Financial Aid and Student Loans in Idaho

Idaho is full of natural beauty and rocky mountain landscapes. And most people probably know Idaho for its famous potatoes. But there is a lot more to this state than mountains and potatoes.

Idaho is home to several world-class institutions of higher education. It is home the University of Idaho, Boise State University, Idaho State University, and several other top-notch schools.

Like the rest of the country, however, Idaho is falling victim to increasing prices on education. The good news is that there are plenty of financing options available for prospective students. And no, taking out a student loan shouldn’t be first on your list.

You should first look at the many scholarship and grant options offered by the state. The best part about them is that they’re free, meaning you have no financial obligation to pay them back to the state. It makes a college education more accessible to deserving but financially challenged individuals.

As part of our state by state guide to financial aid, here’s a rundown of scholarships, grants, and student loans available in Idaho.

What Scholarship Programs Does Idaho Have?

Idaho gives its prospective students several scholarship options to fund their college education.

A scholarship is usually merit-based, meaning scholastic achievement, academic excellence, and community service are the bases for awarding the scholarship to an individual. Some scholarships are also need-based, but not many. Typically, grants (which we’ll talk about later) are need-based and scholarships are merit-based,

If you’re scouting around for a good state-sponsored or federal scholarship program in Idaho, we recommend using a third-party service to make your search faster. Examples include websites like Collegeboard,’s Find Scholarship Feature, or Fastweb

Here are a few of the more notable scholarships in the Idaho:

Idaho Governor’s Cup Scholarship

The Idaho Governor’s Cup Scholarship was established by the Idaho Governor’s Cup, a 501(c)(3) organization established by former Idaho governor Cecil Andrus in 1974.

The scholarship awards up to $3,000 per year, which can be renewed for up to four academic years (three years for career technical programs). Every year, 25 Idaho residents receive this generous scholarship. The program is merit-based, but it places an emphasis on community and public service.

The requirements for the Idaho Governor’s Cup are as follows:

  • Must be a resident of Idaho who is a graduating senior at any Idaho high school or home school
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.8
  • Must be enrolled in an Idaho college or university, taking up an academic or technical program
  • Must attend university or college the following semester right after high school graduation
  • Must have documentation showing community service, public service, and/or volunteer work

Idaho Opportunity Scholarship

The Idaho Opportunity Scholarship is a scholarship program that helps develop Idaho’s educated workforce. It was established by state legislation spearheaded by Governor C.L. Otter.

The scholarship program is both merit and need-based. It awards up to $3,500 per academic year, with a maximum period of four academic years. However, students must maintain eligibility to receive funds throughout the period.

Here are the requirements for the program:

  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.7
  • Must be an Idaho resident who will graduate from any high school or home school in the state
  • Must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Must enroll in any of the following eligible Idaho institutions:
    • Boise State University
    • Brigham Young University, Idaho
    • College of Idaho
    • College of Southern Idaho
    • College of Western Idaho
    • College of Eastern Idaho
    • Idaho State University
    • Lewis-Clark State College
    • North Idaho College
    • Northwest Nazarene University
    • University of Idaho

Armed Forces / Public Safety Officer Dependent Scholarship

The Armed Forces / Public Safety Officer Dependent Scholarship is a dependent-based scholarship, unlike others on this list. The program awards up to $500 per semester to the spouse and children of armed forces or public safety officers who were killed or permanently disabled during active duty.

Here are the requirements for the scholarship:

  • Proof of residency in Idaho state
  • Must graduate or have graduated from a high school or home school in Idaho
  • Must enroll in one of the following eligible institutions
    • University of Idaho
    • Idaho State University
    • Boise State University
    • North Idaho College
    • College of Southern Idaho
    • College of Eastern Idaho
    • College of Western Idaho
    • Lewis-Clark State College
  • If the child is the dependent, he or she must be born after the armed forces member or public safety officer was disabled or killed
  • If the spouse is the dependent, he or she must have been already married to the armed forces member or public safety officer at the time they were killed/disabled

What Grant Programs Does Idaho Have?

Unfortunately, Idaho doesn’t extend many grants to its student residents in need of financial aid. For such individuals, a federal grant is the best option.

Luckily, the process for getting federal grants is easy. The first thing you’ll need is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It tells the federal government your level of financial need, and thus your eligibility for federal grants.

Click here to know more about the application process.

Here are some federal grants you can consider.

Pell Grants

Pell Grants are usually the first stop for someone looking into federal grants. It’s a program for undergraduate students that awards financial aid to those individuals who have the biggest financial roadblocks to their education.

Pell Grants are distributed yearly to the more than 5,400 participating universities and colleges across the country. The schools are then responsible for allocating it to all of its eligible Pell Grant students. Different schools will also have their own payment methods and policies. Generally, however, they must pay the student once every term or twice per year.

The award amount for Pell Grants changes yearly. It covers a maximum of twelve semesters or six years. Your school will usually notify you once you’re near your limit.

The amount of the Pell Grant depends on several factors, including:

  • Applicant’s net income
  • Applicant’s net assets
  • The cost of attendance in the chosen university
  • Whether the student attends full-time or part-time
  • If the student plans to pursue a full academic year or less
  • Whether the student has dependents or is a dependent themselves

Here is the short list of requirements to become eligible for a Pell Grant

  • FAFSA application
  • No criminal record or history of incarceration
  • Not currently getting Pell Grants from another school


The TEACH Grant is financial aid that’s available for all undergraduate and graduate students of Idaho universities. The program grants undergraduate students up to $4,000 per academic year, up to a maximum of $16,000. For graduate students, they are eligible for up to $8,000 per academic year.

It is generally not “free” in that you must pay it back. However, the grant gets waived if the recipient agrees to teach low-income students in a high-demand field. The commitment period is four academic years, which must be completed within eight years after graduation.

Alternatively, if the student cannot fulfill the teaching requirement, they have to repay the grant. The grant then becomes a direct, unsubsidized loan with interest earned since disbursement.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is given to students who have exceptional financial needs that prevent them from getting a college education. However, fewer institutions support them compared to Pell Grants.

The funds for FSEOGs are usually limited and are paid out on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible students. The amount awarded depends on the person’s level of financial need, but usually ranges from $100 to $4,000.

What Student Loan Programs Does Idaho Have?

Sadly, Idaho doesn’t have any student loan program of its own. If you’re a prospective student with financial needs, you can try availing yourself of any of the federal student loans available to you.

Here are some loan programs you can check out:

Federal Student Loans

Prospective students and residents of Idaho have the option of seeking government assistance in the form of federal student loans.

You’ll need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Private Co-Signed Student Loans

For private student loans, there is an array of options. Students seeking assistance in addition to federal student loans may opt for a private co-signed student loan, for example.

No Co-Signer Student Loans in Idaho

Prospective students who don’t have or need a co-signer can take advantage of Funding U’s no co-signer student loans.

Eligibility and restrictions include minimum GPA requirements and graduation rate of the chosen college or university. These can be used in addition to federal student loans to receive further financial support. If you’d like to learn more, click here.

NOTE: Funding U does not offer loans to residents of the state of Idaho.  However, if you are attending a school located in Idaho and are a resident of another state that is eligible you may apply.

What Schools Does Funding U Lend To In Idaho?

Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities (which means we do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools). Our eligibility requirements are based on models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate. Therefore, we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet, and minimum 6-year graduation rates that schools must reach in order to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, click here.

Below is a table listing all of the schools in Idaho that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which grades we are currently lending to, based on the school’s 6-year graduation rate.

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Boise Bible CollegeNoNoNoNo4881
Boise State UniversityNoNoNoNo4680
Brigham Young University-IdahoNoNoYesYes5772
Idaho State UniversityNoNoNoNo3365
Lewis-Clark State CollegeNoNoNoNo4057
New Saint Andrews CollegeNoNoYesYes6494
Northwest Nazarene UniversityNoNoYesYes5979
The College of IdahoNoYesYesYes7078
University of IdahoNoNoYesYes5982
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