NWQ Guide to Colleges 2020

Choosing a college may be one of the most important life decisions you will ever make. It takes great time and consideration to find the school that best fits your needs, and there are many things to consider. To assist you in making this meaningful choice, our college guide profiles some of the higher education options available in the Old Northwest Territory.

Upper Iowa University – Rockford

(Private/Four-Year) 1161 Tebala Blvd. • Rockford uiu.edu/Rockford

Upper Iowa University – Blackhawk

(Private/Four-Year) 6004 S. County Road G • Janesville uiu.edu/Blackhawk

Since 1857, Upper Iowa University (UIU) 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 UIU, a private, nonprofit university, to become a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through classroom, online and self-paced learning.

UIU’s Rockford Center opened in 2008 and is celebrating its 12-year anniversary this 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 five, 8-week terms and an accelerated 6-week summer session, which are taught by instructors who bring practical work experience to the classroom.

In 1994, UIU opened the Blackhawk Center at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville. Courses, held primarily online, are offered during five, 8-week sessions an accelerated 6-week summer session. Adjunct faculty draw on their practical experiences in the field. All BTC student transfers receive a 10-percent grant on their UIU tuition. If they complete an associate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, they receive a 20-percent tuition grant.

UIU’s Center for Distance Education offers online courses for associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as post-graduate certificates. UIU first offered online courses more than 20 years ago.
The university is also a long-time partner and educator for members of the military. UIU has received recognition as a Military Friendly Top 10 Gold School Award recipient by VIQTORY, “Best for Vets” by Military Times and a Top Military-Friendly School by Military Advanced Education. Its MBA program was recognized as a Best Value by GetEducated.com.

For a complete listing of available majors, visit uiu.edu. The university offers more than 40 majors including:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Health Services Administration
  • Human Resources Management
  • Human Services
  • Management
  • Psychology

Whether at its traditional campus in Fayette, Iowa, or one of its 21 U.S. educational centers, students will find professional faculty and staff who care about their success and work hard to provide the education they desire.

UIC College of Nursing Rockford Campus

(Public University Graduate Program) UIC Health Sciences Campus, 1601 Parkview Ave. • Rockford • (815) 395-5648 • nursing.uic.edu

The UIC College of Nursing in Rockford and its campuses in Chicago, Peoria, Quad Cities, Springfield and Urbana have long been providing the highest-quality education for APRNs throughout Illinois.

The program offers 12 advanced practice specialty areas for the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree in a hybrid format consisting of online, on-site and blended courses. Students graduate with a mix of clinical, organizational, financial and leadership skills – prepared not only to improve outcomes for their own patients, but also to contribute to the transformation of health care in both urban and rural communities. Students residing in neighboring states can now take advantage of in-state tuition.

As a UIC student, clinical rotations are arranged for you. Students are assigned highly qualified preceptors at desirable clinical sites, selected by knowledgeable program directors. By partnering with skilled preceptors in a variety of health care settings, each student is provided with the best mentorship experiences while learning the necessary clinical practice skills. These rotations, paired with high-quality simulation scenarios also included in the curriculum, combine to give students a broad range of advanced, hands-on patient-management experiences.

The Advanced Generalist Master of Science (AGMS) program provides professional nurses with the clinical leadership skills essential for integrating evidence-based practice and care coordination to improve outcomes. The advanced generalist acts as the care coordinator for a group of clients while providing direct care in complex cases. Not limited to the acute care settings, advanced generalists evaluate client outcomes, assess client risks, and promote client and family advocacy. 

Sharing a campus with the University of Illinois at Chicago colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy in Rockford has its interprofessional advantages, from the state-of-the-art Standardized Patient Center to the full-service Crawford Library of the Health Sciences, from sharing a home base with the National Center for Rural Health Professions to enjoying the stellar reputation UIC students have among the region’s health care industry.

As a regional campus of the UIC–College of Nursing, UIC experts are dedicated to providing exemplary international and nationally recognized graduate nursing education for the Rockford area. Students in all three professional programs have opportunities to work together on clinical research projects. The nursing faculty maintains active practices, working in the profession for which they are simultaneously educating students. Located on a tree-lined street with the Rock River near the doorstep, the Rockford Campus offers a beautiful, small-town setting in which to earn a nationally ranked graduate degree.

Rockford University

(Private/Four-Year) 5050 E. State St. • Rockford • rockford.edu

Rockford University provides the region with access to higher education and has been doing so for more than 172 years. Founded in 1847, it’s the only private liberal arts residential institution in the Rock River Valley, and the only university in the Rockford area to offer campus-based accredited masters and adult accelerated degree completion programs.

Rockford University is also home to the Puri School of Business and the Bloomberg Business Lab featuring the Bloomberg Professional Service. The state-of-the-art lab is the only one of its kind in the Rockford area. Eleven terminals gives students and professors immediate access to trusted real-time and historical data, market-moving news and business and financial analytics.

With more than 80 majors, minors and concentrations, degrees and programs are grounded in the liberal arts learning tradition and complemented by professional and practical experience. The University works with and supports several local organizations with internships, special projects, research and meaningful partnerships such as the Education Pathways program with Rockford Public School District 205. Students pursuing a career in education who qualify for the program can attend Rockford University, graduate from both the undergraduate and graduate programs, and return to the district as teachers.

Faculty members, most holding the highest degrees in their disciplines, show a commitment to the individual through their expertise and personalized attention. The student-to-faculty ratio is 10 to 1, which further supports an environment where students can discover, explore and excel in academic interests.

The Princeton Review named Rockford University a “College with a Conscience,” and Rockford University is one of just 11 colleges in Illinois – and 290 in the country – with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. The university is also consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Midwest Regional University.

Rockford University offers students many other opportunities to gain knowledge and experience. Along with study abroad opportunities, there is a diverse, international presence on campus. Students from across the world can study and share more about their cultures. More than 30 intercultural events are sponsored on campus each year.

As part of NCAA Division III, the Rockford Regents compete in 12 varsity sports for both men and women. New this year is the addition of a competitive eSports team with a dedicated arena featuring 16 dedicated gaming consoles powered by popular and well-known gaming system company MSI. Many social and academic clubs and organizations are also offered, along with intramural sports. Each year, the Forum Series presents a variety of thought-provoking speakers, events and performances that are open for the public to attend.

Rockford University alumni have proven themselves as exemplary leaders and shapers of their communities. Among its graduates are captains of industry, champions of justice, Teachers of the Year, doctors who tested the first artificial heart valve in humans, scientists who invented fiber optics and LEDs, the current president of a national television network and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jane Addams.

The legacy of Rockford University can be found in nearly two centuries of graduates and more than 16,000 current alumni, taking lessons learned here out into the world.

Rock Valley College

(Public/Two-Year) 3301 N. Mulford Road • Rockford • rockvalleycollege.edu

“No matter your destination, your journey begins here.”

That is much more than a catchy tagline to the faculty and staff at Rock Valley College. They truly believe in the outcomes behind those words.

As this community’s college, it’s RVC’s mission to connect all citizens with opportunities that lead to success. For some that means earning an associate’s degree and transferring to a four-year college or university. For others, it means earning the credentials, skills and training needed to enter a career pathway right away.

RVC’s dedicated faculty members have master’s degrees, doctorates and real-life experience, and students will access that knowledge through hands-on instruction in small classrooms. The average class size at RVC is 18 students. That means students will learn in an environment that will help them become more engaged with classmates and instructors.

The cost of attending RVC is significantly less than most private colleges or state universities. In fact, one year at Rock Valley College will cost a student approximately $5,000, compared to $12,000 at a public four-year school, $15,000 at a private for-profit institution, or nearly $30,000 for one year at a private four-year university.

There are also many financial aid opportunities to help students pay for college. More than half of RVC students receive some financial assistance, and the RVC Foundation awarded over $250,000 in scholarships last year alone.

RVC is flexible to its students’ needs and can accommodate busy schedules with a variety of daytime, evening and weekend classes. The college’s beautiful main campus is 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 Aviation Maintenance Technology and NIU Engineering at RVC, the college is poised to help lead a transformation in workforce development in the region. Additionally, RVC’s state-of-the-art 110,000 square foot Health Sciences Center has united all of the college’s allied health programs under one roof, allowing for future program expansion and the establishment of new initiatives in health care education.

At Rock Valley College, staff and faculty are there for students every step of the way. Students will be prepared for the initial challenges of college through Getting Started sessions, and required student development courses that assist with academic and career planning. Skilled advisors will work closely with students to establish educational goals and develop a path for success. And if students need help with coursework, they can get the free peer tutoring they need to be a success.

The journey begins at Rock Valley College. The destination is up to you.

Loras College

(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.