Illinois K-12 Online Schools

The state of Illinois currently has no statewide online schools, but there are some options for students who wish to study online. The Illinois Virtual School enrolled more than 3,000 students in grades 6-12 in supplemental courses during the 2013-14 year, and there are several online and blended options at the district level. For example, a consortium of school districts in the Chicago area currently offers online courses. Virtual charter schools aren’t currently available in the state. In most cases, online offerings from district schools cater to those who have dropped out of high school; those students often must meet in a physical classroom once a week while completing the majority of their work online.

Cambridge Lakes Charter School K - 8 Pingree Grove On-Demand/Asynchronous Public (847) 464-5300
Chicago Virtual Charter School K - 11 Chicago On-Demand/Asynchronous Public (866) 612-1450
Hadley School for the Blind 9 - 12 Winnetka On-Demand/Asynchronous Private (800) 323-4238

Illinois Online Colleges and Universities

Private career colleges were generally among the earliest adopters of online education in Illinois, but now even large, public schools offer Web-based courses and degrees. The University of Illinois, for example, offers online bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, certificates and continuing education across all three of its campuses. Northern Illinois University and Northeastern Illinois University also have online bachelor’s and master’s programs. Even two-year schools are following the trend via the Illinois Community College Online (ILCCO) consortium, which connects students with online courses across the system. Dozens of private online schools in Illinois supplement these public options, including DeVry University, which is headquartered in the state.

Community Colleges in Illinois

Illinois launched the nation’s very first community college–an experiment that evolved into what is now the third largest community college system in the nation, with 48 member schools in 39 districts serving nearly 1 million students each year. Students can pursue targeted career training, certificates and associate degrees in over 300 disciplines. This diversity of programs, along with the system’s comparative affordability, makes community college a popular choice in Illinois: almost two-thirds of all public college students statewide attend these two-year schools. Some of these students transfer into four-year institutions, but others aim to build or expand upon workforce-ready skills. Illinois community colleges have built evening, weekend and online programs to better serve these working and nontraditional students.

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Harper College 1200 W Algonquin Rd Palatine +
John Wood Community College 1301 S 48th Street Quincy +
City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College 4300 N Narragansett Chicago +
Kaskaskia College 27210 College Rd Centralia +
Spoon River College 23235 North County 22 Canton +
College of DuPage 425 Fawell Blvd. Glen Ellyn +

Public Universities in Illinois

Illinois’ nine public universities serve about one-fifth of its undergraduate and one-third of its graduate student population. The extensive system offers bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees and graduate certificates in hundreds of disciplines. Each university is distinct in its programs and services. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for instance, is known for its research programs, particularly in the areas of science, math and engineering. Twelve campuses and even more satellite facilities mean most state residents have access to public university programs, but a boom in online degree programs expanded their reach well beyond these classroom walls–and even the state’s borders.

Private Colleges in Illinois

Private colleges tend to be more expensive than Illinois’ public universities, but they remain popular among students looking for certain programs, services and learning experiences. How popular? There are about 100 independent nonprofit schools alone serving nearly a quarter-million students each year, and for-profit institutions only add to that share. Private colleges in Illinois range tremendously in size and scope. There are religiously affiliated institutions, prestigious research universities and several targeted professional schools specializing in areas like psychology, technology, optometry and more. Some are nationally renowned, like The University of Chicago and Northwestern University, which consistently rank among the top 20 best universities in the country according to U.S. News & World Report.

Illinois Post-Secondary Schools and Programs Spotlight

Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University, a public institution headquartered in Macomb, offers a number of online courses through its School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach. Students can earn a handful of degrees fully online, including a Bachelor of Arts in General Studies, a Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology, and a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in elementary education. WIU also participates in the National Fire Academy’s Fire and Emergency Services for Higher Learning curriculum, which allows working firefighters to take career-related upper division courses through the university’s distance learning system. Note that WIU students enrolled in other programs still have access to dozens of individual online courses.

All online courses begin and end at the same time as regular on-campus classes, with sessions starting in the spring, fall and summer. Students can access lectures and materials online at any time, but must comply with all instructor-set homework and exam deadlines.

To learn more about Western Illinois University and its distance learning programs, visit the website at:

DePaul University

DePaul University’s Online Learning program allows students to earn Web-based certificates, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in a number of fields. Undergraduate options include a fully online baccalaureate in computing as well as online bachelor’s degree completion programs in communication and media, information technology and psychology. Also available is an online bachelor’s degree with an individualized focus area based on personal and professional goals. Students can pursue online graduate certificates and master’s degrees in many different subject areas, like accountancy, computer science, public service management and software engineering, among others.

DePaul offers remote students an array of learning tools and support resources, including library services, career counseling, academic advising and more.

For more information about DePaul’s online programs, visit:

University of Illinois (U of I Online)

The University of Illinois’ U of I Online is a one-stop hub for students enrolled at any of its Chicago, Springfield and Urbana-Champaign campuses. The system grants fully online bachelor’s degrees in business, computer science and health information management. The University of Illinois Springfield’s online bachelor’s degree programs have been ranked the 31st in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Students can pursue online graduate certificates in community public health and forensic nursing, or online master’s degrees in areas like agricultural education, foodservice and nutrition, and management information systems. Online doctoral degree programs include nursing practice and public health.

The University of Illinois is known for its selective admissions requirements. For example, students looking to enroll in the college of business must have 24-50+ semester hours of transferable coursework. Students who have completed less than 30 semester hours of credit are evaluated based on their grades and courses in college, high school academics, ACT or SAT scores and essays. Transfer admission preference is given to applicants who would have been admitted as freshmen. Graduate admissions requirements are equally steep–many programs require bachelor’s degrees from regionally accredited U.S. colleges and a GPA of 4.0 as well as specific GRE scores.

For a full list of offerings, visit the U of I’s online program page:

Loyola University (Loyola Online)

Loyola University’s Loyola Online System offers advanced certificates, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees in a fully Web-based format. Online bachelor’s degrees are currently limited to the fields of management and applied studies, but online graduate study options are much more robust. Students can also pursue six fully online certificate programs.

Loyola University distance learning courses are divided into three distinct categories: online, hybrid and blended. Online classes are delivered 100 percent over the Internet through Sakai, the university’s virtual learning system. Hybrid courses are available mostly online, but students must complete 25 percent of the coursework in the classroom. Blended courses incorporate varying amounts of content online. Some online, hybrid and blended courses require students to log into Sakai to for real-time, synchronous sessions.

For more information on Loyola’s online programs, visit

4 Year Online Colleges in Illinois

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School Type
Degree Levels
28 Results
Benedictine University Private not-for-profit 5700 College Rd Lisle +
National Louis University Private not-for-profit 122 S Michigan Ave Chicago +
Loyola University Chicago Private not-for-profit 1032 W. Sheridan Rd Chicago +
University of Illinois at Springfield Public One University Plaza Springfield +
Dominican University Private not-for-profit 7900 W Division Street River Forest +
Knowledge Systems Institute Private not-for-profit 3420 Main St Skokie +
Northern Baptist Theological Seminary Private not-for-profit 660 E Butterfield Rd Lombard +
Lewis University Private not-for-profit One University Parkway Romeoville +
Erikson Institute Private not-for-profit 451 N. LaSalle Street Chicago +
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Best Online Colleges and Universities in Illinois

Best for Future Service Members

Illinois is often considered a microcosm of the country, and the diversity of its total student population reflects that. Many online colleges and universities in Illinois offer programs specifically for certain groups of students–especially active and retired military service members. All online programs can be tremendously helpful for military personnel and spouses who want to invest in higher education, but do not want their studies disrupted by a deployment, relocation or any other event. Some schools take their mission to serve these students even further. They might offer special scholarships or financial aid programs for active and retired military, counseling on how to get the most out of their education benefits, or even transition support. Congrats to the following online schools in Illinois whose military support programs go above and beyond the call of duty.

Tuition City ROTC - Army ROTC - Navy ROTC - Air Force
University of Illinois at Chicago$10,466 Chicago Yes Yes Yes
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign$12,603 Champaign Yes Yes Yes
Northeastern Illinois University$6,120 Chicago Yes No Yes
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville$6,256 Edwardsville Yes No Yes
Southern Illinois University Carbondale$7,635 Carbondale Yes No Yes

Best for Personal Attention

Illinois has no shortage of top-notch online schools and degrees, but program formats and technologies can vary tremendously. Some of these differences can make students’ learning experiences a little more personal. For instance, courses that use a lot of collaborative tools, like Skype and cloud-based projects, help students feel connected. Small class sizes free instructors up to answer questions and provide more individual feedback. Even synchronous courses in which students log in to view interactive live-streamed courses during set times can be enormously helpful for students who like the convenience of online learning, but miss the spontaneity of classroom lectures. The following online schools in Illinois may use different methods, but all actively work to provide their students with this kind of personalized attention.

Hebrew Theological College 20 to 1 501$17,620 Private not-for-profit Skokie
East-West University 20 to 1 1,005$16,800 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Saint Augustine College 20 to 1 2,254$8,760 Private not-for-profit Chicago
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 20 to 1 33,400$12,603 Public Champaign
Robert Morris University Illinois 19 to 1 4,313$22,200 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Illinois State University 19 to 1 19,965$9,286 Public Normal
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 18 to 1 12,773$6,256 Public Edwardsville
Moody Bible Institute 17 to 1 3,753$8,800 Private not-for-profit Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago 17 to 1 18,698$10,466 Public Chicago
Northern Illinois University 17 to 1 18,830$8,149 Public Dekalb
DePaul University 17 to 1 19,088$31,650 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Methodist College 16 to 1 661$15,198 Private not-for-profit Peoria
Lincoln Christian University 16 to 1 716$15,060 Private not-for-profit Lincoln
North Central College 16 to 1 2,985$30,891 Private not-for-profit Naperville
Olivet Nazarene University 16 to 1 3,442$27,250 Private not-for-profit Bourbonnais
Chicago State University 16 to 1 6,198$6,144 Public Chicago
Western Illinois University 16 to 1 11,892$7,415 Public Macomb
Telshe Yeshiva-Chicago 15 to 1 79$12,000 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Lincoln College 15 to 1 1,395$16,500 Private not-for-profit Lincoln
Aurora University 15 to 1 3,183$19,900 Private not-for-profit Aurora
Benedictine University 15 to 1 4,750$23,217 Private not-for-profit Lisle
Eastern Illinois University 15 to 1 10,579$7,780 Public Charleston
Loyola University Chicago 15 to 1 11,095$33,450 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Northeastern Illinois University 15 to 1 11,325$6,120 Public Chicago
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 15 to 1 17,448$7,635 Public Carbondale
Eureka College 14 to 1 826$18,650 Private not-for-profit Eureka
Monmouth College 14 to 1 1,361$30,450 Private not-for-profit Monmouth
Quincy University 14 to 1 1,425$24,344 Private not-for-profit Quincy
Greenville College 14 to 1 1,453$22,750 Private not-for-profit Greenville
McKendree University 14 to 1 2,755$24,340 Private not-for-profit Lebanon
Saint Xavier University 14 to 1 3,432$27,330 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Elmhurst College 14 to 1 3,508$31,450 Private not-for-profit Elmhurst
University of Illinois at Springfield 14 to 1 3,631$6,840 Public Springfield
Trinity International University-Illinois 13 to 1 1,286$25,400 Private not-for-profit Deerfield
Lake Forest College 13 to 1 1,582$37,660 Private not-for-profit Lake Forest
North Park University 13 to 1 2,440$22,090 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Lewis University 13 to 1 5,242$25,770 Private not-for-profit Romeoville
MacMurray College 12 to 1 598$20,400 Private not-for-profit Jacksonville
University of St Francis 12 to 1 2,052$26,374 Private not-for-profit Joliet
Dominican University 12 to 1 2,142$27,480 Private not-for-profit River Forest
Wheaton College 12 to 1 2,559$30,120 Private not-for-profit Wheaton
Illinois Institute of Technology 12 to 1 2,999$35,203 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Governors State University 12 to 1 4,171$5,976 Public University Park
Roosevelt University 12 to 1 4,486$25,950 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Bradley University 12 to 1 5,149$27,940 Private not-for-profit Peoria
Resurrection University 11 to 1 392$23,278 Private not-for-profit Oak Park
Illinois College 11 to 1 962$26,000 Private not-for-profit Jacksonville
Knox College 11 to 1 1,457$36,138 Private not-for-profit Galesburg
Trinity Christian College 11 to 1 1,594$23,098 Private not-for-profit Palos Heights
Illinois Wesleyan University 11 to 1 2,105$37,774 Private not-for-profit Bloomington
Millikin University 11 to 1 2,497$27,852 Private not-for-profit Decatur
Augustana College 11 to 1 2,737$34,614 Private not-for-profit Rock Island
Blessing Rieman College of Nursing 10 to 1 292$18,840 Private not-for-profit Quincy
Blackburn College 10 to 1 591$17,282 Private not-for-profit Carlinville
Judson University 10 to 1 1,213$26,220 Private not-for-profit Elgin
School of the Art Institute of Chicago 10 to 1 2,807$38,340 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Columbia College-Chicago 10 to 1 12,168$21,200 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Shimer College 9 to 1 138$26,510 Private not-for-profit Chicago
VanderCook College of Music 9 to 1 194$22,776 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Saint Anthony College of Nursing 9 to 1 240$20,134 Private not-for-profit Rockford
Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences 9 to 1 284$22,680 Private not-for-profit Rock Island
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing 9 to 1 468$15,810 Private not-for-profit Peoria
Rockford University 9 to 1 1,153$26,210 Private not-for-profit Rockford
Concordia University-Chicago 9 to 1 1,552$25,942 Private not-for-profit River Forest
Christian Life College 8 to 1 54$9,440 Private not-for-profit Mount Prospect
Lakeview College of Nursing 8 to 1 393$12,870 Private not-for-profit Danville
National Louis University 8 to 1 1,870$18,855 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Northwestern University 7 to 1 11,076$43,380 Private not-for-profit Evanston
Lexington College 6 to 1 75$23,500 Private not-for-profit Chicago
St Johns College 6 to 1 112$15,030 Private not-for-profit Springfield
National University of Health Sciences 6 to 1 153$13,987 Private not-for-profit Lombard
University of Chicago 6 to 1 5,518$43,581 Private not-for-profit Chicago
Rush University 5 to 1 106$32,603 Private not-for-profit Chicago

Best for Women in Technology

Studies show that though women have made huge strides in breaking through many professional gender barriers, they remain woefully underrepresented in tech. Many colleges took note and launched initiatives to attract and better support women pursuing degrees in high-tech fields like computer science. Because technology programs are particularly well suited for Web-centered education, some online schools in Illinois have joined the movement to support women majoring in tech domains. They might, for instance, hire more female instructors who can guide and mentor young women, or coordinate special networking or other events especially for them. Approaches vary, but these programs’ commitment to helping women succeed in tech is universal. Here are some of the best online schools in Illinois doing just that.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign$14,522 Champaign 444 40,541 Public
Northwestern University$43,779 Evanston 255 17,089 Private Not for Profit
Illinois Institute of Technology$37,969 Chicago 222 6,322 Private Not for Profit
Southern Illinois University Carbondale$11,528 Carbondale 127 15,814 Public
University of Illinois at Chicago$13,122 Chicago 126 23,041 Public
Concordia University-Chicago$26,476 River Forest 125 1,710 Private Not for Profit
Northern Illinois University$13,066 Dekalb 82 17,448 Public
Illinois State University$12,726 Normal 59 18,825 Public
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville$9,251 Edwardsville 51 10,905 Public
Eastern Illinois University$10,930 Charleston 51 9,257 Public
Bradley University$28,284 Peoria 45 4,970 Private Not for Profit
Rush UniversityN/A Chicago 44 1,335 Private Not for Profit
Western Illinois University$11,182 Macomb 22 10,386 Public
DePaul University$32,295 Chicago 20 19,029 Private Not for Profit
Loyola University Chicago$34,578 Chicago 18 13,494 Private Not for Profit
Lewis University$25,770 Romeoville 14 3,962 Private Not for Profit
Roosevelt University$25,950 Chicago 13 3,809 Private Not for Profit
University of St Francis$26,924 Joliet 13 1,526 Private Not for Profit
Columbia College-Chicago$21,730 Chicago 12 10,287 Private Not for Profit
University of Illinois at Springfield$8,952 Springfield 8 2,588 Public
Robert Morris University Illinois$22,200 Chicago 7 3,532 Private Not for Profit
National Louis University$18,930 Chicago 7 1,188 Private Not for Profit

Best Schools Fighting for Families

When it comes to social services emphasizing children and family, Illinois colleges shine by creating some of the strongest educational environments for students earning their social work degree. Many online schools in Illinois offer quality social sciences programs that earn high rankings, hire experienced faculty and offer opportunities for honing field experience within students’ own communities. Professional programs, support groups or special scholarships for online social science students help, too. Here is a list of some of the outstanding online social work programs in Illinois.

Loyola University Chicago Chicago 494 418 76 $34,578 13,494
University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago 380 315 65 $13,122 23,041
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign 341 260 81 $14,522 40,541
University of Chicago Chicago 261 210 51 $45,609 12,457
Aurora University Aurora 209 189 20 $20,100 2,800
Northeastern Illinois University Chicago 188 153 35 $8,089 5,995
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale 183 150 33 $11,528 15,814
Illinois State University Normal 156 124 32 $12,726 18,825
Northern Illinois University Dekalb 139 66 73 $13,066 17,448
DePaul University Chicago 127 91 36 $32,295 19,029
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Edwardsville 121 100 21 $9,251 10,905
Western Illinois University Macomb 105 75 30 $11,182 10,386
Governors State University University Park 95 83 12 N/A 655
Dominican University River Forest 91 75 16 $27,730 2,272
Eastern Illinois University Charleston 77 46 31 $10,930 9,257
Chicago State University Chicago 57 47 10 $8,558 4,446
University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield 53 44 9 $8,952 2,588
Bradley University Peoria 52 39 13 $28,284 4,970
Northwestern University Evanston 39 30 9 $43,779 17,089
North Central College Naperville 36 22 14 $31,071 2,621
McKendree University Lebanon 32 13 19 $25,340 1,964
Roosevelt University Chicago 30 22 8 $25,950 3,809
University of St Francis Joliet 29 27 2 $26,924 1,526
Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais 26 25 1 $28,090 2,921
Lewis University Romeoville 25 23 2 $25,770 3,962
Millikin University Decatur 24 19 5 $28,612 2,214
Augustana College Rock Island 21 16 5 $34,614 2,504
National Louis University Chicago 19 15 4 $18,930 1,188
Elmhurst College Elmhurst 18 16 2 $31,650 2,990
Saint Xavier University Chicago 18 13 5 $28,110 2,812
Wheaton College Wheaton 15 9 6 $30,120 2,654
North Park University Chicago 14 10 4 $22,150 1,948
Concordia University-Chicago River Forest 12 11 1 $26,476 1,710
Trinity Christian College Palos Heights 12 11 1 $23,513 1,155
Saint Augustine College Chicago 11 10 1 $8,760 1,276
Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington 9 7 2 $37,954 2,082
Illinois College Jacksonville 9 3 6 $26,500 913
Benedictine University Lisle 8 5 3 $24,137 3,817
MacMurray College Jacksonville 8 7 1 $21,400 472
Rockford University Rockford 8 2 6 $26,310 909
Greenville College Greenville 7 7 $22,920 1,285
Monmouth College Monmouth 7 5 2 $30,450 1,283