8 Accredited Online Colleges in Illinois

In this article, you will find the online colleges in Illinois and what they have to offer to students who want to study from anywhere in the world while also keeping up with their other commitments.

The introduction of online colleges has made it so easy for anyone to study and earn a degree irrespective of age or background. A full-time employee can apply for graduate degree programs in one of the online colleges in Illinois and graduate in a couple of months while still working and earning a living.

I particularly find this interesting seeing how flexible and convenient this method is. For people like me who are looking to study in one of the best schools in the world, I can actually cut down a lot of costs on accommodation and transportation while studying for my degree at a renowned university.

If this is you, then you’ve come to the right place. This article highlights some of the accredited online colleges in Illinois giving out all the details you need in choosing the best college for you.

While searching for online colleges in Illinois, you might want to broaden your options a bit by checking out the online colleges in Illinois’ surrounding states. We have written extensively on colleges in Michigan for online studies as well as the online colleges in the Bluegrass state of Kentucky.

Whether you are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree, there is something for everyone. There are even certificate courses that can be completed in months; courses that will equip you with skills that are on-demand in your industry and help you access more career opportunities and higher salaries.

Before you continue, I would like to recommend some free courses you can start taking online prior to your admission. There are so many of them, so feel free to explore.

Now, what is it that is so special about Illinois?

According to US News, Illinois is among the top 20 states in the United States that provide quality education. And a report from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that Illinois is home to a total of 185 degree-granting institutions; of the 60 public institutions, 12 operate as four-year schools, and 48 are two-year institutions.

Additionally, the state has 85 nonprofit colleges and 40 for-profit schools, boasting of the fourth-largest enrollment in the U.S. after California, Texas, and New York.

There are a plethora of options to choose from and the major aim of the article is to bring you some of the best accredited online colleges in Illinois.

The average cost of online college in Illinois

The cost of education in any state in the U.S. depends on the type of institution as well as the student’s state of residency, and the state of Illinois is no exception to this. However, the state has offered a reduced tuition rate for distance learners and online students and what they pay is somewhat equivalent to in-state tuition.

On average, the cost of studying in a public institution in Illinois for in-state students is $13,631 and $4,061 for four-year and two-year institutions respectively. For out-of-state students, tuition and fees may go as high as $23,480 for four-year institutions. This data is according to CollegeBoard data for the 2017-2018 school year.

If for any reason you are working on a slim budget, there are quite a good number of cheap online colleges out there that you might want to check out. 

Requirements for online colleges in Illinois

Students are expected to meet and submit the following requirements and eligibility criteria before they can be considered for admission into any of the online colleges in Illinois.

  • Applying student must possess a high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent.
  • Students applying for postgraduate degrees must have completed and earned a bachelor’s degree. Click here to find out a faster way to earn a bachelor’s degree.
  • All applicants ought to have taken standardized tests like MCAT, GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, etc. as these may be required.
  • Applicants should have the following documents in place: letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, a personal essay, CV or resume, and an ID.
  • Applicants must have original high school transcripts and transcripts from previously attended institutions
  • Applicants must meet the required CGPA for their respective degree programs
  • Applicants must complete the online application form
  • Applicants must pay an application fee if required although some online colleges waive the application fee.
  • Applicants need to have digital learning devices to take online classes and submit tests and assignments.

Different colleges will have additional admission requirements, you should keep every academic document in place just in case.

Benefits of Online Colleges in Illinois

Studying in any of the online colleges in Illinois comes with a lot of perks. If you are yet to pick a side between traditional and online learning, here are some benefits of online learning to solidify your decision.

Studying online in Illinois means you get to do whatever you want at any time of your choice. No one dictates your schedule for you or tells you what you should stay committed to alongside your studies. You can even pin down two jobs while studying for a degree.

Also, if you are that type of student who has a particular time of the day when their brain functions at its best, you can switch your schedule up so you take your classes at that time. The self-paced form of learning means you can study on your own time and speed.

And who says you can’t study at work? you can use your free hours to catch up on your coursework or listen to audio lectures while doing your day job. And back at home, you can relax on a couch and take your tests while sipping on your favorite juice. There are so many ways around this thing and the convenience is a benefit that tops the chart.

online colleges in Illinois

8 Accredited Online Colleges in Illinois

Below is a list of the online colleges in Illinois, we have done our best to provide enough details to meet your demands. If you are not clear about something or have further questions, links to the respective school sites have been provided below each school.

1. Lewis University

Lewis University is a private university located in Romeoville. It delivers its online courses through a learning management system called Blackboard, and its undergraduate programs include professional studies, organizational leadership, and nursing.

There are also accelerated BS programs in Business Administration, Computer Science, and Criminal Justice. Graduates may also enroll in Lewis University’s graduate programs in Health Information Management, Nursing, Data Science, Cybersecurity, and so much more.

Lewis University is accredited by, and a member of, the Higher Learning Commission. Find more details below.

Learn more

2. North Park University, Chicago

North Park University’s variety of online degrees has earned it its recognition as one of the online colleges in Illinois.  The institution offers undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and graduate certificate programs for online degree seekers.

The undergraduate online programs include courses in Business Administration, Digital marketing, Organizational Management and Leadership, and Nonprofit Administration. Graduate online programs include Human Resource Management and the courses mentioned above except for Digital Marketing.

Additionally, graduate students can obtain an online doctor of nursing practice. Students enrolled in the DNP program will complete seven semesters of online coursework and visit the campus once yearly.

North Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For further info, check the link below.

Learn more

3. Aurora Univerity

Aurora University is one of the reputable private online colleges in Illinois. Its online degree programs feature undergraduate completion programs in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Social Work, and others, for students who have relevant work experience and transferable college credits.

Online Master’s degree programs are also available in Digital Marketing and Design, Public Administration, and Social Work, to name a few. The university offers an online doctorate degree and several other online endorsement courses for students looking to advance their careers in teaching.

All these programs are offered year-round in convenient five- to eight-week modules.

Aurora University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Learn More

4. Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville is one of the accredited online colleges in Illinois and it offers a few undergraduate and other graduate and doctorate degrees to online degree seekers.

IT provides online degree completion programs in Business Administration, Public Relations, Criminal Justice Studies, Psychology, and Leadership in Organization. There is also an accelerated nursing program for registered nurses with associate degrees or diplomas where they get to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN)  in just one year.

Their graduate degree programs are focused on Master’s of Art in Education, Kinesiology, Business Administration, etc. There is just one doctorate degree in SIUE at the time of writing, and it features the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Find more details about its online programs below.

Learn more 

5. McKendree University

McKendree University is another institution on the list of accredited online colleges in Illinois with several undergraduates, graduate, and doctorate degree programs for online degree-seekers to choose from.

Online students can earn a bachelor of science in business administration, Computer Information Systems, Nursing, and; Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology/Criminal Justice. The four online Master’s degree programs are in Business Administration, Health Administration, Nursing, and Curriculum Design & Instruction.

The institution offers just one doctorate degree and it is none other than the Doctor of Nursing Practice. There are also several post-baccalaureate certificates available. These programs are administered online through Blackboard.

McKendree University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Find more details about its online programs below.

Learn more

6. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois is among the online colleges in Illinois with its main campus based in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign. This public research institution offers degree programs at multiple levels through Canvas.

There are online undergraduate degrees in Early Childhood Professional Education, Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability, and Bachelor of Social Work. Graduate degree programs at the University of Illinois include Master’s in Engineering, Accounting, Business Administration, Strategic Brand Communication, Social Work, and a bunch others.

Additionally, the institution offers doctoral programs in seven specializations as well as a host of undergraduate and graduate certificate programs, and Endorsement & Licensure programs, all available for online learning.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. More details have been provided through the link below.

Learn more

7. Benedictine University

As one of the online colleges in Illinois, Benedictine University is a top-tier private university that is based in Lisle. The institution offers several degree programs which they administer through the Desire2Learn platform.

Eligible Nurses can pursue a fast-track degree completion program to earn themselves a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. There are also online Bachelor of Arts in Management for candidates who would like to strengthen their leadership and advancement potential.

Master’s degree programs are available in Nursing, Business Administration, Public Health, etc., with multiple online Dual-degrees and certificates programs.

Benedictine University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

Learn more

8. Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology is a private research university and one of the widely recognized online colleges in Illinois accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Through Blackboard, the institute provides affordable distance education for students to pursue their degrees fully online.

Undergraduate candidates can enroll in a bachelor of industrial technology and management program while graduate candidates can earn a degree in business, engineering, information technology, and science courses online.

Individuals who wish to improve their professional or personal development without being required to fulfill degree requirements will have a wide range of courses to choose from under the graduate certificate option.

Learn more


These and some more are the recognized and accredited online colleges in Illinois. We hope you found this article helpful? If not, we have answered a couple of questions below for clarifications.

Online Colleges in Illinois – FAQs

Are there free online colleges in Illinois?

No, there are no free online colleges in Illinois. But most colleges provide free courses through online learning platforms like Masterclass and Coursera.

What is the cheapest online college in Illinois?

The cheapest online college in Illinois is the National Louis University with a tuition fee of $10,710.