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2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois

94 Colleges
$47,492 Avg Salary*
60% Avg Grad Rate*

As a non-traditional student, we know you have a lot on your plate, and choosing which college to attend to advance your career is incredibly important. One of our goals at College Factual is to give you as much information as we can to make the best decision possible for you.

Our analysis looked at 94 schools in Illinois to determine which ones were the best for adult learners and other students who are considered non-traditional. Our ranking is based on over 20 objective factors, including post-graduate earnings, degree completion, distance and flexible learning options. We steer clear of subjective measures since they don't give a clear picture when determining how one school compares to another.

Non-traditional students make up the bulk of today's college students and includes anyone who is attending college part-time, a returning or transfer student, or an adult learner (over the age of 24).

Find out more about our ranking methodology.

Customizing Your List

Refine this list by location and field of study. We've also developed a number of other tools and rankings based on other factors. These other rankings highlight colleges that excel in other factors such as value or diversity as well as schools that excel in serving different groups of students such as veterans.

You can create your own custom comparison that focuses on the factors most important to you using our tool, College Combat. We encourage you to try it out and pit your favorite colleges and universities head to head!

Top Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

Our analysis found University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to be the best school for non-traditional students in Illinois in this year’s ranking. UIUC is a public institution located in Champaign, Illinois. The school has a large population, and it awarded 8,983 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Bachelor’s degree students at the school tend to finish their degree on-time. The 6-year graduation rate is 85%, which is impressive compared to the national rate of 62%. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $599. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from UIUC go into careers with an average salary of $61,500 during the early years of their career.

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Adult learners and other non-traditional students will be in good company if they decide to attend University of Illinois at Chicago. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois list. UIC is located in Chicago, Illinois and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 4,524 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

There are 9,648 adult students enrolled in the school, which is 32% of the student body. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $464. During the early years of their career, graduates from UIC make an average of $54,300 a year.

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#3

University of St Francis

Joliet, Illinois

A rank of #3 on our Best Colleges For Non-Traditional Students in Illinois list means University of St Francis is a great place for adult learners and/or non-traditional students working on their bachelor’s degree. Located in Joliet, Illinois, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 415 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

A high percentage of the school is made up of adult learners. 68% of the students are 25 years or older. The school charges $850 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from University of Saint Francis make an average of $53,100 per year during the early years of their career.

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#4

Illinois State University

Normal, Illinois

Out of the 94 schools in Illinois that were part of this year’s ranking of the best schools for adult learners and non-traditional students, Illinois State University landed the #4 spot on the list. Illinois State is a large public school situated in Normal, Illinois. It awarded 4,822 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.9%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $384 per credit hour. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State go into careers with an average salary of $47,100 during the early years of their career.

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#5

National Louis University

Chicago, Illinois

Out of the 94 schools in Illinois that were part of this year’s ranking of the best schools for adult learners and non-traditional students, National Louis University landed the #5 spot on the list. National Louis University is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in Chicago, Illinois that handed out 608 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $430 per credit hour. During the early years of their career, graduates from NLU make an average of $44,600 a year.

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#6

University of Illinois at Springfield

Springfield, Illinois

University of Illinois at Springfield landed the #6 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking. Located in Springfield, Illinois, the small public school handed out 680 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $331. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from UIS is $44,600 during the early years of their career.

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#7

DePaul University

Chicago, Illinois

DePaul University landed the #7 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking. Located in Chicago, Illinois, the large private not-for-profit school awarded 3,518 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.1%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $655. During the early years of their career, graduates from DePaul make an average of $53,300 a year.

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#8

Lewis University

Romeoville, Illinois

With a ranking of #8, Lewis University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois list. Lewis is a private not-for-profit institution located in Romeoville, Illinois. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 1,234 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.8%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $968. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Lewis is $48,800 during the early years of their career.

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#9

Elmhurst University

Elmhurst, Illinois

Elmhurst University ranked #9 on this year’s Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois list. Elmhurst is a private not-for-profit institution located in Elmhurst, Illinois. The school has a small population, and it awarded 863 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $1,065. During the early years of their career, graduates from Elmhurst make an average of $48,300 a year.

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#10

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois

Eastern Illinois University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking, coming in at #10. Charleston, Illinois is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,244 students in 2018-2019.

The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $299. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from EIU make an average of $42,200 per year during the early years of their career.

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#11

Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois

Western Illinois University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking, coming in at #11. WIU is a public institution located in Macomb, Illinois. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 1,785 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school charges $288 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from WIU make an average of $43,200 per year during the early years of their career.

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#12

Concordia University, Chicago

River Forest, Illinois

With a ranking of #12, Concordia University, Chicago did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois list. Concordia University, Chicago is located in River Forest, Illinois and has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 385 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.6%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $956. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University, Chicago make an average of $39,700 per year during the early years of their career.

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#13

Aurora University

Aurora, Illinois

Aurora University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking, coming in at #13. Aurora University is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in Aurora, Illinois that handed out 1,138 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 4.8% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%. Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $710 per credit hour. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to earn average salaries of $42,700 a year.

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#14

Greenville University

Greenville, Illinois

Greenville University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking, coming in at #14. Greenville is located in Greenville, Illinois and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 304 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $434 per credit hour. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to earn average salaries of $36,800 a year.

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#15

Illinois Institute of Technology

Chicago, Illinois

Illinois Institute of Technology did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking, coming in at #15. Illinois Tech is a private not-for-profit institution located in Chicago, Illinois. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 600 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

There are 2,899 adult students enrolled in the school, which is 41% of the student body. The school charges $1,476 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. During the early years of their career, graduates from Illinois Tech make an average of $69,100 a year.

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#16

Dominican University

River Forest, Illinois

Dominican University landed the #16 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking. Dominican University is a small private not-for-profit school located in River Forest, Illinois that handed out 500 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 4.9% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $1,133. During the early years of their career, graduates from Dominican U make an average of $47,100 a year.

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#17

Loyola University Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

With a ranking of #17, Loyola University Chicago did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois list. Located in Chicago, Illinois, the fairly large private not-for-profit school handed out 2,792 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. The school charges $814 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Chicago make an average of $54,100 per year during the early years of their career.

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#18

Olivet Nazarene University

Bourbonnais, Illinois

With a ranking of #18, Olivet Nazarene University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois list. Located in Bourbonnais, Illinois, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 921 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $1,500 per credit hour. During the early years of their career, graduates from Olivet Nazarene make an average of $40,400 a year.

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Southern Illinois University Carbondale came in at #19 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking. Carbondale, Illinois is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 3,120 students in 2018-2019.

Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $315 per credit hour. During the early years of their career, graduates from SIUC make an average of $42,900 a year.

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#20

Benedictine University

Lisle, Illinois

Benedictine University ranked #20 on this year’s Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois list. Benedictine U is located in Lisle, Illinois and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 777 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $1,036 per credit hour. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Benedictine U make an average of $49,000 per year during the early years of their career.

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#21

Judson University

Elgin, Illinois

Judson University landed the #21 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking. Judson is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Elgin, Illinois. It awarded 220 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school charges $1,185 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Judson make an average of $42,800 per year during the early years of their career.

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#22

Bradley University

Peoria, Illinois

Bradley University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking, coming in at #22. Located in Peoria, Illinois, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school awarded 1,048 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.7%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $910. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Bradley go into careers with an average salary of $53,600 during the early years of their career.

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#23

Governors State University

University Park, Illinois

Governors State University came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking. Governors State University is a small public school located in University Park, Illinois that handed out 838 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school charges $313 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from GSU make an average of $40,800 per year during the early years of their career.

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#24

Roosevelt University

Chicago, Illinois

Roosevelt University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking, coming in at #24. Located in Chicago, Illinois, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 645 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The school charges $825 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to earn average salaries of $43,600 a year.

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#25

North Park University

Chicago, Illinois

North Park University landed the #25 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Illinois ranking. North Park University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Chicago, Illinois that handed out 499 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $920 per credit hour. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from North Park is $43,700 during the early years of their career.

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Best Colleges in the Great Lakes Region

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • 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 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).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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