Best Community Colleges in Illinois 2022

Best Community Colleges in Illinois 2022

The best community colleges provide an effective springboard into higher education, offering students high-quality two-year degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. The top-rated community colleges in Illinois offer a broad selection of associate’s degrees, affordable tuition rates, and strong partnerships with public four-year schools so that students can easily transfer their credits into accredited bachelor’s degree programs.

Colleges and Universities in Illinois

Prospective students searching for colleges in Illinois have plenty of excellent schools to choose from. Illinois offers over 130 higher education institutes throughout the state. Thanks to an expansive public university system and several top private institutions, students can select from an extremely wide array of brick-and-mortar and online colleges in Illinois.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois at Chicago, the state’s two largest public universities in Illinois. Students can access a full spectrum of undergraduate and graduate degrees for in-state tuition rates of $13,000 to $15,000 respectively. Both public universities also offer a full selection of online degree programs.

It’s also worth noting that Illinois residents who pursue online degrees at public colleges in Illinois will qualify for in-state tuition rates. Out of state students will generally pay more whether pursuing on-campus or online degrees.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

More than half of the colleges in Illinois are actually private schools. Among these private colleges and universities, the most notable are DePaul University, Northwestern University, and Loyola University Chicago. Tuition from these three private schools can be costly, ranging from $44,000 to $55,000. However, each of these private schools boasts a high graduation rate and excellent professors.

Illinois is also home to many small private schools, including Benedictine University and National Louis University.

Popular disciplines in Illinois include disciplines like criminal justice, social work, nursing, education, religious studies, communications, and medicine. Both traditional and online students have a wide range of options in each of these subject areas.

Degree completion programs are also widely available for lapsed students who have already accumulated some college credits. This is an especially popular online degree option among working professionals in Illinois.

Additionally, Illinois offers several loan forgiveness-based financial aid programs for qualifying students pursuing careers as teachers, public defenders or prosecutors, or nurses.

From the skyscrapers in Chicago to the vast prairie lands in the north, Illinois is a place where city meets country. Students can grab a Chicago-style hotdog on the way to a Cubs game, explore the ancient sandstone cliffs in the Shawnee National Forest, or admire an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, all while attending one of The Prairie State’s universities or colleges.

The higher education institutes in Illinois have also produced many prominent alumni, including Stephen Colbert, Phillip Glass, and Kurt Vonnegut. Students hoping to walk the same streets as these well-known individuals can check out some of the state’s top programs and universities.


What are Illinois’s Colleges & Universities?

Illinois’s Best Overall

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We’ve identified 49 community colleges in Illinois. The following list shows the best community colleges and primarily associate degree granting colleges in Illinois.

If you’re interested in an online associate degree, visit our best online associate degrees in Illinois page.

Best Community Colleges in Illinois

  1. #1

    College of DuPage

    Glen Ellyn , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    15K

    What is College of DuPage known for?

    College of DuPage’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #4

    Parkland College

    Champaign , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    5K

  3. #5

    Oakton Community College

    Des Plaines , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Oakton Community College known for?

    Oakton Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #6

    Wilbur Wright College

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    25%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Wilbur Wright College known for?

    Wilbur Wright College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #7

    Harper College

    Palatine , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Harper College known for?

    Harper College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Harold Washington College known for?

    Harold Washington College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #9

    Triton College

    River Grove , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    6K

  8. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Elgin Community College known for?

    Elgin Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Moraine Valley Community College known for?

    Moraine Valley Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #12

    Truman College

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Truman College known for?

    Truman College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  11. #13

    Coyne College

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Coyne College known for?

    Coyne College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Heartland Community College known for?

    Heartland Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  13. #15

    Olive–Harvey College

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    24%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Olive–Harvey College known for?

    Olive–Harvey College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #16

    Prairie State College

    Chicago Heights , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    17%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Prairie State College known for?

    Prairie State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #17

    College of Lake County

    Grayslake , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    9K

    What is College of Lake County known for?

    College of Lake County’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Southwestern Illinois College known for?

    Southwestern Illinois College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Lewis and Clark Community College known for?

    Lewis and Clark Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #20

    Waubonsee Community College

    Sugar Grove , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Waubonsee Community College known for?

    Waubonsee Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #21

    McHenry County College

    Crystal Lake , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    4K

    What is McHenry County College known for?

    McHenry County College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  20. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Lincoln Land Community College known for?

    Lincoln Land Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #23

    South Suburban College

    South Holland , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    3K

    What is South Suburban College known for?

    South Suburban College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #24

    Illinois Central College

    East Peoria , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Illinois Central College known for?

    Illinois Central College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #25

    Kennedy–King College

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Kennedy–King College known for?

    Kennedy–King College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Kennedy–King College
  2. Richland Community College
  3. Lewis and Clark Community College
  4. Olive–Harvey College
  5. Black Hawk College
  6. Lincoln Land Community College
  7. College of DuPage
  8. Shawnee Community College
  9. Harper College
  10. Harold Washington College
  11. Truman College
  12. Lake Land College
  13. Joliet Junior College
  14. Malcolm X College
  15. Richard J. Daley College
  16. Frontier Community College
  17. Southeastern Illinois College
  18. Illinois Central College
  19. Prairie State College
  20. Rock Valley College
  21. Illinois Valley Community College
  22. Kankakee Community College
  23. Heartland Community College
  24. Parkland College
  25. Moraine Valley Community College