Top 10 Best Online Colleges in Illinois

Today more than ever virtual learning is a viable source for obtaining a college degree online. With an always increasing pressure to juggle full or part time work with other commitments, like family, students are turning towards online learning in order to embrace flexibility and student-led learning opportunities. Today attending school online is considered a respected avenue for obtaining a college degree. It is additionally a way to fast track a higher education opportunity without sacrificing academically.

In the list below colleges are ranked using the Value Colleges Best Top 10 ranking system, which evaluates a universities success with their tuition costs and online degree earning options. Additionally all universities listed have solid ROIs and are accredited regionally or nationally. All colleges listed are located in the state of Illinois.


Concordia University Chicago

Founded in 1864 as a college for teachers only, Concordia University Chicago online today is a comprehensive university and serves students from around the globe who are seeking an accredited education with flexibility and ease of learning. The school is affiliated with the Lutheran Church and the teachings of the church are integrated into the academic teachings at the school both on campus and online.

The university has been recognized as a national College of Distinction for successfully and consistently engaging students throughout the years and prides itself in offering highly respected volunteer and civic engagement opportunities for it’s students. … online has a five undergraduate accelerated online degree programs and a number of fully online master degree programs including degrees in Early Childhood Education, Human Services Administration, Religion, and Gerontology to name a few.

Tuition: $28,718

Online Programs: 57


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been one of the nations leading comprehensive public research universities for as long as its existence. The school serves students statewide, nationally and across the globe both on campus and online. Part of the university’s mission is to enhance the lives of Illinois citizens as well as the lives of our global community and the school serves this mission by offering both classroom academics and opportunities for student to engage in their local and global communities both off and online.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign online offers over seventy-five fully online degree, certificate, or endorsement programs with a total of 800+ course available to all students. Students enjoy the flexibility of attending student led, accessible course online while still enjoying the benefits of earning a respected and accredited degree with the same rigorous academic expectations as found on the traditional campus.

Tuition: $15,020

Online Programs: 35


DePaul University

DePaul University is a non-profit, private, Catholic, accredited university and serves students locally, nation- and worldwide. The school is proudly accredited by The Higher Learning Commission both on campus and online. Additionally the school has served over 2.6 million learners remotely and more than 90% of the undergraduate and graduate degree earners were employed or continuing their education within six months of graduation in 2016!

DePaul University Online boasts a unique online curriculum to serve the varying needs of students enrolled from diverse backgrounds and various walks of life. An award-winning training program guides staff and faculty in their online teaching approaches and ensures the success of all DePaul University Online enrollees. Additionally, the university is authorized or exempt from authorization to serve all states in the nation, including the District of Columbia.

Tuition: $35,071

Online Programs: 26


University of Illinois at Springfield

University of Illinois at Springfield has long been a leader in distance education as well as a premiere institution of higher education since it’s establishment in 1969. The university is a premier research institution and receives over seven million dollars annually in research funding. The colleges of Business and Management, Education and Human Services, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Public Affairs and Administration all offer coursework and degree programs online.

In all, the University of Illinois at Springfield online offers over 20 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting programs online. The programs are so varied to include a Bachelor of Arts in English or History or a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science plus a Master of Arts in Planning and Management or a Master of Science in Data Analytics, and a number of certificate programs to name a few.

Tuition: $11,367

Online Programs: 24


Loyola University - Chicago

Loyola University Chicago is proud to have shaped the city in their Jesuit traditions by offering unmatched educational experiences to students from all backgrounds and faiths. The private university was founded in 1870 as St. Ignatius College and has since been the nation’s larges Jesuit, Catholic University. The school has four campuses in addition to its main campus and its online learning programs.

The school was first accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in 1921 and offered its first online learning programs in 1998. Since its opening, the online programs at Loyola University online  have expanded to offer seven adult degree completion programs, twenty-one graduate programs, plus eighteen certificate programs! Students enjoy the flexibility of learning in a student-led, faculty aided environment and online support can be attained at any time while the online student services department seeks to meet the needs of each online student individually.

Tuition: $37,412

Online Programs: 24


Illinois Institute of Technology

The Illinois Institute of Technology has long been a leader in the world of technical institutions of higher learning worldwide. The research university is known and revered for having top undergraduate and graduate programs in science, engineering, business, architecture, human services, applied technology, law, and design.

Illinois Institute of Technology online is part of the twenty-one institutions that make up the esteemed Association of Independent Technological Universities (AITU) and as a pioneer in distance education and the school was one of the first universities to serve their students remotely using a televised means of course delivery as early as the 1970s. The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1941 and is a member of the State Authorization Regional Agreement (SARA). It should be noted that the institution is not licensed to give degrees in the following states: Delaware, Wisconsin, Utah, and Kentucky.

Tuition: $41,645

Online Programs: 24


Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Founded in 1869, the Southern Illinois University (SIU) at Carbondale is the flagship university for the Southern Illinois University system. The institution boasts over 100 years of offering a diverse learning environment and serves students from around the globe, from all walks of life and backgrounds, making diversity an integral part of the SIU Carbondale legacy. Additionally the university offers all levels of degrees from bachelors to doctoral and SIU at Carbondale has been recognized by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching because of it’s elite status as a leader in research and academic programs.

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale online offers a number of fully online programs including eleven graduate and ten undergraduate degrees to choose from. Graduate programs include degrees in Medical Dosimetry, Behavior Analysis and Therapy, and Health Informatics to name a few. Students can obtain undergraduate degrees fully online in Technical Resource Management, Accounting, or Public Safety Management.

Tuition: $13,137

Online Programs: 21


National Louis University

Known as a ‘teacher of teachers’ National Louis University is proud to be one of the oldest and one of the most progressive universities in Chicago. The institution has two main colleges: the National College of Education and the College of Professional Studies and Advancement. Additionally the school boasts one of the most diverse campuses in the state of Illinois and is proud to extend the diversity of learning to an understanding of local and global needs to all of its students both on campus and online.

National Louis University online offers a number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs and all coursework is fully accredited. The ease of learning online supports students who are juggling other commitments while attending school such as family or full or part time work. Offering over fifteen fully online undergraduate and graduate programs some degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services or a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Leadership as well as a Master of Business Administration or a Master of Health Services Administration to name a few.

Tuition: $10,617

Online Programs: 18


Lewis University

Founded in 1932, Lewis University online, located in the Midwest, is a comprehensive, Catholic university focused strongly on a liberal arts education that supports the coming together of preparation fro professional work with university academics rooted in Catholic traditions and teachings. The school primarily serves students from Chicago though individuals enroll in the online degree programs from around the globe annually.

Many online students are career-driven working adults or individuals who need the flexibility of online learning to pair with their otherwise committed lifestyles. The student body, both on campus and online, is diverse as is the faculty and staff that aid the students in reaching their academic goals. Fully online or accelerated programs at Lewis University online include a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Studies, a Master of Science in Criminal/Social Justice, and a Master of Science in Aviation and Transportation to name a few.

Tuition: Varies

Online Programs: 18


Benedictine University

Benedictine University is a Catholic, private university that proudly follows the Benedictine Tradition and the university was founded in 1887 and has since been a leader in offering Catholic based higher education. Additionally the school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the Illinois State Board of Education recognizes the university’s Teacher Certification programs.

Online students at Benedictine University online can expect to receive the same benefits at Benedictine students attending classes on campus in a traditional setting. Online students have access to the Career Services office, the Campus News, and the bookstore. Additionally students can access the Smarthinking Tutoring Services office for additional help with their academic goals.

Tuition: $26,558

Online Programs: 11