Online Schools in Illinois
In 2008, the Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success released its final report on the future of higher education in Illinois. The 10-year plan listed a few goals that the state should aim to achieve: raise educational attainment, ensure affordability, and increase the number of high-quality postsecondary credentials. Online degree programs may be able to help Illinois achieve all of these goals, by allowing colleges to enroll more students and expand the number of programs they offer. With more enrollments, institutions may then be able to decrease tuition, making earning a degree more affordable to all.
Online Education Resources for Students in Illinois
Forty-seven Illinois colleges and universities have partnered together to create the Illinois Virtual Campus. Along with various resources for online students, the site hosts a database of online courses and programs available from schools in the state. Participating institutions include DePaul University, Eastern Illinois University, Aurora University, and Lewis and Clark Community College, among others. Visitors can search degrees by level, subject area, or school, as well as browse certificate programs and individual courses.
Many national online colleges also offer online programs to students in Illinois. Typically, these institutions feature a wide range of fully-online degrees. Some even have physical locations in the state. University of Phoenix, for instance, has four campuses in Illinois, two of them located in Chicago, while DeVry University has ten centers spread throughout the state. These locations may allow students to pursue blended learning options, which combine online courses with hands-on training sessions.
Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in Illinois
Before enrolling in any program, students should make sure the school they choose to attend is properly accredited. Accreditation demonstrates that an institution has met certain criteria in order to provide students with a quality education. Schools typically receive accreditation after their programs or courses have been successfully evaluated by private associations and agencies under the auspices of the Secretary of Education and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. Accreditation for colleges and universities in Illinois is overseen by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
However, not all higher learning programs in Oklahoma are accredited by the NCA. Those offered by institutions based out-of-state might receive their accreditation from a different regional agency. Additionally, individual degree programs may be evaluated by more specialized groups, such as the American Bar Association or the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. To learn more about a particular institution's accreditation status, students should speak with a school representative.