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.

Best Community Colleges in Illinois 2022

Colleges and Universities in Illinois

Illinois offers over 130 higher education institutes throughout the state. More than half of those schools are private, including the well-known DePaul University, Northwestern University, and Loyola University Chicago. While tuition at these three private schools can be costly, ranging from $44,000 to $55,000, graduation rates are high. Tuition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois at Chicago, the state’s two largest public universities, falls in the range of $13,000 to $15,000.

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While some of these universities have large student populations, Illinois is also home to many small schools, including Benedictine University and National Louis University. Students choosing to study at one at an Illinois college can pursue degrees in areas like criminal justice, social work, nursing, education, religious studies, communications, and medicine. Additionally, Illinois offers several loan forgiveness program 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, Hugh Hefner, 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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How do we determine Illinois's best community colleges?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

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

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:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Malcolm X College

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Malcolm X College known for?

    Malcolm X College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Joliet Junior College

    Joliet , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Joliet Junior College known for?

    Joliet Junior College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Parkland College

    Champaign , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Parkland College known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #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:

    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #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:

    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #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:

    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Harold Washington College

    Chicago , IL

    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:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Triton College

    River Grove , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Triton College known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Elgin Community College

    Elgin , IL

    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:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Moraine Valley Community College

    Palos Hills , IL

    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:

    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #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:

    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
  13. #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:

    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Heartland Community College

    Normal , IL

    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:

    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
  15. #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:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #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:

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #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:

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    Southwestern Illinois College

    Belleville , IL

    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:

    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. 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:

    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #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:

    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #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:

    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
  22. #22

    Lincoln Land Community College

    Springfield , IL

    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:

    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #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:

    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #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:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #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:

    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology

    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

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