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Idaho is home to a little more than a dozen schools, which range from public state universities, to regional community colleges, to private institutions. The Idaho State Board of Education oversees the state’s three public universities. It is the policy-making body for all public education in the state, serving as the Board of Trustees for state-sponsored, public, four-year colleges and universities, and the Board of Regents for the University of Idaho. In its Strategic Plan, the board outlined several education objectives it looked to reach from 2013-2017. These objectives include increasing the educational attainment of all Idahoans through participation and retention in the state’s educational system; improving the processes and increase the options for re-integration of adult learners into the education system; and ensuring educational resources are used efficiently.
One facet of higher education in Idaho that may help the state obtain these objectives is distance learning, as it increases access to degree-completion programs and full bachelor’s degree programs, and presents a flexible option for adult learners who may have work or family obligations that prevent them from attending school traditionally. Many of Idaho’s institutions of higher education also offer distance learning options, from its public, four-year universities to its community colleges. Here’s a look at just some of the online education opportunities in the state:
With nearly 20,000 students, Boise State University has the largest enrollment of any institution of higher education in the state of Idaho. The research university is comprised of seven colleges and awards nearly 200 degrees and certificates. It is ranked among the top schools in the West by U.S. News & World Report, which also ranked it a top public school. Through the university’s eCampus, students can take degree-completion, graduate, graduate certificate, or endorsement programs. Areas of study include nursing, respiratory care, and educational technology. In addition to online college degree programs, BSU’s eCampus also offers hundreds of online college courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s oldest public university. It is based in the rural city of Moscow, as well as has centers throughout the state. Students can choose from more than 140 programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, specialist, and certificate levels. The university is also home to the state’s only law school. U of I is ranked among the top universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, which also ranked the school’s education, engineering, and law school among the best, and its online computer information technology, education, and engineering programs among the best among online colleges. U of I’s Distance and Extended Education division offers 16 online or hybrid graduate programs, three certificate programs, one executive graduate program, and dozens of individual online, dual credit, independent study and extension courses each semester, with more added each semester. Graduate programs are offered through the school’s colleges of business, education, engineering, graduate studies, arts and social sciences, natural resources, and science.
The College of Southern Idaho is one of the fastest growing educational institutions in the state of Idaho. The comprehensive community college offers transfer, general, and professional-technical education programs. It is based in Twin Falls, though it has a variety of distance learning opportunities, including four off-campus centers in South Central Idaho and online degree, certificate, and course options. Online degree programs include associate degrees in business, education, liberal arts, library and information science, and social science topics, as well as certificates in education topics. Students can also choose from more than 100 online courses in a variety of subjects.