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2021 Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in Illinois

15 Colleges
1,648 Bachelor's Degrees
$26,345 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Value Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies School for You

Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in IllinoisWith 1,648 bachelor's degrees handed out in 2018-2019, parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies is the #12 most popular major in Illinois. This means that 3.0% of the degrees earned in the country were from a school in the state.

This year's Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in Illinois ranking looked at 15 colleges that offer a bachelor's in parks and rec. To us, 'best value' doesn't just mean the school with the lowest overall costs. Instead, we are looking at those parks and rec schools that offer a high quality educational experience at a price lower than expected.

To determine the average cost, we look at total expenses - such as tuition, fees, room and board, books, and other related expenses - and then subtract the average financial award a student receives. Knowing this amount can help you determine how much you may have to borrow in loans or take out of savings. Depending on your income and other factors, the cost for you to attend a particular school may be more or less.

More Ways to Rank Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools

When choosing the right school for you, it's important to arm yourself with all the facts you can. To that end, we've created a number of major-specific rankings, including this Best Value Parks & Rec Schools list to help you make the college decision.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

2021 Best Value Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools in Illinois

The following schools top our list of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Colleges for the Money.

Top 10 Best Value Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools

#1

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, IL

Our rankings recognize Eastern Illinois University as the #1 school in this year's rankings. EIU is a moderately-sized public school located in the town of Charleston. EIU not only placed well in our value rankings. It is also #3 on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in Illinois list.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at EIU to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $16,976. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from EIU is about $75,034. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Western Illinois University comes in at #2 in this year's ranking. WIU is a medium-sized public school located in the town of Macomb. WIU did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #4 on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in Illinois list.

The average student at WIU graduates in less than 4.4 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $17,615. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from WIU is about $78,211. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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The #3 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Illinois State University. Located in the suburb of Normal, Illinois State is a public school with a very large student population. In addition to being on our best value list, Illinois State has also earned the #2 rank in our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in Illinois ranking.

The average student at Illinois State graduates in less than 4.4 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $24,958. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Illinois State is $108,817. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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#4

Monmouth College

Monmouth, IL

Monmouth College comes in at #4 in this year's ranking. Monmouth is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Monmouth. Monmouth also made our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in Illinois list, coming in at #9.

The average student at Monmouth graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $22,828. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Monmouth is $96,106. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville earned the #5 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the suburb of Edwardsville, SIUE is a public college with a fairly large student population.

It takes about 4.5 years for the average student at SIUE to complete their degree, and it costs about $17,498 per year to attend the school. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from SIUE is $79,091. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Northern Illinois University landed the #6 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools. Located in the suburb of Dekalb, NIU is a public school with a large student population.

The average student at NIU graduates in less than 4.6 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $20,171. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the NIU is $92,181. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#7

Concordia University - Chicago

River Forest, IL

Concordia University - Chicago earned the #7 spot in our 2021 rankings. Concordia University Chicago is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of River Forest. As a testament to the quality of education offered at Concordia University Chicago, the school also landed the #8 rank in our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in Illinois ranking.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at Concordia University Chicago to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $26,477. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University Chicago be around $115,440. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign comes in at #8 in this year's ranking. UIUC is a very large public school located in the city of Champaign. UIUC did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #1 on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in Illinois list.

It takes the average student at UIUC about 4.2 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $32,679. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from UIUC is about $137,252. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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The #9 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Located in the city of Carbondale, SIUC is a public college with a fairly large student population. SIUC not only placed well in our value rankings. It is also #5 on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in Illinois list.

It takes the average student at SIUC about 4.5 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $28,953. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from SIUC be around $129,130. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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#10

Elmhurst University

Elmhurst, IL

The #10 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Elmhurst University. Elmhurst is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Elmhurst.

The average student at Elmhurst graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $30,228. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Elmhurst is $127,562. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Colleges in the Great Lakes Region

Explore all the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Colleges in the Great Lakes Area or other specific states within that region.

State Degrees Awarded
Michigan 2,122
Ohio 2,127
Indiana 1,581
Wisconsin 951

Parks & Rec Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Health & Physical Education 1,320
Recreation Administration 209
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 116
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 3

View All Parks & Rec Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting 2,065
Public Administration & Social Service 1,282
Legal Professions 111
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 3

View All Parks & Rec Related Majors >

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 15 schools only.

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to NPS Photo/Zurbuch.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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