The Best Online Colleges in Illinois

The Best Online Colleges in Illinois


One significant reason you may want to opt for online education is the flexibility it provides, especially for working adults. Many people find themselves stuck in jobs they can’t leave because they lack the time for further education. You would also find more and more college students turning to online courses, as indicated by an approximate 33% increase in the number of students engaging in distance learning in Illinois between 2012 and 2015, according to the Distance Education State Almanac.

Surprisingly, 12% of undergraduate and graduate students in Illinois opt for exclusively online courses, and nearly half of them are from the state itself.

Illinois boasts a diverse array of college institutions, including public schools, liberal arts colleges, private research universities, community colleges, and trade schools offering online courses. This variety allows students to pursue associate, undergraduate, and graduate degrees through both on-campus and online options.

Top Best Online Colleges in Illinois

Whether you’re a resident of the state or seeking educational opportunities from afar, there are a lot of online colleges in Illinois that would provide the flexible and accessible options you need. In this article, we will explore the best online colleges in Illinois to choose from.

1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

UIUC is widely recognized for its outstanding online programs that cater to a diverse range of fields including business, engineering, and liberal arts.

  • Overview: UIUC consistently ranks among the top public universities in the nation. The online programs cover a wide range of disciplines, including business, engineering, and education.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: UIUC’s online MBA program is highly regarded and allows students to interact with renowned faculty.

2. DePaul University

DePaul is known for its innovative online programs, particularly in business, computer science, and healthcare. The university’s emphasis on real-world applications sets it apart in the online education landscape.

  • Overview: DePaul is a private university with a strong commitment to online education. Their online programs emphasize flexibility and industry relevance.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: DePaul offers a variety of online degrees, including in computer science, business administration, and nursing.

3. Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)

IIT offers a variety of online programs in engineering, computer science, and business. The institute’s strong emphasis on technology and research makes it an excellent choice for those seeking advanced degrees.

  • Overview: IIT is known for its technology-focused programs. The online offerings include master’s degrees in computer science, cybersecurity, and information technology.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: IIT’s online courses are designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals.

4. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

SIUC offers a range of online programs, including degrees in business, education, and healthcare. The university’s dedication to accessibility makes it an appealing choice for distance learners.

  • Overview: SIU Carbondale offers a range of online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. The university is recognized for its strong faculty and commitment to research.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: SIU Carbondale’s online MBA program is renowned for its emphasis on practical business skills.

5. Illinois State University

Illinois State University stands out for its online programs in education, nursing, and business. The university’s commitment to quality education extends to its virtual classrooms.

  • Overview: Illinois State University provides a variety of online undergraduate and graduate programs, with a focus on education, business, and healthcare.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: The online teacher education programs at Illinois State are highly regarded for producing effective educators.

6. Loyola University Chicago

Loyola’s online programs are designed to accommodate the busy schedules of working professionals. The university offers diverse options, including business, education, and healthcare.

  • Overview: Loyola University Chicago offers online programs that reflect its commitment to social justice and global engagement. Online options include business, nursing, and social work.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: Loyola’s online MSW (Master of Social Work) program is known for its focus on community service and advocacy.

7. Western Illinois University

WIU’s online programs cover diverse fields such as business, law enforcement, and healthcare. The university’s commitment to affordability makes it an attractive option for online learners.

  • Overview: Western Illinois University provides affordable online programs in areas such as business, education, and law enforcement.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: WIU is praised for its supportive online learning environment and dedicated faculty.

8. University of Illinois Springfield (UIS)

UIS is a leader in online education, offering programs in fields such as public administration, education, and liberal arts. The university’s commitment to flexibility caters to the needs of working professionals.

  • Overview: UIS offers a range of online programs, including degrees in computer science, healthcare administration, and public administration.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: UIS’s online political science program is recognized for its engaging curriculum and faculty expertise.

9. Roosevelt University

Roosevelt University offers online programs in fields such as business, psychology, and education. The university’s commitment to social justice and diversity is reflected in its curriculum.

  • Overview: Roosevelt University’s online programs focus on business, psychology, and education. The university emphasizes experiential learning and community engagement.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: The online MBA program at Roosevelt is designed for working professionals seeking career advancement.

10. Northern Illinois University

Northwestern provides a selection of online programs in areas like communication, data science, and healthcare. The university’s reputation for academic excellence carries over into its online offerings.

  • Overview: NIU offers a range of online programs, including degrees in business, education, and healthcare. The university is known for its commitment to student success.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: NIU’s online nursing program is recognized for its high graduation rates and strong clinical experiences.

11. Lewis University

Lewis University stands out for its online programs in aviation, business, and nursing. The university’s focus on career-oriented education enhances the value of its online degrees.

  • Overview: Lewis University provides online programs in fields such as aviation, business administration, and criminal justice.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: The online MS in Information Security program at Lewis is designed for those seeking to specialize in cybersecurity.

12. Eastern Illinois University

EIU provides online programs in education, business, and health sciences. The university’s focus on student success is reflected in its online offerings.

  • Overview: EIU offers a variety of online programs, including degrees in education, business, and healthcare administration.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: EIU’s online bachelor’s in general studies is a flexible option for students with diverse academic interests.

13. University of St. Francis

The University of St. Francis provides online programs in healthcare, business, and education. The university’s emphasis on Franciscan values adds a unique dimension to its online education.

  • Overview: The University of St. Francis provides online programs in areas such as healthcare leadership, business administration, and nursing.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: USF’s online MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) program is designed for registered nurses seeking advanced clinical roles.

14. Benedictine University

  • Overview: Benedictine University offers online programs in business, education, and public health. The university emphasizes values-based education.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: The online Master of Public Health (MPH) program at Benedictine focuses on addressing public health challenges.

15. Northwestern University

Northwestern provides a selection of online programs in areas like communication and data science.

  • Overview: Northwestern University offers a select number of online programs, including predictive analytics and information systems.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Notable Feature: Northwestern’s online master’s in predictive analytics is recognized for its cutting-edge curriculum and practical applications.

Whether you’re pursuing a degree in business, education, healthcare, or technology, these colleges in Illinois provide quality online education with all the flexibility and convenience of online learning. Consider your academic and career goals, and explore the opportunities these institutions offer to embark on a successful educational journey.


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