If you’re considering an online degree, you probably know that online education has shed most of its stigma, and in many ways, it has become the future of education.

Best Online Colleges in Illinois 2

With online education you can study and work at your own pace, you don’t have to worry about lecture halls filling up, and you can save a tremendous amount of money.

So does it matter where an online college is located? Well, for one, at a public school that offers online degrees, in-state students often save money on tuition. So if you’re an Illinois resident, it would make sense to start your search for online colleges in your home state. Secondly, even if you’re studying remotely, one of the biggest benefits to college besides the education itself is developing networks of people you can work and collaborate with. So it’s worth considering where your networks will be located.

For starters, Illinois has a GDP of $775 million, which means that if the state were its own country, it would have the 17th biggest economy of any country in the world. And as a home to many of the biggest corporations in America, headquarters to numerous key financial institutions, and the location of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Illinois is a great choice for people looking for opportunities to grow in their career.

With that settled, take a look at our list below of Illinois’ Best Online Colleges. Some of these schools have different emphases, but what they all share is a commitment to quality. Academic quality is a key component of our rankings, and as such, is the most important part of each college’s score. But we’ve also considered return on investment, or in other words, how much you’ll get out for what you put in. To do this, we compared the net cost of completing a degree at each institution to how much money a graduate can expect to make early on in their career. That way, you’ll be able to consider whether it’s worth it to actually get the degree.

So without further ado, here are the Best Online Colleges in Illinois!

1

University of Illinois at Chicago

College Choice Score: 100

Average Tuition (per credit): $500.00

Website

The University of Illinois at Chicago is a public, state-supported research institution that is located in downtown Chicago, Illinois, with satellite campuses around the state. It is the largest university in the area and is home to the largest medical school in the country. This school is regionally accredited by the HLC.

This university confers three undergraduate degrees, eight graduate degrees, and one doctoral degree, all of which are available wholly online. In addition, on-campus and online students are welcome to take any one of the hundreds of online courses that are available through the school’s virtual portal; however, students are reminded that preference is given to online-only students first.

UIC has made it a mission to provide an excellent online education to all of its students. This school has an incredible online student support staff, which is 100 percent dedicated to online students. In addition, the online library and bookstores are also available to students, allowing them to purchase textbooks and check out research material, then download it directly to their smart device. Technical support and academic services are also provided for online students to ensure they have everything they need to finish their degree on time, making this school one of the best online colleges in Illinois.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Master of Education in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics and Assessment
  • Doctor of Public Health in Leadership

2

University of Illinois at Springfield

College Choice Score: 94.09

Average Tuition (per credit): $359.00

Website

The University of Illinois at Springfield is a public, land-grant, liberal arts institution that is a member of the University of Illinois System. It is also home to a growing number of online degrees which has led it to be nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report. This university holds regional accreditation by the HLC.

This university confers 13 undergraduate degrees and 13 graduate degrees. There are also 26 additional certification programs available online, most of which are focused on education or business. The majority of these programs can be completed wholly online; however, certain concentrations may lead to a residency requirement, so students are encouraged to speak to an admissions advisor prior to registering for classes.

UIS provides its online courses in an asynchronous format; terms can either be eight weeks or 16 weeks in length, depending on the subject matter. Students also have access to a dedicated Online Student Support Services team, which includes 24/7 technical support and online bookstore and library access privileges.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Administration
  • Master of Science in Computer Science

3

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

College Choice Score: 89.68

Average Tuition (per credit): $409.00

Website

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public research university that is the flagship institution of the University of Illinois System. It is also a member of the University of Illinois Online Portal. This school is regionally accredited by the HLC.

This school, along with other member institutions of the consortium, confers 70 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. Over 75 certificate and endorsement programs are available as well. Most of these programs are available wholly online, though some might require residency requirements; students are advised to check with admissions prior to applying.

UIUC’s partnership with other University of Illinois schools has been a boon for online students. From academic advising to the ability for students to take courses in other schools while still gaining college credit, this university is providing a welcoming and comprehensive online portal that should be the model for all universities when it comes to online education.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Doctor of Public Health

4

Western Illinois University

College Choice Score: 86.59

Average Tuition (per credit): $285.00

Website

Western Illinois University is a public institution that is located in Macomb, Illinois. It is a well-respected institution that has begun expanding its online offerings for its students. This school holds regional accreditation by the HLC.

This university confers two undergraduate degrees and three graduate degrees. It also offers the National Fire Academy Curriculum for Fire Fighters program, which is a professional-level degree meant for professional firefighters. All courses are available asynchronously without any campus residencies.

WIU has spent a lot of time innovating their online curriculum. It has created its own LMS, which students use to complete assignments and exams, to include chat options so that students can better communicate with their classmates and faculty when the class is over. Technical and student support services are also available; however, they are being reviewed for further refinement, so not all services may be accessible to students right now.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing Completion Program
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Science in Education – Elementary Education

5

Loyola University Chicago

College Choice Score: 80.96

Average Tuition (per credit): $655.00

Website

Loyola University Chicago is a private, not-for-profit, Catholic research university that is located in the heart of Chicago, Illinois. It is home to one of the most respected online programs in the world, one that offers students the chance to get a top-tier education all from the comfort of their own home. This school holds regional accreditation by the HLC.

This university confers six undergraduate degrees, 14 graduate programs, and three doctoral degrees, all of which are available wholly or mostly online. Certificates and endorsements for teachers are also available from this school. Students will need to check with an admissions advisor to learn about any campus residencies that may be required for their chosen degree.

LUC provides online students with the same rigorous curriculum that is taught on campus, delivered by the same world-class faculty that teaches it. In fact, instructors are only permitted to teach online once they’ve become certified, ensuring that students only learn from teachers who are qualified to dole out an online education.

But the school doesn’t stop there: LUC delivers exceptional online support services to every single one of its students, including academic advising and tutoring sessions, study groups with classmates, online office hours with faculty, around-the-clock technical support, and more. It is one of the best colleges in Illinois for online students, no matter what their field of study may be.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology
  • Master of Jurisprudence in Business Law
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

6

McKendree University

College Choice Score: 80.37

Average Tuition (per credit): $360.00

Website

McKendree University is a private, Methodist liberal arts university that is located in Lebanon, Illinois. It is also known for its online offerings, all of which are approved by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. This school holds regional accreditation by the HLC.

This school confers three undergraduate degrees, five graduate degrees, and one doctoral degree, all of which can be found wholly online. These are some of the finest online programs that can be found in the state. In fact, U.S. News and World Report and Affordable Colleges Online have ranked McKendree as one of the best online colleges in Illinois and in the country.

This school offers its programs asynchronously and in eight-week terms. Courses are taught by certified faculty who have learned the art of online teaching. Students also receive access to the school’s LMS, student support services, and 24/7 technical support.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Education
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

7

University of St. Francis

College Choice Score: 79.38

Average Tuition (per credit): $609.50

Website

The University of St. Francis at Joliet is a private, Catholic, Franciscan institution that is headquartered in Joliet, Illinois, but serves cities all over the country. It is also known for having one of the oldest online programs in the country; the online portal was established in 2001. This school is regionally accredited by the HLC.

This school offers three undergraduate completion degree programs and over a dozen graduate and doctoral programs. The online offerings focus on nursing and education, which are fast-growing industries within the state. This school also offers online courses for on-campus students as well.

USF offers courses asynchronously and synchronously, so students are encouraged to check the course descriptions prior to enrolling in courses. Classes are also taught in traditional and accelerated term schedules as well; speaking with the academic advisor assigned at the beginning of a degree will help students out immensely when planning out their degree. 24/7 technical support and career counseling are also available.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN Accelerated Program)
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Doctor of Educational Leadership in Superintendent Certification

8

Concordia University Chicago

College Choice Score: 74.91

Average Tuition (per credit): $877.00

Website

Concordia University Chicago is a private, Lutheran, liberal arts institution that is located in River Forest, Illinois. It is known for being one of the most comprehensive online universities in the country. This school is regionally accredited by the HLC.

This school confers more than 70 undergraduate degrees, 42 master’s degrees, and 13 doctoral degrees. In addition, the school also offers 10 different MBA programs. These degrees focus on education and health and human services and are nearly all 100 percent online.

Concordia has a storied history of online education, one that stretches back 15 years to when they first began offering virtual degrees. This has led to one of the strongest online colleges on this list, which is complete with a specialized Online Student Support staff, technical support, and access to online libraries and the school’s bookstore. The tuition figure listed above refers only to the per credit cost of undergraduate programs.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems
  • Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Organizational Leadership

9

Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville

College Choice Score: 67.93

Average Tuition (per credit): $579.00

Website

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, known as SIUE, is a public, comprehensive institution that is located in Edwardsville, Illinois. It is one of the best universities in Illinois for students who are looking for a world-class online education. This school is regionally accredited by the HLC.

This university offers one undergraduate degree, five graduate degrees, and one doctoral degree, all available wholly online. There is also a certificate option for students interested in certifying in web-based learning. As many of these degrees focus on nursing, there will be practicum requirements, but these will be fulfilled in a student’s area of residence.

SIUE offers students who are working professionals the chance to finish their degrees while continuing with their careers. That’s why these courses are delivered asynchronously and in eight-week and 16-week formats, allowing students to fit their courses around their busy schedules. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the school’s Online Student Services desk, which provides academic advising, tutoring, and writing and career services. Around-the-clock technical support is also available.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing — Accelerated RN to BSN Option
  • Master of Science in Nursing — Health Care and Nursing Administration
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

10

Eastern Illinois University

College Choice Score: 66.67

Average Tuition (per credit): $289.00

Website

Eastern Illinois University is a public, comprehensive state institution that believes that an online degree is just as valuable as an on-campus degree. This school is currently one of the top institutions in the state for online learning. This school is regionally accredited by the HLC.

This school currently offers 15 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and specialist levels of education. The majority of these programs focus on business and education, which will come as no surprise since Illinois is experiencing an influx in demand for highly qualified teachers. Students will want to note, however, that many of these programs do have residency requirements, so a call to the school’s online admissions advisors is encouraged.

What sets EIU apart from many other online portals is that the school takes a vested interest in the cohort model, which sets students up for success by placing them in a group that moves through their degree at the same time. This also helps to foster an intimate relationship between instructors and students, encouraging them to speak out more and discuss the subject matter in an open forum.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Organizational and Professional Development
  • Master of Science in Educational Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Music, Music Education Concentration

11

Governors State University

College Choice Score: 66.58

Average Tuition (per credit): $272.00

Website

Governors State University is a public, comprehensive institution that is located on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. It currently offers a range of courses and degrees through its online portal for all students. This school holds regional accreditation from the HLC.

This school offers six degrees and certifications at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. The certificate offered at this school is the Online Teaching and Learning Certificate, which offers instructors the chance to be certified in online distance learning.

Degrees at the school are offered in both fully online and hybrid options. Courses are taught in asynchronous format and delivered in the 15-week format. Students will also have access to online tutoring and student support services, academic advising, writing resource services, and technical support. An online bookstore has also been set for students to help them keep track of their textbooks while learning online.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN Program)
  • Master of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management
  • Doctor of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership with Concentrations

12

Trinity International University

College Choice Score: 65.98

Average Tuition (per credit): $350.00

Website

Trinity International University is a private, evangelical Christian, liberal arts institution that are headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, and has campuses all over the country. It is known for its dedication to providing online students with a Christian education that prepares them to become ethical leaders in a changing world. This school holds regional accreditation by the HLC.

This school confers nearly a dozen degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels of education. Unlike many other online portals, this school divides its programs up by school; students interested in graduate degrees must contact the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School or the Trinity Graduate School for information on those online programs.

TIU provides students with everything they could need to succeed in life. Students are given full access to the school’s online library and bookstore around the clock, as well as technical and academic services, online tutoring, and more. Teachers also provide students with online office hours in case a student missed a live lecture, allowing students to work on their degree as their schedule permits.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts in Theological Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling Dual Degree

13

Illinois State University

College Choice Score: 65.22

Average Tuition (per credit): $370.00

Website

Illinois State University is a public, comprehensive research institution. It is also the oldest public university in the state of Illinois and is best known for being the largest producers of teachers in the region. It is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and is regionally accredited by the HLC.

As part of the University of Illinois System, Illinois State shares its online degrees with other schools, which has created a consortium of online programs, all of which can be found in one place. Together, this consortium confers 70 programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. The majority of these programs relate to education and health and human services, although students will find a variety of other subjects represented as well.

All of the programs that can be found at the University of Illinois Online Catalog, which Illinois State University belongs to, are fully accredited and supported by the schools. The consortium also offers students online tutoring, writing resources, academic advising, and access to the schools’ bookstores and libraries, all free of charge.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
  • Master of Education in Bilingual and ESL Education
  • Doctor of Public Health in Leadership

14

Greenville College

College Choice Score: 64.78

Average Tuition (per credit): $420.00

Website

Greenville College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution that is associated with the Free Methodist Church. The school is best known for its online offerings that provide Illinois teachers with a way to get advanced degrees without quitting their day job. This school is regionally accredited by the HLC.

This university offers four undergraduate degrees as well as six graduate degrees. Greenville also confers endorsements and certifications for teachers in a variety of fields, such as Special Education and ESL. While the majority of courses are wholly online, some do require campus residency, so students are encouraged to speak to an admissions advisor about their program residency requirement specifications.

Learning online at Greenville is punctuated by the collaborative learning environment the school has set up on its internet portal. From study groups to team assignments, academic advising to around-the-clock technical support, this school offers everything possible to ensure that students realize their dreams and earn their degree.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Teaching, Curriculum and Instruction

15

Lincoln Christian University

College Choice Score: 64.48

Average Tuition (per credit): $434.00

Website

Lincoln Christian University is a private Christian university that has a stated focus on building a stable of Christian leaders who understand the importance of education and leadership. This includes an online education, an area that the school is quickly earning a reputation for. This school holds regional accreditation by the HLC.

This school confers seven degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels of education. Online electives are also available for all students. The majority of these programs are focused on Biblical Theology and Christian Ministry, making it one of the best universities in Illinois of Christian-minded students.

Courses taught at LCU are taught asynchronously, allowing students to choose their own study schedule. They are also taught in eight-week terms, ensuring that students can move quickly from foundational courses to more advanced concepts. 24/7 technical support and other student support services, which were created specifically for the online community, are also available.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Associate of Arts in Bible
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Bible and Theology

16

National Louis University

College Choice Score: 63.15

Average Tuition (per credit): $470.00

Website

National Louis University is a private, not-for-profit institution that is located in several satellite campuses in and around the Chicago, Illinois, area. It is well known for its dedication to online programs. This school holds regional accreditation by the HLC.

This university confers 18 online degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. The major of the programs come from education and health and human services, including two doctoral programs in education. There are also a variety of elective online courses that all NLU students can take part in as they complete their degree requirements.

While not all courses are fully online, NLU makes it a point to ensure that online assignments, exams, and even practicums can be completed in a student’s area of residence. Courses are taught asynchronously, ensuring that students can also pick and choose when they study. Other features include academic and career counseling services, online tutoring, e-textbook pickups at the online bookstore, and more. Technical support is available around the clock.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Management
  • Master of Business Administration in Nonprofit Management
  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership

17

Judson University

College Choice Score: 62.60

Average Tuition (per credit): $520.00

Website

Judson University is a private, evangelical Christian, Baptist institution that is located in Elgin, Illinois. It is also known for having a strong online presence when it comes to its educational offerings. This school is regionally accredited by the HLC.

This university confers five undergraduate degrees and three graduate degrees. The only degree that requires a residency is the Master of Leadership in Ministry, which has a weekend residency for every term a student enrolls in the degree. Individual online courses are available as well and open to all Judson students.

Judson operates on the idea that an online education is just as valuable as an on-campus education. Therefore, there are no distinctions between degrees. Online students will also have access to the same services as traditional students, including academic and student support services, library and bookstore privileges, and even one-on-one tutoring that is available through the school’s distance learning center.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Management and Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration

18

DePaul University

College Choice Score: 61.95

Average Tuition (per credit): $600.00

Website

DePaul University is a private, Roman Catholic institution that is the largest of its kind in the country. It is also known for its online degree completion offerings, a program that allows students with previous college credits to complete their degree and advance their career. This school holds regional accreditation by the HLC.

This school confers two undergraduate degree completion options: Computer Science and Information Technology. In addition, the school also offers graduate degrees in 12 different fields. While it is not specifically stated, DePaul has a focus on STEM and business online degrees.

This school believes that working professionals need an online degree that gives them the information they need while allowing them to study in a way that fits them best. That’s why the school offers its courses asynchronously and pairs it with an app that ensures that students can take their education with them wherever they go, even if there isn’t a Wi-Fi signal. Other features include 24/7 technical support, academic advising, and online access to the school’s bookstore.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Degree Completion
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction

19

Benedictine University

College Choice Score: 61.67

Average Tuition (per credit): $555.00

Website

Benedictine University is a private, Roman Catholic institution that is nestled in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. This school is well known for its online offerings, including dual degrees, most of which are available wholly online. This school is regionally accredited by the HLC.

This school has a strong focus on graduate degrees; it confers 10 degrees at this level. However, the school also confers two undergraduate degrees, both of which are in the field of business. Students will find that the majority of online degrees at this school are taught in asynchronous format and in 16-week terms.

Benedictine believes that a well-prepared student is the best kind of professional. That’s why this school provides students with every opportunity to create the educational environment that fits them the best. This includes 24/7 technical support, individualized academic advising, access to the school’s online library and bookstore, and more.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior (Dual Degree Program)
  • Master of Science in Nursing

20

Lewis University

College Choice Score: 58.78

Average Tuition (per credit): $677.50

Website

Lewis University is a private, Roman Catholic, Lasallian comprehensive institution that is located in Romeoville, Illinois. It has a dedicated mission to providing online education to working and professional adults. This school is regionally accredited by the HLC.

Unlike many other online universities on this list, Lewis University has a vested interest in graduate programs. This school confers seven graduate degrees and five graduate certificates in a variety of fields, including leadership and data science. It is also the only school on this list to promote an online graduate degree in aviation and transportation.

Part of what makes Lewis such a great school for graduate students is its dedication to an exceptional online education. All instructors must be certified to teach online prior to doing so, and students are granted access to not only their professors, but other students and student services, all around the clock, so that no matter where they are in the world, they have access to what they require in order to complete their degree.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Master of Science in Criminal and Social Justice
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

21

North Park University

College Choice Score: 53.45

Average Tuition (per credit): $850.00

Website

North Park University is a private, Evangelical Covenant Church institution that enrolls a student body of more than 3,000 people who come from all over the world. It is also a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. This university is regionally accredited by the HLC.

While it can be difficult to navigate through North Park University’s online offerings, the school does currently confer over 20 degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, most of which offer 100 percent online options. Graduate-level certifications are also available in a dozen different fields of study. Hybrid options are also available, ensuring that students who live near campus can continue their education both online and on-campus, whichever suits their needs best.

Students will be granted access to the school’s LMS, which allows the internet portal to function as a secondary school online. Features include 24/7 technical support, academic advising, and instructor hours, all which can be facilitated at any time through any smart device. Access to the school’s online library and bookstore are also available.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

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

22

Dominican University

College Choice Score: 51.25

Average Tuition (per credit): $1,040.00

Website

Dominican University is a private, Catholic, Dominican comprehensive institution that is currently ranked by U.S. News and World Report’s Midwestern Master’s-Level Universities ranking. The school is known for an interactive approach to online learning. This school holds regional accreditation by the HLC.

This school only provides three degrees online at the undergraduate and graduate levels. While this may seem like slim pickings, it’s actually the opposite: by focusing on a few key fields of study that are in high demand, the school is creating a high standard for online education within the state.

Dominican has an incredible amount of support for its online education offerings. From academic advising to faculty that has been specially trained to teach in the art of online education, the school is making every effort to provide the same education online as it does offline. Online students are also supported by a robust online library and bookstore as well as technical support.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Services
  • Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies
  • Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution

23

Illinois Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 48.99

Average Tuition (per credit): $1,313.00

Website

The Illinois Institute of Technology is a private, space-grant, doctoral research university that specializes in STEM subjects and law. The school also offers a variety of online graduate degrees that focus on these subjects as part of its online portal. This school holds regional accreditation by the HLC.

This university confers one undergraduate degree and 23 graduate degrees in STEM fields. This includes programs in engineering, information technology, and computer science. Most of these programs are available wholly online; however, some do have residency requirements. Students are advised to speak with an admissions officer about those requirements.

IIT doesn’t believe in differentiating between online and on-campus programs. To this end, students will find that the curriculum and the faculty that teaches it will be exactly the same, no matter what option a student chooses to pursue towards their degree goals. However, online students are treated to their own Online Student Support staff, as well as access to the online bookstore and academic advising services.

Top Three Online Programs Include:

  • Bachelor of Industrial Technology and Management
  • Master of Engineering in Manufacturing Engineering
  • Master of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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