While there are only a few major colleges in Idaho, prospective students do have some excellent public options. In fact, just over half of the 13 colleges and universities in Idaho are public school options.
Boise State University, Idaho’s largest public university, serves roughly 17,000 students through both on-campus and online degree programs. Students at Boise State University can pursue both traditional and online degrees in fields like communications, earth sciences, and engineering.
Other major public universities in Idaho include Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College. This is noteworthy because Idaho residents who attend public online colleges in Idaho will still have access to in-state tuition discounts. Out of state students will pay more.
Idaho is also home to five private schools, including the state’s largest school, Brigham Young University Idaho, which has a student population of nearly 49,000 students.
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While students at BYU school can expect to pay around $4,000 in tuition, well below the national average, tuition for Idaho’s other private colleges costs between $13,000 and $30,000 per year.
The majority of Idaho’s colleges and universities can be considered small schools, serving student populations of 4,000 or less. However, the state’s largest schools offer the most affordable tuition fees, with both traditional and online students having access to tuition for as little as $4,000 per year.
Students who pursue their degrees in Idaho can study fields like chemistry, law, and anthropology at the University of Idaho; or religious studies, psychology, and literature at New Saint Andrews College. Additionally, Idaho offers a loan forgiveness-based financial program of up to $100,000 to physicians who work in the state’s rural areas.
French fries, mashed potatoes, tater tots, and even potato-inspired ice cream - Idaho is, as per its reputation, a potato lover’s dream. But it’s not all spuds in this state. Along with countless hiking trails, rivers perfect for rafting trips, and 72 types of gemstones, this state offers both on-campus and online degree programs with competitive tuition fees and excellent professors.
For more information, explore some of Idaho’s top programs and future career possibilities.
An associate degree is a two-year degree that can be earned at state community colleges, vocational schools, and most accredited colleges and universities.
The associate degree provides an introductory level college education. You will usually take an array of liberal arts or humanities courses along with introductory level courses in a specific subject area. Most associate degree programs are available to both on campus students and online students.
There are several good reasons to get an associate degree. An associate degree is an affordable and accessible way to get a college education while improving your earning potential. The associate degree is popular both among students looking for entry-level work in their field, and for those who are already working.
The online degree is particularly popular at the associate level because so many students must balance work responsibilities and studies. Online courses and complete online programs make it possible for students to earn associate credits and degrees without disrupting daily work responsibilities.
The associate is also a far more affordable and accessible alternative to earning a bachelor’s degree. The associate degree takes about half as long to earn as a bachelor’s degree. Associate students need 60 credits to graduate, versus the 120 credits needed for a bachelor’s degree. And many state community colleges offer low tuition rates.
You can get an entry-level job in your field with an associate degree. Many students will use the associate degree as a way to get relevant job training before entering the job market. In fact, many associates will pursue entry level work in their field while earning a bachelor’s degree through online education.
You may want to get an associate degree first to save money, or improve your admission chances, before getting a bachelor’s degree. The associate degree is a popular stepping stone for students who will seek a bachelor’s degree. When you earn an associate degree from an accredited state community college, you can usually transfer your credits toward your bachelor’s degree program.
You can definitely get an online degree at the associate level. A growing number of online colleges offer high-quality associate-level online courses and complete online programs. Online students will typically take the same courses and curricula as on campus students.
Online degrees at the associate level are respected as long as these online degrees come from accredited community colleges or two-year schools. Regional accreditation is important when it comes to online colleges. If you plan to go into a bachelor’s degree program at a regionally accredited school, you must earn your online degree from a regionally accredited associate degree program.
If you need more answers to frequently asked questions about online degrees, we can help.
The following graph depicts the average salaries of top occupations in different industries in Idaho.
Source: U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
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If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.
No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?
If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.
In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.
Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.
Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.
As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.
In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.
Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.
If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).
While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.
The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities-educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.
Whether you’re just getting started on your college search, you’re looking for survival tips on your way to a bachelor’s degree, or you’re preparing for the transition into grad school, we’ve got guides, how to’s and tons of other valuable resources to keep you moving forward in your educational journey.