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Best Online Colleges in Illinois

Online colleges in Illinois continue to grow as a flexible and affordable option for post-secondary students. At the 4-year level, the University of Illinois at Springfield offers more than twenty full online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, with tuition & fees just below $10,000 per year. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has a dozen fully online programs at a price point of ~$8,000. These schools represent just two of the top 19 Illinois colleges with outstanding higher education online. At the 2-year level, Southeastern Illinois College and Lincoln Land Community College provide associate degrees online at an even lower cost.

Enrolling at an Illinois online college is a big step for any student, and often comes with lots of questions that need answers before committing. Many students are concerned about the finances of their decision and seek details about tuition, fees, and how their state residency status will affect those two costs. Others are interested in learning what the best online college in their area can offer them and how it compares to other options. Below, students in Illinois can find answers to their most common questions and pick up helpful tools to guide them in their decisions.

Best Online Colleges in Illinois (IL): 2018

Because students have different priorities when it comes to what makes for the perfect college experience, lists that claim to highlight the best accredited online colleges in Illinois may sometimes not feel attuned to student needs. One student may prioritize academic rigor, while another may only be interested in learning about the best affordable online colleges in Illinois. The following list of schools allows student to dig into a range of specific data points and explore factors used to rate schools, thereby giving them the tools needed to decide for themselves which school is truly the best for their future goals. Take a look at the list below and see how it stacks up against your needs.

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number University Score Location Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1. University of Illinois at Springfield 100.00 Springfield, IL $9,265 21 89% 14:1 43% yes yes yes
2. Greenville College 97.91 Greenville, IL $24,140 6 99% 13:1 50% yes yes yes
3. Aurora University 97.88 Aurora, IL $21,120 10 100% 17:1 58% no yes yes
4. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale 97.56 Carbondale, IL $8,198 12 79% 15:1 44% yes yes yes
5. National Louis University 97.17 Chicago, IL $15,336 11 46% 12:1 43% yes yes yes
6. Lincoln Christian University 97.08 Lincoln, IL $15,810 9 99% 13:1 42% yes yes yes
7. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 96.92 Champaign, IL $13,775 24 47% 19:1 84% no yes yes
8. North Park University 96.69 Chicago, IL $24,540 5 99% 11:1 56% no yes yes
9. Moody Bible Institute 96.39 Chicago, IL $9,600 3 61% 17:1 84% no yes yes
10. Western Illinois University 96.09 Macomb, IL $8,175 6 69% 14:1 56% yes yes yes
11. Chicago State University 95.53 Chicago, IL $7,056 3 56% 11:1 21% yes yes yes
12. MacMurray College 95.30 Jacksonville, IL $22,900 3 99% 14:1 38% no yes yes
13. University of Illinois at Chicago 95.25 Chicago, IL $11,564 4 67% 18:1 57% no yes yes
14. Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville 94.96 Edwardsville, IL $6,706 6 56% 19:1 50% no yes yes
15. Eastern Illinois University 94.69 Charleston, IL $8,341 3 70% 15:1 60% yes no yes
16. Illinois State University 94.20 Normal, IL $10,113 4 46% 18:1 72% no yes yes
17. Governors State University 92.11 University Park, IL $7,650 5 21% 12:1 N/A yes yes yes
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2-Year Best College Ranking

number University Score Location Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1. Southeastern Illinois College 100.00 Harrisburg, IL $4,380 11 60% 19:1 N/A yes no yes
2. Lincoln Land Community College 99.51 Springfield, IL $4,968 14 13% 19:1 N/A no yes yes

Illinois Online Colleges

Aside from fully-online degree paths, many schools in the state offer countless online courses to round out plans of study and make it easier for students to access higher education. The University of Illinois at Springfield, for instance, is home to one of the largest distance learning departments in the state, with 12 undergraduate degrees, 13 graduate programs and 24 certificate and certification programs – all fully-online.

When it comes to paying for college, being approved for in-state tuition rather than out-of-state can make a substantial difference in the final price tag of a college education. Every school has different rules about what classifies a student to receive in-state tuition. Resident and non-resident students alike who may be considering hybrid programs (plans of study that combine online and in-person learning) or who don’t meet residency requirements may be able to lower their costs through the Midwest Student Exchange Program. Offered via the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, students from certain states, including Illinois, are eligible to receive discounted tuition. Don’t forget to look also at the myriad funding options highlighted by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Illinois By the Numbers

Online learning in Illinois continues to grow across two- and four-year colleges within the state. Of the 48 community colleges, 35 currently educate more than 111,000 online students annually. Similarly, more than 150 of the 210 four-year institutions in the state provide at least one online class or degree program. In 2012, The U.S. Department of Education put out a report detailing online learning in Illinois.

Here’s what it had to say about online students in the state:

3,217 undergrads were enrolled exclusively online
40% of full-time undergrad students lived in Illinois
7.9% of graduate students were enrolled online only
11.3% of 2-year students enrolled in at least one online class
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