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Last Updated: July 18, 2021

Illinois - Prairie State

Illinois is one of the most densely populated states in the United States of America, the 5th most populous state, with an estimated population of around 12 million, in the year 2021. The climate here is mostly humid, and it keeps varying throughout the year, with the summers being hot and humid and the winters being cold and dry. It is popularly known as the 'Prairie State' because it is surrounded by numerous prairie grasslands and woodlands. The Lincoln Prairie Trail, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, The Illinois Prairie Path, Gensburg - Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, are the popular prairie sites in the state that give it the popular nickname. Illinois is also called the land of lincoln as he had started his political career in this state. It is also the birthplace of the 40th U.S. president, Ronald Regan, and many other famous personalities like Harrison Ford, Robin Williams, and Walt Disney.

Springfield is the capital of the state, but Illinois is mostly famous for the 'Wind City' of Chicago. The Central Plains region, The Shawnee Hills region, The Gulf Coastal Plain region are the three main regions that are culminated into the state of Illinois. With more than 125 colleges and universities, along with a diverse culture and environment, the state of Illinois is a beautiful place not just to earn but to live as well. The state boasts of some of the biggest counts of Fortune 500 companies across the U.S like Walgreens, McDonald’s, Boeing, Caterpillar Inc., Abbott Laboratories, United Airlines, and so on.

Major Cities in Illinois


The largest and the most densely populated city, Chicago, is popularly known as the 'Windy City' because of its windy atmosphere. The city is the international epicenter of technology, finance, and transportation. With major Fortune 500 companies located here like Motorola, Boeing, Paypal, and global financial centers headquartered here, Chicago is undoubtedly one of the most widely popular cities in the United States and is also home to a number of prestigious universities and colleges.


Founded in the year 1837, Aurora is the second-largest city in the state of Illinois. Considering that it was one of the prime cities in the nation to invest in an electric street light system, it acquired the nickname 'City of Lights'. Notable outdoor destinations include the SciTech Interactive Science Museum, The Hollywood Casino, the Paramount Arts Centre, and so on.


The city of Rockford was founded in the year 1834 and incorporated as a city in 1852. It is the third-largest city and acquired its name from the Rock River as it is situated on the banks of the river. Rockford is a major industrial and economic hub because of its manufacturing centers. Popular tourist attractions include the Burpee Museum of Natural History, Ethnic Heritage Museum, The Discovery Center Museum, and more.


Named after the famous explorer Louis Joliet, the city was founded in the year 1673. It was once known as the Steel City because of various steel mills. Joliet is also a major tourist center full of cultural sites and outdoor recreational activities. The Rialto Square Theatre, popularly called the "Jewel of Joliet" is situated here.


Founded in the year 1819, Springfield is the capital of Illinois. It is popularly known as the hometown of Abraham Lincoln and therefore, The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a major historical site in the city. One can also enjoy the shopping, dining, and nightlife in the city.

Economy/Job Market

Illinois is a major economic hub and boasts of some of the biggest counts of Fortune 500 companies across the U.S like Walgreens, McDonald’s, Boeing, Caterpillar Inc., Abbott Laboratories, United Airlines, Motorola, and so on. The major economic sectors of the state are Manufacturing, Agriculture, Mining, Nuclear Energy, Oil Production, and more. Agriculture is an important industry here with a profit of around $17 billion every year, according to 2020 reports. It is the largest producer of pumpkins and soybeans and is the second leading producer of corn. The economy of Illinois is slowly recovering and improving after the Covid-19 pandemic. 6.4% was the economic growth rate of the state annually according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, but the GDP is slightly lower compared to how it was before the pandemic. the unemployment rate is 7.1%, which is above the nation's average. The growth rate of sectors like arts and entertainment is 38.6% per year and is improving at a faster pace.

Tuition Fee and Living Cost in Illinois

The tuition fee can always vary depending upon the type of institution (public/private) and the chosen academic program. The fees structure for in-state students is different as compared to that for out-state students. The fee for in-state students is comparatively lower. To be more specific the tuition fees for an out-of-state candidate are almost double the amount paid by the in-state candidates. For instance, the tuition fees for undergraduates in the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign is around $19,000 for in-state students and $39,000 for out-of-state students. But unlike most of the universities in other states, many universities and colleges do not charge an extra fee from out-of-state students. Bloomington, DeKalb, Naperville, Belleville, Springfield are some of the most affordable places to live in the state of Illinois, Chicago being the costliest. Based on the U.S. average, the cost of living in Illinois is cheaper. Housing costs are the cheapest, whereas transportation costs are costlier than the nation's average. The median household income as of 2021 is around $66,000.

List of Few Major Universities/Colleges

Education is known for being diverse with a welcoming and comfortable environment for all students from across the world, here in Illinois. The colleges and universities here encourage the students to participate in various campus activities and multicultural club activities while providing the students with quality education. Following are the four major universities in the state of Illinois:
  1. University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Founded in the year 1867, this university is renowned for its excellent teaching, academic quality, high research, and amazing faculty who are Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer Prize winners. Situated in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, the university offers more than 250 degree programs and is the most diverse institutes of higher learning with students from all over the world coming here to fulfill their educational goals.
  2. Northwestern University Known as the 'Ivy of the Midwest', this university is one of the most prestigious institutions and the prime center to acquire high-quality education from renowned scholars, in the field of arts and communication. It was founded in the year 1857 and is situated in Evanston. Northwestern University holds the 9th position nationally, according to the 2021 reports by U.S. News.
  3. University of Chicago This is a distinguished private research institute founded in the year 1890, situated in the city of Chicago. It is widely known for its rigorous curriculum and academic programs, where students are given ample opportunities to get involved in high-quality research and projects. The university ranks 6 nationally, according to the 2021 reports of US News. Former President Barack Obama was once a faculty member in the University of Chicago Law School.
  4. University of Illinois Chicago This university was founded in the year 1965 and is situated in the city of Chicago. It is known for being a diverse public research institution with a very welcoming environment for the students. The university offers more than 86 degree programs for undergraduates and 110+ master's degree programs.

Scholarships/Financial Aids for Students

There are a number of students who wish to pursue a degree in the best institutions of higher learning but may not be able to afford it. There are also exceptionally talented students who need assistance to fearlessly move forward with their dreams to achieve higher educational goals. In order to fulfill these needs, the state of Illinois has initiated various grants and scholarship programs to make higher education convenient and affordable for all students. Â The 'Free Application For Federal Student Aid' (FAFSA) is to be filled prior to the application for any kind of financial aid. Every financial aid supported by the federal or the state government depends on the FAFSA to determine the qualification of the candidate for grants and scholarships.


As much as Illinois is known for its major financial and educational centers, it is also an excellent place to simply enjoy and explore the popular and diverse cities, replete with the finest attractions and outdoor activities. It is also the state that first got a McDonald's and is undeniably a place known for famous foods like Chicago's deep dish pizzas, hot dogs, and horseshoe sandwiches. Being a Prairie state, Illinois is home to nature's abundant beauty in its prairies and woodlands such as The Lincoln Prairie Trail, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, The Illinois Prairie Path, Gensburg - Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, and a lot more.

Universities & Colleges in Illinois

University (city) Total StudentsUG (in) / UG (out)G (in) / G (out)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign) 54985$18818 / $38681$19863 / $33454
Northwestern University (Evanston) 25614$59590 / $59590$59590 / $59590
University of Chicago (Chicago) 19659$62726 / $62726$64817 / $64817
University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago) 34529$16727 / $31363$17772 / $29272
Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago) 7466$51227 / $51227$32408 / $32408
Loyola University Chicago (Chicago) 19332$48090 / $48090$20908 / $20908
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (Carbondale) 14404$15681 / $30318$16727 / $34499
Northern Illinois University (Dekalb) 19437$15681 / $15681$12545 / $12545
Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington) 1842$44954 / $44954$N/A / $N/A
Wheaton College (Wheaton) 2929$34499 / $34499$19863 / $19863
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago) 3998$51227 / $51227$45999 / $45999
Bradley University (Peoria) 6323$36590 / $36590$17772 / $17772
Eureka College (Eureka) 695$21954 / $21954$N/A / $N/A
Lewis University (Romeoville) 7875$35545 / $35545$15681 / $15681
Illinois State University (Normal) 22907$13590 / $21954$10454 / $12545
Concordia University-Chicago (River Forest) 7519$34499 / $34499$10454 / $10454
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (Edwardsville) 15518$12545 / $12545$10454 / $10454
Benedictine University (Lisle) 7116$34499 / $34499$20908 / $20908
Elmhurst College (Elmhurst) 3845$39727 / $39727$33454 / $33454
Dominican University (River Forest) 3506$36590 / $36590$21954 / $21954
University of Illinois at Springfield (Springfield) 5644$12545 / $19863$12545 / $19863
Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights) 1457$33454 / $33454$11499 / $11499
North Park University (Chicago) 3280$33454 / $33454$15681 / $15681
VanderCook College of Music (Chicago) 1253$31363 / $31363$8363 / $8363
Saint Xavier University (Chicago) 4195$36590 / $36590$17772 / $17772
Rockford University (Rockford) 1776$34499 / $34499$14636 / $14636
Principia College (Elsah) 460$29272 / $29272$N/A / $N/A
University of St Francis (Joliet) 3957$31363 / $31363$14636 / $14636
Olivet Nazarene University (Bourbonnais) 4892$34499 / $34499$15681 / $15681
Roosevelt University (Chicago) 5352$29272 / $29272$19863 / $19863
Western Illinois University (Macomb) 9879$13590 / $13590$12545 / $12545
Methodist College (Peoria) 885$18818 / $18818$17772 / $17772
Eastern Illinois University (Charleston) 9526$12545 / $14636$11499 / $21954
Aurora University (Aurora) 5423$24045 / $24045$11499 / $11499
Millikin University (Decatur) 2152$32408 / $32408$21954 / $21954
Trinity International University-Illinois (Deerfield) 2532$35545 / $35545$18818 / $18818
Moody Bible Institute (Chicago) 3659$14636 / $14636$9409 / $9409
Hebrew Theological College (Skokie) 526$20908 / $20908$11499 / $11499
Judson University (Elgin) 1563$31363 / $31363$29272 / $29272
Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago) 9993$12545 / $22999$9409 / $17772
Chicago State University (Chicago) 3593$12545 / $19863$9409 / $14636
Quincy University (Quincy) 1293$28227 / $28227$10454 / $10454
Greenville College (Greenville) 1321$27181 / $27181$8363 / $8363
McKendree University (Lebanon) 3001$29272 / $29272$10454 / $10454
Blackburn College (Carlinville) 585$21954 / $21954$N/A / $N/A
MacMurray College (Jacksonville) 570$26136 / $26136$N/A / $N/A
Governors State University (University Park) 5954$11499 / $18818$9409 / $15681
Lincoln Christian University (Lincoln) 878$13590 / $13590$8363 / $8363
Lincoln College (Lincoln) 1194$18818 / $18818$N/A / $N/A
North Central College (Naperville) 2962$37636 / $37636$15681 / $15681
Monmouth College (Monmouth) 1197$36590 / $36590$N/A / $N/A
Argosy University-Schaumburg (Schaumburg) 259$14636 / $14636$14636 / $14636
Resurrection University (Chicago) 1169$29272 / $29272$17772 / $17772
Illinois College (Jacksonville) 955$33454 / $33454$N/A / $N/A
Rush University (Chicago) 2515$34499 / $34499$34499 / $34499
McCormick Theological Seminary (Chicago) 195$N/A / $N/A$11499 / $11499
Saint Anthony College of Nursing (Rockford) 379$28227 / $28227$19863 / $19863
American Academy of Art (Chicago) 317$33454 / $33454$N/A / $N/A
Westwood College-Chicago Loop (Chicago) 0$16727 / $16727$N/A / $N/A
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (Chicago) 214$N/A / $N/A$16727 / $16727
Catholic Theological Union at Chicago (Chicago) 375$N/A / $N/A$20908 / $20908
Lake Forest College (Lake Forest) 1600$44954 / $44954$13590 / $13590
University of Phoenix-Illinois (Schaumburg) 552$12545 / $12545$17772 / $17772
Westwood College-O'Hare Airport (Chicago) 0$16727 / $16727$N/A / $N/A
Harrington College of Design (Chicago) 154$19863 / $19863$21954 / $21954
Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation Inc. (Chicago) 0$N/A / $N/A$17772 / $17772
Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (Lake Forest) 401$N/A / $N/A$N/A / $N/A
The John Marshall Law School (Chicago) 1204$N/A / $N/A$48090 / $48090
Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences (Rock Island) 280$29272 / $29272$33454 / $33454
National Louis University (Chicago) 8921$14636 / $14636$13590 / $13590
Westwood College-River Oaks (Calumet City) 0$16727 / $16727$N/A / $N/A
Chamberlain College of Nursing-Illinois (Addison) 41590$20908 / $20908$14636 / $14636
Christian Life College (Mount Prospect) 45$12545 / $12545$N/A / $N/A
Meadville Lombard Theological School (Chicago) 98$N/A / $N/A$19863 / $19863
Sanford-Brown College-Chicago (Chicago) 88$15681 / $15681$N/A / $N/A
Knowledge Systems Institute (Skokie) 175$N/A / $N/A$11499 / $11499
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing (Peoria) 663$22999 / $22999$9409 / $9409
American InterContinental University-Online (Schaumburg) 21506$12545 / $12545$22999 / $22999
DePaul University (Chicago) 26721$43908 / $43908$20908 / $20908
Lakeview College of Nursing (Danville) 316$17772 / $17772$N/A / $N/A
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago (Chicago) 1402$13590 / $13590$22999 / $22999
Argosy University-Chicago (Chicago) 700$14636 / $14636$14636 / $14636
Robert Morris University Illinois (Chicago) 3056$27181 / $27181$26136 / $26136
St. John's College-Department of Nursing (Springfield) 140$27181 / $27181$18818 / $18818
Shimer College (Chicago) 79$36590 / $36590$N/A / $N/A
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Evanston) 337$N/A / $N/A$21954 / $21954
Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago (Chicago) 28$N/A / $N/A$32408 / $32408
National University of Health Sciences (Lombard) 682$17772 / $17772$18818 / $18818
Saint Augustine College (Chicago) 1483$10454 / $10454$N/A / $N/A
Chicago Theological Seminary (Chicago) 253$N/A / $N/A$17772 / $17772
University of Saint Mary of the Lake (Mundelein) 275$N/A / $N/A$26136 / $26136
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (North Chicago) 2214$N/A / $N/A$34499 / $34499
NorthShore University HealthSystem School of Nurse Anesthesia (Evanston) 59$N/A / $N/A$17772 / $17772
Columbia College-Chicago (Chicago) 7505$29272 / $29272$3136 / $3136
Rasmussen College-Illinois (Rockford) 3192$11499 / $11499$10454 / $10454
Erikson Institute (Chicago) 256$N/A / $N/A$21954 / $21954
Westwood College-Dupage (Woodridge) 0$16727 / $16727$N/A / $N/A
Blessing Rieman College of Nursing (Quincy) 261$24045 / $24045$N/A / $N/A
The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago (Chicago) 1331$18818 / $18818$N/A / $N/A
Kendall College (Chicago) 1275$20908 / $20908$N/A / $N/A
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine-Chicago (Chicago) 266$7318 / $7318$13590 / $13590
Illinois College of Optometry (Chicago) 647$N/A / $N/A$N/A / $N/A
Midstate College (Peoria) 459$17772 / $17772$N/A / $N/A
Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago) 116$N/A / $N/A$20908 / $20908
Augustana College (Rock Island) 2478$40772 / $40772$N/A / $N/A
Midwest College of Oriental Medicine-Chicago (Chicago) 90$17772 / $17772$18818 / $18818
Midwestern University-Downers Grove (Downers Grove) 2932$N/A / $N/A$40772 / $40772
Adler University (Chicago) 988$N/A / $N/A$31363 / $31363
Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (Lombard) 187$N/A / $N/A$14636 / $14636
East-West University (Chicago) 539$21954 / $21954$N/A / $N/A
Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation (Chicago) 0$N/A / $N/A$N/A / $N/A
Spertus College (Chicago) 178$N/A / $N/A$21954 / $21954
Knox College (Galesburg) 1397$43908 / $43908$N/A / $N/A
The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg (Schaumburg) 685$18818 / $18818$N/A / $N/A

*UG - Undergraduate
*G - Graduate
*in - In-state Fees
*out - Out-of-State Fees
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