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Western Illinois University (WIU) is a public academic institution located in Macomb, Illinois. Founded in 1899, U.S. News and World Report designated the school a Best Midwestern University. According to the Princeton Review, it has also been a Best Midwestern College for 18 years. The Military Times Magazine also announced Western Illinois University as a Best for Vets College.

Overview of Western Illinois University (WIU)

The university seeks to empower students, faculty, and staff to lead dynamic and diverse communities. Core values include academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth, and social responsibility.

The student population is 7,400+, with around 5,400 pursuing undergraduate degrees. Western Illinois University (WIU) employs 443 full and 62 part-time faculty members, all of whom provide instructional assistance. This makes the student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1, which is a good deal better than the national average. There are also 65 graduate assistant positions available, 47 of which are instructional and 18 which are primarily involved in research.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Town: Remote
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 13:1
Graduation Rate 51%
Year Founded 1899

Student Enrollment

Total Students7,455


Undergraduate Student

Male 2,374
Female 3,020

Graduate Student

Male 907
Female 1,154

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WIU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 2,714
Female 4,442


Male 1,818
Female 3,376

Acceptance Rate72%

Male 67%
Female 76%

Enrollment 927

Male 364
Female 574
Application Fee $30
High School GPA Required
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations NA
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline Rolling
Common Application Accepted Yes

WIU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

The cost of attending Western Illinois University varies depending on the number of credit hours taken each semester. New undergraduate students enrolled in 15 credit hours of coursework can expect to pay approximately $7,318 per semester in tuition and fees. Notably, rates are the same for out-of-state students. Regardless of residency, all students qualify for in-state tuition rates. Graduate students are charged at a different rate, however. Those enrolled in nine credit hours will be charged approximately $5,151 per semester.

Students must remember that these estimates do not include books and other miscellaneous charges such as room, board, books, supplies, and parking permits. Western Illinois University does offer on-campus housing and meal plans. There are many options to choose from, but the standard price per semester is $5,250.

Western Illinois University is unique in that it offers a tuition guarantee. All new undergraduate students entering the institution are automatically included in the plan, which freezes the per-hour rate for a four-year period. This means the cost of tuition remains the same each subsequent year of enrollment.

Additionally, Western Illinois University guarantees new freshmen who meet certain requirements that they will graduate in four years or their remaining tuition will be free. GardTrac requirements include declaring interest in a specific major, maintaining an average 15-16 hours of course work each semester, meeting grade point minimums, and discussing degree progress with advisors.

Notably, the average amount of financial aid and institutional scholarships received by students each year is $18,772. Incoming freshmen with at least a 1030 SAT or 20 ACT and a 3.0/4.0 grade point average (GPA) are also automatically awarded the Western Commitment scholarship, which are renewable for up to eight semesters. Additional federal student aid is also available to those who complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

During the 2020-2021 academic year, 95% of beginning students entering postsecondary education at the institution for the first time received some form of financial assistance. Most received some amount in grants and/or scholarships, but 51% still required student loans.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $11,666
Average Total Aid $13,937
Students Receiving Financial Aid 95%
Room & Board $10,192

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $13,669
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $13,669
  • Books and Supplies - $1,200
  • Room & Board - $10,192
  • Other - $2,339


Western Illinois University offers a wide variety of in-demand undergraduate and graduate programs, integrated programs, pre-professional programs, and certificate programs. The institution provides student-centered education characterized by innovative teaching, research, and service - all grounded in interdisciplinary, regional, and global perspectives. Students are encouraged to engage in opportunities guided by professional and diverse faculty and staff members.

Those enrolled can choose from over 100 innovative programs. Top majors include:

  • Accountancy
  • Elementary Education
  • Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management
  • Law Enforcement and Justice Administration

As of fall 2021, Western Illinois University had first-year, undergraduate retention rate of 72% for full-time students and 33% for part-time students. Notably, the national average for full-time students is 68% for all higher education institutions. This indicates that the mass majority of full-time students enrolled at the university were happy enough with their experiences to return the following year.

The overall graduation rate for first-time students who began their studies in 2015 was 51%, which is lower than the national rate. Graduation rates demonstrate how frequently students complete their degrees or certificate programs within 150% of standard time, which is approximately six years. Most students strive to graduate within four years, however. Approximately 32% of full-time, first-time students who began their studies in 2015 were able to complete requirements within this timeframe.

Western Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Additionally, the institution’s teacher licensure programs are approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. Many other departments and schools are also accredited by professional agencies, including the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACBS International), and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Student Population Total

Student Population 7,455

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services 280 Total Graduates / 18%
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration 256 Graduates
Fire Services Administration 18 Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services, Other 6 Graduates
All Business Majors 206 Total Graduates / 13%
Accounting 47 Graduates
Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management 35 Graduates
Business Administration and Management, General 33 Graduates
Finance, General 24 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 21 Graduates
All Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities Majors 166 Total Graduates / 11%
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Other 148 Graduates
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 18 Graduates
All Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs Majors 106 Total Graduates / 7%
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 70 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, Other 17 Graduates
Radio and Television 16 Graduates
Journalism 3 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Programs 98 Total Graduates / 6%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 40 Graduates
Health/Health Care Administration/Management 19 Graduates
Communication Sciences and Disorders, General 16 Graduates
Dietetics/Dietitian 12 Graduates
Athletic Training/Trainer 6 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 44%

Outcome & Salary

Western Illinois University administers an annual Alumni Survey that asks former students about their employment, further education, satisfaction with the university, and perceptions of educational practices while in college. The most recent survey collected data from alumni one year after graduation in 2015. Of those who responded, more than 61% were employed full-time, while another 21% were employed part-time. Five percent were not employed and not seeking employment, while just over 11% were unemployed and seeking employment.

Many alumni also indicated whether or not their current jobs related to their bachelor’s degree majors. Overall, 70% said their work was related or closely related to their education at Western Illinois University, while approximately 30% said their professions were unrelated. Of those that marked unrelated, 57% said it was by choice and not due to unavailability of professional options.

According to Payscale, the average base salary for Western Illinois University graduates is $69,000.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $49,200
College Grads Average Salary $70,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $91,800
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $700,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,618,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $46,664
10 Year Projected ROI $653,336
20 Year Projected ROI $1,571,336
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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