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Community colleges in Illinois are plentiful. With dozens of schools to choose from, the challenge for most students will be narrowing down the list to a handful to visit. The community college system is a public system of schools with unique features not found in most institutions. For example, the tuition at community colleges tend to be substantially less than public universities or private colleges as they are subsidized, in part by state funds. Additionally, community colleges in Illinois have a guaranteed admissions aspect to the school. In other words, any qualifying student can apply and study within a community college. This unique feature provides a platform to study, upskill, and advance based on your effort and ability.

2021 Best Community Colleges in Illinois

Olney Central College (OCC) at Olney, Illinois, is part of Illinois Eastern Community Colleges group of public community colleges. OCC offers certificate and associate degree courses in diverse fields of study, such as Accounting, Collision Repair, Cosmetology, Massage Therapy, Industrial Maintenance, Nursing, Radiography and, recently, Welding and Cutting.

With about 1,600 students enrolling every year, OCC is home to several full- and part-time students looking to upgrade their skills and qualifications through cutting-edge education available close to home. The college offers a rustic setting for students, yet leverages the best in technology to ensure that its students are able to face the modern workforce challenges of the 21st century.

At $7,252 per year tuition, Olney is competitively priced when compared to other community colleges in Illinois. In addition, credits for certain courses can be transferred to four-year courses at other universities and colleges in the state. The college also has affiliations with Franklin University and McKendree AIM for students interested in a full four-year degree after completing their General Education Core Curriculum at OCC.

OCC offers access to a range of financial aid programs and scholarships for students who require assistance to get through college. As a complement to the regular curriculum, students can also engage in music, theater and athletics through various clubs and organizations that make up student life.

At OCC, community education is taken seriously, and there are several workforce education programs that local companies can take advantage of. They also provide adult and continuing education opportunities for the larger community that they serve.

Enrollment

1,112

Student to Faculty Ratio

13:1

The Lincoln Trail College is part of the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges that serve the city of Robinson in Illinois. The school offers both associated and technical certificate courses to students in preparation for the skilled workforce. LTC offers a fulfilling atmosphere to students as the goal of the school is to ensure academic standards to each student.

Currently, the school offers a wide variety of programs which include transfer degrees such as Associate in Arts, Fine Arts and Science. These courses allow students to easily transfer to other schools that offer four-year courses to students. On the other hand, the school also offers two-year degrees which include horticulture, information technology and office management where students are taught stringently so that they will be able to become competitive workers after two years.

The best thing about LTC is that at $57 per credit hour for in-district enrollees, students will be able to get quality education without the need to break their bank. On the other hand, out-of-district students have to pay $114 per credit hours especially if they live in counties like Gibson, Daviess, Clay and Knox.

Students who   plan to transfer to other universities to take four-year programs using their associate degrees can do so. Apparently, the school is affiliated with universities like Franklin University, Indiana State University, St. Mary of the Woods, University of Southern Indiana and University of Evansville.

Enrollment

892

Student to Faculty Ratio

18:1

Rend Lake College (RLC) in Ina, Illinois, pegs itself as a unique college that is “Small enough to get to know you, but large enough to meet your educational needs.” With a student base of over 5,300 full- and part-time students, it offers the perfect rural setting against the backdrop of beautiful Rend Lake. RLC offers more than 100 associate degree and occupational certification programs designed to help students succeed in their chosen careers when they enter the workforce.

Rend Lake College was originally founded as Mt. Vernon Community College in 1955, and was renamed the following year through the mandates of the Illinois Junior College Act. In 1969, work began on the sprawling 350-acre site that is the current home of RLC. Over the years, several buildings and facilities have been added, the most recent being the Coal Mine Training Center and the Computer Center.

RLC offers a diverse range of programs in Applied Science & Technology, Liberal Arts, Science, Mathematics, Education, International Studies, Health & P.E. and much more. With tuition fees of $4,275 per year exclusive of books, it is one of the more affordable options for those who require top-notch training in various specialty areas.

RLC is not just about high-quality education and fulfilling careers: students can participate in any of more than two dozen clubs and activities designed to complete the education experience by encouraging students to engage with others in the college and within the larger community that they are a part of.

Enrollment

2,486

Student to Faculty Ratio

19:1

Listed in the top 120 community colleges in the country, the Wabash Valley College is a member of the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges. The school is located in Mount Carmel in Illinois and places emphasis on the formation of values as well as the application of knowledge among the students. Currently, the school offers both degree and technical programs to students from manufacturing and design to programming and agricultural technology, the school wants to make sure that its students will become competent the moment they become part of the workforce.

Perhaps what makes Wabash Valley College popular is that the school also offers occupational courses for local employees. Occupational courses include mining technologies, commercial driver’s license training and nurse training programs. The school also offers ESL courses which draw many foreign students.

Resident students who enroll in Wabash Valley College will have to spend around $7,840 annually for their tuition and admission fees. On the other hand, out-of-state students have to pay $9,900 annually but the cost still varies because of some additional costs like student insurances, books and laboratory fees.

Students who attend WVC often proceed to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale or the University of Southern Indiana should they wish to complete their associate degree as a four year program. Moreover, the school also follows the Illinois Transfer Curriculum thus making it easier for students to transfer to other universities aside from those mentioned above. 

Enrollment

2,777

Student to Faculty Ratio

27:1

Lake Land College (LLC) is found in Mattoon, Illinois, a city with a population of 18,555 and famous for its railroads. The city holds a number of different events and activities every year, including Bagelfest every July, which brings a large fair. Mattoon is also known as the “Bagel capital of the world, with Lender’s Bagels company making itself at home about 25 years ago.

Lake Land College provides a wide variety of academic options as a community college. As a student at Lake Land College, you can earn a two year associate’s degree as well as a number of different certification programs. Enrollment at the college stood at 20,003 this year, and in 2012, the total cost of tuition for in state residents was $5,949. For out of state students, that number just about doubled to $10,814, which makes it a less appealing option for students who are trying to get an associate’s degree on a budget. However, the options offered by LLC remain intriguing. Its vocational training offers some of the following possible majors:

  • Math and Science
  • Allied Health
  • Agriculture
  • Humanities
  • Communications
  • Social Science
  • Technology
  • Education

For those interested in attending Lake Land College, the college offers financial aid in the form of federal loans, grants, work study, and merit scholarships. The scholarship application can be found on the school’s website, along with the traditional admissions application.

Enrollment

4,583

Student to Faculty Ratio

19:1

Richland Community College, located in Decatur, Illinois, was founded in 1972 when it was known as Decatur Community College. Originally operating out of a former bank building, the school quickly outgrew the location and at the same time had its service area expanded, resulting in a name change to Richland Community College and the start of construction of a new permanent home. The new campus was completed in 1988, though construction and expansion has continued in response to growing enrollment and community needs. The year following the turn of the century saw particularly large expansion through the addition of a health education center, technology center, an early childhood education academy among others.

Academics

Richland Community College offers a number of programs that result in certificates and associate degrees allowing students to pursue academic or career growth. Additionally, the school provides non-credit, adult education and continuing education courses to meet the needs of professionals and residents in their pursuit of personal or professional betterment.

Academic transfer programs allow students to fulfill lower division and general education requirements that are typically offered during the first two years of a four year education. Individuals will transfer their credits to a four year college or university upon completion of the program. Transfer to a public Illinois school will be facilitated through agreements, though students may choose to apply to private or out of state schools instead. Regardless of where the student chooses to apply, meeting with a counselor to outline a curriculum best suited for desired transfer locations is recommended.

Career programs prepare individuals with the skills and abilities necessary to operate in a given field. Programs take between one and two years to complete and result in an associate degree or certificate. These programs provide career specific education, though degree programs will include general education courses. Graduates of these programs will be able to enter the workforce as professionals in their field of study and are able to immediately pursue entry level employment.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid

As an open enrollment institution, any individual meeting the minimum requirements for admission will be eligible for enrollment upon submission of an admissions application. Applicants must provide transcripts and test scores, and may be required to take a placement exam. Students should also participate in orientation and meet with a counselor prior to registration, which begins shortly before the start of each semester.

Financial aid is available in the form of loans and grants. Students in need of financial aid must complete of financial assistance must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the information from which will be used to determine need, aid program eligibility, and monetary awards. Financial aid must be applied for prior to the start of each academic year and students may be asked to provide additional information prior to the disbursement of funds to verify the FAFSA's accuracy due to recently implemented federal regulations.

Enrollment

2,476

Student to Faculty Ratio

15:1

Located at One College Avenue in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania College of Technology offers a broad choice of programs that lead to 100 different types of career-associated certifications or two-year and four-year degrees. Programs are offered under five major areas of studies, namely Business and Hospitality, Health Sciences, Construction and Design, Sciences, Humanities and Visual Communications, Industrial, Computer and Engineering Technologies, and Transportation and Natural Resources. Popular areas of studies include nursing, construction, IT, business administration, and heavy construction equipment technology. The school, which is affiliated with Pennsylvania State University, currently has an enrollment of almost 6,000 students. Annual tuition and fees for in-state students is approximately $14,000 per year while out-of-state residents pay around $18,000 annually. Financial aid is provided in the form of payment plans, loans, scholarships and grants. The college, which is located at One College Avenue in Williamsport, provides varsity sports programs for its students. Sports featured at the school include:

  • Women’s and Men’s Archery
  • Men’s Baseball
  • Women’s Fast Pitch Softball
  • Women’s and Men’s Tennis
  • Men’s Cross-country
  • Women’s and Men’s Basketball
  • Women’s Volleyball
  • Men’s Wrestling
  • Men’s Golf
  • Women’s and Men’s Soccer
For further information about the school and its programs, you can contact the college toll-free at 800-367-9222.

Enrollment

5,322

Student to Faculty Ratio

14:1

Danville Area Community College, located in Danville, Illinois, was founded in 1946 as an extension of the University of Illinois. The school was opened to provide education opportunities for returning World War II veterans, and originally operated out of the local high school. Since its founding the school has grown in size and purpose, being given a permanent home in 1965 and becoming an independent institution in 1966. Today the school offers a wide variety of programs and services for residents of its service area.

Academics

Danville Area Community College is a comprehensive two year institution, and as such offers programs that allow for academic transfer and workforce development. Academic transfer programs complete the first two years of a four year education, followed by allowing the student to transfer to a college or university to complete the final two years. Workforce development is achieved through career training programs that take between one and two years to complete in a high demand field or industry, and result in a degree or certificate upon completion.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid

Danville Area Community College is a public, two year, open enrollment institution that admits any individual interested in joining. Students must be at least eighteen years old or have a high school diploma. Enrollment is achieved through the submission of an application, transcripts, and test scores, as well as paying school fees. Participation in new student orientation and meeting with a counselor prior to registration are encouraged. Financial aid is available in the form of loans and grants which are awarded based on need as determined by the information a student provides on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Enrollment

2,620

Student to Faculty Ratio

16:1

About
Sauk Valley Community College, located in Dixon, Illinois, was founded in 1965. The school is an open enrollment two year institution providing transfer opportunities and career education. The school serves about 5000 students annually and its service areas include the counties Lee, Henry, Bureau, Ogle, Whiteside and Carroll. The school is also located near a number of historical sites, including Ronald Reagan's birthplace and boyhood home.

Academics
Sauk Valley Community College offers students career and transfer opportunities through a variety of programs designed to assist in meeting student goals. Career programs provide students with the training and knowledge necessary to enter the workforce as professionals. Graduates of these programs will earn a certificate or associate degree, demonstrating one's qualifications and allowing one to obtain an entry level position immediately after completion of the program.

Transfer programs complete the first two years of a four year education at a low cost. Once completed, students will be able to apply to a college or university of their choosing. Different colleges and universities have different standards for transfer admission, and students should meet with an academic advisor in order to determine their curriculum for transfer.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid
As an open enrollment institution, students meeting the minimum requirements for admissions. Students must complete the application for admission, after which it is recommended that new students participate in orientation and meet with an academic advisor to plan their curriculum. Registration takes place shortly before the start of each semester.

Financial aid is available in the form of loans and grants. Students in need of financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as other supporting applications which will then be used to determine need, eligibility and awards. Students may be asked for additional financial information prior to the disbursement of funds in order to ensure informational accuracy.

Enrollment

1,628

Student to Faculty Ratio

14:1

Southeastern Illinois College (SIC) positions itself as accountable, accessible and affordable. These three crucial elements are ingrained in their culture, and have been since the college took in its first batch of 314 students in 1961. Today, it enrolls over 6,000 students every year in full- and part-time programs.

SIC operates on a lush, 90-acre campus in Harrisburg that has been stunningly landscaped to provide students with a natural environment conducive to learning. This two-year public community college offers six associate degrees in the fields of teaching, engineering, science, arts, applied science and liberal studies. In addition to these, they also offer numerous occupational certificates that prepare students for immediate employment in their chosen vocation. To this end, SIC also hosts on-campus job fairs.

Annual cost of education at SIC has been calculated at an average of $12,944 for in-state students, with a nominal increase to $13,184 for out-of-state students. This includes tuition fees of $4,170 and $4,410, respectively, and $7,854 for off-campus room and board. More than 80% of the students at SIC receive some sort of financial aid.

SIC is a participating member of the Illinois Articulation Initiative, which allows students who have completed their General Education Core Curriculum in AIA-approved courses at SIC to join participating colleges and universities across the state to pursue four-year degrees.

SIC also offers several student activity opportunities through its many clubs and organizations geared towards sports, technology, cosmetology, music, early child care and education.

Enrollment

1,650

Student to Faculty Ratio

18:1

Carl Sandburg College, located Galesburg, Illinois, was founded in 1966 to serve residents in its service area of west-central Illinois. The school maintains a second campus in Carthage, an extension location in Bushnell, and several off campus learning center sites in various other location. The school offers over fifty career programs, as well as continuing education and adult education programs as part of its commitment to community development. The school maintains ties with nearby institutions and organizations in order to expand its offerings and capabilities.

Academics

Carl Sandburg College offers programs that allow for academic transfer and workforce development through career training. Academic transfer programs complete the first two years of a four year education locally and at low cost prior to transferring to a college or university to complete the final two years. Workforce development is achieved through career training programs in a high demand field or industry that take between one and two years to complete and result in a degree or certificate upon completion.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid

Carl Sandburg College is a public, two year, open enrollment institution that admits ant students that are at least eighteen years old or have a high school diploma. Enrollment is achieved through the submission of an application, transcripts, and test scores, as well as paying school fees. Participation in new student orientation and meeting with a counselor prior to registration is encouraged. Financial aid is available in the form of loans and grants which are awarded based on need as determined by the information a student provides on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible for $1,500 scholarship.

Enrollment

1,860

Student to Faculty Ratio

14:1

Lewis and Clark Community College (L&C) offers students a vibrant environment dedicated to academic freedom, equality of opportunity and human dignity. The diverse student ethnicity and personalized attention that the college boasts is the result of planning approach to promote inclusion and mutual respect.

Founded in 1970 with a first batch of 450 students, L&C currently serves a student body of over 26,000 members enrolling annually. The Godfrey, Illinois, campus offers more than 40 certificate and associate degree options with several transfer options for students seeking higher education. In addition, there are two other campus locations - in Alton and Edwardsville. L&C has experienced tremendous growth over the past two decades, with an unbroken string of 17 enrollment growth years.

L&C offers tuition starting at $7,812 per year, exclusive of other costs. The heritage campus is well-known and has buildings placed strategically close to each other to save students commuting time between classes. Class sizes are small, which allows personalized attention from highly qualified instructors. The college also offers several other learning opportunities such as online learning, adult basic education, high school partnerships, transfer programs, workforce training solutions and more.

Extracurricular activity opportunities abound with the several student clubs and organizations. Athletic events, cultural activities and music performances on and off campus round out the education experience of students enrolling at the college. Though more expensive than similar community colleges in the state, L&C provides a well-rounded curriculum in a semi-rural setting that brings students closer to each other as well as the communities that they are a part of.

Enrollment

6,698

Student to Faculty Ratio

19:1

About
John Wood Community College, located in Quincy, Illinois, was founded in 1974 and is one of the 48 schools the comprise the Illinois Community College System. The school began operation in 1975 to an initial enrollment of 668 students. The school initially lacked its own location, utilizing courses from other colleges to give credit for its students until 1991, when the school purchased buildings to house classes. By 1996 the school had purchased 155 acres in Quincy to permanently house the school do to increased enrollment and the need for new facilities.

Academics
As a comprehensive community college JWCC offers students a variety of program options that allow for academic transfer or career training. Students pursuing academic transfer will complete a curriculum that covers the first two years of a four year education, followed by applying for transfer to a college or university to complete the final two years and earning a bachelor's degree. Career training programs offer an education that takes between one and two years to complete and provides education and skill development in high demand field for the purposes of employment after graduation. Students graduating from such a program will earn a degree or certificate upon completion.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid
John Wood Community College is a public, two year, open enrollment institution that allows any individual that interested in attending to do so by completing an application and paying fees. Students should be 18 years of age or older, or have a high school diploma, as well as supply previous transcripts and test scores if available. A meeting with a counselor is encouraged prior to registration. Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants and scholarships and awarded based on need as determined by the applicants Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Enrollment

1,924

Student to Faculty Ratio

13:1

About Shawnee Community College, located in Ullin, Illinois, was founded 1967 to provide residents of the area with postsecondary educational opportunities. The school is one of 48 community colleges located within and operated by the state.

SCC is an accredited two-year institution, allowing resident of the area to receive a quality education through the programs offered by the school.  Shawnee CC continually reviews its facilities, programs, and services to ensure that they meet the current standards for modern students.
Academics Shawnee Community College provides students with an educational and career training opportunities, allowing them to choose the track that best suits their personal goals. Academic transfer programs fulfill the first two years of a four year education, followed by continued education at a four year college or university to complete a bachelor's degree.

Career training programs provide training and skill development in a given field, allowing students to become professionals in the workforce after completion of the program, which take between one and two years to complete and result in a certificate or diploma.
Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid Shawnee Community College is an open enrollment institution allowing any student interested in attending to complete an application for admission in order to enroll. Students must provide documentation for previous education, take a placement exam, and are encouraged to meet with a counselor to discuss curriculum and program choice.
Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants and scholarships. Students in need of aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will be used by the school to determine a student's financial need and aid program eligibility. Aid must be reapplied for prior to the start of each semester.

Enrollment

1,125

Student to Faculty Ratio

15:1

Illinois Central College (ICC) believes in changing the world through learning that changes minds. Their ambitious philosophy is reflected in the many learning opportunities they offer – not just for those looking for transfer programs for four-year courses, but also to the community at large. Their strong community ties are also reflected in the way the college was formed. In 1966, the citizens of Central Illinois voted to create the college; the very first year, it enrolled an impressive 2,946 students the following year. Today, their annual student enrollment figures regularly break the 13,000 barrier, and nearly 1,500 degrees and certificates are awarded yearly. ICC is truly a community-serving college: in total, it serves 44 high schools over a 2,322 square mile area; the ICC Education Foundation awards approximately $350,000 worth of scholarships each year; tuition waivers are granted by the college to the tune of $1 million annually; not least of its merits, ICC has touched over 400,000 lives since its inception. In times past, ICC was part of the regular re-accreditation process, which took several years to complete. In 2002, it was awarded the maximum 10-year re-accreditation. Currently, it is a part of the Academic Quality Improvement Program, or AQIP, an accreditation program of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association; the program involves the college selecting four action projects that are periodically monitored and reported on. ICC offers a robust portfolio of technical and academic programs, some of which can be transferred to a four-year degree program at other universities.

Enrollment

8,875

Student to Faculty Ratio

17:1

At Highland Community College, students have the opportunity to make the most of their associate’s degree. As a public two year institution that allows for transfer between its campuses, it has a number of different offerings that appeal to students. It’s main campus is located in Freeport, Illinois, a middle sized town with a population of 25,638 at the time of the last census. A fun fact about the city is that it is known as the “Pretzel City” for the pretzel company that was founded shortly after the first settlers came to the region nearly 200 years ago. The city itself is rather quaint, but it has a number of parks and other smaller attractions that make life there more enjoyable. Highland Community College offers associate’s degrees at the normal two year intervals, and currently has an enrollment of 3,702. In state and out of state costs are very similar, with the former being $3,792 in 2012 and the latter being $3,984. In the prior year, both were the same number, which indicates almost no discrimination between in and out of state tuition, something that is very attractive to out of state students. There are a wide variety of majors and programs to choose from, including:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Nail Technician
  • Social Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Fine Arts
  • Engineering
  • Industrial Manufacturing
  • Cosmetology
  • Computer Science
  • Business
  • Agriculture
  • Wind Turbine Technician
With many on campus offerings, including a bookstore, student organizations, activities, events, and sports teams, Highland Community College is a very popular choice for younger students. There are also a wide variety of scholarships offered: more than 100 in all, which help students from all backgrounds to afford the wonderful opportunity found at Highland Community College.

Enrollment

1,596

Student to Faculty Ratio

14:1

About
Kishwaukee College, located in Malta, Illinois, was founded in 1968 and serves nearly 11,000 students annually. The school is fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and provides quality education through multiple programs and services. The school is located in rural Illinois, and is surrounded on all four sides by the corn fields. The school also publishes a magazine that focuses on the arts and literature known as the Kamelian, an award winning publication.

Academics
Kishwaukee College offers a number of programs for students in order to fulfill their needs or assist in their goals. Career training programs assist students by preparing them for entry into the workforce. These programs develop the skills and provide an education necessary to be able to operate in the chosen industry or field as a professional. Career programs take two years to complete and result in a certificate or associate degree. Transfer programs allow students to complete the first two years of a four year education, followed by entry into a four year institution to complete the final two years and earn their bachelor's degree.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid
Any individuals interested in enrollment at Kishwaukee College may do so by completing the application for admission and paying all accrued fees. Students must be 18 years of age or have a high school diploma or equivalent, and should transcripts and test scores if possible. Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants and scholarships. Students in need of assistance must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the information from which is the school's primary source for determining awards.

Enrollment

3,307

Student to Faculty Ratio

18:1

Waubonsee Community College, located in Sugar Grove, Illinois, was founded in 1966 as a result of votes in Kane, Kendall, DeKalb, LaSalle and Will counties voting to establish Community College District 516. Since its inception the school has grown, finding a permanent home 1968, and adding an additional three campuses in subsequent years. The school is dedicated to providing the best education possible, as it feels that an educated populace is the cornerstone of a democratic society. The school was named by two are residents who submitted the name separately as part of an open competition in 1967. The word Waubonsee means “early dawn” or “early day” and was the name of a Pottawatomie chief who had resided in the Fox River Valley in the early 19th century.

Academics

Waubonsee Community College offers a number of programs resulting in associate degrees or certificates. These programs provide academic or career training. Academic programs allow students to fulfill the first two years of a four year education at a low cost and allow for transfer to a four year institution upon completion. As a public institution, the school has a number of agreements in place with public four year colleges and universities that allow for ease of transfer. Career programs train individuals in a particular field, providing the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully perform duties in a work environment. Graduates will receive a certificate or diploma and be eligible for entry into the workforce immediately after graduation. Certificate programs tend to be shorter than degree programs due to the absence of general education courses in their curriculum.

Programs offered include:

In addition, the school offers non-credit courses for individuals wishing to take classes for enjoyment and adult education courses for individuals who wish to return to school and complete their high school education. Continuing education courses are available for professionals who need such classes in order to renew licenses or certifications.

Admissions and Financial Aid

Students interested in enrollment at Waubonsee Community College should complete the admissions application and submit all pertinent documents, including transcripts and test scores. Students must also take a placement exam in order to determine which math and English courses they will enroll in, though this may be waived based on ACT scores. Though WCC is an open enrollment based institution, some programs have limited enrollment space and students interested in entering those programs must meet a separate set of admission requirements.

Financial aid is available in the form of grants, loans, and work study programs. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which is used by the school to determine need, eligibility and awards. Scholarships are also available through the school and by separate entities. Scholarships offered outside of the school may require separate applications and may be awarded for reasons other than need. The school's financial aid office also offers assistance regarding financial aid, including application assistance and offering information.

Athletics

Waubonsee Community College participates in intercollegiate athletics through the Nation Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. Membership in athletic programs is encouraged by the school as it provides a healthy competitive atmosphere and encourages students and faculty to support their school. Additionally, such programs foster the development of important skills that may be transposed into academic or professional environments to the benefit of the individual. Suck skills include teamwork, discipline, and maintaining healthy habits. Athletic programs have tryouts at various points throughout the year. Interested students should visit the athletic department to obtain dates and times.

Athletic programs at Waubonsee Community College:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Cheerleading
  • Baseball (Men Only)
  • Golf (Men Only)
  • Wrestling (Men Only)
  • Softball (Women Only)
  • Volleyball (Women Only)

Enrollment

9,176

Student to Faculty Ratio

22:1

Kaskaskia College, located in Centralia, Illinois, was founded in 1965 as the first junior college established after the states created the Public Junior College Law allowing residents in a given area the ability to vote to establish a junior college district. Upon its formation the college took over operations of Centralia Junior College, which had been part of Centralia's high school district, assuming its resources and responsibilities while expanding its service are to the counties of counties of Marion, Clinton, Washington and Jefferson. Over the years the school has expanded its service area to cover four more counties in part or whole. The school is a public two year institution providing residents of its service area support through education, economic development and cultural growth.

Academics

Kaskaskia College offers a large number of programs providing students the resources and curriculums to assist in achieving their academic or career goals. Academic programs at the school provide students with a low cost alternative for the freshman and sophomore years of a four year education. Once these two years are completed students may apply to a college or university of their choosing to complete their final two years and earn their bachelor's degree. As a public institution in the state of Illinois, transfer to public four year institutions is facilitated through academic advising which will outline which courses need to be taken in order to maximize transferability to a Illinois public institution.

Career programs provide students an education in one of a number of high demand professions. Such programs prepare students through classroom courses as well as practical training, allowing students to become accustomed to work environments they may enter and to prepare them with the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their duties professionally. Such programs take between one and two year to complete, graduates of which are capable of entering the work force immediately  having earned a certificate or degree to demonstrate their qualifications.

Programs offered include:

The school also offers adult education courses for individuals wishing to return to school and complete their high school education and continuing education courses for professionals seeking to refresh or update their knowledge or fulfill a requirement for a renewal of certification or licensure.

Admissions and Financial Aid

As a open enrollment institution all students who meet the minimum requirements for enrollment will be accepted upon successful submission of the admissions application. Students should also submit transcripts and test scores. Once enrolled, it is recommended students participate in orientation and meet with academic advisor prior to registration, which begins shortly before the start of each semester.

Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants, and scholarships. Students in need of financial aid must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) three months prior to the start of the school year. The resulting student aid report will be used to determine aid eligibility and award, which will be disbursed after accuracy of the information provided is confirmed.

Enrollment

3,164

Student to Faculty Ratio

18:1

About
Lincoln Land Community College, located in Springfield, Illinois, was founded in 1968. The school has expanded its service area and offerings since its founding, providing branch campuses in various locations. The school has seen significant growth in enrollment over the last few years as many new students have chosen to remain close to home during their first year or two of college. The school is in close proximity to the University of Illinois at Springfield and maintains close ties with that school. The school is dedicated to providing a quality education for service area and constantly reviews facilities, services and programs to ensure they meet the needs of current and future students.

Academics
Lincoln Land Community College offers a variety of programs and options that allow students to pursue the track that best suits their goals. Students wishing to pursue transfer options will complete the first two years of a four year education at LLCC, followed by applying for transfer to a four year college or university to continue their education and earn a bachelor's degree. Students applying to public Illinois institutions will find transfer requirements eased through agreements in place between schools. Individuals applying to out of state or private institutions should meet with a counselor to develop a curriculum that best meets the requirements of the desired school or schools.

Career training programs allow students to receive an education in a high demand industry or field, providing them with the skills and abilities necessary to enter the workforce as a qualified professional. Programs are taught by industry professionals in supervised settings that allow for proper training as well as more traditional classroom environments. Programs take between one and two years to complete and result in a certificate or associate degree upon completion.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid
Individuals interested in enrollment at LLCC may complete the application for admission and pay all fees in order to enroll. Students must be eighteen years of age or have a high school diploma  or equivalent. Additionally, students should supply transcripts and standardized test scores, and may be asked to take a placement exam prior to registration. Participation in new student orientation is encouraged, as is meeting with a counselor to discuss program enrollment and curriculum.

Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants, and scholarships. Students in need of financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the information from which will be used by the school to determine need and aid program eligibility when constructing a financial aid packet. Aid must be reapplied for prior to each academic year in a timely fashion. Students may be chosen at random to provide additional financial information to be compared to the FAFSA in order to verify its accuracy as part of regulation governing the disbursement of aid funds.

Enrollment

5,565

Student to Faculty Ratio

19:1

About

Elgin Community College, located in Elgin, Illinois, was founded in 1949 as a part of the Elgin Area School District U46. The school was given its own community college district two decades later, about a year after the Illinois Public Community College System was founded. The school serve a majority of Kane County, and parts of DeKalb, Cook, McHenry, and DuPage counties. The school originally held classes at Elgin High School, and was later given a 145 acre campus that was once a farm colony. Recently the school received funding to expand the campus in order to meet increased enrollment and renovate previously existing building.

Academics

Elgin Community College offers a variety of programs that allow for career development or academic transfer. Students may choose the program that best assists in the realization of their goals. Career programs provide training and education in a specific field, allowing the student to develop the skills and abilities necessary to enter the workforce as a qualified professional for long term employment. These programs typically mix traditional classroom education with practical education that allows students to utilize and perfect methods and techniques used within their field. Programs take between one and two years to complete and result in a certificate or associate degree which demonstrates competency to employers when seeking entry level employment.

Academic transfer is accomplished by enrolling in a program that covers the first two years of a four year education, followed by applying to a college or university to continue their education and complete the final two years of their bachelor's degree. Students will have an easier time transferring to public schools in Illinois through preexisting transfer agreements, though it is possible to transfer credits to out of state or private institutions. Students should meet with an academic advisor to discuss transfer requirements and develop a curriculum that best meets the needs of the desired school or schools.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid

As an open enrollment institution, any individual wishing to enroll at Elgin Community College may do so by meeting the minimum admissions requirements, submitting a completed application, and paying all fees. Students should also supply transcripts and standardized test scores, and may be  required to take a standardized test score. Students should also participate in orientation and meet with a counselor to discuss program enrollment and curriculum.

Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants and scholarships and is awarded based on need. Students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which determines the extent of need when constructing the student's financial aid packet. Aid should be applied for prior to each academic year due to shifting financial circumstances from year to year. Students should also apply for aid in a timely manner in order to ensure funds are disbursed when needed.

Enrollment

9,567

Student to Faculty Ratio

20:1

Harper College, a two-year community college located in Palatine, Illinois, offers associate degrees of two types. One track leads directly to the workplace, particularly to in-demand legal, business and medical positions. The other track leads to baccalaureate institutions and higher degrees. Harper is named for its first president, William Rainey Harper, a pioneer in the junior college movement. The school offers programs that fit the schedules of busy learners. Adults often choose Harper because the weekend college and accelerated/fast track options allow them to fit school into their busy personal and professional lives.

Extracurricular activities at Harper allow students to explore their interests and develop new skills. Opportunities include working out on the latest in fitness equipment at the college’s recreational facility or gaining valuable experience working at the student-run newspaper or radio station.

In a world where the thought of paying for higher education conjures images of financial enslavement, Harper’s tuition rates are liberating. Students seeking admission to Harper College should contact the admissions office as requirements vary from program to program. Students who desire value and quality for their education dollar should check with Harper first.

Enrollment

13,530

Student to Faculty Ratio

19:1

Kankakee Community College, located in Kankakee, Illinois, was founded in 1966 to provide educational opportunities to residents. The school is a public two year institution that is recognized by the Illinois Community College Board and accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The school is dedicated to providing high quality, low cost education to residents in its service area as part of its goal to ensure that post secondary education options are readily available.

Academics

As a comprehensive community college, KCC offers students a variety of programs aimed at workforce development or academic transfer. Students will choose the course of study that best suits their interests. Career and technical programs provide education in high demand and growing fields, allowing the student to receive education and training that provides a solid foundation for a successful career and entry into the workforce as a qualified professional. Programs combine a traditional classroom study with practical courses, often under the supervision of experienced professionals that supervise training in controlled environments.

Academic transfer allows students to complete the first two years of a four year education at KCC, followed by applying for transfer to a four year institution. Students will enter the new school as juniors, completing the final two years and earning a bachelor's degree.  Individuals applying to public schools within the state of Illinois will find that agreements in place with specific school will allow for an easier transition if certain criterion is met. Transfer is also possible to out of state and private institutions, though requirements will vary and as such meeting with a counselor prior to registration is recommended to develop the best possible curriculum to meet student needs.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid

Kankakee Community College is an open enrollment institution that allows any individuals interested in enrolling to do so through the completion and submission of the application for admission and payment of all accrued fees. The school requires students to be 18 years of age or older, or have a high school diploma or equivalent in order to be qualified for admissions. Students are asked to supply transcripts and standardized test scores if possible, and may be asked to take a placement exam prior to registration. Additionally, participation in new student enrollment and meeting with a college advisor are encouraged in order to familiarize oneself with the campus and provide guidance for one's education.

Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants and scholarships and is awarded to students based primarily on need. In order to be considered for financial aid students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the information from which is used y the school to determine need and aid program eligibility. Financial aid must be reapplied for prior to each academic year.

Enrollment

2,822

Student to Faculty Ratio

13:1

John A Logan College (JALC) in Carterville, Illinois, is known to be one of the most affordable colleges in the state, offering courses at $97 per credit hour. Established in 1968 and accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges in 1972, JALC has been serving the Williamson, Jackson, Franklin, Randolph and Perry communities for the past 45 years. It is named after Civil War General John A Logan, best known for the part he played in establishing Memorial Day, his 1884 Vice President candidature and his passion for public education.

As with most community colleges, class sizes are deliberately kept small so students can get personal attention from their instructors. Combined with its proximity to the community’s residential areas – half the students are a mere 15 minutes away by automobile – the college affords a homely and comfortable atmosphere conducive to learning.

JALC offers a diverse range of associate degrees, certificates and diplomas in disciplines such as Humanities, Business Education, Physical Science, English, Applied Technologies, Allied Health and Public Services, Mathematics, Social Science and Life Sciences. Many of their courses offer easy transfer of credits for students wishing to pursue higher education such as a baccalaureate degree.

JALC offers a robust athletics program to its students, with popular sports such as baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball and golf being the highlights of the program. Students can also join clubs for archery, nursing, massage therapy, cosmetology, construction and a host of other extracurricular activities apart from their academic courses.

Enrollment

4,040

Student to Faculty Ratio

22:1

Spoon River College, located in Canton, Illinois, was founded in 1959 in response to the growing need for post-secondary education opportunities in the mid western Illinois city. The school was originally part of the Canton Union School District and operated out of Canton High School. Due to increased enrollment larger facilities were leased in several locations downtown to meet the school's needs. Following this, the school formed its own junior college district, as well purchasing and constructing the school's permanent home and changing its name from Canton Community College to the current. Since the school's founding the school has experience a large amount of growth requiring the addition of new facilities to accommodate its growing service area and increased enrollment, as a result the school maintain modern facilities suited to assist students in achieving their goals.

Academics

Spoon River College provides a large number of programs aimed at providing students academic transfer opportunities or career training. Academic transfer programs provide students the opportunity to begin the lower division portion of their education through the school, typically taking two years, followed by the transfer of credits to a four year college or university to complete the final two years of a bachelor degree. Career training programs provide the training and skill development necessary to perform the tasks and duties in a given field. Programs result in a certificate or associate degree and take between one and two years to complete. Graduates of a program may seek work opportunities upon completion of the program.

Programs offered include:

Admissions and Financial Aid

Spoon River College is an open enrollment institution admitting any student who meets the minimum requirements of admissions. Students interested in enrolling should complete the admissions form, provide transcripts and test scores as well as meet with a counselor to discuss program placement and curriculum. Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants and scholarships. Students in need of assistance must complete the necessary form, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which is used to determine need, program eligibility and monetary awards.

Enrollment

1,436

Student to Faculty Ratio

17:1

Where to Find the Top Community Colleges in Illinois

Illinois community colleges can range from small to large with students ranging from under a thousand to over ten thousand given the college. Locating the best community college in Illinois is incumbent upon you to find. A cross-section of schools you can find below include City College of Illinois, Harper College, South Suburban College, Elgin Community College, College of DuPage, Morton College, Lewis and Clark Community College, Parkland College, Spoon River College, and Illinois Central College to list a few examples.

Best Illinois Community College Degrees

The best degree program for you will wholly depend on your aspirations, skills, and talents. Many students will work to earn an associates degree while others will leverage the curriculum to earn a certificate. In either case, the work you put into building your academic resume can set you up for success in the workplace and create a platform to continue learning at a 4-year college in Illinois after earning your undergraduate degree. The process starts by committing to yourself, your education, and your professional growth in a chosen field of study.

The following links may provide helpful information about community colleges in Illinois:

The following links may provide helpful information about community colleges in Illinois:

Metro Area Links for Community Colleges in Illinois

Community Colleges in Chicago, Naperville, Joliet

We have ranked the community colleges in the Chicago, Naperville, and Joliet area by the percent of students who either completed their degree or transferred to a 4-year institution. Knox College in Malta, IL ranked as the #1 community college in this area. Visit their official website at http://www.knox.edu

Knox College Highlights
  • Serving students from Malta and surrounding areas
  • 94% of students either graduated or transferred to a 4-year college/university
  • Tuition & fees are $50,600 per year
Top Community Colleges in Chicago, Naperville, and Joliet
Rate Institution Name Location Enrollment
94%Knox CollegeMalta, IL1,000
94%Lake Forest CollegeGrayslake, IL2,000
84%Judson UniversityJoliet, IL1,000
80%Principia CollegeChicago Heights, IL-
70%Elmhurst CollegeElgin, IL3,000
60%McKendree UniversityCrystal Lake, IL2,000
55%Ancilla CollegePalatine, IL-
50%Columbia College ChicagoChicago, IL7,000
44%City Colleges of Chicago - Harry S Truman CollegeChicago, IL8,000
40%City Colleges of Chicago - Richard J Daley CollegeChicago, IL7,000
40%City Colleges of Chicago - Wilbur Wright CollegeChicago, IL10,000
38%City Colleges of Chicago - Olive - Harvey CollegeChicago, IL3,000
36%Malcolm X College - City Colleges of ChicagoChicago, IL7,000
34%City Colleges of Chicago - Harold Washington CollegeChicago, IL9,000

Community Colleges in St. Louis

We have ranked the community colleges in the St. Louis area by the percent of students who either completed their degree or transferred to a 4-year institution. Lewis University in Godfrey, IL ranked as the #1 community college in this area. Visit their official website at http://www.lewisu.edu

Lewis University Highlights
  • Serving students from Godfrey and surrounding areas
  • 91% of students either graduated or transferred to a 4-year college/university
  • Tuition & fees are $35,100 per year
Virtual Campus Tour of Lewis University
Top Community Colleges in St. Louis
Rate Institution Name Location Enrollment
91%Lewis UniversityGodfrey, IL6,000
58%Kishwaukee CollegeCentralia, IL3,000

Other Community Colleges in Illinois

The table below lists all the other community colleges in Illinois that do not belong to any large metropolitan or urban concentrated area. The table also displays the "Rate" column, which is the percent of students completing course work.

Rate Institution Name Location Enrollment
82%Lincoln Trail College - Illinois Eastern Community CollegesFairfield, IL1,000
79%Wabash Valley College - Illinois Eastern Community CollegesRobinson, IL3,000
70%Illinois Institute of TechnologyOlney, IL7,000
63%Illinois CollegeEast Peoria, IL1,000
61%Richland Community CollegeIna, IL2,000
59%Shawnee Community CollegeDixon, IL1,000
48%Prairie State CollegeChampaign, IL4,000
48%Kaskaskia CollegeKankakee, IL3,000
43%Joliet Junior CollegeQuincy, IL15,000
41%Blackburn CollegeMoline, IL1,000
40%Robert Morris University IllinoisDecatur, IL2,000

The tuition information displayed is an estimate, which we calculated based on historical data and should be solely used for informational purposes only. Please contact the respective school for information about the current school year.

Source: IPEDS Survey 2012-2020: Data obtained from the US Dept. of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Data may vary depending on school and academic year.

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