Best Private Colleges in Illinois 2022

Best Private Colleges in Illinois 2022

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Illinois.

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.

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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

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 41 private universities in Illinois. To be included in the list below of the best private universities in Illinois, schools must be fully accredited, private, non-profit institution, and must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

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Best Private Colleges in Illinois

  1. #1

    University of Chicago

    Chicago , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1535/34

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1495/34

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1225/27

    Loyola University Chicago’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Applied Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Applied Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Paralegal Studies (blended)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Hybrid
    BA in Strategic Digital Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Web Technologies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Applied Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Applied Studies
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Management
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN to BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120 overall overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Paralegal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Blended
    BA in Strategic Digital Communication
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #5

    DePaul University

    Chicago , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    19K

    DePaul University’s Online Degrees

    BSB in Accountancy
    Degree Concentrations
    • Internal Audit
    • Standard
    • Required Credits: 150
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Applied Behavioral Sciences
    • Required Credits: 94
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Decision Analytics
    • Required Credits: 192
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Leadership Studies
    • Required Credits: 192
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSB in Marketing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Digital Marketing
    • Required Credits: 192
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Computing
    • Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 192
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #8

    Roosevelt University

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/24

    Roosevelt University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 147
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Health Science Administration
    • Required Credits: 131-135
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1076/22

    Benedictine University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Professional Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Digital Marketing
    • Human Resources Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 34
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #14

    McKendree University

    Lebanon , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1063/23

    McKendree University’s Online Degrees

    BBA in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Cyber Defense
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Entrepreneurship
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSED in Middle School Education–Mathematics
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology/Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Sport Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #15

    Aurora University

    Aurora , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1047/20

    What is Aurora University known for?

    Aurora University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Aurora University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    Saint Xavier University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Applied Communication
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business
    • Required Credits: 45
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 34
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/22

    Trinity International University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Business
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Christian Ministries
    Degree Concentrations
    • Broad Field
    • Family Ministries
    • Pre-Seminary
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #19

    Illinois Wesleyan University

    Bloomington , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/26

  12. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    6K

    National Louis University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BABS in Communications
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Healthcare Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. #22

    Millikin University

    Decatur , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/23

    Millikin University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 33
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online (with 2 in-person clinical projects)
    BS in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  14. #23

    Illinois College

    Jacksonville , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    1K

    Illinois College’s Online Degrees

    BA in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 42
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Agribusiness Management
    • Required Credits: 42
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Human Resources Management
    • Required Credits: 46
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 42-44
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. #24

    Rockford University

    Rockford , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    Rockford University’s Online Degrees

    BSAS in Accounting Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSMS in Management Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  16. #25

    Lewis University

    Romeoville , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/24

    Lewis University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Computer Science
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Criminal Justice
    • Security Studies
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Illinois’s Best Private Colleges in Your Area Interest

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. University of Chicago
  2. Northwestern University
  3. Illinois Institute of Technology
  4. Wheaton College
  5. Knox College
  6. Trinity International University
  7. DePaul University
  8. Principia College
  9. Loyola University Chicago
  10. Monmouth College
  11. Illinois Wesleyan University
  12. Lake Forest College
  13. Illinois College
  14. Bradley University
  15. Dominican University
  16. North Central College
  17. Augustana College
  18. Elmhurst University
  19. Olivet Nazarene University
  20. Millikin University
  21. Benedictine University
  22. Trinity Christian College
  23. Quincy University
  24. Saint Xavier University
  25. Lewis University

Check out our directory of private colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top private schools in every state.