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In 2010, Illinois realized major changes were required for its higher education planning. The Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success was established as the pathway to “One Illinois,” a strategic plan to offer affordable high-quality educational opportunities to all residents of the state, thereby providing more advanced job opportunities to everyone.

As part of the state’s overhaul, colleges and universities throughout Illinois were asked to double their efforts to deliver high quality online programs. Schools throughout the state met the charge, upping the number of overall offerings, both in terms of individual courses and fully online programs, encouraging more students in-state to take online courses and drawing in unprecedented numbers of out-of-state distance students.

But before we look at the institutions with the best online programs in Illinois, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in Illinois today.


A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Illinois

In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Illinois had 186 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 60 public schools, 83 nonprofits and 43 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 34,403 at public schools, 30,598 at private nonprofits and 10,991 at private for-profits.

Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the ’15-’16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $13,190 while the out-of-state average was $22,730.

As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Illinois awarded $372.323 million in need-based grants and $1.051 million in nonneed grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up 98.95% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education.


The State of Online Higher Education in Illinois

The NCES estimates that at least 10.1% of students enrolled in Title IV institutions in Illinois are in fully online programs. Of those, 72.5% were reported to be undergraduates and 39.7% were found to be living in Illinois, indicating the state does an excellent job of attracting out-of-state distance students.

Illinois Community Colleges Online (ILCCO), a consortium of all 48 community colleges in the state, is a prime example of how online education is being embraced by the state. The organization serves both distance students and schools. For students it is a comprehensive database of every distance course and program offered at an Illinois community college, along with streamlined enrollment and resources that prep first-time distance students. For colleges, it means an unprecedented level of shared resources and support from their fellow community colleges, along with training opportunities designed to improve the implementation and coordination of every school’s online programs.

Illinois is also a member of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), an organization that facilitates affordable online education opportunities for students residing in states throughout the region. Illinois has partnered with 11 other states, giving students greater access to the entirety of the region’s excellent online opportunities. One of the compact’s biggest draws is reduced tuition, which lets students pursue online courses and programs outside Illinois at heavily reduced rates, bordering on in-state level pricing. For those who want to learn more, the Illinois Department of Higher Education provides some excellent background information on the state’s membership in the MHEC and the terms of a reciprocity agreement that go along with membership.


Best Online Colleges in Illinois

Below you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Illinois. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing our best of Illinois, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Illinois or our index of popular in-state scholarships.

Want to know what it takes to make our rankings? Check out our distinct approach.

Methodology

To determine the best online colleges in each state, we examined the factors most important to prospective students: Academic quality and reputation, online program strength, and cost and student aid. At the most basic level, we use the following formula to determine the best online colleges: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. Of course, there's more to these calculations than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about the process we use to rank schools.

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University of Illinois at Springfield

1
University of Illinois at Springfield
Springfield
$9,178
$16,498

An Online Education at University of Illinois at Springfield

As an academic institution striving to embrace online education, UIS offers dozens of certificates, undergraduate majors and minors and graduate degrees entirely online. The majority of online courses are delivered through the well-known learning management system Blackboard; students can take advantage of collaborative tools such: as blogs, chats, discussion boards, emails, journals, virtual classrooms, quizzes and tests and Respondus Lockdown. Using their NetID, students can log in to check their grades, submit assignments, access online library databases and interact with their courses in the highest possible capacity.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business Administration (B.B.A.)
  • Computer Science (B.S.)
  • English (B.A.)
  • History (B.A.)
  • Liberal Studies (B.A.)
  • Management Information Systems (B.S., minor)
  • Philosophy (B.A., minor)

Online graduate degrees at UIS are only offered at the master's level.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Environmental Studies (M.A.)
  • Human Services Administration (M.A.)
  • Liberal and Integrative Studies (M.A.)
  • Legal Studies (M.A.)
  • Management Information Systems (M.S.)
  • Public Administration (M.P.A.)
  • Public Health (M.P.H.)

Individuals who desire to advance their careers, without enrolling in a full-fledged degree program, can pursue one of the twelve fully-online certificate programs offered by UIS.

Contact Information

One University Plaza
Springfield, IL 62703-5407
(217) 206-6600


Acclaim for online programs

  • #20on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #16on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA)
  • #75on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs
  • #17on U.S. News and World Report's Best MS in MIS Online Degrees
  • Ranked among Top 29 Best Buy

    Online Graduate Degrees

    in Computer Science and Information Technology by GetEducated.com

Illinois State University

2
Illinois State University
Normal
$13,010
$20,450

An Online Education at Illinois State University

Illinois State offers working nurses the opportunity to complete a nursing systems administration degree fully online. Courses are taught asynchronously: classes are recorded and archived so that students can watch them as their schedule allows. Students also benefit from small class sizes.

Online coursework can be accessed through Blackboard Collaborate. Distance learners at Illinois State are provided access to mentoring services and live 24/7 online technical support. They also receive mentoring, access to digitized library materials, an online bookstore and academic advising. Admissions to the program are based on GPA, recommendations, work experience and an interview.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • RN/BSN

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Nursing Systems Administration

Contact Information

North and School Streets
Normal, IL 61790-1000
(309) 438-2111

Eastern Illinois University

3
Eastern Illinois University
Charleston
$8,550

An Online Education at Eastern Illinois University

Utilizing a web-based video conferencing system called Blackboard Collaborate, in addition to the learning management system Brightspace by Desire2Learn, EIU's Virtual Classroom uses features such as blogs, email, chat rooms, discussion boards, interactive TV classes, course Wikispaces, online exams and live group collaboration. Beyond these tools, the Center for Online Learning provides a variety of online student resources, including numerous video tutorials and software programs.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • BA in General Studies
  • BA in General Studies, Option in Child Care Education
  • BA in Organizational and Professional Development
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Students can submit a portfolio of prior learning for assessment; if accepted, the school awards students college credit for life experience. Many EIU programs can accept up to 100 semester hours transferred from regionally accredited colleges and universities to be put towards graduation criteria. EIU also has articulation agreements with a few community colleges, further easing the credit transfer process.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • MA in Art - Art Education Option
  • MA in Art - Community Arts Option
  • MA in Music - Music Education Option
  • MS in Communication Disorders and Sciences - Speech-Language Pathology
  • MS in Family and Consumer Sciences

Program-specific scholarships, financial aid and awards for eligible students are available and can be applied for on the school's website.

EIU's online courses have been accredited by the North Central Association of the Commission on Higher Learning and use the Quality Matters Program for online course design guidelines and online course review. This program assures quality and continuous improvement for online learning based on a set of researched standards.

Contact Information

600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-5000

Western Illinois University

4
Western Illinois University
Macomb
$11,767
$15,969

An Online Education at Western Illinois University

Through the School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach at WIU, online students have the option to expand their present set of skills or complete a degree. Western Online, hosted by Desire2Learn, enables students to interact with their instructors entirely online. Students who desire a traditional classroom learning environment do have the option to take hybrid courses, which allow students to earn credits online or in a classroom. WIU is especially flexible when it comes to its online program scheduling; there is no time limit to complete the degrees, no specific sequence of coursework and no time limit for transferrable credits.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in General Studies
  • Bachelor of Science Nursing Completion Program

Prior learning from non-collegiate experience and military training can be recommended for credit after an acceptance of an American Council on Education (ACE) evaluation, saving WIU students time and unnecessary costs.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration - Technology Specialist Emphasis or IDT Certificate Post-Baccalaureate Programs
  • Master of Science in Education - Elementary Education Specialization or Literacy Education Specialization

Several scholarship opportunities are available for students enrolled in WIU programs, and all online courses receive in-state tuition rates. A four-year tuition freeze for continuous enrollment is also a possibility for online students.

Contact Information

1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
(309) 295-1414


Acclaim for online programs

  • #63on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • Named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review
  • Ranked among the Most Affordable Online Colleges in Illinois by affordablecollegesonline.org

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

5
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign
$14,750
$29,132

An Online Education at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"U of I Online" is a University-wide program that focuses on delivering online educational and public service courses. A total of 139 programs are offered through the U of I online catalog, with a number of varying online degree tracks provided by U of I at Urbana-Champaign. Course materials can be accessed via the course learning management systems Moodle or Collaborate; most classes use a web-based conferencing system (such as Skype) or email as the primary tool for communication between students and their instructors. Students participate in formal lectures, electronically submit assignments, receive instructors' feedback and talk about course topics via discussion boards in the online environment.

Individuals interested in applying to U of I Online should be sure to refer to the state authorization page prior to beginning the application process, as U of I is not yet authorized to deliver online education in all of the 50 states.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Earth, Society, Environmental Sustainability

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Aerospace Engineering Master of Science Degree (Non-thesis Program)
  • M.A. in Agricultural Education
  • M.A. in Crop Sciences
  • M.A. in Global Studies in Education
  • M.A. in Human Resources Development
  • M.A. in LEEP: Library and Information Science
  • M.A. in Translation and Interpreting

Continuing education programs, such as endorsements, advanced and graduate level certificates, professional development sequences and stand-alone courses in a variety of subject areas, can also be pursued online through U of I at Urbana-Champaign.

Contact Information

601 E John Street
Champaign, IL 61820-5711
(217) 333-1000


Acclaim for online programs

  • #82on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #47on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs
  • #35on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs

University of Illinois at Chicago

6
University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago
$13,410
$25,800

An Online Education at University of Illinois at Chicago

UIC conducts its online courses mostly asynchronously, using the learning management system Blackboard as its primary communication tool between instructors and their students. An interactive tutorial, "Working in Blackboard," show students how to utilize the many interactive tools accessible on the platform, including: interactive chats and discussion boards; videos; formal lectures consisting of text, graphics, audio and video components; and virtual classmate collaboration. Through Blackboard and email, instructors post their curriculum, lead their classes, distribute assignments, answer questions, lead discussions and evaluate students' work.

A wide range of resources are made available for online students through the school's library, including I-Share interlibrary loan services, online reference and research assistance and more than 75 CARLI consortium libraries.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management Degree Completion Program
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing - RN Completion

Dozens of certificate programs, non-credit programs, non-degree credit programs, workshops and seminars can be pursued online at UIC by those students wishing to advance their careers in some aspect at their own convenience.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • Master of Education in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics and Assessment
  • Master of Engineering
  • Master of Public Health in Community Health Services
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Post-Masters)
  • Doctor of Public Health (DrPH in Leadership)

Contact Information

601 S Morgan
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 996-7000


Acclaim for online programs

  • #2on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #29on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs

University of St. Francis

7
University of St. Francis
Joliet
$27,970

An Online Education at University of St. Francis

Offering more than 120 courses online, USF has truly embraced online learning and is recognized as having some of the best online programs in the nation. A guided tour of one of USF's online courses walks prospective students through the technicalities of the online learning management system Canvas, which USF uses to provide links to the course content, announcements, assignments, assessments, the course calendar, chats, grades, discussions and more. While discussion forums are the primary method of student and faculty communication, PowerPoints, emailing and chatting in groups and one-to-one are also used.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Care Leadership
  • Nursing (RN to BSN Fast Track)

The programs designed for adults are accelerated, incorporate a Prior Learning Assessment Program and are intended for transfer students. Federal and State Grant Programs are largely available for adult undergraduate students, as USF participates in several grant, loan, aid and award programs.

Numerous degree programs in the master's and doctoral level can be completed entirely online through USF as well, typically in under two years.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Science - Teaching and Learning
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Training Development
  • Master of Social Work
  • Doctor of Education - Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Contact Information

500 N Wilcox St
Joliet, IL 60435-6188
(815) 740-3360


Acclaim for online programs

  • #107on U.S News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #117on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online MBA Programs
  • #49on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA)
  • #78on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs
  • #61on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs

Concordia University - Chicago

8
Concordia University - Chicago
River Forest
$27,598

An Online Education at Concordia University - Chicago

All of CU's online courses are completed using the online learning management system Blackboard, through which students can access all of their class materials, including: articles, books, coursework, assignments, libraries and group discussions. Online courses are conducted the same way as they are on campus - in a cohort model that has students working with the same group of peers throughout the duration of the program. This promotes a sense of community and networking that continues past graduation. Accelerated Degree Completion Program (ADP) courses a scheduled with one class at a time that lasts five weeks. These accelerated courses allow students to intently focus on one subject as they progress. One term is comprised of three 5-week long courses, enabling an ADP student to complete their degree in as little as 18 months.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • B.A., Organizational Management
  • B.A., Sports and Recreation
  • B.S., Computer Science Management
  • B.S., Management Information Systems
  • B.A., Health Care Management (3+1 degree completion)

Several non-four-year degree options are also available online, including an associate of arts degree and numerous degree completion programs.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, ESL
  • M.A. in Educational Technology
  • M.A. in Grant Writing, Management and Evaluation
  • M.A. in Online Teaching for pK-12 Educators
  • M.B.A. in Not-for-Profit Management
  • Ph.D. in Gerontology
  • Ph.D. in Reading, Language and Literacy

Contact Information

7400 Augusta
River Forest, IL 60305-1499
(708) 771-8300


Acclaim for online programs

  • #136on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #54on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs

Dominican University

9
Dominican University
River Forest
$28,810

An Online Education at Dominican University

Online students at Dominican University begin with an adult learning seminar that prepares them for distance education. They also learn to use the the Canvas Learning Management System, which hosts classes and course materials. Once classes start, students should expect weekly online quizzes, roughly 100 pages of reading per week, weekly writing assignments and regular engagement in online discussions with classmates and instructors.

Applicants must submit a high school diploma or equivalent and transcripts documenting 30 or more hours of college credit. For admission to the master’s program, students must have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and have adequate work experience. In certain circumstances, the provost may waive these requirements.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Services
  • Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution
  • Master of Business Administration (hybrid online and on-campus)

Contact Information

7900 W Division Street
River Forest, IL 60305
(708) 366-2490

DePaul University

10
DePaul University
Chicago
$33,990

An Online Education at DePaul University

DePaul uses the popular learning management system Desire2Learn (D2L) as its interactive online learning environment. Online and in-person training, video tutorials and technical support are available to aid students throughout the duration of their online programs. Through D2L, students have convenient access to their assignments and course materials, interactive group classwork, chat forums and feedback from their professors. With most courses delivered in an asynchronous format, students are able to progress through classes at their own speed, submitting assignments and meeting deadlines week by week as they go.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • B.A. in Communication and Media (for transfer students)
  • B.A. in Computing (for adult students)
  • B.A. in Individualized Focus Area (for adult students)
  • B.S. in Information Technology (for transfer students only)
  • B.A. in Psychology (for transfer students only)

Online Graduate Degrees

  • M.S. in Computer Game Development
  • M.A./M.Ed in Educational Leadership - Higher Education Concentration
  • M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction
  • RN to MS in Nursing
  • M.S. in Predictive Analytics
  • M.P.A. in Public Administration
  • M.S. in Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Leadership

Individuals who wish to pursue further education or qualifications, without seeking a degree, can enroll in any of the twenty-eight completely online certificate programs available at DePaul. A CPA review and Special Education Endorsement are also available online for professionals looking for additional qualification in their field.

Contact Information

1 E Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 362-8000


Acclaim for online programs

  • #184on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #179on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs

North Park University

11
North Park University
Chicago
$23,350

An Online Education at North Park University

NPU's School of Adult Learning offers a variety of online options for adult learners. Students can choose from three formats of course delivery: fully-online, intensive and intensive hybrid classes. Up to 50% of degree coursework can be completed through the online course system Moodle, depending on a student's major and transfer credits. Working with an advisor and the Academic Services staff, students develop a degree completion plan that fits within their lifestyle.

Since all online courses are taught by the same professors who teach the traditional face-to-face classes, students can be sure they are receiving a quality education while completing their degree. Assignments, class discussions, group projects, lectures, PowerPoints, videos, readings, papers and tests are all linked on the Moodle platform. Professors post questions for their classes to discuss on the discussion board along with a weekly message informing students what coursework to anticipate that week. Students can expect to spend approximately 12 hours a week participating in each online course.

Financial aid options are available for distance learners, but they vary program to program and depend on a student's status as either a full-time or part-time student.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business Administration
  • Church and Ministry Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Organizational Management and Leadership
  • Nonprofit Management

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Management
  • Master of Higher Education Administration
  • Master of Human Resource Management
  • Master of Nonprofit Administration

Nine graduate level certificates may also be completed entirely online for those individuals interested in advancing a particular aspect of their professional career.

Contact Information

3225 W Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60625-4895
(773) 244-6200

Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

12
Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
Edwardsville
$9,666
$20,610

An Online Education at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

Online coursework at SIUE is completed through the Blackboard Learning Management System. Distance learners get several resources to help them adjust to the online format. These include lessons on how to participate in electronic discussions, what to expect from online courses and online learning tips and orientations.

The 100% online RN to BSN accelerated program is designed for graduates from associate degree nursing programs. To accommodate working RN’s, students may take classes part-time. Courses are taught in eight-week modules and the program can typically be completed in three semesters, though students may take longer if they need.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • RN to BSN

Contact Information

Il State Rte 157
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1259
(618) 650-2000

McKendree University

13
McKendree University
Lebanon
$26,050

An Online Education at McKendree University

McKendree designed its online courses to provide a quality learning experience for those students unable to attend traditional classes at any of the on- or off-campus locations. Keeping the busy lifestyles of working adults who wish to accelerate their career paths in mind, McKendree's online courses prepare students to enter graduate school or advance professionally.

Readings, discussions boards, assignments, tests and quizzes are all delivered through the online learning management system Blackboard. Group projects can be facilitated over the phone, via email or through chat rooms. Prior to the start of their program, students can view a specialized orientation online that familiarize them with the learning expectations of their individual program as well as how to navigate their way through a Blackboard hosted course.

Online student resources include IT Support, an academic support center, the writing center, access to Holman Library, a graduate school guide, an education job search guide, a interview skills guide and a resume and cover letter guide.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Education
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Business Administration (MSN/MBA)

Contact Information

701 College Rd
Lebanon, IL 62254-1291
(618) 537-4481

Loyola University Chicago

14
Loyola University Chicago
Chicago
$35,573

An Online Education at Loyola University Chicago

Loyola's electronic extension of the traditional classroom is Sakai, which faculty members use to post course materials, facilitate discussions between students via message boards, administer tests and quizzes and provide feedback. Several synchronous online tools, such as the webinar tool Adobe Connect Meeting, are used to allow students and their instructors to host audio or video conferences live, share files and presentations and text or message each other. Other useful features include ResNet, a free, "best effort" technical support service for students; online library access; and Locus, the school's online information and task portal where students can view course catalogs, register and drop classes and edit their personal and account information.

Since distance education regulations vary from state-to-state, students should be sure to refer to the State Authorization page to clarify any restrictions that may apply to their program of choice.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • BA in Applied Psychology
  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • BA in Information Technology
  • BA in Management
  • RN to BSN
  • BA in Pastoral Leadership
  • BA in Applied Studies

Twenty-one graduate programs at the master's and doctoral levels are also available online in addition to seven adult degree completion programs.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • MS in Information Technology
  • Doctor of Bioethics
  • Intercontinental MBA
  • M.Ed in International Higher Education
  • MJ in Children's Law and Policy
  • Ed.D in School Psychology
  • MA in Spirituality

For those students who want to specialize their degree program or further advance their careers but don't necessarily wish to enroll in a full-fledged degree program, they have the option to enroll in one of the eighteen fully-online certificate programs offered by Loyola.

Contact Information

1032 W. Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000


Acclaim for online programs

  • #47on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs

Greenville College

15
Greenville College
Greenville
$23,612

An Online Education at Greenville College

Online classes take place through Learning@Greenville (D2L), the Greenville College learning management system. It is on this platform that students download, save and attach files; participate in online discussion boards; email their professors; and spend six to nine hours per week on coursework. Live, synchronous class sessions are conducted through Adobe Connect, allowing students to participate in discussions and lectures in real time. These sessions can also be recorded for review at a later date.

Just like any traditional Greenville student, online learners have access to a number of resources, such as the College's Ruby E. Dare Library collection, including all of its electronic journal and book databases. Online tutoring, academic coaching and technical support is available to online students.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Criminal Justice Administration, B.S.
  • Organizational Leadership, B.S.
  • Health Psychology, B.S.

Most undergraduate degrees take approximately twenty months to complete, while the majority of the master's level degree programs take about twenty-four months.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • MBA
  • Management, M.S.
  • ESL M.A.E.
  • Coaching, M.A.E.
  • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A.E.
  • Special Education, M.A.E.

Several endorsements in various subject areas, as well as dual enrollment courses, are possible online education routes for those individuals not currently seeking a degree.

Contact Information

315 E. College Ave
Greenville, IL 62246
(618) 664-2800

Olivet Nazarene University

16
Olivet Nazarene University
Bourbonnais
$29,890

An Online Education at Olivet Nazarene University

Olivet's accelerated, online courses and programs are delivered through a combination of Blackboard, Ellucian and Moodlerooms, the company that hosts Olivet's Joule system. Programs are formatted using the cohort model, allowing the accelerated online tracks to be completed in two years or less. Through their individual portal, students have access to a multitude of resources: SmartThinking tutoring; the writing lab; writing resources such as organizational templates, video tutorials and research assistance; and information regarding time and stress management.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Arts: Curriculum and Instruction
  • Master of Arts: Pastoral Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Engineering Management
  • Master of Organizational Leadership
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Arts in Education: Reading Specialist

Accelerated endorsement programs in the areas of English as a Second Language (ESL), Middle School (grade levels 6-8 ) and Teacher Leader are offered online and are designed to assist practicing teachers who wish to achieve certification in a specialized area. Typically taking 10 to 16 months to complete, the endorsement tracks provide the option to smoothly segue into an optional master's degree in the same field.

Contact Information

One University Avenue
Bourbonnais, IL 60914-2271
(815) 939-5011

Judson University

17
Judson University
Elgin
$27,530

An Online Education at Judson University

The Judson Experience offers synchronous, completely online courses taught in cohort model; students attend class virtually at set times and work through their programs with the same group of people from start to finish. Judson strives to differentiate between their "adult" accelerated programs and their traditional programs, designing their Adult Undergraduate Programs to be time efficient, applicable to students' careers and to surround students with their peers. Typically finishing their major program in just 22 months, students focus on one course at a time in small classes; faculty members are able to give each student personal attention.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Applied Psychology
  • Business Administration
  • Communications Management
  • Criminal Justice Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Human Services
  • Management and Leadership

The majority of these online undergraduate degree tracks provide an opportunity for an internship at an organization of the student's choosing toward the end of the program. Experiential learning combined with outstanding and experienced instructors prepares students to further their careers or continue on to graduate level studies.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

A Master of Arts in Ministry is also available primarily online with some weekend residency on campus required.

For those who want to specialize their degree program or further advance their careers without enrolling in a full-fledged degree program can pursue one of the seven fully-online certificate programs offered by JU.

Contact Information

1151 N State St
Elgin, IL 60123-1498
(847) 628-2500

Benedictine University

18
Benedictine University
Lisle
$25,516

An Online Education at Benedictine University

This university's learning management system of choice is a highly interactive system called Engage. Designed to foster an online learning experience similar to that of a traditional, on-campus program, students interact with the faculty and their classmates via instant message, email and Skype in order to ask questions, complete assignments by specified deadlines and discuss topics with their peers. Course materials are delivered in the form of assigned homework, case studies, posting to discussion boards, reading lecture notes, reviewing lesson plans and viewing PowerPoint presentations and videos. Online students can take advantage of Benedictine's career assistance, which students have access to the very day they start class. One unique aspect for admittance to Benedictine is the school's requirement that all online undergraduate students are a minimum of 22 years of age.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Management
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Organizational Leadership

With the creation of a portfolio demonstrating content mastery, students can receive work experience or prior learning assessment (PLA) credits towards their online degree at Benedictine at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA), with seven available areas of emphasis
  • Master of Science (MS) in Management and Organizational Behavior
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Master of Science (MS) in Nutrition and Wellness
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Dual MPH/MS in Management and Organizational Behavior
  • Dual Concentration MBA

Further resources for online students are made accessible with registration, including an academic advisor, 24/7 tech support, BU's online library, a personable Student Services Coordinator, learning specialists to help with coursework and a Program Manager who provides support and aid during the process of admissions.

Contact Information

5700 College Rd
Lisle, IL 60532-0900
(630) 829-6000


Acclaim for online programs

  • #172on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #86on U.S News and World Report's Best Online MBA Programs (Excluding MBA)
  • #90on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs

Lincoln Christian University

19
Lincoln Christian University
Lincoln
$16,050

An Online Education at Lincoln Christian University

NLU prides itself on delivering online and hybrid programs taught from a Christian perspective and delivered through the online learning management system called ANGEL. This platform provides students access to everything from course syllabi, assignments and lesson material, to their grades, schedules and bill paying. With a curriculum designed specifically to maximize the the online learning experience for adults, students participate in asynchronous courses with synchronous elements by listening to podcasts, looking at Websites, reading, studying, watching videos and interacting online with instructors and other students. Participating in an online student orientation is mandatory for all online students to help familiarize them with NLU's expectations and online learning tools prior to the start of their program or course.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry (Alternative Option)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Services (Psychology)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Study
  • Bachelor of Arts in Management

Additionally, associate's degrees in Biblical Studies and Early Childhood Education, as well as a TESOL certificate can be obtained through online courses at LCU.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Bible & Theology
  • Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
  • Master of Arts in TESOL

At NLU's Hargrove School of Adult & Graduate Studies, busy adults have the opportunity to take convenient online courses in an accelerated format; they may enroll in two classes every eight weeks or one class every seven weeks. Students spend approximately 125 hours per course on work, with the workload dispersed according to the professor's preference.

Contact Information

100 Campus View Drive
Lincoln, IL 62656-2111
(217) 732-3168

Aurora University

20
Aurora University
Aurora
$20,720

An Online Education at Aurora University

Students at Aurora take classes in five- and eight-week modules, using Moodle to access online materials. The college provides students with several resources, including an online bookstore, virtual librarian, career development office and an online academic advisor.

Admission requirements vary by academic program. Common requirements for undergraduate students include two years of professional work experience and at least 15 credit hours of transferrable courses. For graduate studies, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution is typically required. Aurora waives application fees for all online students.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in General Studies
  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • RN to BSN Online

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Mathematics Education
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration with Leadership Concentration
  • Master of Science in Accountancy
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • MSN Bridge Program
  • Online Post-Graduate Nursing Certificates

Contact Information

347 S Gladstone Ave
Aurora, IL 60506-4892
(630) 892-6431

MacMurray College

21
MacMurray College
Jacksonville
$22,400

An Online Education at MacMurray College

Through the open source classroom Moodle, MacMurray College manages both its blended and fully-online courses. MacOnline, the college's online learning environment, offers accelerated, fully-online courses in eight-week long terms. By taking two courses each term, a student can complete an entire bachelor's degree in just over three years. However, transfer students may finish their degree sooner. There are six sessions during the academic year that occur every two months. MacOnline places particular emphasis on students learning from each other. Students are encouraged to participate in discussion threads where they share and debate ideas and demonstrate knowledge of certain topics based on life and work experience, while the instructor guides the lesson. Most online courses are delivered in a fully-online, asynchronous, cohort format.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • RN to BSN

For those majoring in Business Administration, six possible concentration areas are available for study. Since MacMurray College introduced its new fully-online degree programs Fall of 2014, there are no online graduate level courses or programs available yet.

MacMurray fully accredited with the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The college also subscribes to the Quality Matters Program (QM) which reviews the content of each online course to ensure they meet national standards for quality.

Contact Information

447 East College Ave
Jacksonville, IL 62650-2590
(217) 479-7000

Quincy University

22
Quincy University
Quincy
$25,834

An Online Education at Quincy University

The online Professional Degree Programs offered by Quincy enable working adults to complete their bachelor's degrees at their convenience, with their online classroom accessible anytime, anywhere. Individuals curious to know more about how online courses are delivered at Quincy can view a course demo that walks new online students through the basic features of the virtual classroom hosted by Moodle. It is on this platform that students actively participate in their online courses similar to how they would in a traditional, face-to-face classroom setting. Typically, the online programs take students two years to complete.

Admission requirements for Quincy Online state that students must be at least twenty-four years of age and have graduated high school at least seven years ago. Transfer credit requirements vary from program to program, however Quincy does participate in the Credit for Academically Related Experience (CARE) program, which allows students with relevant practice and life experience to earn college credit.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Human Services Degree

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration in Operations Management
  • Master of Business Administration in Organizational Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration - General Track
  • Master of Arts in Communication

Contact Information

1800 College Ave
Quincy, IL 62301-2699
(217) 222-8020

Roosevelt University

23
Roosevelt University
Chicago
$26,500

An Online Education at Roosevelt University

RU Online is comprised of a community of online learners who interact with each other and their instructors on the Blackboard portal. Beyond the delivery of mostly asynchronous and some synchronous courses, RU Online maintains various types of modern features to ensure strong communication between online students and their instructors, including email, chat rooms, bulletin boards, "live" online office hours and telephone calls. Blackboard training and tutorials are available to teach students the basic features of the learning management system, from downloading a syllabus and uploading assignments to participating in a discussion board and taking an online quiz.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Criminal Justice, BACJ
  • Criminal Justice, BACJ Fast-Track for Adults
  • Interdisciplinary Studies, BAIS Fast-Track for Adults
  • Organizational Communication, BAOC Fast-Track Degree for Adults
  • Organizational Leadership, BAOL Fast-Track Degree for Adults
  • Sustainability Studies, BASS Fast-Track for Adults
  • Psychology, BPS Fast-Track

Several undergraduate minors and credentials can be taken entirely online at RU in addition to the entirely online bachelor's degrees.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Performing Arts Administration, MA
  • Teaching and Learning, MA
  • Training and Development, MATD

Six graduate-level, credential track options are also available through RU Online, as well as GuIDE courses. These Guided Independent Distance Education courses enable students to work independently online under the direction of an RU faculty member. Since GuIDE courses are exactly the same as other RU courses in regards to credit and content, these courses are eligible for financial aid.

Contact Information

430 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605-1394
(312) 341-3500


Acclaim for online programs

  • #65on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs

National Louis University

25
National Louis University
Chicago
$15,915

An Online Education at National Louis University

All digital, online course content relating to NLU's distance education is hosted on Desire2Learn. This learning management system platform provides students and teachers access to forward-thinking online features such as drop boxes for completed assignments, class lists, calendars with deadlines and due dates posted, discussions or forums and quizzes, among other tools. For anyone unfamiliar with D2L, NLU provides tutorials to help make the system more convenient for first time users. Recently, NLU launched Starfish, an online student support network that gives access to advising, tutoring, career development and student finance help. NLU's Learning Support and library are excellent resources also accessible by online students.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Applied Communications Degree Online (B.A.)
  • Criminal Justice Degree Online (B.A.)
  • Health Care Leadership Degree Online (B.S.)
  • Management Degree Online (B.S.)
  • Management Information Systems (MIS) Degree Online (B.S.)

The online Applied Communications bachelor's degree program at NLU does include one face-to-face collaborative workshop per term, though all other classes for the major are available online.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration Degree Online (M.B.A.)
  • Master of Health Services Administration (M.H.A.) Degree Online
  • Master's in Early Childhood Administration Degree Online (M.Ed.)
  • Master's in Teaching, Learning and Assessment (T.L.A.) Degree Online (M.Ed.)
  • Master's in Technology Education Degree Online (M.Ed.)

Five endorsements are offered and can be taken as a stand-alone series of courses or in conjunction with a degree program.

Contact Information

122 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603
(800) 443-5522

Methodist College

25
Methodist College
Peoria
$17,030

An Online Education at Methodist College

All online classes at Methodist College are available through the Sakai learning management system, and the school provides free tutorials for students who want to familiarize themselves with the program before classes start. Consistent with the flexibility of online education, the nursing practicum is a self-directed learning experience. As part of that, students are responsible for setting up a personalized practicum with a BSN prepared nurse preceptor.

The online nursing program is available to nurses who have passed the NCLEX exam. A minimum GPA of 2.0 in general studies courses is also required. For those who qualify, students can transfer up to 82 credits toward their degree.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • RN-BSN

Contact Information

415 St. Mark Court
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 672-5513


Most Affordable Online Colleges in Illinois

Below, we’ve produced another list of the top online schools in Illinois, sorted by their tuition rate.

Want to know what it takes to make our rankings? Check out our distinct approach.

Methodology

Our list of the most affordable online colleges is based on in-state yearly tuition, or annual tuition rates if a school does not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state students. Tuition rates are based on a full course load each semester or term. All colleges on the list offer at least one bachelor's degree completion program available entirely online. Those institutions with the lowest tuition are ranked highest, providing prospective students with a true list of the most affordable online colleges in their state.

Get Seal

Governors State University

1
Governors State University
University Park
$6,120

University of Illinois at Springfield

2
University of Illinois at Springfield
Springfield
$9,178
$16,498

Eastern Illinois University

3
Eastern Illinois University
Charleston
$8,550

Western Illinois University

4
Western Illinois University
Macomb
$11,767
$15,969

University of Illinois at Chicago

5
University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago
$13,410
$25,800

Elmhurst College

6
Elmhurst College
Elmhurst
$13,800

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

7
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign
$14,750
$29,132

National Louis University

8
National Louis University
Chicago
$15,915

Lincoln Christian University

9
Lincoln Christian University
Lincoln
$16,050

MacMurray College

10
MacMurray College
Jacksonville
$22,400

North Park University

11
North Park University
Chicago
$23,350

Greenville College

12
Greenville College
Greenville
$23,612

Benedictine University

13
Benedictine University
Lisle
$25,516

Quincy University

14
Quincy University
Quincy
$25,834

McKendree University

15
McKendree University
Lebanon
$26,050

Roosevelt University

16
Roosevelt University
Chicago
$26,500

Judson University

17
Judson University
Elgin
$27,530

Concordia University - Chicago

18
Concordia University - Chicago
River Forest
$27,598

University of St. Francis

19
University of St. Francis
Joliet
$27,970

Olivet Nazarene University

20
Olivet Nazarene University
Bourbonnais
$29,890

DePaul University

21
DePaul University
Chicago
$33,990

Loyola University Chicago

22
Loyola University Chicago
Chicago
$35,573


Scholarships and Financial Aid in Illinois

Community College Transfer Scholarship

Deadline: April 4, 2016
Scholarship Amount $4,000 See Scholarship

This award is granted to community college graduates transferring to Illinois State U. Application is by invitation only. A GPA of 3.5+ is required, and selection is based on academic merit. The award amount is $2,000 per year for two years.

International Student Scholarship

Deadline: October 1, 2016
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

The International Student Scholarship is for students from other countries attending Eastern Illinois U. The award is granted based on financial need and academic excellence, and it covers partial tuition expenses. A minimum GPA of 2.75 is required.

Lulu Craig Collier Scholarship

Deadline: March 24, 2016
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

Eastern Illinois University grants this award annually to one graduating high school senior from Coles County, Illinois. Applicants must be in the top 25% of their graduating class. Award amount varies; it is renewable for a maximum of two semesters.

Parents Club Scholarship

Deadline: February 11, 2016
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

Administered by Eastern Illinois University Parents Club, this scholarship is awarded to students in need of financial assistance. Recipient is selected by the Parents Club Scholarship Committee based on financial need, academic performance, and community service involvement.

Presidential Scholars Award

Deadline: January 6, 2017
Scholarship Amount Full tuition, fees + housing See Scholarship

For exceptional freshman students entering Eastern Illinois University. To be eligible, applicants must have an ACT score of 30+ (or SAT of 1980+) and a GPA of 3.5+, or be ranked in the top 95th percentile of their class.

Presidential Scholarship

Deadline: January 6, 2017
Scholarship Amount $44,000 See Scholarship

The Presidential Scholarship is the most prestigious award available to freshmen entering Illinois State University. A GPA of 3.5+ and an ACT of 30+ is required. The award amount is $44,000, distributed over 4 years ($11,000 per year).

Redbird Academic Scholarship

Deadline: November 15, 2016
Scholarship Amount $4,000 See Scholarship

Illinois State University’s Redbird Scholarship ranges from $1,000 to $4,000 per year for four years. An ACT score of 25+ and a GPA of 3.4+ is required. Selection and award amount is determined by academic competitiveness of the applicants each year.

University Scholarship

Deadline: January 6, 2017
Scholarship Amount $24,000 See Scholarship

The University Scholarship is for academically talented freshmen entering Illinois State U. A minimum GPA of 3.4+ and ACT score of 25+ is required. Preference given to minority students or first-generation college students. Award amount is $24,000 ($6,000 per year for 4 years).


Higher Education Resources in Illinois