Myths about Private Higher Education

There are a lot of myths about private colleges. We encourage you to take a few minutes to learn how private colleges like The College of Idaho offer a great education at an affordable cost.

Myth 1: Private colleges are not affordable

  • According to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, the average net price for a College of Idaho education is $16,742 (net price is what undergraduate students pay after grants and scholarships – financial aid you don’t have to pay back – are subtracted from the institution’s cost of attendance). That’s within $3,000 of the net price of public institutions such as the University of Idaho, University of Oregon, University of Nevada and University of Montana.
  • 63.4% of full-time C of I students receive their bachelor’s degree within 6 years, a significantly higher graduation rate than most public institutions. Because C of I students graduate faster than their peers at public universities, they are more likely to avoid extra years of tuition and begin their careers earlier.

Myth 2: Federal student aid drives up college costs

  • The College of Idaho is a less expensive option when comparing net price to other private colleges in the Northwest. The cost of a C of I education has remained relatively stable in recent years, with two consecutive years of 3 percent tuition increases, whereas Idaho’s four-year public schools have experience annual increases between 4 and 8.4 percent during the last two years.

Myth 3: Private colleges enroll only white, wealthy, traditional students

  • More than 10 percent of C of I students are international, representing 53 countries.
  • Approximately 20 percent of students are Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, American Indian or multi-ethnic.
  • More than 30 percent of students are first-generation college students.
  • The College of Idaho recently established an endowed chair in Judaic studies, the first such chair in the Intermountain West. The work of the chair will include promoting greater interfaith dialogue and understanding.

Myth 4: Many college graduates leave school with more than $100,000 in debt

  • The average total indebtedness of a College of Idaho graduate is $24,939, virtually the same as graduates of Idaho’s public colleges and universities.
  • The loan default rate of C of I students is 3.2 percent, compared to the national default rate of 13.4 percent.

Myth 5: A college degree is no longer a good investment

  • C of I graduates include seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars, three governors, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, an Academy Award-winning composer, the co-discoverer of B12, and the co-founder of Patagonia Outerwear.
  • In 2010, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher earned an average of more than $78,000 per year; workers with an associate's degree earned approximately $49,000 per year; and those without a high school diploma averaged approximately $29,000 per year.
  • The unemployment rate for people with at least a bachelor’s degree is just 3.7 percent (January 2013). This compares to the national unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, and an unemployment rate of 8.1 percent for people with just a high school degree.

Myth 6: Fewer students are choosing to attend private colleges

  • Enrollment at The College of Idaho has increased from fewer than 800 students in fall 2005 to a record 1,055 students in fall 2012.

Myth 7: Private colleges are not innovative or flexible

  • The College of Idaho launched its innovative PEAK curriculum in 2009. Through PEAK, each student earns a major and three minors spread across four different knowledge “peaks” – the humanities and fine arts, social sciences and history, natural sciences and mathematics, and a professional field . By combining a liberal arts education with specialization in multiple fields, C of I students gain the knowledge and adaptability to succeed in a constantly changing world.
  • Our outdoor education program provides students with access to Idaho’s world-class outdoor activities while also encouraging the development of friendships and a love for the natural world. The College of Idaho is preparing to build a new $3.5 million Athletics and Outdoor Education Center that will enhance this commitment to outdoor education.
  • The College of Idaho is working to integrate visual literacy initiatives through its academic program. For 120 years, the College has prided itself on teaching students to write with confidence and distinction. As part of its commitment to preparing graduates who thrive, the College also is developing opportunities for students to enhance their visual storytelling abilities.

Myth 8: Private colleges are not transparent or accountable

  • The College of Idaho is accredited by the Northwest Association of Colleges and Universities and provides data regarding student success, academic resources and student satisfaction to third parties such as the U.S. Department of Education.
  • The C of I is ranked No. 7 in U.S. News & World Report's rankings of the "Best National Liberal Arts Colleges" among Pacific Northwest institutions, and No. 1 among Idaho's colleges and universities in Forbes list of "America's Top Colleges.” In Princeton Review’s publication “America's Best 377 Colleges,” C of I professors are rated by students as being more interesting and accessible than professors at institutions such as Harvard, UCLA and NYU.