List of Online College Programs in Illinois

POPULATION (2021): 12.6 million

CAPITAL: Springfield



The Land of Lincoln is centered around the third-biggest city in America, Chicago, and that is also where most of the colleges and universities in Illinois are located. However, the biggest public school is the University of Illinois, located in Champaign, and there are several other universities away from the big city. 

If you’re looking for a true college feel, Chicago University may not be your first choice, as it is a huge city that never stops moving. It does, however, offer students the peace of the lakefront, which many use for studying and relaxation away from the busy bustle. 

Students who go to college elsewhere in the state will never be too far from rolling hills, lakes, and rivers, though the entirety of the state does get cold in the winter, with the aforementioned lake adding to the amount of snow that Illinois receives every winter. 

Universities in Illinois – 4-Year Colleges and Online (Priority Section

There is no shortage of colleges and universities in Illinois, and people from all around the country (and beyond) head to Illinois for college. In addition to being regarded as a nice place to live, there is also a lot of opportunity, especially compared to some other midwestern states. Here is a closer look at the college landscape in Illinois for 4-year degrees. 

Public Universities in Illinois

Several of the public universities and colleges in Illinois are part of the Univesity of Illinois system, starting with the main campus at Champaign. This is the largest public university in Illinois and is where students from all across the state go to cheer on their beloved U of Illinois Division 1 sports teams. 

The other colleges that fall under the umbrella of the University of Illinois system are The U of I at Chicago, the U of I in Springfield (the capital), and then Southern Illinois University also has 2 campuses (Carbondale, Edwardsville). The rest of the 4-year public universities in Illinois are standalone campuses:

  • Chicago State University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Governors State University
  • Illinois State University
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Western Illinois University

Private Universities in Illinois

Private universities are in high supply in Illinois, with most offering 4-year degrees to students. If you include religious universities and special focus schools, there are more than 60 private universities in Illinois, with most of the special focus schools in or around Chicago. Here are some of the more prominent private universities in Illinois, with the city in parentheses:

  • University of Chicago
  • Concordia University (Chicago)
  • DePaul University (Chicago)
  • East-West University (Chicago)
  • Greenville University (Greenville)
  • Illinois College (Jacksonville)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago)
  • Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington)
  • Knox College (Galesburg)
  • Lewis University (Romeoville)
  • Loyola Chicago
  • Monmouth College (Monmouth)
  • Northwestern University (Evanston)
  • Rockford University
  • Rush University (Chicago)
  • Wheaton College

Community Colleges in Illinois

Illinois puts a lot of time and money into its education system, and the community college system is no exception. Here is a list!

  • Black Hawk College, Moline
  • City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago (list below)
  • Danville Area Community College, Danville
  • College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn
  • East St. Louis Community College Center, East St. Louis
  • Elgin Community College, Elgin
  • Harper College, Palatine
  • Heartland Community College, Normal
  • Highland Community College, Freeport
  • Illinois Central College, East Peoria
  • IL Eastern Community Colleges, Olney
  • Frontier Community College, Fairfield
  • Lincoln Trail College, Robinson
  • Olney Central College, Olney
  • Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel
  • IL Valley Community College, Oglesby
  • Joliet Junior College, Joliet
  • Kankakee Community College, Kankakee
  • Kaskaskia College, Centralia
  • Kishwaukee College, Malta
  • College of Lake County, Grayslake
  • Lake Land College, Mattoon
  • Lewis & Clark Community College, Godfrey
  • Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield
  • John A. Logan College, Carterville
  • McHenry County College, Crystal Lake
  • Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills
  • Morton College, Cicero
  • Oakton Community College, Des Plaines
  • Parkland College, Champaign
  • Prairie State College, Chicago Heights
  • Rend Lake College, Ina
  • Richland Community College, Decatur
  • Rock Valley College, Rockford
  • Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg
  • Sauk Valley Community College, Dixon
  • Shawnee Community College, Ullin
  • South Suburban College, South Holland
  • Southeastern Illinois College, Harrisburg
  • Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville
  • Spoon River College, Canton
  • Triton College, River Grove
  • Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove
  • John Wood Community College, Quincy

Prominent Online Colleges in Illinois

The University of Illinois received praise for its online offerings even before the pandemic, but post-2020 its offerings for fully online and hybrid programs have grown to serve a significant portion of students, and the public sector schools are following suit. It’s a bit more hit or miss from the private universities, but more are trending toward providing students with online options for their studies. 

Universities in Chicago

Here is a more granular look at the 4-year universities that call Chicago home. As the third-largest city in the entire country, you can rest assured there is something for everyone in the city. 

Private and public 4-year universities in Chicago:

  • American Academy of Art
  • American Islamic College
  • Chicago State University
  • Columbia College
  • DePaul University
  • DeVry University (online)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Loyola University of Chicago
  • Moody Bible Institute
  • National Louis University
  • North Park Univesity
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Pacific College of Health Science-Chicago
  • Resurrection University
  • Robert Morris Univesity
  • Roosevelt University
  • Rush University
  • Saint Augustine College
  • School of the Art Institute 
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • VanderCook College of Music

Get to Know Illinois

Illinois is located in the center of the Midwest, and its biggest city, Chicago, is the major economic hub in the region. It also is home to the most colleges of any city in the Midwest, and the rest of the state follows suit, with public and private universities all over the state. 

For the city folk, Chicago is a booming metropolis of culture, events, and nightlife and has one of the best music scenes in the country, especially for fans of blues and hip-hop. 

Outside of the city, you’ll find a state full of rolling hills, waterways, and greenery, and as nice as the landscape is, the people in the Land of Lincoln seem to be even nicer!

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