Online Colleges in Illinois
Illinois boasts dozens of well known, top-ranking colleges and universities.
While the state has fought to maintain funding for higher learning, and has had to make due with drastic budget cuts, the schools continue to rise to the top. Even the state’s community college’s are setting the bar high!
Overview of Higher Education in Illinois
There are 185 degree-granting institutions in Illinois, according to a 2015-2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NES). Of the 185, 60 are public, 85 are private non-profit and 40 are for-profit.
To attend one of the state’s 4-year institutions, Collegeboard.org reports that residents will pay an average of $13,280 in tuition and fees. Those coming from out of state will pay $26,070, on average.
Residents of neighboring states may get a break, though, thanks to Illinois’ membership in the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP). Through the MSEP, public universities agree to charge no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate to residents of the 10 participating states.
In 2015, higher education in Illinois took a major hit when lawmakers were unable to agree on budget cuts. As a result of the stalemate, colleges and universities went 736 days without a budget, and nearly 10 months without any state funding whatsoever, which spurred campus shutdowns, layoffs, program cuts and more. Fortunately, in July 2017, Illinois approved a new budget and funds were restored.
With the budget crisis behind them, lawmakers are working on plans to encourage high school students to choose in-state public colleges.
About Online Colleges in Illinois
Most colleges and universities in Illinois offer online degree programs. According to the NES, 10.1% of students in Illinois are enrolled in fully online degree programs. An additional 9.7% are enrolled in one or more online courses.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a top choice for many online students. The research university boasts more than 800 online classes, and 75 online degree and certificate programs. The school’s Chicago campus, University of Illinois at Chicago, offers 12 online degree programs, and is ranked among the top 10 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by US News and World Reports.
Illinois community colleges are equally progressive. The Illinois Community Colleges Online (ILCCO), a consortium of all 48 community colleges in the state, provides a database of every distance course and program offered at an Illinois community college, and offers streamlined enrollment and prep courses.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Illinois
If you’re thinking about attending a college or university in Illinois, you should first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will give you access to federal, state and private financial aid.
You will want to fill out your application as soon as possible. The FAFSA becomes available each year on October 1st, and funds are distributed on a first come first served basis.
To fill it out, you will need to include financial information for yourself as well as your parents (unless you’re considered an “independent” according to FAFSA’s requirements).
This information will be used to calculate your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and how much and what type of assistance you are offered.
Ideally, you will want to receive grants and scholarships, as they do not have to be repaid.
In addition to federal grants, the state of Illinois offers the following grant opportunities for residents:
- Monetary Award Program (MAP) – Must maintain academic progress as determined by college; Award amount varies by school and year
- Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program – Must be a National Guard member attending public universities or community colleges; Must maintain acceptable GPA as defined by the school; Covers full tuition and fees
- Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program – Must have served at least one year of federal active duty service in the Armed Forces of the IS, a reserve component, or the Illinois National Guard, and meet additional qualifications; Must maintain acceptable GPA as defined by the school; Covers full tuition and fees
- Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers – Must be the spouse or child of a police or fire officer at the time of death or disability; Must maintain academic progress as determined by college; Covers full tuition and fees
- Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers – Must be the spouse or child of a correctional officer at the time of death or disability; Must maintain academic progress as determined by college; Covers full tuition and fees
- Higher Education License Plate (HELP) Program – Must be attending a college for which the special collegiate license plates are available; Funds are contingent on number of license plates sold
Scholarships are the other type of ideal financial aid. Many scholarships are offered based on academic merit, but they may also be awarded based on geographic location, chosen field of study, unique traits or hobbies, and so on.
Here are some of the many scholarships open to Illinois residents:
|Back 2 School Illinois Scholarship||
High school senior
|BLM Squared Scholarship||
High school senior; GPA of 3.0 or higher; Must be a minority
|Champion Energy Services Scholarship||High school senior or full-time undergraduate student; GPA of 3.0 or higher; Resident or attending college in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Texas||
First Place: $5000
|Elmhurst Garden Club Scholarship||College juniors, seniors or graduate student; Majoring in Horticulture, Environmental Students, Biology, Botany or related sciences; GPA of 3.0 or higher||
Cost of tuition at college/university designated on application during year applied for
|Golden Apple Scholarship||High school senior; Pursuing teaching career; Preference given to minority students and those willing to teach at high-need schools ; GPA of 2.5 or higher; Meet ACT / SAT score requirements; Other requirements as listed||
$2500 per year for freshman/ sophomore years, $5000 per year for junior/senior years
PLUS $2000 stipend for participation in summer experience programs
PLUS job placement assistance
Need more aid? Fastweb.com is a great resource! Enter your information and the site will match you with dozens of scholarship opportunities.
Be sure to check with the financial aid office at the school you’ve chosen as well. They can tell you about any additional private aid that you may be eligible for.
List of Online Colleges in Illinois
|Online Colleges in Illinois||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|Chamberlain College of Nursing||Addison, Illinois||$19,230||Regional||$95|
Despite budgeting concerns in the recent past, Illinois continues to be a strong leader in higher education.
With more than 185 institutions to choose from, both online and traditional programs, and plenty of financial aid available, the opportunities are endless!