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Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, IL

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Great Value Colleges - Top Online Degrees in Chicago

There are so many online degrees in Chicago, Illinois, that it can be hard to know which program to choose. With everything from associate’s to doctorate degrees available, not to mention stand-alone certificates and endorsements, there is an option for everyone who is interested in completing their education. The only issue is: how do students get access to the information they need in one place?

This ranking will help with that question. Students do not just need an overview of a school; they need tangible facts, like class sizes, tuition rates, and more. They also need to know which online services are available as well as what fields of study are they can choose from. This ranking records all of that information as it stands for the 2019 academic year, so students are in good hands with this article at their fingertips.

Methodology

This is a points-based ranking, meaning the schools on this list ranked high enough to make the top ten best colleges and universities in Chicago, Illinois, for online education. Before the ranking was completed, however, the first round of research was conducted by searching for the best online degrees in Chicago by using the National Center for Education Statistics and its publicly available College Navigator database. The second round of research began as soon as all the schools that had online programs were identified; this time the research was done by pulling information from the school’s website. The schools were then awarded points based on the following factors:

Types of online degree options available (associate, bachelor, master’s, doctorate): 1 point per degree level.

Cost per credit hour:
Under $250 – 4 points
$251 – $350 – 3 points
$351 – $450 – 2 points
Over $451 per credit hour – 1 point

Regional Accreditation:
Present – 1 point

Student to faculty ratio:
10:1 or less – 3 points
11:1 to 15:1 – 2 points
Greater than 15:1 – 1 point

The final 10 schools can be found within a 50-mile radius of Chicago, Illinois. They are listed below based on the total amount of points awarded during the research process.

10. DePaul University

Chicago, Illinois

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, IllinoisTop 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois
DePaul University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees online.

Website

Students interested in completing online bachelor’s degrees will want to check out DePaul University. This school provides undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificates, all of which can be found entirely online or with minimal residency requirements. Fields of study include communication and media, business administration, taxation, financial planning, and game programming. Students will find that there are also a variety of licensure programs that are professionally accredited. Online features for this program include academic and career advising, tutoring services, 24/7 technical support, online office hours, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $655
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 5

9. Illinois Institute of Technology

Chicago, Illinois

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois
Illinois Institute of Technology offers online undergraduate and graduate programs.

Website

Illinois Institute of Technology is a great place for students who are interested in online degrees in Chicago, Illinois. This school confers undergraduate and graduate programs; certificates and stand-alone professional programs are also available. Fields of study include architecture, law, engineering, nursing, and education. Dual degrees are also available online upon approval of the school. Small class sizes, experienced instructors and a dedicated online staff make this a great choice for ambitious students. Online features include 24/7 technical support, financial aid services, academic and career advising, online tutoring, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $1,530
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 6

8. Saint Xavier University

Chicago, Illinois

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois
Saint Xavier University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees online.

Website

The online master’s degrees available at Saint Xavier University provides students with the option to complete the degree of their career dreams. This school offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees; certificates and stand-alone online courses for non-degree seeking students are also available. Fields of study include nursing, business administration, leadership and public administration, and education. Endorsements and certificates for professionals are available as stand-alone programs. Students will find that all instructors at this school are trained in online education. Online features include a dedicated online staff, 24/7 technical support, academic and career advising, online office hours, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $575
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 6

7. Northern Illinois University

DeKalb, Illinois

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois
Northern Illinois University offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees.

Website

Northern Illinois University is a great choice for students interested in the best online programs near Chicago, Illinois. This school confers degrees, certificates, and endorsements at all levels of education. Fields of study include marketing, political science, business administration, and applied management. Students will find that a strong online offering also includes a committed online staff and instructors trained in the art of online education. All degrees are conferred entirely online or with minimal residency requirements. Online services include academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, online office hours, financial aid services, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $454
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 6

6. Loyola University

Chicago, Illinois

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois
Loyola University Chicago caps classes at 15 students.

Website

It should come as no surprise that Loyola University Chicago is on a list of the best online programs in Chicago, Illinois. This school has been consistently ranked as one of the best schools in the nation for online education by U.S. News and World Report. Students can complete certificates and degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels. All degrees are available wholly or mostly online and classes are capped at 15 students. Along with experienced instructors and a full suite of online services, this school is the place where dreams come true. Online features include academic and career advising, online office hours, 24/7 technical support, financial aid services, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $814
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 7

5. North Park University

Chicago, Illinois

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois
North Park University offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Website

North Park University is a great place for students who are interested in online degrees in Chicago, Illinois. Students can choose to complete degrees and certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Fields of study include business administration, communication studies, nursing, and education. All programs come with the option to complete the degree 100 percent online or as a hybrid degree. Students will build a community with their classmates and professors owing to the small class sizes and experienced online staff. Online features include 24/7 technical support, academic and career advising, online tutoring services, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $550
Student to Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 7

4. National Louis University

Chicago, Illinois

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois
National Louis University offers undergraduate and graduate online degrees.

Website

Students can expect some of the best online programs from National Louis University. This school offers degrees and certificates at all levels of education, including endorsements and qualifications. Fields of study include health services administration, business administration, criminal justice, and early childhood education. Students will be able to complete the majority of the programs wholly online; the rest have minimal residency requirements. Online features for this school include 24/7 technical support, academic and career advising, tutoring services, financial aid services, online office hours, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $430
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 7

3. Roosevelt University

Chicago, Illinois

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois
Roosevelt University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees 100 percent online.

Website

Roosevelt University is an incredible place for students who wish to earn online degrees in Chicago, Illinois. This school confers undergraduate and graduate programs that are 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Fields of study include accounting forensics, health administration, criminal justice, and psychology. The degrees are fully supported by a dedicated online staff as well as a fully functioning online portal. Features include 24/7 technical support, academic and career advising, online tutoring services, financial aid services, online office hours, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $415
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 7

2. Rush University

Chicago, Illinois

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois
Rush University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees online.

Website

Students interested in completing an online degree will find what they are looking for at Rush University. This school offers students the opportunity to complete an undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate degree; certificates and endorsements are also available. Fields of study include clinical laboratory management, nursing, health sciences, and blood bank technology. This school boasts one of the smallest class sizes in the city, with students numbering five to a class. With a dedicated online staff and experienced instructors, students are set up for success. Online features include academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, online office hours, financial aid services, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $995
Student to Faculty Ratio: 5:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 8

1. Moody Bible Institute

Chicago, Illinois

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois
Moody Bible Institute offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees online.

Website

Moody Bible Institute is one of the top institutions that a student can attend for excellent online degrees in Chicago, Illinois. This school confers certificates and degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Fields of study include theological studies, ministry leadership, theological and cultural engagement, and biblical studies. All degrees are offered 100 percent online or with minimal residency options. Students will benefit from small class sizes, flexible study options, and a world-class faculty and staff. Online features include academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, online tutoring services, financial aid services, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $340
Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 8

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Degree?

Students will find that an online degree will open the door to any career imaginable. From nursing and psychology to education and business, the truth is that the sky is the limit when it comes to having a career that started, or was supported by, an online degree. And with so many fields of study now available, an online education is just as viable as an on-campus education.

There a few exceptions, of course, and these include careers in which supervised hands-on instruction in a specialty setting is required. This includes law and medical professions, both of which currently require attendance at an on-campus school for these specialist degrees. However, students can still begin their education journey by completing an online bachelor’s degree or even complete additional education after completing these specialist programs.

What are the Different Types of Online Programs that are Available?

Online programs are generally called as such because courses are available online. However, not all schools view online degrees the same way. There are a variety of online programs currently available, which will be discussed briefly down below.

Fully online programs are conferred 100 percent online. This means that students do not have any residency requirements and will not be tasked with attending campus at any time throughout the duration of their program. These programs are perfect for working professionals and busy students who do not have time to commute to a campus.

Low-residency online programs are designated this way because they have a few residency requirements; students will need to be on campus at designated times. This can range from once during the program to several terms every term. Some schools also require that students attend campus during the summer. Residency requirements for these programs are outlined in the “Residency Requirement” section of the specific program’s website.

Online hybrid programs are programs in which students complete half of their coursework online and half on-campus. Due to the nature of the program, it is recommended that only students who live close to campus take on this type of degree. Additionally, students who do not make the required trips to campus may not be eligible for graduation.

Cohort online programs are unique in that students will progress through the curriculum with the same classmates that they began the program with. This type of program is most often delivered sequentially, meaning that students will need to take their courses in a specific order for graduation. Cohort programs are uncommon but may be found in nursing and business programs around the country.

Accelerated online programs were built for working professionals and can be completed faster than traditional online programs; generally, students may finish their degree in up to half the time it normally takes. Term lengths are shorter, courses are more intensive and students will need to keep up with the curriculum and their assignments in order to graduate on time.

Online bridge programs are generally found at the undergraduate level; these are online programs that bridge a professional’s work experience with an undergraduate degree. The most common bridge program in the United States is known as the RN to BSN program, and it is for registered nurses who have yet to complete a bachelor’s degree. These programs operate under the assumption that students have enough experience in the field that foundational work is not necessary and that the student can progress to advanced subjects.

Online bachelor’s completion programs are programs designed to complete a student’s undergraduate education. It is a requirement of this program that students have about two years of college in order to apply for the program. Students will find that most core curriculum requirements are waived and they will focus on higher-level courses in accordance with their specific needs.

If a Program Calls for a Field Experience, is a Student Require to Find One Near School Campus?

No; online programs make it easy for students to complete their field experience in their community. While this may take more effort on the part of the student, finding a field experience close to them is necessary for them to complete this requirement for graduation. In fact, many schools encourage students to find an experience in their current place of work to ease the need for a commute.

Field experiences for online programs do take some effort. Students generally do not have access to the school’s resources to find an acceptable placement, particularly if they live out-of-state. The onus is on them to find a placement that will be approved by the school. They will also need to find a proctor who can communicate with them and the school to ensure all the requirements are met for the experience.

However, field experiences that take place close to home eliminate the need for long commutes. Online schools know the value of this and so have endeavored to make the process simpler for students. The student will find support for placement through their professors or the school but it is advised that students retain the idea that they will be responsible for finding the placement.

Are Online Degrees Easier to be Accepted to Than a Traditional On-Campus School?

No, online degrees are not easier during the application process. In some cases, it may be more difficult to be accepted into an online program versus an on-campus program, especially if the school has a strong reputation in the field of study the student is interested in. It is also important to remember that most schools have the exact same application requirements regardless of the delivery method of the degree.

Some online programs are known for their quality and their employment success rate after graduation. This makes these programs interesting to prospective students; it also means that the selection process for entry into the program is competitive. It may surprise students to learn that the most selective programs are not always found at an Ivy League or private school; many public schools, including the ones in Chicago, Illinois, have national reputations in different areas. This means that students will need to work hard on their application in order to enter the program of their choice.

Something else to keep in mind is that it is rare to find a school that alters its application requirements for online students. These schools rightfully believe that altering requirements for acceptance depending on delivery method may weaken the reputation of the online program and anger students who already study on-campus, as they may feel cheated because online students would not have to work as hard in terms of being accepted into the program. It is also impossible for an accredited school to lower its standards for online programs; to do so would mean a review of the school’s accredited status, something that is important to all schools of quality.

Some online, for-profit schools have low application requirements; generally, all that is needed is evidence of a high school diploma, professional references, and a personal statement. However, these schools often do not hold regional accreditation and may be a detriment to a student who wishes to earn qualifications in the future or who wants to move from undergraduate education to a graduate program at a different school.

Is it Possible to Earn a Qualification Through an Online Program?

Yes, it is possible to earn licensure, certification or endorsement through an online program. Students will have to do research to ensure that the program does indeed lead to the qualification they require and that the program is available in their state if they are out-of-state students. Once this is clarified, a student can move forward with the application process.

Students will need to ensure that the online program they are interested in does lead to endorsement, certification, or licensure. Usually, the school is upfront with this information; licensure programs are designated as such and certification or endorsement programs are highlighted with this fact. If a school does not designate between a licensure and a non-licensure program, students will need to talk to the program director before moving forward with the application process; this is just to ensure the program is the one they need.

Online programs that lead to qualifications may not be available in all states; this is to say, an online program that delivers a pathway to qualification may do so for its state and surrounding states, but not for a state across the country. Restrictions such as this are very easy to spot as the school generally puts a disclaimer in the program website saying which states prohibit completing the degree. This is to ensure that students who are interested in the degree but live in a state that the program cannot be offered to have the information straight away without confusion.

Finding an online program that meets all a student’s needs used to be difficult; now it can be an overwhelming experience for a student that doesn’t know where to start. But despite the research process, online degrees can open doors to whole new careers, so it is a great thing to get excited about. With this ranking of the best online degrees in Chicago, Illinois, students will have no trouble finding the school that will help them complete their dreams.

GVC Staff
March 2019

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Chicago, Illinois for 2019.