Online Colleges in Illinois

Scroll down to see the top not-for-profit colleges and universities in Illinois offering online degree programs.

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School Rankings

1

Concordia University-Chicago

Concordia University-Chicago offers accelerated undergraduate degree programs online, as well as online master's programs and doctoral programs. Online accelerated undergraduate programs include an A.A. in Organizational Management, a B.A. in Organizational Management, a B.A. in Sports and Recreation, a B.S. in Management Information Systems and a 3+1 B.A. in Healthcare Management offered in collaboration with College of DuPage. Online master's programs are offered in close to 30 subjects, including applied exercise science, curriculum and instruction, early childhood education, special education, educational administration, educational technology, gerontology, grant writing, human services, instructional design and technology, religion, sports leadership and knowledge management leadership. Additionally, Concordia offers online M.B.A. programs in accounting, digital marketing, health care management, leadership and change management, not-for-profit management, school business management and sports management and online doctoral programs in 13 subjects, including gerontology, educational technology, community colleges, early childhood education, educational leadership, higher education and organizational leadership. Courses in online programs are taken one at a time in eight-week sessions. Online students are eligible for financial aid primarily in the form of government grants and loans.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

2

DePaul University

DePaul University offer numerous degree programs that can be completed entirely online, including undergraduate programs in communication and media, computer science, computing, information technology, psychology and individualized studies. All of these programs, except for the majors in computing and individualized studies, are designed to be completed online by transfer students whom have at least 30 semester hours of transfer credit. Online graduate programs are offered in 20 subjects, including accountancy, business information technology, computer game development, computer science, e-commerce technology, educational leadership, health informatics, information systems, nursing, predictive analytics, public administration, public service management, software engineering and taxation. Online certificates are offered in close to 30 subjects, including advanced SQL, analytics, business analyst studies, cloud computing technologies, financial planning, project resource management, professional in human resources studies, customer relationship management, Java web development, practical internet marketing, social media marketing, strategic management and Ruby on Rails. An online teaching endorsement in special education is also available.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

3

University of St Francis

The University of St. Francis offers over 120 online classes, as well as degrees that can be completed entirely online. The University offers several adult undergraduate degree programs online, including a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in entrepreneurship, management and leadership, managing human resources, marketing, and transportation and logistics management, a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Leadership and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Additionally, St. Francis offers online graduate degree programs, such as a Master of Science in Nursing with concentrations in family nurse practitioner studies, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner studies, nursing administration and nursing education, a Master of Science in Training and Development with concentrations in e-learning, human resource management, health administration, business administration, management of training and development, and self-design, and a Master of Business Administration with concentrations in accounting, business analytics, finance, health administration, human resource management, logistics, management, and training and development. Additional online graduate programs include a Master of Science in Management, a Master of Science in Health Administration and a Master of Science in Education in Reading. Online students at USF are eligible for financial aid, such as grants, loans and scholarships like the Dr. Michael V. LaRocco Endowed Scholarship.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

CAG Score 94.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,762 Students

4

Northwestern University

Northwestern University offers online graduate degrees and certificates through its School of Professional Studies. Online master's degrees are available in global health, health informatics, information design and strategy, information systems, predictive analytics, public policy and administration and integrated marketing communications. Certificates in advanced accounting, CPA preparation, fundamentals of accounting and museum studies are offered online, as are certificates of advanced graduate study. Additionally, other Schools within the University offer online degree options, including an M.S. in Learning and Organizational Change, an M.S. in Prosthetics and Orthotics, an M.S. in Health Services and Outcomes Research, an M.A. in Counseling, an M.S. in Law and an M.S. in Executive Management for Design and Construction. The University also offers an Executive LL.M. that combines online learning with face-to-face sessions at Loyola's campus in Chicago and a campus in Madrid, Spain. Some online programs have on-campus requirements. The M.S. in Learning and Organizational Change, for example, requires intensive two- to six-day on-campus sessions. Similarly, the M.S. in Health Services and Outcomes Research requires intensive four- to five-day on-campus sessions each quarter, and the M.A. in Counseling requires that students attend two on-campus immersion experiences. Students enrolled in online graduate programs at Northwestern University are eligible for federal and private loans.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

5

Benedictine University

Benedictine University offers online B.A. degrees in management and organizational leadership, as well as an online M.B.A., M.S. in Management and Organizational Behavior, Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), M.S. in Nutrition and Wellness and M.S. in Nursing. Students enrolled in the online M.B.A. program can choose from concentrations in accounting, entrepreneurship and managing innovation, finance, marketing, international business, healthcare administration and internet marketing. Additionally, Benedictine offers an accelerated online M.B.A. program and a dual concentration online M.B.A. program, as well as a dual M.B.A./M.P.H., M.B.A./M.S. in Management and Organizational Behavior, and M.P.H./M.S. in Management and Organizational Behavior online. Benedictine University also offers online graduate certificate programs in disaster management, health policy and management, health education and promotion and internet marketing. Online students are eligible for financial aid, including an institutional scholarship known as the Student Success Award that ranges between $2,000 and $10,000 and is reserved specifically for new students starting in certain online programs. Online programs that are eligible for this award include the Master of Public Health, the dual M.P.H./M.B.A., the dual M.P.H./M.S. in Management and Organizational Behavior, the M.B.A., the dual M.B.A./M.S. in Management and Organizational Behavior, the M.S. in Management and Organizational Behavior and the M.S. in Nutrition and Wellness.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

6

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers 73 online degree and certificate options, including an online undergraduate degree, undergraduate certificates, graduate degrees, graduate certificates and professional endorsements. University of Illinois' online undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability and the Environment with concentrations in society and environment, and science in the earth system. Online graduate degrees include an M.Ed. in Advanced Human Resource Development, an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering, an M.S. in Agricultural education, an M.Ed. in Billingual/ESL Education, an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, an M.S. in Computer Science, an M.S. in Crop Sciences, an M.Ed. in Diversity and Equity in Education, an M.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition, an M.Ed. in New Learning (PK-12), an M.Ed. in Global Studies in Education, an M.S. in Health Communication, an M.Ed. in Human Resource Development, an M.S. in Library and Information Science, an M.S. in Natural Resource and Environmental Management, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, an M.Ed. in Special Education and several others. The University also offers two undergraduate certificates and 41 graduate certificates. Online students are eligible for financial aid as long as they are enrolled in a degree or approved certificate program.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

45,140 Students

7

University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers fully online bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. Online bachelor's degrees include a Bachelor of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management degree completion program and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree completion program. Online master's degrees include a Master of Science in Health Informatics, a Master of Education in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics and Assessment, a Master of Engineering, a Master of Health Professions Education, a Master of Science in Patient Safety Leadership, a Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences, a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Administration and Master of Public Health in Public Health Informatics. UIC also offers a Doctor of Public Health in Leadership degree online. Additionally, more than 20 certificates are available online in subjects such as health informatics, disaster management, wireless communications technology, survey research methods, public health management and school nursing. Online students are eligible for financial aid as long as they are enrolled in a degree program or approved certificate program.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

CAG Score 95.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

27,969 Students

8

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago offers seven online undergraduate degree completion programs, 14 online master's programs and three online doctoral programs. Degree completion bachelor's programs are offered in nursing, applied studies, applied psychology, criminal justice, information technology, management and pastoral leadership. Master's programs are offered in subjects such as bioethics and health policy, business law, children's law and policy, global competition law, health care mission leadership, health law, health systems management, information technology, intercontinental business, international higher education, oncology nursing, pastoral studies, public health and spirituality. Online doctoral degrees are available in bioethics, nursing practice and school psychology. Loyola also offers online certificates in 16 subjects, including undergraduate certificates in business communication, computer science, criminal justice, organizational development and leadership, organizational psychology and public relations in a digital world, and graduate certificates in bioethics, healthcare informatics, oncology nursing, outcomes performance management and population-based infection control and environmental safety. Additionally, post-graduate certificates are offered in advanced oncology and advanced school mental health practice. Online courses at Loyola are conducted entirely online with no face-to-face meetings, although students may be required to participate in occasional synchronous virtual sessions. Loyola also offers hybrid classes (75 percent online) and blended classes (30 percent to 75 percent online).

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

9

Olivet Nazarene University

Olivet Nazarene University has a broad range of online programs for students at all levels, including four bachelor's degree programs. The Bachelor of Applied Science in Management and the RN to BSN programs are degree-completion programs for students who have already earned an associate degree. The Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice programs are open to students even if they don't have any college credits, and students may be able to gain credit for work training or other life experiences through the Prior Learning Assessment process. Master's degrees available through Olivet Online include the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Pastoral Leadership, M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, MBA, Master of Engineering Management, Master of Organizational Leadership, Master of Science in Nursing, and M.S.N. in Family Nurse Practitioner. Educators can also earn endorsements to their teaching license, including English as a second language, bilingual, middle school, and teacher leader. Many of the online programs are set up in a cohort format and use accelerated classes with six-week terms. Multiple entry points are available in most of these programs.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

10

Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University currently offers two undergraduate programs online - Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (BGS) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN). BGS students can customize their plan of study by enrolling in classes that reflect and support their interests and career goals. Online students pay the same in-state tuition as Illinois residents. In addition, students can take advantage of a 4-year freeze on tuition for continuous enrollment. Optional minors are offered in several areas including computer-mediated communication, economics, industrial technology, and marketing. BGS students can also earn National Fire Academy course certificates by enrolling in classes included in the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) curriculum. FESHE courses are available online. RN-BSN students can receive up to 30 hours of advanced placement credit if they have been continuously employed as RNs or if they graduated from their initial nursing program within five years of applying to the program. The university offers the following graduate-level degrees online: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science (MS) in Instructional Design & Technology, and MS in Education: Elementary Education. Post-baccalaureate certificate programs are available online in workplace learning and performance, technology integration in education, online learning development, and educational technology.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

11

Lewis University

Lewis University offers five online bachelor's degrees, eight online master's degrees and one online doctorate degree. Bachelor's degrees include a B.A. in Professional Studies, a B.A. in Organizational Leadership, a B.S. in Business Administration, a B.S. in Information Security and Risk Management and a B.S. in Information Technology Management. Master's degrees are offered in fields like aviation and transportation, business analytics, criminal/social justice, data science, information security, nursing, organizational leadership and public safety administration. Additionally, a Doctorate of Nursing Practice Degree is available online for nurses who want to obtain the highest practice degree in their profession. Individual undergraduate and graduate classes are also available online, and all online classes are conducted using the Blackboard course management system.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

CAG Score 94.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,689 Students

12

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

The RN to BSN degree offered by the School of Nursing at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville (SIUE) is a completely online program designed for working nurses who already have an associate degree or a nursing diploma. Students who meet the general education requirements at the time of the admission to the program can expect to graduate within one year, or three semesters. Two Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs are also available online: MSN - Health Care and Nursing Administration and MSN - Nurse Educator. Students who earn the MSN - Nurse Educator degree will be eligible to take the National League for Nursing Certified Nurse Educator examination after completing two years of teaching experience. SIUE offers an online Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Instructional Technology program with three areas of emphasis: distance education, educational technologies, and instructional design and performance improvement. There is also an MSEd in Kinesiology degree available online with a specialization in physical education and coaching pedagogy. At the current time, there is only one doctoral program offered online, which is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. A Graduate Certificate in Web-based Learning is available online as well.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

CAG Score 95.4

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

13,972 Students

13

Eastern Illinois University

Eastern Illinois University offers three online bachelor's degree programs, one undergraduate degree completion program and one undergraduate certificate. It also offers five hybrid master's degrees that can be completed through a combination of online and in-person learning. Undergraduate programs are offered in general studies, child care education, organizational and professional development, financial planning and education and nursing. Graduate programs are offered in art education, community arts, music education, communication disorders and sciences, and family and consumer sciences. Additionally, individual online classes can be taken in more than 25 academic disciplines. The school uses Desire2Learn (D2L) as its online learning platform.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

14

McKendree University

McKendree University offers online degrees in fields including nursing, education, business, and criminal justice. Four of the college's online programs - including its bachelor's program, graduate education degrees, online MBA, and graduate nursing programs - were named among the Top 100 online programs in those categories in the 2015 Best Online Programs ranking compiled by U.S. News and World Report. Online classes start every eight weeks. Undergraduate programs offered by McKendree Online include a Bachelor of Business Administration that allows students to major in accounting, business administration, human resource management, management, marketing, or sports management. Undergrads can also earn a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology online, and working nurses can complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Graduate students can use online coursework to earn a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, MBA, or Master of Arts in Education with a major in higher education administrative, curriculum design and instruction, or the middle school endorsement. Online nursing programs lead to a Master of Science in Nursing, dual MSN and MBA, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice in ethical leadership.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

CAG Score 93.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,131 Students

15

Saint Xavier University

At Saint Xavier University, online programs are offered by the Graham School of Management, School of Education, and School of Nursing. The Master of Science in Finance is a 33-credit program that can be completed in two years. The program has a risk management focus, and all students are paired with a business executive who acts as a mentor. The School of Nursing has an online Master of Science in Nursing that offers a track in clinical leadership or a track in nursing administration. The university also offers graduate certificates in clinical leadership or nurse education. Working nurses with an associate degree or diploma can complete their bachelor's degree through SXU's RN to BSN program. The School of Education offers a Master of Arts in Education/Reading Teacher that meets the requirements for an Illinois reading teacher endorsement. The Master of Arts in Teaching has an elementary education focus and prepares students to become licensed educators with an endorsement for grades 1-6. SXU also has online programs for teachers seeking the ESL and Bilingual Education Endorsement or the Educational Technology Integration Endorsement.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

CAG Score 94.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

4,073 Students

16

Aurora University

Aurora University offers six online degree-completion programs designed for busy working adults. AU Online also offers graduate degrees in business, education, and social work. Four of the online degree-completion programs are open to students who have at least two years of work or military experience and who have at least 15 college credits to transfer. Those students can earn a bachelor's in business administration, criminal justice, general studies, or computer science. Applicants to the Bachelor of Social Work program must have at least 60 credits in general education coursework and must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher in their previous college work. Aurora's RN to BSN program is open to licensed nurses who earned a 2.5 GPA or higher on their previous college work. Online graduate programs are Master of Arts in Mathematics Education, MBA or MBA with leadership concentration, and Master of Social Work. Online classes are delivered in five- to eight-week modules and are offered year-round. Online students have access to 24/7 technical help and can access library resources at any time. Librarians are available to help online students by chat even on the weekend.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

17

Lincoln Christian University

Lincoln Christian University has seven degrees that can be earned entirely through online classwork. Candidates for any of the graduate degrees can take one course at a time and still earn their advanced degree in less than two years. Several of the online degrees have a religious focus. The Associate of Arts in Bible is a two-year degree designed for students seeking a vocational ministry. The Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry prepares students for a variety of ministerial positions. The Master of Arts in Bible and Theology is designed for students who want to gain a deeper understanding of the Bible and theology but who do not want to attend seminary. The Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies is designed for students who plan to be missionaries. Lincoln Christian also offers a Bachelor of Psychology, Bachelor in Business Administration, and Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership online. Because students never have to come to campus, Lincoln Christian attracts a diverse group of students from around the globe, allowing classmates to see subjects from many different viewpoints.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

18

North Park University

The School of Professional Studies and School of Business and Nonprofit Management at North Park University offer a variety of online options for students, including degree completion programs, master's degrees, and graduate certificate programs. North Park has four undergraduate degrees that can be completed entirely online: business administration, management information systems, organizational management and leadership, and nonprofit management. Undergrads who started their college career elsewhere can transfer up to 90 credits, and they are also eligible to gain academic credit for life experiences by undergoing a Prior Learning Assessment. North Park also has five masters' degrees that students can earn entirely through online classwork: business administration, higher education administration, human resource management, nonprofit administration, and organizational leadership. Students can also gain specific knowledge and skills through North Park's array of online graduate certificates in subjects such as church administration, conflict management, leadership, and fundraising management. Undergraduate classes are offered in a seven-week accelerated format. The college offers technical support to help online students.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

19

Illinois State University

Illinois State University offers an online Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Management, which is designed for students who have completed an associate's degree in health information technology and are certified Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT). All courses in the program are delivered online, with no on-campus residencies required. ISU also offers an online Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nursing Systems Administration and an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree, which does require several on-campus intensives. Illinois State University has developed its own web-based learning and collaboration system called ReggieNet that is powered by the Sakai learning management system.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

CAG Score 94.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

20,615 Students

20

Elmhurst College

Elmhurst College offers online degree and certificate programs designed for busy adult learners. Courses are delivered in a four-week or eight-week format, and are asynchronous so that students can access coursework at the best time for their schedule. The college offers one online degree-completion program, which leads to a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. The program is open to applicants who have at least 30 college credits to transfer in. Undergrads can earn certificates in cybersecurity or geographic information systems through the online program. Graduate degrees available online include computer information systems, data science, geographic information systems, health care management and administration, health informatics, project management, and public health. Elmhurst also has an online MBA program that allows candidates to specialize in management information systems, management of people, finance, marketing research, project management, supply chain management, or general management. The college offers graduate certificates in most of the fields online master's are available in. The certificates require students to complete five courses, and with an additional five courses they can complete a master's program. Online students have access to all support services the college offers.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

21

Dominican University

There are two Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees that are currently offered 100 percent online at Dominican University: BA in Legal Studies (BLS) and BA in Human Services (BHS). Both are degree-completion, interdisciplinary programs. The BLS degree draws from the fields of economics, philosophy, theology, and history, while the BHS program focuses on communication, research, and data analysis. Courses for both programs are available in an accelerated format, making it possible for students to earn their degree after 20 months of continuous enrollment. On the graduate level, Dominican University offers a Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution (MACR) degree with a low-residency format. Students accepted to the program are required to attend two five-day intensive courses on campus. The remainder of the coursework requirements can be completed online. A Mediation Skills Training Certificate and a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution are available online as well. Students who complete either certificate program can later apply the certificate credits towards the MACR degree. Online endorsement programs are offered in the following: bilingual education, English as a Second Language (ESL), reading teacher, and technology specialist. Applicants to any of these programs must hold a professional educator license in their field of interest.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

CAG Score 96.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,498 Students

22

Judson University

Judson University offers three online master's degree programs and five bachelor's programs that are designed for adult professionals. The online graduate programs lead to a Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership, or a Master of Leadership in Ministry. The MBA program is a cohort-based, 39-credit accelerated program. Students in the organizational leadership program take courses delivered in a six-week format. Candidates for the Master of Leadership in Ministry enter a cohort program that is delivered in a hybrid format, with online coursework combined with some in-person classes, including two courses that students take while visiting Israel. Undergrads can complete an online bachelor's degree in applied psychology, business administration, communications management, human services, or management in leadership. Applicants for these degree completion programs must have at least 40 transferrable credits from an accredited college and must supply official transcripts. Applicants must have maintained a 2.0 GPA and must have at least two years of full-time work experience since graduating high school. Students will need to have access to a work or organization environment for any of the undergraduate degree programs.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

23

University of Chicago

The Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago currently offers five online certificate programs. Applications are assessed on a rolling basis, allowing students to begin a program at a time that is most convenient for them. Courses are offered in a synchronous format. Certificate programs are available online in the following disciplines: clinical trials management and regulatory compliance, editing, medical writing and editing, business analytics, and foundations of project management. The Clinical Trials Management and Regulatory Compliance Certificate can be completed in three quarters. Students who have fewer than six months of clinical research experience must participate in the Observation Study component of the program. To earn the Medical Writing and Editing Certificate, students must enroll in four courses; to earn the Advanced Medical Writing and Editing Certificate, students must enroll in six courses. The Business Analytics Certificate has two components - business intelligence and business analytics. Students must enroll in two courses from each component to earn the certificate. Although the Foundations of Project Management Certificate is not a test preparation course, the program covers all the essential materials included in the Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM) certification exam.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

Illinois is a strong choice for your online future! Illinois community colleges are wholeheartedly devoted to distance learning. There are lots of public state schools and private universities that are a) affordable and b) academically strong. Degree completion programs are everywhere and military options abound. In our quick guide to choosing an online program in Illinois, you’ll find details on all of these efforts, plus a warning (or three) about unaccredited or poor quality programs.

Online Degrees in Illinois: What to Know

1. How to Find Online Courses at Illinois Community Colleges

Illinois Community Colleges Online (ILCCO) is intended to help direct you to distance learning programs in any one of the state’s 48 community colleges. You can search for online community college courses by course name or institution (e.g. Black Hawk, Harper College, etc.). The website also has an Online Assessment System for Internet Students (OASIS), which you can use to decide whether you’re ready for online learning and how to succeed once you’ve committed.

2. How to Find Online Programs in the University of Illinois System

The University of Illinois Online Catalog maintains a database of online programs and courses available at all U of I campuses: Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield. This database includes undergraduate & graduate degrees, certificates, Continuing Education (CE) courses, and more. You can search in a huge variety of ways, including by program or course. The Catalog also contains useful links to info on admissions (e.g. tuition, financial aid, etc.) and student support services.

3. Discount Tuition for Out-of-State Online Programs

Illinois is part of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), which runs a reduced tuition student exchange program called the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP).

  • Illinois students enrolling as non-residents in certain programs at MSEP campuses may be eligible for discounted tuition.
  • This discount equals no more than 150% of the in-state resident tuition rate at public institutions or a 10% reduction on tuition rates at private institutions.

The MSEP homepage allows you to search by state, degree level, or type of school.

Depending on university policies, online degrees at your choice of school may or may not qualify for the MSEP discount. Check with the Campus Administrator who facilitates the program to be sure. (Any MSEP search result will give you the name of the person to contact.)

4. Illinois Schools Are Military-Friendly

When you’re exploring different online programs, be sure to visit the Military or Veterans section of the university website to find out what benefits & support services are available. Illinois schools—both public and private—tend to go the extra mile for U.S. military and veterans. Just to take a few examples:

  • All of the private universities that we profile in our section Affordable Online Schools have a stake in the Yellow Ribbon Program. These universities have entered into an agreement with Veterans Affairs (VA) to help fund tuition & fee expenses that exceed amounts payable under the Post 9/11 GI bill. Basically, it makes private school a more affordable choice for veterans.
  • Schools like the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) allow students to use a number of military benefits to pay for online and continuing education courses.
  • Most Illinois universities are more than happy to help you transfer credits to online programs. Some schools (e.g. University of St. Francis, Illinois State University, etc.) accept credits earned through Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) exams (e.g. subject-standardized tests like DSST). Check with the university to learn what’s possible.

Wondering about quality markers? You may notice Northern Illinois University and UIUC in and around the Top 5 of Best Online Graduate Education Programs for Veterans in U.S. News & World Report rankings. And St. Xavier University kicks some serious butt in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Veterans.

Affordable Online Schools in Illinois

We judge all our schools using stringent criteria for quality, flexibility, price, and use of financial aid money. Only a lucky few made it on both our “Top Online” and “Most Affordable” lists, and those are the ones we profile below. Having trouble deciding between two programs? The financial stats on College Scorecard (e.g. average debt load) are also worth investigating.

  • Dominican University

    The Dominican University website has info on all its traditional academic programs, tuition costs and transfer scholarship opportunities. However, DU’s School of Professional & Continuing Studies (SPCS) is responsible for the online bachelor degree completion programs, so it has a separate section on tuition & aid. For Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), SPCS accepts up to 28 credit hours of ACE, CLEP, and portfolio assessments combined.

    Are you active military or a veteran? Check out DU’s section on U.S. Military Veterans and Veterans Benefits, including details about its participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

  • Illinois State University

    ISU’s Financial Aid Office provides tips & advice on paying for its online degrees, details about scholarships, and charts that show the total Cost of Attendance (COA). ISU has a tuition guarantee—new, incoming undergraduates have their tuition rate locked in for four years. Out-of-state tuition matching is also available for certain students (e.g. students from neighboring states).

    If you’re in the service, ISU’s Office of Veterans and Military Services has some useful guidance on scholarships and GI/VA benefits. If you’re thinking of transferring from a community college, ISU has specific transfer guides.

  • Lewis University

    Lewis University’s online programs are offered at many levels. Lewis claims to have one of the lowest private college tuition rates in Illinois and up to 30 Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credits can be used to support an undergraduate degree.

    Going back to university? Details on its accelerated adult undergraduate programs are available through the School for Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE). Need a graduate degree? Specific info can be found on Lewis University Online, which has a section on financial aid for online graduate students.

    We recommend a visit to the website of the Office of Veterans Affairs and Recruitment for info on military service for credit, active duty scholarships, and other military benefits. Lewis University is a partner in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

  • McKendree University

    McKendree Online has a full list of its distance learning options and tuition costs are listed on each degree program page. These pages have instructions about how to apply for financial aid and credit transfers. In addition, McKendree runs an Online Degree Blog, which contains details on its programs, profiles of its instructors, and tips for non-traditional students.

    Like so many Illinois schools, McKendree participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and offers a number of benefits to Military and Veterans. (The school is situated close to Scott Air Force Base and Fort Knox Army Post.) The university also has some unusual distance learning partnerships—in 2016, it partnered with Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois to offer Girl Scouts employees a 10% discount on tuition for online degrees.

  • Saint Xavier University

    SXU Online is your most useful resource, with a full list of online degrees, straight facts about on tuition, and advice about admissions. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. You can learn more SXU’s Veterans Benefits on its website; the university participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

    If you’re thinking of nursing, we should note that SXU tends to do extremely well in U.S. News & World Report rankings for Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs and Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Veterans. And when we say extremely well, we mean it’s often in the Top 3 programs in the country!

  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

    Under each degree program listing at Online at SIUE, you’ll find a link to details about curriculum and a breakdown of tuition & fees. Certain programs (e.g. online MS Nurse Educator) offer in-state tuition rates to students in neighboring states (e.g. AK, IN, IA, KY, MO & TN). Instructions on how to apply for Financial Aid are available through the university’s website.

    Interested in nursing? SIUE has an affordable partnership with Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC). IECC students complete their associate degree and the majority of their General Education (GE) requirements at a community college, and then enroll in the online Accelerated RN to BS Option at SIUE. This degree can be completed in one year if most of the GE requirements are met.

    Trying to get your degree over faster? SIUE also has an accelerated three-week Winter Session where courses are taught entirely online. Because of the tight time-frame, students are expected to limit themselves to one course in the session. Courses cover all levels (introductory, upper-division, and graduate) and can be used to earn course credits to transfer to your home institution.

  • University of Illinois at Chicago

    The UIC Extended Campus has a catalog of UIC’s online programs, but details about tuition & fees and financial aid are available through the Admissions & Aid section of the UIC website. Undergraduate tuition for out-of-state students is more expensive than in-state, but in-state rates are fairly reasonable. Also, tuition for online graduate programs is assessed per credit hour each term and residency status is not considered.

    Thinking of finishing your AA, AS, or RN through distance learning? UIC specializes in career-focused online degree completion programs for undergraduates, and it usually ranks very, very highly in U.S. News & World Report rankings for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (in 2016, it was #4).

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    UIUC’s Illinois Online is overflowing with info on its online courses and degree programs, including a full rundown of tuition & fees for each program with per credit & total costs. Degree-seeking students are eligible for financial aid in fall and spring (summer session aid depends on a student’s status). If you’re a high school student, a working professional, or a prospective transfer student thinking of taking an online college credit course, the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL) can help with enrollment services.

    UIUC is one of the biggest online players in Illinois. In addition to achieving a Top 10 U.S. News & World Report ranking for Best Online Graduate Education programs, it has been working on expanding its range. In 2012, UIUC teamed up with Coursera to offer free MOOCs in a variety of subjects. Soon after, it announced it would be using Coursera to offer a low-cost, 100% online iMBA. At around 1/2 the price of an on-campus degree, this iMBA requires students to complete six stackable specializations and a program-wide experiential learning course.

  • University of St. Francis

    USF’s section on Online Students has info about its online adult undergraduate degree programs (i.e. accelerated bachelor’s completion programs) and graduate programs. A separate area on Financial Aid has details about tuition & fees and scholarships, including aid for degree completion students. 98% of USF undergraduates receive some form of financial assistance.

    USF is particularly kind to adult learners. For example, in the accelerated BS in Business Administration, up to 33 college credit hours may be awarded through the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Program, including Military, CLEP, and DANTES credits. USF also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and offers a unique USF Military/Veterans Discount on adult degree completion and graduate programs (see the Veterans section for more info on benefits).

Online Schools in Illinois with Accreditation & Quality Concerns

Always make sure that your school is fully accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Although national accreditation applies to distance learning institutions, regional accreditation is much preferred—especially if you’re trying to transfer credits or seek financial aid.

Illinois doesn’t have as much trouble with unaccredited universities and diploma mills as other states. However, we still found a number of quality concerns with accredited Illinois schools that offer online programs.

  • Chicago State University

    CSU is regionally accredited by the HLC, but it was placed On Notice in June 2016 because of concerns relating to financial resources and institutional planning. This Notice period lasts for up to two years and the institution remains regionally accredited while it addresses HLC concerns. College Scorecard reports that CSU has a fairly low graduation rate.

  • College of DuPage

    The College of DuPage was placed On Probation by the HLC in December 2015 because it was no longer in compliance with one or more criteria for accreditation. This Probation period lasts for two years and the institution remains regionally accredited while it addresses HLC concerns. College Scorecard reports that the College of DuPage has a low graduation rate.

  • East-West University

    East-West University was placed On Probation by the HLC in June 2015 because it was no longer in compliance with a number of criteria for accreditation. This Probation period lasts for two years and the institution remains regionally accredited while it addresses HLC concerns. College Scorecard reports that EWU has a fairly low graduation rate and a low percentage of students paying down debt within the first three years of leaving school.

  • Ellis University

    Ellis University is a for-profit college based in Illinois. It is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), but it lost its regional accreditation from HLC in 2011. There are no data available on the school from College Scorecard. You can read about its history with NYIT and the for-profit Cardean Learning Group in this article from Inside Higher Ed: Hefty Fine in NYIT Partnership.

  • Greenville College

    Greenville College was placed On Notice by the HLC in November 2016 because it was at risk of being out of compliance with accreditation criteria. This Notice period lasts for up to two years and the institution remains regionally accredited while it addresses HLC concerns.

  • Hebrew Theological College

    Hebrew Theological College was placed On Probation by the HLC in November 2016 because it was no longer in compliance with a number of criteria for accreditation. This Probation period lasts for two years and the institution remains regionally accredited while it addresses HLC concerns.

  • Illinois Institute of Art

    The Illinois Institute of Art is part of the Art Institutes, a for-profit system owned by Education Management Corporation (EDMC). It was placed On Notice by the HLC in November 2015 because of concerns relating to integrity, student support services, strategic planning, and institutional improvement. It has two years to remedy these concerns. EDMC has had a series of financial troubles, including being delisted from the NASDAQ in 2014. In 2015, EDMC agreed to pay the U.S. government $95.5 million to settle claims of illegal recruiting, consumer fraud, and other violations.

  • MacMurray College

    MacMurray College was placed On Probation by the HLC in June 2016 because it was no longer in compliance with a number of criteria for accreditation. This Probation period lasts for two years and the institution remains regionally accredited while it addresses HLC concerns related to strategic planning and systematic improvement.

  • National University of Health Sciences

    NUHS was placed On Notice by the HLC in June 2016 because of concerns relating to the quality of its educational programs, assessment of learning, and institutional planning. This Notice period lasts for up to two years and the institution remains regionally accredited while it addresses HLC concerns.

  • University of Phoenix (Schaumburg Campus)

    University of Phoenix is a for-profit institution headquartered in Arizona. It is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), but it has been subject to a number of lawsuits regarding recruitment practices. College Scorecard reports that the Schaumburg campus has an extremely low graduation rate and a lower than average percentage of students paying down their debt after three years.

Illinois Online Education Resources

Accreditation

Distance Learning Resources

  • Illinois Virtual School (IVS): Run by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), IVS provides online credit courses to Illinois students in grades 5-12. IVS courses are taught by Illinois licensed instructors, aligned to ILS and Common Core standards, and operate in compliance with NCAA and College Board (AP) requirements.
  • iTransfer: This website provides advice & tools to Illinois students and military learners who want to transfer between Illinois higher education institutions. You can learn about Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) General Education packages and get direct answers to transfer-related questions.

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