This is a detailed guide on the 15 cheapest colleges in Illinois. This article will help you compare and find the cheapest colleges in Illinois for your budget, lifestyle, and career goals.
Several affordable universities in Illinois provide tuition rates on the lower end. This applies to in the state, out-of-state, and international students.
As an international student searching for an economical education, going for any of the cheapest colleges in Illinois is not a bad choice.
Though expenses are always higher for international students, the schools included in this article reveal international rates that are not high compared to in-state and out-of-state tuition.
Saving money on tuition will allow you to budget sensibly for other must-cover expenses, such as food, transportation, housing, utilities, and school supplies, to name a few.
Why Study In Illinois?
Living and learning in Illinois is a wonderful experience thanks to the state’s wide-ranging cultural and natural diversity.
Illinois is a popular choice for students since it is a vibrant metropolis with a rich cultural heritage.
On December 3rd, 1818, Illinois became a sovereign state. Corn, soybeans, wheat, and dairy products are big businesses in Illinois.
International and domestic students both flock to the state of Illinois. Chicago, the nation’s third-most populous metropolis, is located in Illinois.
Students can grab a bite to eat or visit the Skydeck of the Willis Tower for a view of the city.
Visit the Robie House or the house of Frank Lloyd Wright if you want to learn more about the architect.
In terms of population, Illinois Chicago is the most populous city in the United States.
All across Illinois, there is a major city that provides easy access to both international and domestic travel, regardless of where you go.
Summers in Illinois can be hot and humid, while the fall colors are vibrant and the winters can be bitter.
As a result of its scenic landscapes, including the vastness of Lake Michigan and the city of Chicago’s skyscrapers, Illinois is a popular choice among international students.
The headquarters of McDonald’s, Motorola, Boeing, CDW, United, and State Farm are all in Illinois. Internships and full-time jobs can be found in these places.
The state of Illinois has a lot to offer visitors: historical landmarks and architectural wonders; world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment; and a variety of outdoor activities.
Sports fans can cheer on the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Bears, and Blackhawks of the National Football League in Chicago.
15 Cheapest Colleges in Illinois
Here are the 15 cheapest colleges in Illinois for incoming freshmen and transfer students.
Even for international students, all of these colleges provide tuition that is significantly lower than the national average and a wide range of academic programs to choose from.
1. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine Chicago
For a full academic year, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine Chicago’s tuition is $6,660. This is 54% less expensive than the $14,351 national average for private four-year for-profit colleges.
There is a 74% savings in comparison to the state’s average four-year college tuition of $25,981.
A $220 surcharge on top of the $6,880 cost of in-state tuition makes the total effective cost of attending the school $6,880.
2. The University of Illinois at Springfield
The University of Illinois in Chicago was formed in 1982 by the combination of two University of Illinois campuses, the Medical Center campus, which dates back to 1859, and the Chicago Circle campus, which was founded in 1965.
A public research university, the University of Illinois is located in Springfield, Illinois. Students who love the conveniences of city living will find the school’s location ideal.
As the best bargain institution and one of the cheapest colleges in Illinois, the University of Illinois Springfield comes out on top this year.
In the past academic years, the University of Illinois in Springfield, Illinois has awarded several bachelor’s degrees.
The University of Illinois costs an average of $12,477 to buy and maintain. Depending on your financial situation, the cost of the school can vary greatly.
About 9.5% of the school’s overall enrollment is made up of international students from other countries.
Students from India, China, and Saudi Arabia are among those who attend the University of Illinois.
About $18,356 a year is the tuition fees for out-of-state undergraduates at the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS).
To put it in perspective, the annual cost of attending a graduate school is around $18,176 on average.
The University of Illinois also made it onto our overall ranking of the best values. Among all colleges and universities, it ranks in the top twenties.
3. Chicago State University
Chicago State University (CSU) based in the city of Chicago is predominantly black.
The Cook County Normal School was founded in 1867 as an innovative teachers college that was at the forefront of its time.
Eventually, the school was taken over by the Chicago Public Schools and renamed Chicago Teachers College.
State funding began in 1951, and the college became a comprehensive state college in 1965 when the state acquired full authority.
It was renamed Chicago State College in 1967. Chicago State University is recognized by the Higher Learning Commission and belongs to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
As a public university, Chicago State University (CSU) is located in Chicago, Illinois.
The Carnegie Classification classifies it as a Master’s College and University (medium programs) and its highest degree level is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).
Chicago State University’s tuition and fees for Illinois residents and out-of-state are $11,204.
Scholarships and fellowships total $8,965 for the 85 percent of undergraduates who have received them.
After ten years of graduating a typical graduate earns $38,200. Students after graduating from Chicago State University earn salaries ranging from $23,400 to $63,100 on average, depending on the field of study.
9501 S. King Drive, Chicago, IL 60628-1598 is the address of Chicago State University.
4. Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
As a public institution, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville is located in the city of Edwardsville.
In 1957, a branch campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale was opened in Edwardsville.
There are two major institutions in Southern Illinois University System: Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
It boasts a larger student body because it is one of the cheapest colleges in Illinois. The university’s Graduate School provides a variety of graduate degrees.
The least expensive tuition and fees are charged at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, which are at $11,495.
For each academic year, $14,490 is the average undergraduate tuition and fees, while the average graduate tuition and fees are $16,221.
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville provides student services including employment services for students, remedial services, academic/career counseling services, and Placement services for completers.
5. Western Illinois University
Western Illinois State Normal School became Western Illinois University in 1899. It was the intention of the institution to train roughly 200 students to become teachers.
When it was first established, the university was just beginning to emerge as a major player in the higher education arena.
Western Illinois University is one of the cheapest colleges in Illinois. One of its most important aspects is that it ensures that new students’ tuition, fees, and room and board will not rise for four years, making this university the only one in the state to do so.
Second, students who have a 3.0 GPA are automatically awarded the Western Commitment Scholarship.
The institution charges $12,951 for in-state students and $12,951 for those from outside the state.
An additional $2,000 to $10,000 is guaranteed based on the student’s SAT score and GPA combination, as well as additional money based on financial need.
6. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (established in 1867) welcomes more than 32,000 undergraduate students to its 1,783-acre campus.
Incoming students with strong academic accomplishments and financial hardship may apply for the Illinois Achievement Scholarship ($10,000 over four years).
Freshmen from historically under-represented groups are considered for the President’s Award Program ($5,000 over four years).
Over four years the Chez Scholarship ($10,000) assists up to nine Chicago public high school graduates from economically underprivileged households.
Freshman non-residents can be considered for the University Achievement Scholarship ($8,000 to $12,000 for four years).
Transfer students with demonstrated needs from an Illinois community college may be eligible for the University of Illinois Transfer Scholarship (up to $5,000 for four semesters).
7. Monmouth College
Monmouth College is a small private art college and also one of the cheapest colleges in Illinois.
Monmouth’s success factors are graduating low-income students. Fully half of the college’s students qualify for federal Pell Grants, and one-third are the first in their family to attend college.
To support these students, the financial aid office offers government grants, loans, and work-study programs, and the college has a wide range of scholarships.
Seemingly all the students are eligible for some scholarship, with categories including academics, talent, and church affiliation (Monmouth is a Presbyterian school).
Other scholarships are provided for transfer students, international students, and those in Greek life.
8. Illinois College
According to New & World Report’s rankings, Illinois College is one of the best liberal arts universities in the Midwest and also one of the cheapest colleges in Illinois.
As a result of the college’s $140 million endowments, students enjoy decreased costs of attendance. Financial aid is also given out at Illinois College on an annual basis.
It is possible to receive up to $21,000 a year in merit scholarships from the college.
In addition to the need-based Illinois Monetary Award Program, the college oversees the federal Pell Grant program for Illinois residents.
William Jennings Bryan, a three-time presidential contender, was among the school’s inaugural graduates in 1835.
9. Eastern Illinois University
For more than a century since its founding as Eastern Illinois State Normal School in 1895, Eastern Illinois Institution has grown from an elementary school to a comprehensive university with a wide range of affordable undergraduate and graduate programs.
Charleston, Illinois, is home to Eastern Illinois University (EIU), a state-supported, four-year institution.
The Carnegie Classification classifies it as a Master’s College and University (bigger programs) and its highest degree level is a Master’s.
Eastern Illinois University charges in-state students $11,931 in tuition and fees, while out-of-state students pay $14,126.
The average amount of financial aid obtained by undergraduate students is $9,421. 65% of enrolled students got grants or scholarships.
An 8,626-student school has a student-teacher ratio of 14 to 1. (7.14 percent ).
10. National Louis University
National Louis University is a non-profit, four- or more-year institution situated in Chicago, IL.
Carnegie Classification classifies it as a doctoral/research university, and the highest degree or scholarship it offers is a doctorate.
It costs $14,169 per year to attend National Louis University. Scholarships and fellowships total $8,271 for the 82% of undergraduates who have earned them.
7,402 students attend the school, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1. (6.25 percent ).
After 10 years, the average salary is $50,800. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for graduates of National Louis University is $32,300 to $54,400.
Based on tuition fluctuations over the past five years, the predicted 2022 tuition and fees are $14,548. Graduate school tuition and fees are expected to be $12,096 in 2022.
There are online classes (distance learning options) available at National Louis University for both undergraduate and graduate students alike.
It offers a wide range of services to students, including academic and career counseling, job placement assistance for those who have completed their studies, and more.
11. East-West University, Chicago
East-West University (EWU) was formed in 1980 as a private, yet inexpensive, university in Chicago. Three academic buildings make up the university’s relatively tiny footprint.
As one of the cheapest colleges in Illinois, East-West University is ranked second in the country for student loan debt per graduate.
The application price is $300 non-refundable, and the selection process is less rigorous.
A bachelor’s degree and an associate’s degree in liberal arts are both available at East-West University.
As an institutional scholarship, the university provides up to a 30% tuition fee discount for international students. In addition to these, it provides students in need with loans, grants, and work-study opportunities.
Students can apply to the university at any time of the year via the rolling admissions method, and once their applications have been processed, they will be assigned to a quarter.
East-West University was ranked by US News and World Report as the 180th best national liberal arts college and the 188th best for social mobility.
For Undergraduate Programs, the cost of tuition is $7,000 per term.
12. Rend Lake College
An Illinois community college, Rend Lake College (RLC) serves the residents of Ina as well as the state.
As Mt. Vernon Community College, Rend Lake College was established in 1955 to provide post-secondary education to students from High School District No. 201.
Ina, Illinois is the present location of Rend Lake College’s main campus. In Pinckneyville, Illinois, the RLC Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus was opened as a second educational facility for students.
Rend Lake College offers non-credit classes at its RLC Marketplace site in addition to its two credit learning locations.
There is a North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) accreditation that allows Rend Lake College to grant certifications and associate degrees.
Based on the past four years of tuition increases, the total cost will be $4,455. The average cost of attending graduate school is $6,899 per year and is one of the cheapest colleges in Illinois.
13. Oakton Community College
Oakton Community College is a two-year college located in Des Plaines, Illinois, in a forest preserve.
54% of full-time, first-year students at the College receive financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, federal loans, and work-study options.
The Federal Pell Grant ($292 to $5,730), the ISAC Monetary Award Program Grant ($250 to $1,968), the Student Government Association Tuition Assist Grant ($70 to $1,680), and the Student to Student Grant ($100 to $800) are some of the grant options available.
The Oakton Community College Educational Foundation awards the majority of the college’s institutional scholarships, which typically vary in value from $100 to $3,000 per year.
In addition, a no-interest tuition payment plan is available through the college.
14. John Wood Community College
Located in Quincy, Illinois, John Wood Community College offers both on-campus and online degrees and is one of the cheapest colleges in Illinois.
Academic, athletic, leadership and fine arts tuition waivers are available to students who meet certain criteria. The John Wood Community College Foundation also offers a variety of scholarships.
Students are eligible for the Federal Work-Study program. Students who need to pay their tuition over time can take advantage of John Wood Community College’s Authorized Payment Plan.
Students who are low-income, first-generation college students, or have disabilities are eligible for the TRIO Student Support Services.
A number of four-year colleges and universities in three states have established transfer agreements with John Wood Community College, making it easier for students to transfer into bachelor’s degree programs.
15. Lewis College
The Archdiocese of Chicago established Lewis College in Romeoville, Illinois, in 1932.
Full-time commencing freshmen (99%) get institutional grants or scholarships, with an average payout of $11,450.
Academic scholarships, such as the $13,000 to $14,000 Frank J. Lewis Scholarship, the $12,000 Michael and Frances Fitzpatrick Scholarship, and the $11,000 Bishop Sheil Scholarship, are automatically considered for incoming first-year students.
The Christian Brothers Achievement Award ($8,000-$9,000) and Lewis University Achievement Award ($7,000) as well as the $2,000 Alumni Legacy Scholarship are all awards that transfer students are eligible for once they’ve been accepted.
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The Lasallian Grant is an institutional grant offered by the college to undergraduates who demonstrate financial need.
The most you can hope while searching for a college is to discover a school that provides all of the resources and academic opportunities you require while remaining within your budget.
A “best value” institution combines quality and affordability.
The following list of the top 15 cheapest Colleges in Illinois may help you narrow your search.