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Illinois State University: Academics, Admissions & Tuition Info

Learn what degree programs Illinois State University offers. Research its academics, and read about its admission and financial aid info to make an informed education decision.

About Illinois State University

Located in Normal, Illinois State University was founded in 1857 as the state's first public university. Originally established for teacher education, it was ranked among the top 100 public schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report for 2012.


Illinois State University offers 67 undergraduate and 49 graduate degree programs through its colleges of nursing, arts and sciences, applied science and technology, education, the fine arts and business. Popular undergraduate programs include majors in elementary education, criminal justice, marketing and special education. Nearly 90% of classes have less than 49 students, and the school offers a limited number of online courses and workshops.

The university is also home to state-of-the-art lab facilities for nursing students and the Gamma Phi Circus, the oldest such organization on the continent. Students can also pursue their interests in more than 300 registered student organizations and almost 20 NCAA Division I athletic teams.


Prospective undergraduate students are encouraged to apply for the Fall semester beginning September 1st. Students who apply before November 15th are notified of the university's admissions decision in late December. Applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. They can also complete an optional essay to strengthen their application package.

In the Fall of 2011, 71% of the school's 13,156 applicants were admitted, and 36% eventually enrolled. This student body was 55% female and 82% white. Roughly 99% of attendees were Illinois residents.

Tuition & Financial Aid

The cost of undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2012-2013 academic year is $12,726 for Illinois residents and $20,887 for out-of-state students. When on-campus housing, meal plans, books and other miscellaneous expenses are added on, the university estimates that the annual cost of attendance is $26,384 for in-state students and $34,545 for out-of-state students. Students pay a frozen tuition rate for 4-6 years, depending on their program's typical duration. Attendees can pay their bill in full before the start of the semester or in quarterly installments.

The university offers academic and merit scholarships to incoming freshmen. These include awards for students with excellent ACT scores and high school GPAs as well as first-generation college students. Student loans and federal grants are also available to help pay for the costs of education.

School Type 4-year, public*
Degrees Offered Bachelor's degrees, post-bachelor's certificates, master's degrees, post-masters certificates, doctorates*
Religious Affiliation None*
Academic Calendar Semesters**
School Setting Small city*
Student Body 18,594 undergraduate and 2,716 graduate students in Fall 2011*
Student Housing 12 residence halls featuring suites and academic living communities**
Schools and Programs 6 colleges; 116 degree programs**
Student-Faculty Ratio 19 to 1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2011:
Bachelor's: Elementary Education and Teaching (282)
Master's: Business Administration and Management (94)
PhDs: Educational Leadership and Administration (8)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rates 44% in 4 years
71% in 6 years*
Admission Rate 71% in Fall 2011*
Entering Class Size Around 3,363 in Fall 2011*
First-Year Retention Rates 85% for full-time students and 75% for part-time students in 2010-2011*
Middle 50% ACT Scores of Admitted Students 21-26 in math, 22-27 in English, 22-26 composite for 2011-2012*
Undergraduate Application Due Date Applications for Fall semester accepted September 1-March 1; Spring semester applications accepted April 1-September 1**
Decision Notification Date For Fall semester: December 31 for students who apply before November 15, April 1 for students who apply later**
Tuition $12,726 for in-state students and $20,887 for out-of-state students (for 2012-2013)**
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Students Receiving it) For 2010-2011: Federal grants (24%), state and local government grants or scholarships (27%), institutional grants or scholarships (31%), federal student loans (58%)*
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 72% in 2010-2011*

Sources: *IPEDS Data Center, National Center for Education Statistics, **Illinois State University.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, Illinois State University, 201 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790
  • Phone: (309) 438-2181
  • Website:

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