Why Choose a Private University in Illinois?
Illinois has 96 private four-year colleges and universities and 63 public postsecondary institutions. Many students prefer private schools over their public counterparts due to their strong focus on academics, smaller class sizes, close-knit communities, and access to co-curricular opportunities.
Although private universities generally cost more than public institutions, students can qualify for financial aid and academic or need-based scholarships that bring down the cost of attending a private school. With financial aid, attending a private four-year college may come with similar or even lower costs than public schools.
Conversely, some students prefer not to attend private universities in Illinois due to their relative lack of diversity, limited majors and course offerings, and demanding schedules. Private schools typically charge higher tuition rates. For students with limited financial aid support, private schools can be expensive.
Students should examine numerous factors when choosing whether to attend a public or private school for their postsecondary studies.
Pros and Cons of Attending a Private University in Illinois
Lower class sizes make it easier to seek one-on-one attention from professors and instructors.
Close-knit academic communities make it easy to connect with fellow students and make friends.
Many private schools have a religious affiliation. This means that the school might better reflect a student’s own views and values.
Ample financial aid and scholarships can reduce the total cost of attending a private college or university.
Private colleges typically have limited numbers of courses and majors.
Smaller private schools sometimes have less diverse club and activity offerings than large public schools.
A lack of diversity can make it difficult for students to expand their horizons and meet people from other backgrounds and cultures.
Private institutions typically have much higher tuition rates than their public counterparts.
Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Universities in Illinois
While most Illinois private four-year colleges are nonprofit organizations, a few operate as for-profit institutions. Nonprofit schools receive funding from the federal and state government, tuition, and endowments, allocating this money to curriculum, instruction, and general operating expenses. For-profit colleges maintain a responsibility to shareholders and often spend significantly more money on marketing and recruiting.
Compared to for-profit schools, nonprofit private universities in Illinois offer lower tuition, better financial aid options , and higher-quality instruction. They also feature more selective admission processes and less flexible learning options, such as online or hybrid courses.
Illinois for-profit schools maintain less rigorous admission requirements and more flexible class scheduling. They also feature higher tuition and lower graduation rates, resulting in a poor reputation.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Private University in Illinois?
The average student attending a private university in Illinois paid $35,570 in tuition and $13,506 in room and board in 2019-20, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Students must also consider the costs of textbooks, supplies , transportation, and personal expenses.
Degrees from the best private schools in Illinois tend to come with a higher return on investment. Top-quality programs and academic opportunities lead to higher-than-average salaries for private school graduates compared to those who attend public colleges and universities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The University of Chicago is among Illinois’ most expensive private universities, while the National Louis University Chicago campus is among the least expensive. Tuition at these institutions in 2021-22 was $59,256 and$10,755, respectively.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Private Universities in Illinois
How many private universities are there in Illinois?
There are 108 private universities and colleges in Illinois. These include 96 4-year universities and 17 2-year institutions. Of these, 88 are nonprofit institutions. A majority of these schools are in the Chicagoland area, while only six are in the southern part of the state.
There are more private than public universities in Illinois: The state is home to 63 public universities.
What is the most expensive private university in Illinois?
University of Chicago claims the top spot among the most expensive private universities in Illinois.
The school features a tuition rate of nearly $60,000 per year, in addition to what students pay for textbooks, supplies, and room and board. However, the University of Chicago also maintains a reputation as one of the most prestigious and high-quality institutions of higher learning in the United States.
What is the least expensive private university in Illinois?
The National Louis University Chicago campus is among the least expensive private universities in Illinois. The school charged a tuition rate of about $10,700 for the 2021-22 academic year. Students can also save money on on-campus fees by completing some of their coursework online.
On the other hand, the university has a much lower undergraduate graduation rate than other private universities in the state. The school’s undergraduate competition rate was just 39% in the 2020-21 school year. Comparatively, Northwestern University’s graduation rate is 94%.
Is a private university right for me?
Students who enjoy a more close-knit community, smaller class sizes, and a more personalized academic experience may find what they need at one of the private universities in Illinois.
However, these schools usually feature higher tuition than public schools, making them an expensive option for students who do not receive significant scholarships, grants, or other financial support. Some students may not like the relative lack of diversity in many private institutions.
Can I get more scholarship money at a private university?
Many private colleges in Illinois maintain large endowments and scholarship funds to help students cover the costs of tuition, room and board, and other expenses as they pursue their degrees. These funds come from alumni contributions , tuition funds, private donations, and various other sources. As a result, private universities in Illinois tend to offer many more scholarship opportunities to students compared to public schools.
According to NCES , students at nonprofit private schools received an average of $24,080 in grants and scholarships during the 2018-19 school year. In comparison, students at public universities received an average of $8,310.