Illinois State University (ISU) is a four-year, public, research institution located in Normal, Illinois. Founded in 1857, the school is the oldest public university in the state. The university promotes a culture of innovative and introspective growth, encouraging students to adopt the core values of learning and scholarship, diversity and inclusion, respect, collaboration, individualized attention, civic engagement, and integrity. Students can choose from bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs.
Overview of Illinois State University (ISU)
The university functions as a diverse community of scholars who are all committed to fostering a small-college atmosphere with large-university opportunities. It made the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of America’s best public national universities, as well as Washington Monthly’s list of national universities for the institution’s contributions of the public good.
The student population is just under 20,900, with the majority of students enrolled in undergraduate programs. With 900+ instructional faculty members, the student-to-faculty is ratio 19:1. While class sizes vary, it’s generally relatively easy for students to receive one-on-one attention from their professors. Additionally, 85% of classes are taught by professionals rather than graduate assistants. Further, 97% of the professors employed by the university hold the highest degrees possible in their fields, making them highly informed and reliable experts.
|Campus Setting||Suburb: Midsize|
|Student Faculty Ratio||19:1|
Illinois State University Reviews
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ISU Acceptance Rate and Admissions
|High School GPA||Required|
|High School Rank||NA|
|High School Transcripts||Required|
|College Prep Courses||Recommended|
|TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)||Required|
|Application Deadline||April 1|
|Common Application Accepted||No|
Illinois State University Tuition Cost & Financial Aid
Illinois State University was ranked by College Factual as the 22nd Best College for the Money out of 1,200 schools in the United States. The institution also locks tuition costs for newly enrolled students so that rates do not fluctuate for four years. In the fall of 2020, the undergraduate tuition rate for on-campus, Illinois residents enrolled in 15 credit hours of classes was $25,169 for the academic year. Non-resident students, on the other hand, paid $36,693. This total does include room and board, which was valued at $9,850 for both residents and non-residents.
It’s also worth noting that out-of-state students may qualify for in-state tuition. Select students from other states can receive savings of approximately $11,000 per year as long as they reside in a bordering state, have defined talent in the fine arts, and are admitted to the university as a freshman with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
The Financial Aid Office at Illinois State University is also dedicated to helping students find ways to pay for college. Aid options include scholarships, grants, loans, and government-funded work-study. Approximately 89% of full-time, beginning undergraduate students enrolled at the institution receive some form of financial aid.
|Average net price||2018-2019|
|Average Total Aid||$9,729|
|Students Receiving Financial Aid||89%|
|Room & Board||$9,850|
- Tuition In-State - $15,319
- Tuition Out-of-State - $26,843
- Books and Supplies - $820
- Room & Board - $9,850
- Other - $5,764
Illinois State University offers a number of major and minor programs for undergraduates, as well as several pre-professional pathways for students preparing for employment in well-regarded fields like medicine, physical therapy, and law.
Students can choose from one of seven academic colleges:
- College of Applied Science and Technology
- College of Arts and Sciences
- College of Business
- College of Education
- Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts
- Mennonite College of Nursing
- Milner Library
The retention rate for first-time, full-time, undergraduate freshmen enrolling in 2018 was over 84%, making it one of the highest in the nation. This is well above the national average retention rate of 68%. Part-time bachelor’s students had a retention rate that was slightly lower, totaling 56%. Regardless, these rates indicate that the majority of students enrolled at the university were happy with their overall experience, as they chose to return for further study in 2019.
Illinois State University students are also known to complete their degrees on time. Commonly referred to as the “Student Right to Know”, graduation and transfer-out rates show whether or not students regularly complete their degrees or certificate programs within a standard amount of time (typically four years). In 2013, the graduation rate for full-time, first-time, undergraduate degree-seeking freshmen was 70%.
Student Population Total
Most Popular Programs & Majors
(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)
|All Business Majors||1,049 Total Graduates / 23%|
|Marketing/Marketing Management, General||251 Graduates|
|Finance, General||208 Graduates|
|Business Administration and Management, General||140 Graduates|
|All Education Majors||677 Total Graduates / 15%|
|Elementary Education and Teaching||255 Graduates|
|Special Education and Teaching, General||154 Graduates|
|Early Childhood Education and Teaching||63 Graduates|
|Physical Education Teaching and Coaching||60 Graduates|
|Health Professions and Related Programs||396 Total Graduates / 9%|
|Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse||183 Graduates|
|Audiology/Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist||69 Graduates|
|Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology/Technologist||26 Graduates|
|Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs||283 Total Graduates / 6%|
|Speech Communication and Rhetoric||105 Graduates|
|Public Relations/Image Management||79 Graduates|
|Mass Communication/Media Studies||66 Graduates|
|Visual and Performing Arts||264 Total Graduates / 6%|
|Art/Art Studies, General||73 Graduates|
|Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General||67 Graduates|
|Visual and Performing Arts, Other||50 Graduates|
|Interior Design||30 Graduates|
|All Other Diplomas||42%|
Outcome & Salary
The majority of students enrolled at Illinois State University graduate and graduate on time. Of the full-time, first-time, degree-seeking undergraduates who entered the institution in the 2011-2012 academic year, 69% of them received bachelor’s degrees. While only 50% of part-time, first-time degree-seeking undergraduates who enrolled at the same time received bachelor’s degrees, this statistic was higher for non-first-time undergraduates. Of this demographic, 63% received their bachelor’s degrees. Additionally, 77% of non-first-time undergraduate students enrolled full-time received bachelor’s degrees.
|College Grads Early Career Salary||$52,100|
|College Grads Average Salary||$65,095|
|College Grads Mid Career Salary||$97,100|
|Return on Investment (ROI)|
|10 Year Salary Earnings Potential||$650,950|
|20 Year Salary Earnings Potential||$1,621,950|
|Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year||$80,372|
|10 Year Projected ROI||$570,578|
|20 Year Projected ROI||$1,541,578|
|No College Education Salary Comparison|
|National Average Salary||$38,792|
|10 Year Projected Income||$387,920|
|20 Year Projected Income||$775,840|
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