Illinois Colleges Summary

Illinois is home to more than 250 colleges and post-secondary schools. The majority of these colleges and technical schools are private, with more than 90 private, not-for-profit schools and more than 20 private, for-profit schools. Public colleges in Illinois include 12 universities granting bachelor's and graduate degrees, and 48 community colleges. There are 49 business schools in Illinois that offer MBA programs. Students interested in attending Illinois colleges can take advantage of dual credit programs.

Online and Distance Education in Illinois

Illinois participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), an agreement among member states, districts and territories that sets national standards for postsecondary distance education courses and programs. This makes it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state.

Flagship Universities in Illinois

The University of Chicago is a private school with a rich history of academic excellence and innovation. Its urban Chicago campus features buildings designed by notable architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Netsch. Of the nearly 16,000 students attending the university in 2016, about 10,000 were graduate and other professional students.

Northwestern University is another well-known private school. It has three campuses: a 240-acre campus in Evanston, a 25-acre campus in Chicago and a third campus in Doha, Qatar. Recognized nationally and internationally for academic excellence, Northwestern is especially well known for its research in neuroscience, nanotechnology, biotechnology and drug discovery.

For more information on the Illinois Board of Higher Education can be found


  • Illinois Board of Higher Education, Institution Profiles, accessed March 2018,
  • The University of Chicago, accessed March 2018,
  • Northwestern University, Facts, accessed March 2018,
Education Institutes in Illinois
Total Number of Educational Institutes
Total Enrollment in all institutes
Number of Public Educational Institutes
Number of Private For-Profit Institutes
Number of Private Non-Profit Institutes
Graduation Rate
Total Graduates With Bachelors Degree
On Campus and Online Programs in Illinois
Number of Institutes Offering on-campus programs
Number of Institutes Offering on-line programs
Number of Institutes Offering both

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,