Why This Matters


    A bachelor’s degree earns workers $502 more each week compared to those with only a high school diploma, according to 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


    Estimates from College Board show an average sum of $14,420 for in-state tuition and fees at public Illinois colleges during the 2020-21 school year.


    On average, full-time undergraduate students going to college in the United States received $14,940 in financial aid for the 2019-20 academic year.

Our Research

Our list of best online colleges in Illinois is based on analysis of several pieces of data. We started by reviewing all colleges in Illinois, from very small liberal arts colleges to the largest public universities. We based our list on the cost of tuition, requirements for credits to graduate, and the method of delivery for the coursework.

We ensure all colleges on our list are accredited, meaning they hold up to the high quality standards of an accrediting organization. In Illinois, most of the colleges fall under the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional accreditor in the North Central region serving higher learning institutions in 19 states. The organization provides quality assurance in higher education.

  • 95hours to write this article
  • 141universities and colleges we assessed
  • 214education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Illinois

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What You Should Know About Graduating From College in Illinois

Your career path is an important factor that can help you narrow down online college options. High-paying careers give you a better return on your investment. Based on 2020 wage data, the highest paying jobs for holders of bachelor’s degrees in Illinois were chief executives, airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers, computer and information systems managers, architectural and engineering managers, and financial managers.

Another positive prospect for your career path is a field with ample job openings. In Illinois, the careers requiring a bachelor’s degree with the most job openings include general and operations managers, registered nurses, accountants and auditors, management analysts, and business operations specialists.

Being aware of declining fields can also help you make your career path decision. The Illinois jobs for people with bachelor’s degrees with the greatest expected decline are reporters and correspondents, literacy teachers and instructors, buyers and purchasing agents, labor relations specialists, and materials scientists.

What’s Next?

Along with picking a college and career path, financial aid is another important consideration. Here are state and federal resources to help you explore scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options for undergraduates in Illinois.

  • Illinois Board of Higher Education. The Illinois Higher Education Agency provides information on private and public colleges in Illinois as well as state financial aid programs.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Learn about the grants, scholarships, work study, and student loans available through the office of Federal Student Aid, which provides over $120 billion each year in financial aid. Use FAFSA4caster to check eligibility for financial aid. An online form makes it easy to apply.
  • CareerOneStop: Filter listings for grants, scholarships, and other financial aid sources to narrow down the options based on your state and major. Find information on deadlines, award amounts, and other important details.