independent study, dual credit summer session, and online degrees. Students also have the opportunity to conduct experiments and gain field experience in ecology and agricultural science at U of I’s Twin Falls Research and Extension Center.
In-State Tuition: $7,864
Out-of-State Tuition: $25,500
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Graduation Rate: 55 percent
4. Idaho State University
Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho is a public research university that was founded in 1901 as the Academy of Idaho. Today, ISU confers nearly 300 affordable academic programs at its main campus and at locations in Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and Meridian as well as online. Recognized as Idaho’s lead institution in degrees pertaining to medical education and the health professions, ISU offers low-cost academic majors through its colleges of nursing, health professions, education, business, arts and letters, technology, science and engineering, rehabilitation and communication sciences, and pharmacy. ISU enrolls more than 12,600 students per year and reports a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Outside of the classroom, students may choose to participate in more than 140 registered social, service, cultural, academic, and professional student organizations as well as several sorority and fraternity chapters. On-campus student media opportunities include a radio station and a student-run newspaper.
In-State Tuition: $7,420
Out-of-State Tuition: $22,940
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Graduation Rate: 30 percent
3. Lewis-Clark State College
Established in 1893 as the Lewiston State Normal School, Lewis-Clark State College is a public college located in Lewiston, Idaho. Enrolling more than 3,600 students from more than 25 states and 34 different countries, LCSC is the number one-ranked institution of higher learning in the state for offering the lowest tuition rates among all public four-year schools. Students may choose from more than 220 cheap undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificates, and minors, although the school is most known for its affordable programs in technology, business, management sciences and information systems, nursing, education, criminal justice, and social work. LCSC also offers non-credit classes through workforce training and continuing education programs. Approximately 81 percent of LCSC students receive some type of financial aid, and 95 percent of recent LCSC graduates are settled in graduate school, a job, or another area after earning their degree.
In-State Tuition: $6,618
Out-of-State Tuition: $19,236
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Graduation Rate: 28 percent
2. Brigham Young University-Idaho
Brigham Young University-Idaho, located in Rexburg, Idaho, is a private university that is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Established in 1888 as Ricks College, BYU-Idaho also operates a main campus in Utah as well as a location in Hawaii. Enrolling 34,000 on-campus and 15,000 online students each year, BYU-Idaho is comprised of six colleges in the performing and visual arts, physical sciences and engineering, language and letters, education and human development, business and communication, and agriculture and life sciences. Students may choose from 20 associate and 87 bachelor’s degrees, including popular, low-cost majors in industries relevant in Idaho such as automotive technology, construction management, applied plant science, and animal and food science. BYU-Idaho uses an approach known as the Learning Model, which includes 14-week semesters and discussion-based classes that encourage student engagement. All students must adhere to the Church Education System (CES) honor code regarding rules for academic honesty, drug and alcohol use, grooming, dress, and chastity.
In-State Tuition: $4,118
Out-of-State Tuition: $4,118
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 25:1
Graduation Rate: 59 percent
1. New Saint Andrews College
Founded in 1994 and modeled after the Harvard College’s curriculum, New Saint Andrews College is a private, classical Christian college located in Moscow, Idaho. Enrolling students from 35 states and eight countries, NSAC does not offer undergraduate majors but instead follows one integrated liberal arts curriculum provided through a Christian worldview. Students attending NSAC receive a four-year Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts & Culture degree that begins with preparatory training centered around a curriculum such as the Trivium, which involves rhetoric, logic/dialectic, and grammar. The program then moves to advanced studies as represented through courses in the Quadrivium, or astronomy, music, geometry, and arithmetic. With a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, a 78 percent graduation rate, and an affordable tuition rate, students seeking a liberal arts education grounded in the classical and Christian traditions and faith may consider NSAC as not only the most affordable bachelor’s degree college in Idaho but also the best value for their money.
In-State Tuition: $12,800
Out-of-State Tuition: $12,800
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Graduation Rate: 78 percent
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Most In-Demand Careers in Idaho for Graduates With a Bachelor’s Degree?
To help you determine the most profitable career path as you narrow down your options and search for the most affordable bachelor’s degree college in Idaho, we decided to compile information pertaining to the most in-demand careers in Idaho for students with an undergraduate degree. Whether you are already set on a career and would like to learn more about its employment outlook or you are currently searching for a hot career in Idaho, we can help.
To obtain the most accurate and up-to-date information, we consulted the Idaho Department of Labor for assistance. Based on projections, the following are the top 15 hot jobs in Idaho as well as their projected growth rates between 2016 and 2026:
- Respiratory Therapists: 51.2 percent
- Actuaries: 42.1 percent
- Statisticians: 42 percent
- Home Health Aides: 39 percent
- Personal Care Aides: 37 percent
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers: 35.2 percent
- Nurse Practitioners: 35.1 percent
- Physician Assistants: 32.8 percent
- Massage Therapists: 31.5 percent
- Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians: 31.4 percent
- Postsecondary Nursing Instructors and Teachers: 30.4 percent
- Information Security Analysts: 30.3 percent
- Software Developers, Applications: 30.2 percent
- Registered Nurses: 29.3 percent
- Internists, General: 29.1 percent
Radiation therapists, physical therapist assistants, market research analysts and marketing specialists, medical secretaries, and physical therapists are also in high-demand across the state. In addition, the fastest-growing industries in Idaho based on projections by the Idaho Department of Labor for 2016 to 2026 include service producing, educational and health services, and trade, transportation, and utilities. Goods-producing and healthcare/social assistance round out the top five.
What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs in Idaho?
As you consider your future, chances are you are likely thinking about the salary you can earn from the career you are about to pursue. Whether you know the path you wish to take or you are still deciding between several occupations, understanding the salary expectations can help you to narrow down your options. Therefore, we consulted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a fantastic resource dedicated to calculating occupational employment and wage estimates across the state. According to the BLS, data was collected from employers in all industries in both nonmetropolitan and metropolitan areas in Idaho, and the figures below are accurate as of May 2018. The BLS indicates that the annual mean wage across all occupations was $43,480, or $20.90 per hour. The top five highest-paying careers in Idaho include:
- Anesthesiologists: $256,450
- Physicians and Surgeons, All Other: $241,670
- Surgeons: $241,030
- Family and General Practitioners: $234,810
- Orthodontists: $202,030
For our purposes, however, we decided to look at other well-paid jobs that graduates with a bachelor’s degree can hold either immediately after completing their programs or with extra training or on-the-job experience. Although medical schools and law schools do require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to be admitted into their programs, some other high-paying occupations that average salaries above $100,000 per year in Idaho include:
- Computer and Information Research Scientists: $137,180
- Sales Engineers: $124,300
- Architectural and Engineering Managers: $117,930
- Chemical Engineers: $114,140
- Postsecondary Engineering Teachers: $111,330
- Engineers, All Other: $110,270
- Physician Assistants: $109,090
- Computer Hardware Engineers: $106,680
- Marketing Managers: $105,210
- Personal Financial Advisors: $104,640
- Sales Managers: $103,780
- Computer and Information Systems Managers: $102,910
- Nurse Practitioners: $102,600
- Postsecondary Health Specialties Teachers: $101,590
- Postsecondary Computer Science Teachers: $100,110
Based on the data above, we can conclude that, aside from occupations in the healthcare industry that require a master’s or doctoral degree, the highest-paying jobs in Idaho are in the computer and information technology, education, business, and engineering industries.
What Are the Best Schools in Idaho for Bachelor’s Recipients?
Of the more than a dozen four-year colleges and universities in Idaho, some of the most well-known schools include the College of Idaho, Idaho State University, Boise State University, the University of Idaho, and Brigham Young University-Idaho. Although we detailed these five schools in our ranking above, we felt it would be helpful to compile data regarding salary information for students graduating from these institutions. To do this, we used information obtained from PayScale for three categories: early career pay, or the amount a student can earn five years after graduation, and mid-career pay, or the amount a student may bring home 10 years after earning his or her degree as well as the 20-year net return on investment (ROI), or the amount that graduates will earn after 20 years in the field.
To keep this list as organized as possible, we ranked each of the five schools in order from the highest ROI to the lowest ROI. The ROI figures below are provided for on-campus students who pursued a degree without any type of financial aid package. We also used salary data for early career earnings and mid-career pay based on students who only graduated with a bachelor’s degree and who did not go on to pursue graduate studies.
- 1. Brigham Young University-Idaho
– 20-Year Net ROI: $468,000
– Early Career Pay: $52,700
– Mid-Career Pay: $94,300
- 2. University of Idaho
– 20-Year Net ROI: $368,000
– Early Career Pay: $51,300
– Mid-Career Pay: $95,200
- 3. Idaho State University
– 20-Year Net ROI: $314,000
– Early Career Pay: $50,300
– Mid-Career Pay: $89,800
- 4. Boise State University
– 20-Year Net ROI: $288,000
– Early Career Pay: $49,300
– Mid-Career Pay: $83,000
- 5. Lewis-Clark State College
– 20-Year Net ROI: $200,000
– Early Career Pay: $45,200
– Mid-Career Pay: $69,700
Many prospective students overlook Idaho in the Pacific Northwest, yet it is a beautiful state covered in deep river valleys and soaring mountains. Although the Gem State is best known as a producer of potatoes, it is home to a number of affordable bachelor’s degree colleges that range from small private colleges to large state universities. For instance, although the Vandal might be the mascot of the University of Idaho, it is the students who make out like bandits, considering the school’s $368,000 20-year net ROI. U of I is also home to some of the highest-paid graduates, both at five years and at 10 years after graduation.
If you choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Ohio, not only will you benefit from rigorous academic programs that prepare you for careers across a broad spectrum of industries, but you will also have time to take in the state’s majestic, breathtaking waterfalls, canyons, and mountain ranges. Each of the 10 most affordable bachelor’s degree colleges in Idaho listed above was chosen based on points awarded in three categories which, when considered as a whole, provide a comprehensive idea of each school’s cost-to-quality ratio.
This concludes our ranking of the top 10 most affordable bachelor’s degree colleges in Idaho.
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