Most Affordable Colleges in Illinois 2022

Here are the most affordable colleges and universities in llinois. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you, at a price you can afford.

Most Affordable 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?

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How do we determine Illinois's best affordable colleges and universities?

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.

There are 15 affordable colleges and universities in Illinois with stated tuitions and fees under $20,000/year. The following list of the most affordable colleges and universities in Illinois is composed entirely of schools offering bachelor’s degree programs, have stated tuition and fees near or under the national average of $16,000/year, and are fully accredited colleges.

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Most Affordable Colleges in Illinois 2022

These schools are ranked by academic excellence, and all under $20,000/year.

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/24

    What is University of Illinois Chicago known for?

    University of Illinois Chicago’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/22

    What is Northern Illinois University known for?

    Northern Illinois University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #4

    Illinois State University

    Normal , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

    What is Illinois State University known for?

    Illinois State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Earth Sciences
    • Anthropology
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/24

    What is Southern Illinois University Carbondale known for?

    Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Nursing
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

    What is Southern Illinois University Edwardsville known for?

    Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Anthropology
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    What is Western Illinois University known for?

    Western Illinois University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Earth Sciences
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1107/22

    What is University of Illinois Springfield known for?

    University of Illinois Springfield’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Sociology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Eastern Illinois University

    Charleston , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

    What is Eastern Illinois University known for?

    Eastern Illinois University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Business
    • History
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Nursing
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    Chicago State University

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    16%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    951/17

    What is Chicago State University known for?

    Chicago State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Governors State University

    University Park , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    24%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    935/19

    What is Governors State University known for?

    Governors State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/18

    What is Northeastern Illinois University known for?

    Northeastern Illinois University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    National Louis University

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    6K

    What is National Louis University known for?

    National Louis University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    Lincoln College

    Lincoln , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Lincoln College known for?

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

    • Earth Sciences
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    St. Augustine College

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is St. Augustine College known for?

    St. Augustine College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

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Illinois’s Most Affordable Colleges in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive
  1. Chicago State University
  2. Governors State University
  3. Northeastern Illinois University
  4. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  5. St. Augustine College
  6. Eastern Illinois University
  7. University of Illinois Springfield
  8. Illinois State University
  9. Western Illinois University
  10. National Louis University
  11. Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  12. Northern Illinois University
  13. University of Illinois Chicago
  14. Midstate College

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