U Idaho

Best Colleges & Universities in Idaho
Top Consensus Ranked Schools in Idaho 2021

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To identify the Best Colleges in Idaho for 2021 we averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with thousands of real student review scores from around the web to produce a unique College Consensus rating for each school. You won’t find a more comprehensive ranking of the top colleges and universities in Idaho anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.


University of Idaho
Moscow, ID

U Idaho
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Last Accessed: May, 2021

Let’s not talk potatoes; Idaho is proud of their potatoes (they produce a third of US potatoes, after all), but Idaho didn’t just earn their nickname, “The Gem State,” because of all their natural resources. Idaho is a real jewel – not a diamond in the rough, but still a gem that doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves. That’s probably because of Idaho’s particular character as a state. A highly religious, highly self-reliant culture, Idaho has only a few sizable cities; many of its people are spread out across the state’s large rural areas, small towns, and villages. They’re not flashy, and they don’t call a lot of attention to themselves; Idahoans would rather just get a job done.

But make no mistake: Idahoans are great, and so is Idaho. And Idaho isn’t stuck in the past, either, though it may still be a major agricultural center. Sure, Idaho is major in grain production, and frankly, without Idaho’s malt and barley, there would probably be no beer in America. But few Americans would realize that Idaho’s largest industry is technology, from superconductors to sustainable energy to computer manufacturing. Idaho doesn’t brag, and it doesn’t boast, but Idaho is more than ready for the 21st century – it’s driving the modern world forward.

The Best Colleges in Idaho Ranked

You’ll see Idaho’s can-do spirit in its higher education system. Idaho has one of the nation’s best research universities in the University of Idaho, the institution that almost single-handedly turned Idaho from a territory of rugged subsistence-farming pioneers into a capital of modern agricultural science. With its roots in agriculture and engineering, the University of Idaho has become the state’s center for health sciences, business, the applied sciences, and professional studies – the things it takes to get the job done in true Idahoan fashion.

Alongside UI, though, are some of the best public universities, and top-ranked regional colleges in the west: Boise State University and Lewis-Clark State College. As a metropolitan research university in the state capital, Boise State is crucial to professional study, especially in public service, not to mention one of College Consensus’ best mountain colleges. Lewis-Clark State, on the other hand, makes the mentorship and community of a small liberal arts college accessible to all of Idaho’s people, preparing ethical leaders and problem-solvers to serve the state. That’s the job of the College of Idaho, too, a private institution frequently ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in the US.

As mentioned before, Idaho is a deeply religious state, but the Gem State puts their faith into action with some of the best Christian colleges in the US. Idaho is rich in religious liberal arts colleges that bring together the traditional humanities and Christian faith, including Northwest Nazarene University and Brigham Young University-Idaho, which ranks as one of the most affordable colleges in the US thanks to their generous financial aid. Idaho’s leaders come from within, and Idaho’s schools prepare them for the role they’re needed for.

The Future of the Best Colleges in Idaho

The Idaho of today looks very different from the Idaho of a century ago; the mountains and lakes, rivers and valleys are much the same, but the industry, the economy, the culture, and the people themselves are ever-changing and always becoming something new. Idaho’s minority population is growing, and in fact Idaho has one of the fastest-growing populations in the nation, due to an increase in immigrants from abroad, and people from within the US attracted to Idaho’s booming economy and job market.

Together all of the best universities and top colleges in Idaho are working for Idaho, serving a state that is growing in diversity, complexity, and character. Idaho’s best colleges and universities are the centers and drivers of these changes, making sure that the state’s newcomers and natives alike have access to the education and training they need. When you think up-and-coming, you may not think Idaho, but think again – the Gem State looks pretty sparkly.