It’s never an easy choice when seeking the perfect college — there are plenty of things to consider. Here are some of the top institutions available here in our region.
University of Dubuque
(Private/Four-Year) 2000 University Ave. • Dubuque, Iowa • dbq.edu
(Private/Four-Year) 1450 Alta Vista St. • Dubuque, Iowa • explore.loras.edu
Loras College is nestled high above the majestic bluffs of the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa. The College, 177 years old, remains steadfast in its quest to provide students with a rich and engaging liberal arts education.
Drawing from its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, and the second-oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi, Loras College delivers academic challenges intertwined with life-affirming experiences in a supportive, faith-centered setting.
Loras College has a long tradition of offering broad-based liberal arts education along with preparation for professions and careers. Both are needed for an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world.
With nearly more than 40 undergraduate majors and 12 pre-professional programs, Loras College students succeed during and after their college career. Throughout the curriculum, information technologies enhance learning and provide students with knowledge acquisition skills necessary for a lifetime of learning.
Loras College students often study abroad, participate in service opportunities or take advantage of internships. Student service is a point of pride at the College, and has earned Loras a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll since 2008, receiving a “with distinction” notation since 2009.
Loras College was the first in the nation to receive the President’s Award for Interfaith Community Service, the highest federal honor a higher education institution can receive for its commitment to community service and interfaith efforts.
Loras College offers student-athletes 23 varsity sports. The Duhawks compete in the NCAA Division III and Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Loras is proud of its top-notch athletic facilities, including the Rock Bowl Stadium and multi-level Athletic and Wellness Center. At Loras College, student-athletes enjoy a well-rounded experience that balances challenging academics and competitive athletics.
With more than 70 clubs and organizations, the Loras College campus is overflowing with co-curricular opportunities. From academic organizations to special interest groups and student government, students can immerse themselves in activities they love while making lifelong friends along the way.
(Private/Two-Year, Four-Year & Graduate) • Aurora/Naperville, Mokena/Tinley Park, Romeoville/Joliet, Rockford • rasmussen.edu
Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college with 22 campuses across the Midwest and Florida, including four campuses in Illinois: Rockford, Romeoville/Joliet, Mokena/Tinley Park and Aurora/Naperville. More than 14,000 students are enrolled in total. Founded in 1900, with the Rockford campus opening in 2006, Rasmussen strives to: provide education for growing careers; impact lives both inside and outside the classroom; and remain dedicated to the growth and development of its students, employees and the communities it serves.
Rasmussen College offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, associate’s degrees, certificates and diplomas in more than 50 programs, including business, justice studies, technology, design, education, nursing and health sciences. It’s committed to helping students gain the practical and relevant skills they need for career success, as well as providing flexible and affordable learning options. One example is Flex Choice, a learning option that allows students to take self-paced, competency-based courses alongside their faculty-led courses. Rasmussen College also provides a classroom experience that includes employer-based internship/externship opportunities, hands-on learning delivered through industry-experienced faculty with real-world insight, and new, technologically advanced learning platforms.
Rasmussen College is committed to providing strong support services that go above and beyond traditional offerings. This includes one-on-one support with a student advisor, free tutoring, and access to hundreds of thousands of free digital resources, such as e-textbooks, scholarly articles and videos. Once students are ready to graduate, the college works closely to connect them with local employers that are hiring. A career services department is available to all students.
As it prepares students for professional success, Rasmussen College instills in them the knowledge and skills they need to better their lives and have a profound influence in their communities. This is what defines Rasmussen College as a Public Benefit Corporation. The College focuses on connecting its students to local employers and expanding community initiatives through business partnerships, workforce insights and service opportunities for its employees.
Upper Iowa University-Rockford
(Private/Four-Year) 1161 Tebala Blvd. • Rockford • uiu.edu
Upper Iowa University-Blackhawk
(Private/Four-Year) 6004 S. County Road G • Janesville • uiu.edu
Since 1857, Upper Iowa University has been preparing students to succeed – in the classroom and throughout the world. A rich history, coupled with a student-centered mission, has created a springboard for Upper Iowa University to become a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through multiple flexible delivery systems, including online and self-paced studies.
The Upper Iowa University Center in Rockford opened in 2008 and will celebrate its 10-year anniversary next year. The 13,000-square-foot building includes eight classrooms and a cutting-edge computer lab. Courses, held primarily in the evening, are offered during six 8-week terms, and are taught by instructors who bring practical work experience to the classroom.
In 1994, Upper Iowa University opened the Blackhawk Center at Blackhawk Technical College, Janesville. Courses, held primarily in the evening, are offered during six 8-week terms.Full-time Upper Iowa University faculty members teach many classes, as well as adjunct faculty who draw on their practical experiences in the field. All BTC student transfers receive a 10-percent grant on their UIU tuition and, if they have a completed associate degree and a GPA of 3.0, they get a 20-percent tuition scholarship.
The Upper Iowa University’s Center for Distance Education offers online courses for associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as post-graduate certificates. Its online undergraduate bachelor’s program has been ranked among the best in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report, which also ranked its online MBA program among the top 100 for 2015.
In addition to its MBA program being recognized as a Best Value by GetEducated.com, Upper Iowa University has been named a Top Military-Friendly School by Military Advanced Education.
Upper Iowa University works with students to keep their college education affordable. Students are encouraged to contact its financial aid department, where counselors will assist them in looking for any possible means of financial assistance.
Upper Iowa University offers 40 majors in all modalities; for a complete listing, visit uiu.edu. Some majors include:
Health Services Administration
Human Resources Management
Whether at its traditional campus in Fayette, Iowa, or one of its 25 educational centers in the U.S., students will find professional faculty and staff who care about their success and work hard to provide the education they desire.
Rock Valley College
(Public/Two-Year) 3301 N. Mulford Road • Rockford • rockvalleycollege.edu
For more than 50 years, Rock Valley College (RVC) has been the Rockford area’s first choice for high-quality, affordable, fully accredited and transferable education. No matter where students want to go, RVC can help them to get there.
Whether taking credit classes at RVC for transfer to a four-year university or entering a career program designed for immediate entry into the workforce, RVC can help students to achieve their goals. The dedicated faculty members have master’s degrees, doctorates and real-life experience, and the students access that knowledge through hands-on instruction. The average class size is 24 students. That means students learn in an environment that helps them to become more engaged with their classmates and instructors.
The cost of attending RVC is just $115 per credit hour, significantly less than what the cost would be at most private colleges or state universities. There are many financial aid opportunities to help students to pay for college. More than half of all RVC students receive some financial assistance, and the RVC Foundation awards thousands of dollars in scholarships each year.
RVC is flexible to students’ needs and accommodates their busy schedules, with a variety of daytime, evening and weekend classes, with easy access at three convenient locations. The main campus is 217 wooded acres located on the northeast side of Rockford; the Stenstrom Center for Career Education is located in south Rockford, and RVC Downtown is located in the Rockford Register Star building in the heart of downtown Rockford.
Many classes are also available online.
With programs like the Aviation Maintenance Technology and Northern Illinois University at RVC Engineering, RVC is poised to help lead a transformation in workforce development in the region. In addition, the newly opened, 110,000-square-foot Health Sciences Center has united all of RVC’s allied health programs under one roof. Housing those programs in one facility forms an interdisciplinary learning environment that will facilitate collaborative learning.
RVC is there for its students every step of the way. It prepares them for the initial challenges of college, through Educational Planning Sessions and First Year Experience programs. Skilled advisors will work with students to establish educational goals and develop a path for success at RVC. And if they need help with coursework, they can get the free tutoring they need to be a success.
Highland Community College
(Public/Two-Year) 2998 W. Pearl City Road • Freeport • highland.edu
Since 1962, Highland Community College has been committed to providing a quality education. This community college’s mission is focused on meeting the needs of the greater northwest Illinois community, including Stephenson County, Jo Daviess County, Carroll County and the northwest corner of Ogle County. In addition to its comprehensive academic programs, Highland offers enriching cultural opportunities through theatre, arts, music, literature and lectures.
Students can select from more than 60 associate degrees and certificates in areas such as accounting, chemistry, engineering, English, early childhood education, nursing and more. Class sizes average 15 students, which means that individuals receive plenty of personal attention and encouragement.
Building on the three new programs started last fall – criminal justice, hospitality management and mass communication – environmental science, mechatronics and phlebotomy have been added this academic year.
Highland is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association’s Academic Quality Improvement Program. Located in Freeport, Highland is conveniently positioned in the tri-state region, with access to several major metropolitan areas.
Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports through the NJCAA Region IV athletic conference. Men can play basketball, baseball, bowling and golf, while women can participate in basketball, softball, bowling and volleyball. Students can also engage with the community through an extensive amount of clubs and organizations including agriculture club, art club, Black Student Alliance, Current Issues Club, dance team, equine club, international club, pride club and more.
Students can also take advantage of Highland’s Success Center, which is committed to promoting academic success. The Center provides tutoring, courses in developmental communication skills, a seminar on the first-year experience and support for students with disabilities.
For those interested in pursuing a higher education here, Highland encourages taking a stroll through campus and witnessing day-to-day activities and events. Find out how your degree from Highland Community College is a valuable resource for northwest Illinois.