Top 25 Online Colleges in Illinois

For students who are looking for a nonprofit university or college with a strong online curriculum based out of Illinois, we have compiled a list of some of our top picks from the state. This list was compiled by assessing tuition cost, as well as amount and type of programs available.

#1. University of Illinois at Springfield

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Established in 1969, the University of Illinois at Springfield has been providing students with access to higher education for almost half a century. Originally founded as Sangamon State University, the school was called into creation by the Illinois General Assembly following the authorship of a bill calling for three new universities. The first two were Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University but the third remained unnamed. Originally, Sangamon State University only offered students the ability to enroll in graduate-level courses. Sangamon State University quickly added undergraduate-level courses into its curriculum just two years later. In 1970, Sangamon State University moved to its current location near Lake Springfield. In 1995, Sangamon State University was added into the University of Illinois system and was renamed to its current name of the University of Illinois at Springfield. With its current motto of “Leadership Lived”, the University of Illinois at Springfield is home to a student body of around 5,500 students.

The University of Illinois at Springfield has grown to offer students many different academic offerings. Students enrolled at the University of Illinois at Springfield can choose from twenty-seven undergraduate degree programs as well as twenty master’s degree programs and one doctorate program. The University of Illinois at Springfield offers many of these programs online making it one of our top selections for the best online universities in Illinois. University of Illinois Springfield is a public institution.

Accreditation: University of Illinois at Springfield is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $304/credit

#2. Northern Illinois University

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Located in DeKalb, Illinois, Northern Illinois University has become one of the premier public research universities in the state of Illinois. The earliest Northern Illinois University history dates back all the way to 1857 when the school was founded from the normal school program created by the state legislature. In 1895, the state legislature created a Board of Trustees designated to govern the Northern Illinois State Normal School which would eventually grow to become Northern Illinois University. Over the years the school underwent a series of name changes. In 1921 the school’s name was changed to the Northern Illinois State Teachers College. It was then changed again in 1955 to Northern Illinois State College and then changed once again in 1957 to Northern Illinois University. Home to the Huskies, Northern Illinois University has received much recognition for its academic excellence. Today, Northern Illinois University is home to a student body of over 20,000 students.

Students at Northern Illinois University are able to select from a large catalog of undergraduate and graduate programs to enroll in. Northern Illinois University offers students sixty undergraduate degree programs to choose from as well as seventy different minors. Students can also choose to enroll in one of the seventy-nine graduate programs as well as twenty different doctoral programs. Many of these programs are also offered to students entirely online making this one of our top online universities in Illinois. Northern Illinois University is a public institution.

Accreditation: Northern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $348/credit

#3. Eastern Illinois University

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Home of the Panthers, Eastern Illinois University has been serving students since 1895. First established as the Eastern Illinois Normal School, Eastern Illinois University was initially opened to provide training for teachers that would go on to work in East Central Illinois. Classes began in 1899 following the completion of Eastern Illinois University’s first building “Old Main”. To this day, “Old Main” remains a prominent feature of Eastern Illinois University’s campus. Over the coming decades, the scope of Eastern Illinois University grew and with it came a series of name changes to help reflect the different changes. In 1921, the school was renamed to Eastern Illinois State Teachers College then to Eastern Illinois State College in 1947 and finally renamed to Eastern Illinois University in 1957. Located in Charleston, Illinois, Eastern Illinois University has grown to become a comprehensive university. Today, Eastern Illinois University is home to a student body of over 7,000 students.

Eastern Illinois University is home to a wide variety of different academic programs for students to enroll in. Students enrolled in Eastern Illinois University are able to enroll in dozens of undergraduate and graduate programs. These programs include Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral programs. Many of these programs are also offered to students online. Because of its online offerings, Eastern Illinois University is one of our selections for the top online universities in Illinois. Eastern Illinois University is a public institution.

Accreditation: Eastern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $370/credit

#4. McKendree University

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Established in 1828, McKendree University is the oldest university in the state of Illinois. Founded by a group of Methodists, McKendree University continues to maintain its ties to the United Methodist Church. Founded as the Lebanon Seminary, McKendree University was originally opened in order to educate Methodist students in the ways of the church in order to prepare them for a career working within the Methodist institutions. Over time, the scope of the Lebanon Seminary expanded and it was renamed to McKendree College in honor of Bishop William McKendree who gave 480 acres of land to the college. In 1835, the Illinois legislature chartered the institution making it one of the first independent church colleges to be chartered in the state. Over the coming decades, the school began to offer more and more academic opportunities and worked to greatly expand its curriculum. In 2007 it was decided that the school would be renamed to McKendree University. Today, McKendree University enrolls a student body of around 3,000 students at its campus in Lebanon, Illinois.

McKendree University offers students many academic programs and opportunities. Students at McKendree University can choose from nearly one-hundred different undergraduate programs as well as twenty-one different Master’s programs of which eleven are offered online. McKendree University goes to great lengths to offer many of its programs online making it one of our top online universities in Illinois. McKendree University is a private institution.

Accreditation: McKendree University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $390/credit

#5. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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Founded by the General Assembly of Illinois in 1869, Southern Illinois University Carbondale was originally created as the Southern Illinois Normal College. The second state-sponsored normal school in Illinois, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  Construction on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus began in 1870 and the first classes were held sometime later. Over the following century, Southern Illinois University Carbondale continued to experience massive growth. It was decided in 1957 that the school would add a secondary campus in nearby Edwardsville. This new campus would be created in order to accommodate the influx of new students. This campus ended up growing so large that it was spun-off into its own school. Today, Southern Illinois University Carbondale is the largest school within the Southern Illinois University system. Home to the Salukis, Southern Illinois University Carbondale enrolls a student body of around 15,000 students at its Carbondale, Illinois campus.

Students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale are able to enroll in many different academic programs within the university system. Southern Illinois University Carbondale offers its students three associate’s programs, one-hundred bachelor’s programs, seventy-three master’s programs, and thirty-six doctoral programs. Many of these programs are also offered to students entirely online. Due to Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s commitment to online education, the university has earned a place among our top online universities in Illinois. Southern Illinois University Carbondale is a public institution.

Accreditation: Southern Illinois University Carbondale is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $398/credit

#6. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

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Located in Edwardsville, Illinois, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville was established in 1957. During the 1950s, Illinois and the rest of the country were experiencing large amounts of post-World War II growth. With this growth came a desire for the public to enroll in higher education. The problem was that there was only one school in southern Illinois, Southern Illinois University. Quickly reaching capacity, Southern Illinois University decided that it would be best to open up an additional campus in the city of Edwardsville. In 1957, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville opened as an extension campus of Southern Illinois University. This two-campus solution ended up being only temporarily. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville quickly grew to be comparable in size to Southern Illinois University proper and it was decided that the two universities should be split into different entities. In 1971, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville became independent of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Today, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is home to a student body of just over 14,000 students.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville offers students many academic programs from which to choose from. Students enrolled in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville can choose from dozens of undergraduate and graduate programs offered at the university. Many of these programs are also offered to students entirely online making Southern Illinois University one of our top online universities in Illinois. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a public institution.

Accreditation: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $404/credit

#7. University of Illinois at Chicago

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Founded in 1965, the University of Illinois at Chicago is now the largest university in the Chicago area. With roots dating back to mid-Nineteenth Century, the University of Illinois at Chicago can be linked back to a series of schools known as the Chicago Professional Colleges. In 1935, it was decided that an undergraduate campus was to be built in Chicago as part of the University of Illinois. With demand for public education reaching a fever pitch, officials in Chicago scrambled to secure locations for the new school. By the end of the 1950s plans began to come together for a Navy Pier campus and a Congress Circle campus. It was believed that these two campuses would be able to sustain the demand seen for public higher education within the city and the state. Upon their completion, students flocked to the newly opened school and the University of Illinois at Chicago began its ascent to becoming one of the top public research universities in the state. With the motto “Teach, research, serve, care”, the University of Illinois at Chicago is now home to a student body of over 30,000 students.

Students at the University of Illinois at Chicago are offered a staggering number of academic programs from which to enroll in. The University of Illinois at Chicago offers students eighty-three bachelor’s degree programs, ninety-three master’s degrees programs, and sixty-four doctoral degrees. Many of these degree programs are also offered to students entirely online. By offering these programs online, the University of Illinois at Chicago has ranked among the top online universities in Illinois. University of Illinois at Chicago is a public institution.

Accreditation: University of Illinois at Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $412/credit

#8. Greenville University

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Named for its location in Greenville, Illinois, Greenville University is one of the top liberal arts universities in the state of Illinois. With the motto “Delivering Real Experience”, Greenville University was founded in 1855 as Almira College. Founded by Stephen Morse and Almira Blanchard, Almira College was established as a college for women. In its earliest history, Almira College was operated in close accordance with the Baptist Church. In 1892, Almira College underwent a change in leadership leading to the school no longer being associated with the Baptist Church. Having been purchased by the Central Illinois Conference of the Free Methodist Church, Almira College had now become associated with the Free Methodist. With this change came the introduction of a co-educational system. Now accepting both men and women, Greenville University began to experience a period of growth. Renamed to Greenville University in 2017, Greenville University is now home to a student body of just over 1,000 students.

Home to the Panthers, Greenville University offers its students a wide variety of educational opportunities. Offering programs undergraduate and graduate programs to students, Greenville University also offers a great deal of its over forty programs online. With its large online offering, Greenville University has earned a place among our top online universities in Illinois. Greenville University is a private institution.

Accreditation: Greenville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $434/credit

#9. Millikin University

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Founded in Decatur, Illinois, Millikin University has been serving students in Illinois for over a century. Established in 1901, Millikin University was founded by local businessman, James Millikin. Citing a need for a university that would have both the “practical” side of learning along with the “literary and classical” that was also affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, James Millikin used his wealth to establish a school in his name. While associated with the Presbyterian Church, James Millikin didn’t want the school to be exclusionary and made sure that it was open to students from all backgrounds and walks of life. From its start, Millikin University began to make a name for itself. Over the coming years, many notable business figures, politicians, artists, and athletes all came from Millikin University. Today, Millikin University is home to over 2,000 undergraduate students and over 200 postgraduate students.

Millikin University offers its students many different undergraduate programs as well as graduate-level programs. Students at Millikin University can choose from undergraduate programs in professional studies, fine arts, business, and arts and sciences. Millikin University also offers graduate programs in business administration and nursing. Students at Millikin University can choose to take many of these programs online. Because of its online presence, Millikin University has placed among our top online universities in Illinois. Millikin University is a private institution.

Accreditation: Millikin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $482/credit

#10. DePaul University

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Opened in 1898, DePaul University was founded by a group of the Congregation of the Mission known as the Vincentians. Affiliated with the Catholic Church, DePaul University originally was for people who were followers of the French priest Saint Vincent de Paul. In its early days, the school faced fierce competition from the nearby Loyola University Chicago. To help combat this, the school was rechartered in 1907 at DePaul University and repositioned as an alternative option for men and women who were of a religious background looking to study. Through this pivot came an influx of students. Over the coming century, DePaul University would grow and grow. Today, DePaul University is now the largest Catholic university in the United States. With the motto “I will show you the way of wisdom” DePaul University continues to educate students at its Chicago, Illinois campus. Currently, DePaul University enrolls a student body of almost 25,000 students.

Students at DePaul University are able to enroll in a wide variety of educational opportunities made available at the university. DePaul University currently maintains a large catalog of undergraduate and graduate programs including over 130 different undergraduate majors and over 175 different graduate programs for students to choose from. Many of these programs are also made available to students online helping DePaul University earn its spot among the top online universities in Illinois. DePaul University is a private institution

Accreditation: DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $630/credit

#11. Illinois Wesleyan University

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Founded in 1850, Illinois Wesleyan University is one of Illinois’ best exclusively undergraduate colleges. Established on the motto of “Knowledge and Wisdom”, Illinois Wesleyan University was founded when a group of thirty religious and civic leaders from the local community came together to establish “an Institution of learning of Collegiate grade”. Searching for someone to help fund and sponsor the creation of a new school, the founders partnered with the United Methodist Church which is how “Wesleyan” was added into the name of the university. While originally closely linked with the United Methodist Church, Illinois Wesleyan University has always been inclusive of all kinds of students. From the outset, Illinois Wesleyan University proved to be rather popular as it was one of the few liberal arts colleges in the area. As time went on, the university expanded in size and scope. Located in Bloomington, Illinois, Illinois Wesleyan University is now home to a student population of just under 1,900 students.

Illinois Wesleyan University offers students many different educational opportunities. Focused on liberal arts programs, Illinois Wesleyan University exclusively offers undergraduate degrees to students. Students at Illinois Wesleyan University are able to enroll in over eighty different undergraduate programs including majors and minors. Many of these programs are also offered to students online helping Illinois Wesleyan University to earn a place among our list of the top online universities in Illinois. Illinois Wesleyan University is a private institution.

Accreditation: Illinois Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $658/credit

#12. Eureka College

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Home to the Red Devils, Eureka College was founded in 1855. Leaving the state of Kentucky, a group of abolitionists reach Illinois and decided that they would establish a school of higher learning within the state of Illinois. Settling in the town of Eureka, Illinois, this group of abolitionists founded Walnut Grove Academy. Made up of a group of forward-thinking Americans who sought equal rights and liberties for all people, Walnut Grove Academy set the foundation for Eureka College’s history of being a forward-thinking institution. From the outset, men and women at Eureka College were both taught on an equal basis. Uncommon at the time, Eureka College made history as the first college in Illinois and the third in the entire United States to treat both genders as equals. With a history of being on the right side of history and progress, Eureka College continued to steadily grow as it attracted more and more enlightened individuals. Today, Eureka College has remained a relatively small institution with just under eight-hundred students.

Students at Eureka College are able to choose from a large catalog of undergraduate degree programs offered by the school. Offering dozens of undergraduate programs including majors and minors, students at Eureka College are given a great deal of flexibility over the direction of their education. Eureka College also offers many of its courses online as well as a comprehensive degree completion program for those following nontraditional schedules making it one of our top options for students looking for online universities in Illinois. Eureka College is a private institution.

Accreditation: Eureka College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $706/credit

#13. Loyola University Chicago

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One of the largest Catholic universities in the United States, Loyola University Chicago was first established in 1870. Established by a group of Jesuits, Loyola University Chicago was originally named St. Ignatius College. Part of the earliest history of Chicago, St. Ignatius College was established while Chicago was still relatively small. As the city of Chicago grew, so did St. Ignatius College. By 1909, plans were set into motion that would help ensure the growth of the university. At this point, the school was renamed to Loyola University Chicago and plans were set to move the school’s campus to its current location in Lake Shore. This was just the start of the rapid-growth that Loyola University Chicago underwent in order to meet the demands of the growing metropolis. Over the next few decades, Loyola University Chicago added additional professional schools to provide education in topics such as medicine, law, nursing, and more. Despite Chicago’s fast growth, Loyola University Chicago was able to stay in step to provide high-quality educations to the city’s people. Today, Loyola University Chicago is home to a student body of nearly 16,500 students.

Home to the Ramblers, Loyola University Chicago has developed a comprehensive collection of degree programs for students. Over the years, Loyola University Chicago has expanded its offerings to include over eighty different undergraduate majors as well as eighty minors. Students at Loyola University Chicago are also able to choose from a collection of over 170 different graduate, professional, and graduate-level certificate programs. Many of these programs are also offered to students entirely online helping Loyola University Chicago to earn its place among our top online universities in Illinois. Loyola University Chicago is a private institution.

Accreditation: Loyola University Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $788/credit

#14. University of St. Francis

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Founded by the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, the University of St. Francis is a Catholic/Franciscan university. Located in the city of Joliet, Illinois, the University of St. Francis was created in 1920 in order to provide educations for members of their own church. Originally named the Assisi Junior College, the University of St. Francis began enrolling its first class of women five years after its establishment. Five years after that, the school began offering senior-level college courses prompting the school to be renamed to the College of St. Francis. Operating this way for forty more years, the school underwent a significant change in 1971 as it switched to a coeducational model and also began to offer off-campus degree programs. Soon after that, the College of St. Francis began to offer master’s degree programs to its students. It was with this change that prompted the school to rename itself once more to its current name of the University of St. Francis. Today, the University of St. Francis has grown to enroll a student body of just under, 3,400 students.

Following the motto of “Holiness First and Then Learning”, The University of St. Francis has developed a sizable collection of different degree programs. Students at the University of St. Francis are able to enroll in dozens of different undergraduate programs including many different majors and minors. The University of St. Francis also offers students graduate-level courses and programs to enroll in. Online programs are also offered at the University of St. Francis earning it a place among our top online universities in Illinois. University of St. Francis is a private institution.

Accreditation: University of St. Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $825/credit

#15. Trinity Christian College

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A relatively newer college in the state of Illinois, Trinity Christian College has still managed to make a name for itself among the pantheon of universities and colleges in the state. Established in 1959, Trinity Christian College was established by a group of young business leaders. Wanting to start a Christian college in the Chicago-area, this group of business leaders began working to source funding for their new school. After three years of searching, the group purchased the nearby Navajo Hills Golf Course and began construction on their brand new college. After remodeling and construction, Trinity Christian College began enrolling its first students. Initially, a two-year college, Trinity Christian College began to add more educational opportunities starting with Bachelor’s degrees in 1971. Located in a suburb outside of the city of Chicago called Palos Heights, Trinity Christian College is home to the Trolls. Currently, Trinity Christian College enrolls a student body of just over 1,400 students.

Students at Trinity Christian College are offered a selection of many different degree programs when enrolled at Trinity Christian College. Currently, Trinity Christian College offers students over sixty different majors to choose from alongside over fifty minors. Students are also able to enroll in a variety of master’s programs. Many of the programs at Trinity Christian College are also offered to students online earning Trinity Christian College among our top online university in Illinois.

Accreditation: Trinity Christian College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $838/credit

#16. Illinois State University

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The oldest public university in all of Illinois, Illinois State University was founded in 1857. Arguably the standard for which other colleges and universities within the state of Illinois are measured against, Illinois State University opened its doors to students at the Illinois State Normal University. Developed as a training school for teachers, the Illinois State Normal University worked to ensure that the schools in Illinois would be staffed by highly-educated teachers. Originally located in Bloomington, Illinois, the Illinois State Normal School soon relocated to the nearby village of North Bloomington. After moving to North Bloomington, the town decided to rename itself to Normal, naming itself after the newly relocated university. This was just the start of Illinois State Normal University shaping the history of the town of Normal, Illinois. Over the years, Illinois State Normal University was renamed to Illinois State University at Normal in 1965 then to Illinois State University in 1968. Now located in the sprawling city of Normal, Illinois, Illinois State University enrolls a student body of almost 21,000 students.

Known as the Redbirds, students at Illinois State University are able to select a variety of different programs from Illinois State University’s educational offerings. Illinois State University offers students over 160 different undergraduate programs including both majors an minors. Students are also able to choose from dozens of graduate-level programs at the Illinois State University. Illinois State University also offers a robust selection of online courses and programs placing the university among our top online universities and colleges in Illinois. Illinois State University is a public institution.

Accreditation: Illinois State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $868/credit

#17. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Established in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the flagship university of the University of Illinois system. One of the thirty-seven universities created under the first Morrill Land-Grant Act, the University of Illinois was originally named the Illinois Industrial University. Selecting the city of Urbana, the Illinois legislature put into motions plans to begin construction on the newly chartered Illinois Industrial University in 1867. After a year, the Illinois Industrial University was ready to enroll its first class of students. By 1885, Illinois Industrial University had moved beyond providing only an “industrial education” and in doing so it was decided that the school was to be renamed to the University of Illinois. Over the coming decades, the University of Illinois attracted more and more students to Urbana and the nearby city of Champaign. As the University of Illinois grew it began to spill over into Champaign. This fact coupled with the creation of the University of Illinois system in 1967, it was later decided that the school was to be renamed to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Today, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is home to a student body of almost 46,000 students.

One of the best public research universities in the state of Illinois, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has grown to offer a multitude of educational opportunities. Across its sixteen schools and colleges, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is currently offering students over 150 different undergraduate degrees as well as over 100 different graduate programs of study. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also maintains a large online education program which offers many of these same degrees online placing it among our top online universities in Illinois. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public university.

Accreditation: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $905/credit

#18. Lewis University

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In 1932, The Archdiocese of Chicago and Bishop Bernard J. Scheil jointly founded the Holy Name Technical School. The precursor to Lewis University, the Holy Name Technical School primarily focused on education in aviation technology. Officially chartered in 1934, the school was renamed a year later to the Lewis Holy Name School of Aeronautics. The school was named after local philanthropist Frank. J Lewis who had personally funded the construction of much of the school’s campus. Continuing to focus on aviation and aeronautics, the Lewis Holy Name School of Aeronautics became well known for the quality of its engineering education. Suspending classes during World War II, the Lewis Holy Name School of Aeronautics eventually reopened having adopted a more expansive curriculum. In 1952, the school was renamed to the Lewis College of Science and Technology and then shortened to Lewis College in 1962. The school received its final name in 1973. Located in Romeoville, Illinois, Lewis University now enrolls over 6,500 students.

Having expanded upon its initial offering of science and engineering related programs, Lewis University is now home to an expansive catalog of degree programs. Students at Lewis University are able to choose from over eighty different undergraduate programs to enroll in. Lewis University also offers over twenty different graduate programs. Many of these offerings are also made available to students online. By offering students online educational opportunities, Lewis University has earned a place among our top online universities in Illinois. Lewis University is a private institution.

Accreditation: Lewis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $948/credit

#19. Wheaton College

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With the motto “For Christ and His Kingdom”, Wheaton College is one of Illinois’ top Christian colleges. Founded in 1860, Wheaton College is also among some of the oldest colleges and universities in the state. Started by a group of Evangelical abolitionists, Wheaton College was founded on ideals of equality and the proper treatment of all individuals. Integral to the abolitionist movement, Wheaton College was a stop along the Underground Railroad helping to play an integral role in liberating many African-Americans from slavery. Wheaton College has the distinct honor of graduating one of the first African-American students in the state of Illinois. Founded with a close relation to the Protestant religion, Wheaton College is open to students of all backgrounds. Since opening, Wheaton College has undergone much change. Located in Wheaton, Illinois, Wheaton College has grown year over year as it attracted forward-thinking individuals looking for a high-quality college education. Today, Wheaton College enrolls a student body of just under 4,000 students.

Currently, Wheaton College offers students a focused selection of undergraduate and graduate programs. Students at Wheaton College are able to enroll in forty different majors as well as nearly two dozen graduate programs. Wheaton College also works to offer many of its courses and programs online. By offering these programs to students online, Wheaton College has earned the distinction of one of the top online universities in Illinois.

Accreditation: Wheaton College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $1,011/credit

#20. Bradley University

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Philanthropist Lydia Moss Bradley established Bradley University in 1897. Established to commemorate her late husband Tobias Bradley and their six children, Lydia Moss Bradley founded Bradley University as the Bradley Polytechnic Institute. Originally wanting to found an orphanage in their honor, Lydia Moss Bradley decided that she’d rather open an institution of higher learning in order to help young people succeed in the modern world. Purchasing the Parsons Horological School in LaPorte, Indiana and had the school relocated to Peoria, Illinois. Four years later, after a conversation with the president of the University of Chicago, Mrs. Lydia Moss Bradley established Bradley Polytechnic Institute. By 1899, Bradley Polytechnic Institute had expanded to accommodate a half-thousand students and was offering a variety of different academic programs. Over the course of the next century, Bradley Polytechnic Institute continued to grow and the school was eventually renamed to Bradley University. Located in Peoria, Illinois, Bradley University is now home to a student body of 4,400 students.

Home to the Braves, Bradley University offers a litany of academic programs for those enrolled with the university. Students at Bradley University are able to select from a list of over one hundred different undergraduate programs as well as thirty different graduate programs. Many of these programs are also offered online making Bradley University one of our top online universities in Illinois. Bradley University is a private institution.

Accreditation: Bradley University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $1,042/credit

#21. Elmhurst College

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A prominent private liberal arts college, Elmhurst College was established in 1871. After receiving a donation of land from Jennie and Thomas Bryan in 1871, the German Evangelical Synod of the Northwest used the land to establish a school. The plan was to create a school that would teach young men theology in preparation for seminary. Named the Elmhurst Proseminary, the school began teaching students classical liberal arts courses. Interestingly, all the courses at Elmhurst Proseminary were taught entirely in German. Eventually, the school began offering its courses in English. In 1919, the school was renamed to the Elmhurst Academy and Junior College to reflect the additional curriculum options now available to students. Five years later, the school was renamed once more to Elmhurst College. In 1930, Elmhurst College became a coeducational institution. Offering only undergraduate degrees for several decades, Elmhurst College started offering graduate programs at the end of the 90s. Located in Elmhurst, Illinois, Elmhurst College enrolls a student body of just under 3,400 students.

Committed to online education, Elmhurst College offers students a variety of its programs online. Students at Elmhurst College are able to enroll in fifteen different Master’s degree programs as well as over sixty different undergraduate majors. Offering many of these courses online, Elmhurst College has committed itself to online education helping the school earn a place among our top online universities in Illinois.

Accreditation: Elmhurst College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $1,045/credit

#22. University of Chicago

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One of the top universities in the country, the University of Chicago has been a shining example of academic excellence since 1890. Founded on a joint donation provided by oil magnate John D. Rockefeller and the American Baptist Education Society, the University of Chicago was incorporated with a one million dollar endowment. After selecting a site in Hyde Park, construction began on the University of Chicago. From the very outset, the University of Chicago enjoyed massive amounts of philanthropy and funding which allowed the school to grow rapidly. Fearful that the school’s wealth might starve out other nearby educational institutions, the University of Chicago partnered with nearby universities and colleges to lend their support. Demonstrating its commitment to education from the beginning, the University of Chicago continued to grow and become an integral part of the educational community within the state of Illinois. Today, the University of Chicago is home to a student body of over 16,000 students and is the future site of the Barack Obama Presidential Center.

Students at the University of Chicago are offered many different academic programs at the school. The University of Chicago is currently offering students, fifty-one academic majors, for students to enroll in as well as thirty-three minors. Students are also encouraged to enroll in one of the dozens of graduate programs offered to students at the University of Chicago. The University of Chicago has also invested many resources in its online education programs making it one of our top online universities in Illinois. University of Chicago is a private institution.

Accreditation: University of Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $1,354/credit

#23. Northwestern University

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Dating back to a meeting of nine of Chicago’s most prominent business leaders, Northwestern University was born out of the desire to create an institution that would serve what was once known as the Northwest Territory. Following this meeting of some of Chicago’s brightest minds, the Illinois General Assembly granted a charter to the Trustees of the North-Western University. This was the first charter granted to any university within the state of Illinois. Helping to shape the landscape of the brand-new state, the group of Trustees began construction of a university on a plot of land in Evanston. In 1873, Northwestern University merged with the nearby Evanston College for Ladies. Over the coming years, Northwestern University continued to grow to become one of Illinois most prominent universities.  Now one of the largest research universities in the state, Northwestern University is currently home to over a half-billion dollars of research each year. Currently, Northwestern University is home to a student body of approximately 21,000 students.

Known as the Wildcats, students at Northwestern University are able to enroll in a variety of different educational opportunities at Northwestern Univerity. Northwestern University offers students over seventy different undergraduate majors as well as a similar number of minors. Students at Northwestern University are also able to enroll in nearly one-hundred graduate programs. Many of these programs are also made available to students in an online format. By offering these online programs to students, Northwestern University is able to be ranked among our top online universities in Illinois. Northwestern University is a private institution.

Accreditation: Northwestern University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $1,451/credit

#24. Illinois Institute of Technology

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Tired of watching educational opportunities only go to the elite members of society, Frank Wakely Gunsaulus called for a different way. In what is now called the “Million Dollar Sermon”, minister Frank Wakely Gunsaulus told his congregation that he’d be able to open a school where students could “learn by doing”. Not knowing it at the time, Frank Wakely Gunsaulus was delivering this very sermon in a South Side Chicago church that would be nearly enveloped by the soon to be developed Illinois Institute of Technology. Philip Danfourth Armour, Sr., inspired by the “Million Dollar Sermon”, donated a million dollars to Gunsaulus’ cause and planning began for the Armour Institute. Established officially in 1890, the Armour Institute began enrolling its first class of students in 1893. Offering courses in architecture, chemistry, engineering, and library science, the Armour Institute began its legacy of educating people on technology. Following a merger with the nearby Lewis Institute in 1940, the Illinois Institute of Technology was officially established. Today, the Illinois Institute of Technology is home to a student body of almost 7,300 students at its Chicago, Illinois campus.

Offering a wide variety of educational programs, the Illinois Institute of Technology has also demonstrated a commitment to offering online education programs. Students at the Illinois Institute of Technology can choose to enroll in one of the forty different undergraduate programs available at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Those looking for graduate-level courses are also offered a wide variety of different graduate programs as well. By offering these online programs, the Illinois Insitute of Technology has been able to rank favorably among our list of top online universities in Illinois.

Accreditation: Illinois Institute of Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $1,530

#25. Monmouth College

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Named for its location in Monmouth, Illinois, Monmouth College was established in 1853. Named the Monmouth Academy at its founding, Monmouth College was founded by the Second Presbytery of Illinois of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Officially founded on April 18, 1853, this date is still celebrated on campus to this day as “Scholars Day”. Founded at the outset of the Civil War, Monmouth Academy had very rough early history as it tried to gain footing while the nation was at war. However, Monmouth College was able to weather the war and was ready to thrive following its closing. Admitting both men and women, Monmouth College committed itself from the outset to the idea of equality of the sexes. Over the coming decades, Monmouth College steadily built up its reputation for academic excellence as it continued to steadily increase its enrollment. Located in Monmouth, Illinois, Monmouth College is home to a student body of 1,100 students.

Home of the Fighting Scots, Monmouth College offers students many undergraduate programs to choose from. Students can choose from thirty-four different majors as well as thirty-nine different minors. Many of these programs are also offered online as well as on-campus. Monmouth College’s commitment to online education has earned it a place among our top online universities in Illinois. Monmouth College is a private institution.

Accreditation: Monmouth College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $1,553/credit