Online Degrees In Illinois (IL)

Online degrees in Illinois

Illinois boasts of 175 public and private colleges and universities — more colleges than almost any other state. And when it comes to online higher education, Illinois is way ahead, offering a diverse range of top-notch online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

For instance, the Library Education Experimental Program (LEEP) first offered by Illinois Online in 1996 still ranks as one of the top online programs in the country. In 2016, Illinois positioned itself as a national leader in STEM talent which can be attributed to a significant rise in the production of online degree programs. Thanks to the state’s ongoing dedication to higher education, students should have no problem finding online degrees in Illinois that meet their needs.

Whether you are fresh out of high school, work part-time, or are an adult learner seeking to complete college, earning a postsecondary credential in Illinois can give you a chance to meet your career goals and advance to higher-paying jobs. Online programs allow you to balance work and other life commitments while simultaneously, earning your degree.

Illinois is the fifth most populous state and has one of the highest median annual incomes per household in the country. Illinois’ state government expects to add more jobs to the economy through its efforts to encourage business growth such as tax incentives. Many of these jobs would require a postsecondary credential. With expected growth in business and healthcare along with a mushrooming startup network, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has identified the following as the “fastest-growing occupations” up to 2024:

  • Managerial and professional occupations
  • Business and financial operations
  • Information Technology specialists
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Health (STEM-H) related occupations
  • Education and Training Occupations

According to the Lumina Foundation, the demand for more college graduates is expected to rise over the years. Currently, 51 percent of adults in Illinois hold a college credential, but the state hopes to raise this level to 60 percent by 2025.

Another study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce highlights the gap between education and workforce needs in Illinois. By 2020, the study states 70 percent of all jobs would likely require postsecondary education. Of these:

  • 31 percent of jobs would likely need some college education, an associate’s degree, or a postsecondary vocational certificate
  • 26 percent of jobs would likely need a bachelor’s degree
  • 13 percent of jobs would likely need a master’s degree or higher

Apart from the need of Illinois’ job market for more college graduates, the 2016 American Community Survey estimates higher wages based on educational attainment:

  • High school graduates can earn an average of $29,619
  • Those who have some college or an associate degree can earn an average of $35,496 (about a 20 percent increase from high school grads)
  • A bachelor’s degree may equip you to earn on average $52,862 (nearly a 40 percent increase from an associate degree)
  • A graduate or professional degree may allow you to earn $70,220 (about a 34 percent more than those with a bachelor’s degree)

Our methodology presents you with the best choices of online colleges in Illinois. The data uses information from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) and includes factors important to high school grads, professionals and adult learners who are looking for an online college experience that can help them succeed as an online student. For a complete list of factors we used, check out our methodology at the bottom of the page.

1
University of St Francis
Joliet, IL
https://www.stfrancis.edu
Average in-state tuition
$32,000
No. of online programs
25
% of students in distance education
63%
Avg. amount of Aid
$17,571
Admissions Rate
47%
Graduation Rate
62%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
Concordia University-Chicago
River Forest, IL
https://www.cuchicago.edu
Average in-state tuition
$31,146
No. of online programs
55
% of students in distance education
67%
Avg. amount of Aid
$18,999
Admissions Rate
76%
Graduation Rate
49%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
3
University of Illinois at Springfield
Springfield, IL
https://www.uis.edu
Average in-state tuition
$9,516
No. of online programs
31
% of students in distance education
68%
Avg. amount of Aid
$9,322
Admissions Rate
53%
Graduation Rate
51%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL
https://www.illinois.edu/
Average in-state tuition
$14,223
No. of online programs
33
% of students in distance education
35%
Avg. amount of Aid
$13,687
Admissions Rate
62%
Graduation Rate
84%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
Lewis University
Romeoville, IL
https://www.lewisu.edu
Average in-state tuition
$32,300
No. of online programs
24
% of students in distance education
41%
Avg. amount of Aid
$15,701
Admissions Rate
58%
Graduation Rate
64%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
Dominican University
River Forest, IL
https://www.dom.edu/
Average in-state tuition
$32,964
No. of online programs
10
% of students in distance education
44%
Avg. amount of Aid
$20,589
Admissions Rate
64%
Graduation Rate
61%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Olivet Nazarene University
Bourbonnais, IL
https://www.olivet.edu
Average in-state tuition
$35,080
No. of online programs
26
% of students in distance education
39%
Avg. amount of Aid
$22,369
Admissions Rate
65%
Graduation Rate
61%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
McKendree University
Lebanon, IL
https://www.mckendree.edu0
Average in-state tuition
$29,420
No. of online programs
21
% of students in distance education
42%
Avg. amount of Aid
$19,781
Admissions Rate
67%
Graduation Rate
54%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
Greenville University
Greenville, IL
https://www.greenville.edu
Average in-state tuition
$26,778
No. of online programs
10
% of students in distance education
52%
Avg. amount of Aid
$16,813
Admissions Rate
48%
Graduation Rate
59%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
Benedictine University
Lisle, IL
https://www.ben.edu
Average in-state tuition
$31,225
No. of online programs
24
% of students in distance education
41%
Avg. amount of Aid
$16,566
Admissions Rate
63%
Graduation Rate
47%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
11
National Louis University
Chicago, IL
Average in-state tuition
$13,200
No. of online programs
24
% of students in distance education
57%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,335
Admissions Rate
85.83114227286
Graduation Rate
22
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
12
DePaul University
Chicago, IL
Average in-state tuition
$39,369
No. of online programs
21
% of students in distance education
29%
Avg. amount of Aid
$19,363
Admissions Rate
67.534105239023
Graduation Rate
72
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
13
Lincoln Christian University
Lincoln, IL
Average in-state tuition
$13,200
No. of online programs
15
% of students in distance education
45%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,052
Admissions Rate
63.513513513514
Graduation Rate
71
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
14
Spoon River College
Canton, IL
Average in-state tuition
$9,540
No. of online programs
0
% of students in distance education
56%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,401
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
15
Western Illinois University
Macomb, IL
Average in-state tuition
$8,607
No. of online programs
24
% of students in distance education
41%
Avg. amount of Aid
$8,617
Admissions Rate
58.780461151787
Graduation Rate
46
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
16
Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago, IL
Average in-state tuition
$45,747
No. of online programs
16
% of students in distance education
14%
Avg. amount of Aid
$30,918
Admissions Rate
58.180351018761
Graduation Rate
72
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
17
Illinois State University
Normal, IL
Average in-state tuition
$10,310
No. of online programs
11
% of students in distance education
21%
Avg. amount of Aid
$9,307
Admissions Rate
89.182058047493
Graduation Rate
69
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
18
Bradley University
Peoria, IL
Average in-state tuition
$33,360
No. of online programs
4
% of students in distance education
27%
Avg. amount of Aid
$18,158
Admissions Rate
66.812382906593
Graduation Rate
78
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
19
Sauk Valley Community College
Dixon, IL
Average in-state tuition
$9,840
No. of online programs
1
% of students in distance education
47%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,227
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
20
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Carbondale, IL
Average in-state tuition
$9,255
No. of online programs
24
% of students in distance education
36%
Avg. amount of Aid
$10,742
Admissions Rate
71.854942233633
Graduation Rate
41
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

If you have not decided on the degree program of your choice, take a look at these popular online degree programs in Illinois. These are important to note as popularity may be indicative of the needs of Illinois’ job market.

Program Name
No. of online programs
Business Administration and Management, General
42
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse
22
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies
14
General Studies
13
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies
10
Accounting
10
Health/Health Care Administration/Management
9
Curriculum and Instruction
9
Organizational Behavior Studies
8
Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, General
8

In 2015, Illinois joined the Midwestern State Reciprocity Agreement (M-SARA) taking a step forward in improving the quality and accessibility of distance education programs for Illinois residents.

Explaining the importance of SARA in distance education, James Applegate, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education said, “Illinois’ adoption of the SARA process to approve quality distance learning opportunities for Illinois students who desire to use distance education to achieve their college degrees is an important step. SARA not only serves students by ensuring quality courses, but also helps Illinois colleges and universities to provide access to useful online programs to students around the nation. Expanding delivery of college degrees is a priority as Illinois strives to increase the number of Illinoisans with college credentials and degrees to 60 percent by 2025.”

In addition, the Northern Illinois University and the Illinois State University participates in the Quality Matters program, a peer-reviewed program to promote excellence in online teaching and learning. The program provides assistance to faculty for designing, implementing and executing a curriculum for online students that meet high quality standards. Online programs that meet the standards can be QM Certified like the Nursing Systems Administration sequence offered by the Illinois State University Mennonite College of Nursing.

State Initiatives to Improve Higher Education Outcomes

Outlining its strategic goals for 2025, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) plans to remove barriers to education making it easier for Illinois residents to earn a college degree, online or on-campus.

IBHE’s strategic plan Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success has four main goals:

  • Increase educational attainment
  • Make college education more affordable
  • Reinforce workforce development
  • Connect research and innovation to economic growth

While flexibility and convenience are the hallmark of online degree programs, students who want to study online in one of Illinois’ prestigious colleges can maximize their experience by looking at these factors:

Student support and career services can be crucial aspects to look at when looking for online degree programs. These services can range from career advice to internships and job options.

Academic excellence of the degree program — make sure the curriculum and rigor of an online program is equivalent to the on-campus program.

Quality of faculty — be sure to take a look at the credentials of professors and their accessibility to online students.

Accreditation, both institutional and programmatic, is another important aspect for prospective students to look for. Accreditation usually indicates that a college or program adheres to quality standards of education. Benefits of enrolling in an accredited college include transferability of credits and eligibility to federal and state scholarships. Accrediting bodies in Illinois include:

  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

While Illinois specializes in construction, agriculture and manufacturing, it is also a leader in aviation and aerospace. The table below shows the fastest-growing occupations in the state from data pooled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupation
Number of Workers
Average Salary
Office and Administrative Support Occupations791,740$41,890
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations611,700$39,570
Sales and Related Occupations560,360$43,530
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations516,360$25,420
Management Occupations451,260$118,840
Production Occupations430,840$40,060
Educational Instruction and Library Occupations376,700$55,900
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations354,470$80,540
Business and Financial Operations Occupations343,380$77,420
Healthcare Support Occupations217,110$31,360
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations216,530$52,030
Construction and Extraction Occupations187,210$68,940
Computer and Mathematical Occupations184,990$90,110
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand181,540$31,870
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations172,840$31,920
Office Clerks, General161,770$38,150
Fast Food and Counter Workers158,350$23,410
Retail Salespersons157,400$29,280
Protective Service Occupations146,520$55,060
Cashiers137,250$24,400

Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Student federal aid can include programs like Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program.

Prospective students can also apply for grants or scholarships provided by state and private institutions such as:

Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program: scholarship for minority students in Illinois who plan to teach in an Illinois public school with at least 30 percent of minority students

Illinois Counties Association Scholarships: academic scholarships for Illinois residents enrolled in full-time programs at an accredited 4-year college or university

The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois first and Second-year college students in certain universities in Illinois who desire to pursue a teaching career

The Greenhouse Scholars Scholarship: need-based scholarship program for high school graduates attending a 4-year accredited college or university

The John R. Cervantes Memorial Scholarship: need-based scholarship awarded to a graduating student from Moline High School in Illinois

The Elmhurst Garden Club Scholarship: provided to Illinois residents pursuing degrees in horticulture, environmental studies, botany, biology and/or related areas of study.

The Illinois CPA Society Accounting Scholarship Program: need-based scholarship program for students showing a strong academic performance and pursuing degrees in accounting and CPA

In addition to these grants and scholarships, many colleges and universities have their own scholarship listing. Please check with your prospective institution’s financial aid office for more information.

Scholarship Listing

Ted Kenney-George Vest Memorial Scholarship
No. of Awards
7
Deadline
July 1
Max. Award Amount
N/A
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicant must be the child of a member of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters or an affiliated local union who will pursue post-secondary education.
More
Polish Women's Civic Club Scholarship
No. of Awards
7
Deadline
July 1
Max. Award Amount
3,500
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must be a U.S. citizen/permanent resident and a resident of Illinois with at least one parent of Polish descent. Applicant must be a full-time student attending a Chicago-area accredited college or university for the academic year. Selection is based upon academic ability and financial need. Photograph, financial need form, official transcript, and letters of recommendation are required.
More
Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Scholarships
No. of Awards
6
Deadline
June 2
Max. Award Amount
2,000
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicants must be full-time junior or senior level undergraduate students at colleges or universities in Illinois and must major in health, physical education, recreation or dance. Students must have been members of IAHPERD since December 1 of the previous year and may receive this award no more than twice.
More
Boy Scout Scholarship
No. of Awards
5
Deadline
April 15
Max. Award Amount
1,000
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicant must be a qualified Senior Boy Scout or Explorer, be a resident of Illinois, and submit a 500-word essay on the Legion's Americanism and Boy Scout programs.
More
Kankakee County Community Services Scholarship
No. of Awards
5
Deadline
April 16
Max. Award Amount
N/A
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must be from a low-income family and plan to attend an Illinois school. Selection is based upon field of interest, financial need, community involvement, and academic achievement. Award may be used at Illinois state schools only.
More

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

Most schools require prospective students to submit ACT or SAT scores. Some higher education institutions in Illinois require submission of Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) scores. TAP is a computer-based standardized test measuring reading comprehension, language arts, mathematics, and writing. Please contact the college admissions office for more details on the tests you may be required to take.

See Methodology Information Here
Sources

  • Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
    • Applying the Quality Matters Rubric, Northern Illinois University,https://www.niu.edu/facdev/programs/2018-07-26-applying-the-quality-matters-rubric.shtml,accessed August 2018
    • A Stronger Nation: Learning Beyond High School Builds American Talent, Lumina Foundation, http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/2018/#state/IL, accessed September 2018,
    • College Navigator, National Center for Educational Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&l=92+93+94&ct=1+2+3, accessed September 2018
    • Employment Project 2014-2024, Illinois Department of Employment Security, http://www.ides.illinois.gov/LMI/Pages/Employment_Projections.aspx, accessed September 2018
    • Grants and Scholarships, Federal Student Aid, https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/grants-scholarships, accessed September 2018
    • How Illinois Universities Power The Chicago Startup Ecosystem, February 2018, Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterandrewwilkins/2018/02/20/how-illinois-universities-power-the-chicago-startup-ecosystem/#233369d062a4
    • Illinois Joins SARA, July 2015, National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, http://nc-sara.org/content/illinois-joins-sara
    • Illinois, Complete College America, https://completecollege.org/illinois/, accessed September 2018
    • Illinois and the SAT, The College Board, https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/state-partnerships/illinois, accessed September 2018
    • Keeping Illinois at the Top of Online Education, Illinois Online, http://online.illinois.edu/news/2018/05/23/keeping-illinois-at-the-top-in-online-education, accessed September 2018
    • Led by the Rockford region, Illinois is a leader in aerospace and aviation technology, August 2018, Effingham Daily News, http://www.effinghamdailynews.com/news/local_news/led-by-the-rockford-region-illinois-is-a-leader-in/article_cea8de67-f7b8-5ece-93e2-e74697312f4b/
    • Median Earnings in the Past 12 Months (in 2016 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars) by Sex By Educational Attainment for the Population 25 Years and Over, 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, The United States Census Bureau, https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF, accessed September 2018
    • Online nursing course recognized as high quality, Illinois State University, January 2017, https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2017/01/online-nursing-course-recognized-high-quality/
    • Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020 State Report, June 2013, Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce, https://cew-7632.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/StateProjections_6.1.15_agc_v2.pdf
    • STEM, Computer Science Degrees Reach Record High, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, https://www.istcoalition.org/data/index/stem-computer-science-reach-record-highs/, accessed September 2018
    • Test of Academic Proficiency, Illinois Licensure Testing System, http://www.il.nesinc.com/TestView.aspx?f=HTML_FRAG/IL400_TestPage/, accessed September 2018
Methodologies and Sources