Illinois Colleges & Universities

Thinking about expanding your horizons and remaining competitive in the job market by researching school in Illinois? US residents who have earned professional degrees have both the lowest unemployment and the highest annual salaries.

Illinois Schools: Optimize Your Earning Potential: Thinking about attending colleges and schools in Illinois? US residents who earn professional degrees have both the lowest unemployment rates and highest annual salaries, potentially in the high $70,000 range.

When searching for postsecondary education opportunities, think big and then think Illinois. Two of the prestigious Big Ten Conference schools are Illinois colleges--Northwestern, on the breezy shores of Lake Michigan, and University of Illinois, at Champagne Urbana. Big Ten schools in Illinois offer rabid sports fan loyalty and lifelong alumni networking. Searching for smaller Illinois schools yields a comprehensive network of 49 community colleges offering two-year degrees, which can be transferred to in-state colleges and universities. With over 150 colleges and universities to choose from, you can begin by evaluating the Big School experience versus a smaller college with more intimate student support. College tuitions range from $7,870 to $12,240 at Illinois state colleges, and $16,255 to $50,247 at Illinois private universities. Fortunately, private colleges in Illinois can tap large endowments to offer students financial aid and scholarships.

Big Names in Illinois Colleges:
  • • University of Chicago. Founded by John D. Rockefeller, this private co-ed college has strong academics and scholarship in science, economic, and sociology programs.
  • • University of Illinois. This university has three major campuses with over 70,000 matriculating students, including a global campus and new initiatives in online education as well as excellent engineering, education and science programs. The U of I Urbana-Champagne campus is number one in Big Ten minority enrollments.
  • • Illinois State University. Originally a teachers college that now strongly emphasizes research, ISU is a big university with a small school feel.
  • • Northwestern University. This private, suburban university is located along the shores of Lake Michigan, and is best known for programs in economics, education, journalism and engineering. Northwestern boasts active sports and theatre programs.
  • • Loyola University. This private, Jesuit, Catholic university includes a co-ed Latino fraternity and is best known for its medicine and nursing programs.

Big Choices in Illinois Schools: Enrolling at record levels is the Illinois state-wide community college system. Operating since 1901 with over 48 colleges offering 3500 programs, this system remains committed to offering affordable access to high quality education. Tuition hovers in the $3,000 range depending on the number of courses taken.

The Illinois average per capita income of $41,411 stretches far in a state synonymous with the traditional Midwestern values of friendliness and modest lifestyles. An interesting mix of finance and insurance upstate, and agriculture and manufacturing downstate powers the economy of Illinois. The state boasts a recent small decrease in unemployment and is one of the few states showing gains in manufacturing job opportunities.

Twenty percent of those who call Illinois home live in Chicagoland (Chicago and its suburbs), and the rest are spread out in small cities and agricultural downstate towns across the southern part of the state. Chicagoland's largest employers are Chase (financial), Allstate (insurance), Abbott Laboratories. Downstate leading employers are State Farm (insurance) and the US Military Adjutant General (national security).

The writer Anne Sterling traveled the world as a free-lance tour manager before getting serious about education. After obtaining a master's degree in psychology and education Anne has helped children and adults to maximize their learning through the use of experiential education and applied learning. Anne is currently studying towards an advanced certification in special education.

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