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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.

Illinois Online Colleges and Tuition Rates

Online colleges and universities in Illinois charge tuition in a number of ways. The University of Illinois, for instance, has three separate campuses (Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield) which all bill students by the credit hour. And while they offer different rates for undergraduate and graduate study, each school charges the same regardless of a student's residency status. Other institutions, however, may charge out-of-state students more than those located in-state. For details on tuition, and the application process, prospective students should contact an admissions counselor.

Selected Online Degree Programs in Illinois

Online Education Degrees in Illinois: Online undergraduate programs in education provide a foundation in multi-subject teacher preparation. Along with classroom management techniques, students receive an overview of topics such as exceptional learners, child development, assessment, and educational technology. Graduate degree programs typically build upon these fundamentals, and also may include courses in curriculum design, learning theory, and professional development. There are a number of specializations students can choose, including early childhood education, special education, and administration. Once they earn a degree and the proper license, graduates might consider becoming K-12 or postsecondary educators, administrators, or instructional coordinators.

Online Business Degrees in Illinois: Students who enter online programs in business typically learn about business law, management information systems, and corporate entrepreneurship. Individuals who want to earn a graduate degree may choose to pursue an MBA, or Master of Business Administration. Courses in this program typically focus on global economics and marketing, value creation, data analysis, and organizational strategies. Additionally, students can often choose from concentrations such as international business, leadership, sustainability, and technology management. Earning an online degree in business may qualify graduates for positions as marketing managers, management analysts, and accountants.

Online Social Work and Human Services Degrees in Illinois: Social work and human services students generally take courses in psychology, social welfare, substance abuse and addiction, and case management. Depending on one's particular area of interest, students might choose to specialize in areas such as mental health, community organization, families and children, or social policy. Graduates of online social work and human services degree programs might pursue jobs as mental and health services managers, social workers, or correctional treatment specialists.

There are many other online degrees available to students in Illinois, including criminal justice, information technology, public health, and psychology. For more details, request information from one of the schools listed below.

Sources:
The Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success, Executive Summary, 2009, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Public Agenda Task Force
Illinois Virtual Campus (IVC), Distance Learning Opportunities from Illinois Colleges and Universities, 2012
University of Illinois at Chicago, UIC Admissions, Online Program Tuition Guide
University of Illinois, Online & Continuing Education, Tuition and Financial Aid, 2011
University of Illinois, Springfield, Records and Registration @ Illinois Springfield

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