colleges in illinois for nursing

Last Updated on February 19, 2022 by

Nursing is one of the most in demand professions, making it an attractive career option for many individuals. To become a nurse, individuals first need to earn an education. Students that choose to earn a nursing degree in Illinois are in luck since it’s among the top states in the nation for nurses. This post offers you the details of colleges in illinois for nursing, best nursing schools in midwest, best nursing schools in chicago, 2 year nursing programs chicago and best colleges in illinois for nursing.

There’s no shortage of quality schools in Illinois. Illinois’ prime location in the middle of the nation and on Lake Michigan has made it a center for business. The state’s rich history also includes many renowned schools, many of which some have top nursing programs. Read on for more details on colleges in illinois for nursing, best nursing schools in midwest, best nursing schools in chicago, 2 year nursing programs chicago and best colleges in illinois for nursing.

Chicago is home to many private schools that have developed a strong reputation for their nursing programs. A few state schools have also established themselves as regional and national leaders for nursing education.

colleges in illinois for nursing

We begin with colleges in illinois for nursing, best nursing schools in midwest, best nursing schools in chicago, 2 year nursing programs chicago and best colleges in illinois for nursing.

Here is our selection of New Jersey’s top 10 nursing schools. 

1. DePaul University

Annual Tuition: $37,626 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 89%

Traditional: No

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Based in the middle of Chicago, DePaul University is the nation’s largest Catholic school. Their mission statement says they focus on education, and while that might sound obvious, their nursing schools shows why. Though DePaul does not offer a traditional BSN program, it does offer a five-year combined BS and MSN program. Current RNs can also choose to bypass their BSN entirely and enroll in the RN to MSN program, something that most schools don’t offer. You’ll have to pay to go to this private school, but the nursing options are vast.

2. Saint Xavier University

Annual Tuition: $32,250 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 83%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

As you might have guessed, Saint Xavier University is another Chicago-based Catholic school. And, as you might also have guessed, SXU is home to one of Illinois’ top nursing programs. Students can choose from a traditional BSN, an online RN to BSN, or a second degree BSN. An MSN is also offered by SXU, both as an entire program and as graduate certificates. Nursing scholarships are offered to help cover tuition, too, so this can end up being an affordable degree for some students. 

3. University of Illinois at Chicago

Annual In-State Tuition: $10,584 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 75%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Not only is the University of Illinois at Chicago home to one of the top nursing programs in the state, but they also offer in-state tuition to Illinois residents. That makes earning a traditional BSN here much more affordable than other schools. Some first-year students can also get guaranteed admission into the College of Nursing, so you could know if you’re set to become a nurse before you start your freshman year. Also, don’t worry about the relatively low NCLEX pass rate; this doesn’t represent the overall quality of the program. 

4. Elmhurst College

Annual Tuition: $37,454 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 100%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

As a college (rather than a university), Elmhurst is going to have much smaller class sizes than you’d see at other schools. However, as a college, you can practically be guaranteed that what they offer is well worth the tuition. Elmhurst’s Department of Nursing has four main programs: a traditional BSN, an RN to BSN, an MSN, and a unique Master’s Entry in Nursing Practice (MENP). The MENP is meant for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree who would prefer to earn a master’s degree instead of another bachelor’s degree. 

5. University of St. Francis

Annual Tuition: $32,000 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 97%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Yet another Catholic school, the University of St. Francis sets itself apart from others in two ways: they aren’t based in Chicago and they have unique BSN program. The traditional BSN boasts an impressive NCLEX pass rate, likely due to the emphasis on experiential learning. Students are connected to the field they’re most interested in, such as long-term care or mental health, and are allowed to gain clinical experience. If there’s a specific nursing niche you’re interested in, then St. Francis is definitely worth considering. 

6. Loyola University Chicago

Annual Tuition: $45,110 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 92%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

Yes, the tuition rate at Loyola University Chicago is steep, but that’s the price you pay when you want to study at one of the top private, Catholic schools in the nation. Loyola Chicago has an incredible network of local hospitals and healthcare facilities you can gain clinical experience at while earning your BSN. However, clinical locations are assigned at random, so don’t go in expecting to wind up at your favorite childhood hospital. Also, if you plan right or take an extra semester, you could even spend some time studying at Loyola Chicago’s campus in Rome, Italy!

7. Illinois State University

Annual In-State Tuition: $14,632 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 96%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: No

Illinois State University is relatively small for a public school with only 18,000 undergraduate students. This means students can get a small school atmosphere without the high costs of private schooling. For nursing students, particularly BSN students, small classes often mean more attention from professors. Of course, small classes won’t mean much to students earning the online RN to BSN, online Master’s in Nursing Systems Administration, or online DNP. But the small class sizes could be one of the reasons graduates tend to pass the NCLEX at such a high rate.

best nursing schools in midwest

Now we review best nursing schools in midwest, best nursing schools in chicago, 2 year nursing programs chicago and best colleges in illinois for nursing.

Best BSN Programs in the Midwest – (Primarily Based on Excellence in NCLEX-RN Pass Rates)

How Many Schools from the Midwest Region were Evaluated for our Rankings?

We evaluated a total of 660 schools offering nursing programs in the Midwest.

Ranking Methodology: How were the Best BSN Programs in the Midwest Ranked?

To come up with the list of best BSN programs in the Midwest, we looked into 660 nursing schools in the region and ranked them based on four important factors – NCLEX-RN pass rates, academic quality, the nursing school’s reputation, and affordability. Following is the weightage we assigned to each of these factors.

1. NCLEX-RN Pass Rates (2016-2019): 60%

• 2016 Pass Rates: 10%
• 2017 Pass Rates: 20%
• 2018 Pass Rates: 30%
• 2019 Pass Rates: 40%2. Academic Quality: 20%
3. The Nursing School’s Reputation: 10%
4. Affordability: 10%

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15 Best BSN Programs in the Midwest for 2022

1. Trinity Christian College – Palos Heights, Illinois

If you are aiming at increasing your earning capabilities as a nurse, completing your BSN coursework can have a direct impact on your income. At Trinity Christian College 100% of its BSN graduates gain employment opportunities soon after graduation. Under the guidance of its caring faculty, you will complete 120 credit hours of coursework. You will also gain the required practical experiences at its Cynthia Sander Nursing Laboratory that features high-fidelity manikins and the latest equipment helping you enhance your skills in a secure environment before entering the real world.

2. Malone University – Canton, Ohio

At Malone University all deserving students are immediately accepted without worrying about passing any entrance tests. The rigorous coursework comprises of 59 credits in nursing courses such as foundations in nursing: theory and clinical, pathophysiology, and nursing research. You will also complete support courses and nursing electives like microbiology, anatomy and physiology, psychology, a caring externship, and a nursing seminar. What more, to keep you debt-free more than 90% of students of this school receive some kind of financial aid.

3. University of Northwestern – Saint Paul, Minnesota

The University of Northwestern can be a great choice for Catholic as well as non-Catholic students as its robust 134-138 credits BSN coursework provides you with complete training in not only the core nursing courses but also liberal arts and biblical studies. It’s number one ranking in the state of Minnesota helps 100% of its graduates gain excellent employment opportunities within 6 months of graduation. The curriculum is delivered through a blended schedule where you will complete part of your coursework online. The remaining part of your education will take place in interactive small-sized classrooms and well-equipped laboratories.

4. Bryan College of Health Sciences – Lincoln, Nebraska

Did you know that 80% of healthcare centers prefer hiring BSNs? If you are interested in pursuing this degree you should consider Bryan College of Health Sciences as an option. With its student-faculty ratio as low as 6:1 you will have access to an individualized learning experience. You can enroll in this dynamic program without having to stress over any pre-requisite courses. The college understands the importance of practical knowledge for a successful career in nursing, therefore in addition to your theoretical classes, you will be completing 1200 clinical hours which is the more than what any college offers in the state.

5. Allen College – Waterloo, Iowa

If you are committed to playing a vital role in the healthcare system, then completing your nursing coursework from Allen College can provide you with immense possibilities of growth and learning. Its traditional BSN program takes just 2.5 years to complete and is divided into 5 semesters. On graduating you will be able to demonstrate evidence-based practices, control medical data and information, and utilize the concepts of effective communication and core nursing courses to deliver safe patient care.

6. Bradley University – Peoria, Illinois

Pursuing a BSN degree provides you with wider options in job positions as well as specializations. Bradley University’s BSN program offers you the outside exposure you need by providing you opportunities to participate in the Sigma Theta Tau honor society, Nurses Christian fellowship, and clinical teams. After you sign up for this program you will study courses in cell biology, oral communication, nutrition, nursing of children, adult health, and psychiatric nursing to complete a total of 109 credit hours of this curriculum.

7. University of Sioux Falls – Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Being among the best BSN programs in the Midwest the University of Sioux Falls promises you a high-flying career in today’s challenging healthcare industry. This 4-year long program inculcates feelings of empathy and compassion and creates a foundation for life-long learning and growth. Here you will study in classrooms that utilize simulation methods and complete 128 credits of nursing and general education courses. With the help of substantial hands-on experiences with actual patient contact, you will gain the required practical training to function in a nursing facility effortlessly.

8. Lewis University – Romeoville, Illinois

Graduating from Lewis University’s BSN program can open doors to several job options like a critical care nurse, pediatric nurse, surgical nurse, home care nurse, and long-term care nurse. The college is ranked 9th in the state and offers clinical rotations at more than 20 medical facilities allowing you to choose one that is close to you. Through one-on-one classes with its experienced instructors, you will gain a vast base of knowledge in therapeutic interventions, speech-language pathology, movement science, and core nursing.

9. Walsh University – North Canton, Ohio

Did you know that job opportunities for nurses are expected to increase by close to 20% in the coming years? Therefore, it would be wise to stop procrastinating and start your BSN education as soon as possible. At Walsh University you will gain hands-on experiences with almost every nursing course helping you put your theoretical understanding into actual practice. Its recently updated laboratory encompasses control rooms, a high-fidelity simulation patient, iPads, computers, a maternal-fetal birthing simulator, and a ventilator allowing you to have access to the latest equipment. Additionally, the college also helps you gain international exposure by providing you with on-field training at medical facilities in destinations like Haiti, Mexico, and Tanzania.

10. Graceland University – Lamoni, Iowa

Graceland University offers its BSN program at its Independence campus located in the suburban region of Kansas City, around two hours away from its main campus in Lamoni. The program can be taken up not only by students who are starting with their nursing education but also by RNs looking for professional advancement. The college gives you the flexibility to transfer as many as 61 credit hours, allowing you to complete your BSN coursework in just 18 months.

best nursing schools in chicago

More details coming up on best nursing schools in chicago, 2 year nursing programs chicago and best colleges in illinois for nursing.

1. University of St. Francis

The nursing program at the University of St. Francis offers a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) for students who want to build on their registered nursing degree or earn a 4-year undergraduate degree. Graduate programs are also available for students seeking to become one of the following: family nurse practitioner, nursing administration, nursing education, and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. The University of Saint Francis offers state-of-the-art equipment and technology in its classrooms, small class sizes, and one-on-one guidance from instructors.

The University of St. Francis is one of the best nursing schools in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. It’s a private university and is part of the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. The University of St. Francis is a small university with an average student population totaling 3,352 students. Half of the student body is enrolled in undergraduate programs and the other half is enrolled in postgraduate programs.

Programs: BSN

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2. The University Of Illinois at Chicago – UIC Extended Campus

The nursing program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is an RN to BSN program that’s 100% online. Students can earn their BSN without ever stepping foot on campus. The program has a 94% graduation rate and is ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s in the top 3 schools for online bachelors programs and second for student engagement. Students who are registered nurses with an active license in the U.S. and recent ADN graduates are guaranteed admission into the program provided they meet the requirements.

The University of Illinois at Chicago is part of the state’s public university system and is also a public research university. It has a student population of over 33,000 students throughout 16 colleges on its campus. The school offers 86 bachelor’s degrees, 111 master’s degrees, and 66 doctoral degrees. UIC’s sports teams compete in the NCAA Division I Horizon League as the UIC Flames. Athletic programs include basketball, soccer, softball, swim, and baseball.

Programs: BSN

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3. Elmhurst University

Elmhurst University offers a bachelor of science in nursing program for pre-licensure and an RN to BSN degree completion program. It also offers graduate degrees for master of science in nursing and master’s entry in nursing practice. The school collaborates with Elmhurst Hospital to provide students with the opportunity to practice in a real-life setting using the most recent teaching technology. Students learn how to use the skills they’ve learned in the classroom in a live, interactive setting that won’t harm patients, but provides the real-time pressure students will eventually face when they’re in a working environment. The school also provides weekly clinical practice working alongside faculty members in actual medical settings with live patients.

Elmhurst University is a private college located in Elmhurst, IL, and has an affiliation with the United Church of Christ. The school was founded in 1871 and welcomes students from across the United States and the world. U.S. News and World Reports rank the school at number 3 on the list of Most Innovative Schools and at number seven on the list of Best Undergraduate Teaching universities in the Midwest region. Elmhurst University features 20 varsity sports and participates in the NCAA Division III College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

Programs: BSN, MSN

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4. North Park University

North Park University offers an RN to BSN degree completion course along with BSN and MSN programs in three specializations. The school also offers two post-master’s certificates and a doctorate of nursing degree. The RN to BSN program can be completed in 18 months and is designed to be flexible for working professionals. Students can learn at a pace that suits their needs and earn their BSN in their time frame. North Park University is affiliated with many hospital systems in the surrounding area so students can study in a hospital that meets their needs.

North Park University was founded in 1891 and is a private Christian school that focuses on the liberal arts. The average student to faculty ratio at the school averages 12 students to 1 instructor with the overall school enrollment averaging slightly less than 3,000. North Park University is ranked at #3 by U.S. News and World Report for ethnic diversity, making it one of the best nursing schools in Chicago for people of color.

Programs: RN to BSN, MSN

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5. Lewis University

Lewis University offers an RN to BSN nursing program, a four-year BSN program, and a BAC to BSN program. Instruction includes the use of simulation and state-of-the-art Sim Mannkins that provide realistic symptoms and presentations. The school is affiliated with multiple hospitals with diverse patient populations and needs to give students as broad of a learning experience as possible before graduation. The school boasts an average NCLEX pass rate of 95% which makes it one of the best nursing schools in Chicago.

Lewis University is a private Catholic university that’s sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic teaching order. The school has a total student population of 6400 students and maintains a 13:1 student/faculty ratio. Over 80 undergraduate programs and majors, 22 graduate programs and accelerated programs for adults are available to students who attend Lewis University.

Programs: BSN

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6. Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago’s RN-to-BSN program is an online program with full or part-time study options. Admission to the program is open year-round and is one of the best nursing schools in Chicago for working RNs who want to advance their education and career. The RN to BSN program is a fast-track degree and includes previous schooling and current work experience when it comes to earning the BSN. Students who attend Loyola University’s RN to BSN program will find that the program is highly flexible and accommodating to their work-life needs.

Loyola University is a Jesuit Catholic institution and is one of the largest schools of its kind in the U.S. The school has over 80 undergraduate majors and minors along with 170 programs for graduate, professional, and graduate-level certificates. Loyola University has an enrollment of over 17,000 students but maintains a 14:1 student/teacher ratio. It has multiple campuses in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

Programs: RN to BSN

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7. Benedictine University

Benedictine University offers an online RN to BSN degree program that takes 12 months to complete. The course requires 34 credit hours for completion and its classes are designed to build upon each other for a cohesive educational experience. The clinical experience portion of the degree takes place in person and the experiences are selected by the student. Overall, the program is designed to allow students to attend school while working a full-time job and quickly earn a BSN to advance their careers.

Benedictine University is a private Roman Catholic university that was founded in 1887. The school offers 59 undergraduate majors, 19 graduate programs, 34 graduate certificates, and 4 doctoral programs. U.S. News and World Reports ranked the university at #221 on its list of best colleges is national universities in 2019. The athletic program competes in 19 athletic programs and the school is part of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference at the NCAA Division III level.

Programs: RN to BSN

2 year nursing programs chicago

1. University of St. Francis

The nursing program at the University of St. Francis offers a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) for students who want to build on their registered nursing degree or earn a 4-year undergraduate degree. Graduate programs are also available for students seeking to become one of the following: family nurse practitioner, nursing administration, nursing education, and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. The University of Saint Francis offers state-of-the-art equipment and technology in its classrooms, small class sizes, and one-on-one guidance from instructors.

The University of St. Francis is one of the best nursing schools in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. It’s a private university and is part of the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. The University of St. Francis is a small university with an average student population totaling 3,352 students. Half of the student body is enrolled in undergraduate programs and the other half is enrolled in postgraduate programs.

Programs: BSN


2. The University Of Illinois at Chicago – UIC Extended Campus

The nursing program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is an RN to BSN program that’s 100% online. Students can earn their BSN without ever stepping foot on campus. The program has a 94% graduation rate and is ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s in the top 3 schools for online bachelors programs and second for student engagement. Students who are registered nurses with an active license in the U.S. and recent ADN graduates are guaranteed admission into the program provided they meet the requirements.

The University of Illinois at Chicago is part of the state’s public university system and is also a public research university. It has a student population of over 33,000 students throughout 16 colleges on its campus. The school offers 86 bachelor’s degrees, 111 master’s degrees, and 66 doctoral degrees. UIC’s sports teams compete in the NCAA Division I Horizon League as the UIC Flames. Athletic programs include basketball, soccer, softball, swim, and baseball.

Programs: BSN


3. Elmhurst University

Elmhurst University offers a bachelor of science in nursing program for pre-licensure and an RN to BSN degree completion program. It also offers graduate degrees for master of science in nursing and master’s entry in nursing practice. The school collaborates with Elmhurst Hospital to provide students with the opportunity to practice in a real-life setting using the most recent teaching technology. Students learn how to use the skills they’ve learned in the classroom in a live, interactive setting that won’t harm patients, but provides the real-time pressure students will eventually face when they’re in a working environment. The school also provides weekly clinical practice working alongside faculty members in actual medical settings with live patients.

Elmhurst University is a private college located in Elmhurst, IL, and has an affiliation with the United Church of Christ. The school was founded in 1871 and welcomes students from across the United States and the world. U.S. News and World Reports rank the school at number 3 on the list of Most Innovative Schools and at number seven on the list of Best Undergraduate Teaching universities in the Midwest region. Elmhurst University features 20 varsity sports and participates in the NCAA Division III College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

Programs: BSN, MSN


4. North Park University

North Park University offers an RN to BSN degree completion course along with BSN and MSN programs in three specializations. The school also offers two post-master’s certificates and a doctorate of nursing degree. The RN to BSN program can be completed in 18 months and is designed to be flexible for working professionals. Students can learn at a pace that suits their needs and earn their BSN in their time frame. North Park University is affiliated with many hospital systems in the surrounding area so students can study in a hospital that meets their needs.

North Park University was founded in 1891 and is a private Christian school that focuses on the liberal arts. The average student to faculty ratio at the school averages 12 students to 1 instructor with the overall school enrollment averaging slightly less than 3,000. North Park University is ranked at #3 by U.S. News and World Report for ethnic diversity, making it one of the best nursing schools in Chicago for people of color.

Programs: RN to BSN, MSN


5. Lewis University

Lewis University offers an RN to BSN nursing program, a four-year BSN program, and a BAC to BSN program. Instruction includes the use of simulation and state-of-the-art Sim Mannkins that provide realistic symptoms and presentations. The school is affiliated with multiple hospitals with diverse patient populations and needs to give students as broad of a learning experience as possible before graduation. The school boasts an average NCLEX pass rate of 95% which makes it one of the best nursing schools in Chicago.

Lewis University is a private Catholic university that’s sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic teaching order. The school has a total student population of 6400 students and maintains a 13:1 student/faculty ratio. Over 80 undergraduate programs and majors, 22 graduate programs and accelerated programs for adults are available to students who attend Lewis University.

Programs: BSN


6. Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago’s RN-to-BSN program is an online program with full or part-time study options. Admission to the program is open year-round and is one of the best nursing schools in Chicago for working RNs who want to advance their education and career. The RN to BSN program is a fast-track degree and includes previous schooling and current work experience when it comes to earning the BSN. Students who attend Loyola University’s RN to BSN program will find that the program is highly flexible and accommodating to their work-life needs.

Loyola University is a Jesuit Catholic institution and is one of the largest schools of its kind in the U.S. The school has over 80 undergraduate majors and minors along with 170 programs for graduate, professional, and graduate-level certificates. Loyola University has an enrollment of over 17,000 students but maintains a 14:1 student/teacher ratio. It has multiple campuses in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

Programs: RN to BSN

Visit the program


7. Benedictine University

Benedictine University offers an online RN to BSN degree program that takes 12 months to complete. The course requires 34 credit hours for completion and its classes are designed to build upon each other for a cohesive educational experience. The clinical experience portion of the degree takes place in person and the experiences are selected by the student. Overall, the program is designed to allow students to attend school while working a full-time job and quickly earn a BSN to advance their careers.

Benedictine University is a private Roman Catholic university that was founded in 1887. The school offers 59 undergraduate majors, 19 graduate programs, 34 graduate certificates, and 4 doctoral programs. U.S. News and World Reports ranked the university at #221 on its list of best colleges is national universities in 2019. The athletic program competes in 19 athletic programs and the school is part of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference at the NCAA Division III level.

Programs: RN to BSN

best colleges in illinois for nursing

Nursing Schools in Illinois – 2022 Rankings

Illinois can be divided into two parts: Chicago and everywhere else. More than 25 percent of Illinois’s nurse workforce is currently employed in Cook County. Indeed, there is presently something of a nursing surplus in Cook County. There are so many unfilled nursing jobs in more rural parts of the Prairie State, however, that some of these areas might even qualify to be dubbed medically underserved. Whatever the state-of-affairs at present, within the next 10 years, experts estimate Illinois will need an additional 20,000 nurses to keep up with the demand for quality care. There’s never been a better time to enroll in one of the accredited nursing schools in Illinois, particularly if your professional interests lie beyond working in an urban hospital or health care setting.

FOLLOWING ARE THE 10 BEST ACCREDITED NURSING SCHOOLS IN ILLINOIS FOR 2022

Based on our Ranking Methodology, out of 100 Nursing Schools in the state of Illinois, we have listed the best schools for Baccalaureate and Graduate degree programs in nursing.

1. Loyola University, Maywood

About the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing: In 1935, Loyola University’s nursing school became the first nursing school in IL to offer a baccalaureate in nursing. The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing has continued its preeminence in the field of nursing education ever since. Loyola University has a reputation for turning out movers and shakers, and this is no less true of its nursing graduates than it is of its alumni in other fields. The school unfailingly places near the top of U.S. News and World Report’s annual lists of the best nursing schools in the U.S.

The 7,000-square-foot Walgreen Family Virtual Hospital, located on the sixth floor of the nursing building, contains six immersive simulation bays equipped with six realistic manikins that are programmed to imitate a variety of chronic and acute health conditions. Here, nursing students learn clinical skills and assessment techniques side by side with students at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine. When it comes time for clinical rotations, nursing students have the opportunity to work and learn at some of Chicago area’s finest health care facilities, including the Loyola University Health System, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare System.

Financial Aid: Loyola endows several nursing-specific scholarships for graduate nursing students. Incoming freshmen may also be eligible for other scholarship opportunities once their Application for Undergraduate Admission has been accepted by the university. Students may also qualify for federal and state grants and loans; these awards depend upon need as identified through submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

2. Illinois State University, Normal

About the Mennonite College of Nursing: Mennonite College of Nursing got its start in 1919 as the Mennonite Sanitarium Training School for hospital nurses; in 1999, the training school was annexed into the Illinois State University system. Students enrolled in Mennonite’s nursing programs truly get the best of two worlds: While they enjoy all the advantages that a large university can provide, they can also blossom in the personalized atmosphere that only a small nursing college environment has to offer.

Instruction takes place in Edwards Hall, an historic building that’s been renovated to include classrooms, clinical labs and clinical simulation labs where students can develop their skills by working with high-fidelity manikins in a safe environment. Clinical rotations take place at a range of inpatient and outpatient health care facilities throughout the Bloomington and Normal metropolitan areas. To optimize learning and mentorship opportunities, the faculty-student ratio at clinical sites is kept at 1:8. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of community projects such as the Change Agents to the Underserved: Service Education (CAUSE) project, which Mennonite College helms in partnership with the Chestnut Family Health Center, the Community Health Care Clinic and McLean County Health Department.

Financial Aid: This nursing school in Illinois administers more than 80 institutional scholarships. While the FAFSA form is not a prerequisite for merit-based scholarships, it is necessary to fill one out in order to qualify for any scholarship that lists financial need as one of its criteria. Additionally, the FAFSA form will allow you to apply for federal and state financial aid such as Pell Grants, work-study and loans.

3. University of Illinois, Chicago

About the UIC College of Nursing: Over the years, the annual Power of Nursing Leadership event sponsored by UIC’s College of Nursing has featured dynamic keynote speakers like poet Maya Angelou, former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher and TV producer Linda Ellerbe. What better way for this powerhouse nursing college to celebrate the nursing leaders who graduate from this school? Nursing students help staff the Mile Square Health Center, which is operated by the College of Nursing and which provides primary health care to many of Chicago’s underserved residents. The college has also been recognized by the World Health Organization and has been designated a WHO Collaborating Center for International Nursing Development in Primary Health Care.

In the fall of 2019, the college will be opening a new 15,000-square-foot simulation lab where students can develop the skills necessary for patient care in critical care, med/surg, pediatric and obstetric units by practicing those skills in a safe virtual environment. At present, students learn bedside basics in the 5,000-square-foot M. Christine Schwartz Experiential Learning Laboratory. The college’s partners for clinical rotations include Memorial Hospital, Greenville Family Wellness Center, Southern Illinois Health Care Foundation and other facilities throughout the metropolitan Chicago area.

Financial Aid: University of Illinois administers more than 40 scholarships that are specifically designed for students studying nursing. The College of Nursing also encourages students to seek scholarship funds from outside sources. In order to qualify for state and federal financial aid, students will need to submit a FAFSA form.

4. Lewis University, Romeoville

About the College of Nursing and Health Professions: Lewis University was founded as a technical training school in 1932 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago; and while today, the school admits students of all religious denominations, its Jesuit values are still evident in its nursing college’s holistic curriculum which emphasizes that the needs of a patient’s spirit are just as important as the needs of a patient’s body.

Nursing students have the opportunity to participate in clinical rotations with more than 50 local health care providers, including Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, La Rabida Children’s Hospital, Provena Mercy Medical Center and Loyola Medical Center. Clinical groups are never larger than eight so that students get personalized attention from their clinical instructors. Before they begin working with actual patients, students will have the chance to practice and perfect their clinical skills in three virtual patient suites equipped with high-tech manikins who can simulate a variety of chronic and acute health conditions. If you believe that patient care is as much about caring for a patient’s mind, heart and soul as it is about addressing his or her physical symptoms, then you should learn more about Lewis University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Financial Aid: Like many other nursing schools in Illinois, Lewis University administers two institutional scholarships that are specifically endowed for nursing students: the Julianne Murphy Scholarship Award and the Washington Square Health Foundation scholarship. Nursing students may also qualify for other in-house scholarships the university offers. Completion of the FAFSA form is a prerequisite for Pell Grants and other forms of state and federal financial aid.

5. Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

About the SIUE School of Nursing: At the SIUE School of Nursing, you’ll learn how to keep your balance in a health care environment that’s constantly evolving. The university’s satellite campus in East St. Louis (Missouri), just 20 miles away from the Edwardsville campus, is home to the WE CARE clinic operated by the nursing school; here, nursing students have opportunities to participate in providing services to the diverse client populations who rely upon the clinic as their primary health care provider. The nursing school is also a center for research and has received $4.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the Illinois Department of Public Health and other prestigious organizations.

Students learn hands-on techniques and critical problem-solving skills by practicing on high-fidelity manikins at the Simulated Learning Center for Health Sciences. Students pursue clinical rotations at a variety of hospitals, ambulatory care clinics and community agencies throughout St. Louis.

Financial Aid: Students at SIU’s School of Nursing in Edwardsville may apply for 30 scholarships that were specifically endowed for aspiring nurses. Needs-based financial aid such as federal and state grants and loans may also be available after a student submits his or her FAFSA form to the Office of Student Financial Aid.

6. University of St. Francis, Joliet

About the Leach College of Nursing: The Leach College of Nursing at the University of St. Francis in Joliet is another one of those nursing programs in Illinois that got its start as a Catholic educational initiative. Compassion is as important as evidence-based science in the approach to nursing you’ll learn here. The College was founded as the St. Joseph School of Nursing in 1920; in 2011, it was renamed the John Leach College of Nursing, and in 2016, it moved to the new St. Clare campus.

Classes are taught in Guardian Angel Hall, which is an historic building that’s been remodeled into a state-of-the-art learning facility. In the simulation lab, students acquire basic assessment skills by practicing on high-tech manikins that have been programmed to display the same stress-related autonomic nervous system responses such as dilated pupils and elevated heart rates that hospitalized patients might display. Students go on to practice what they’ve learned through clinical rotations at hospitals, home health agencies, managed care environments, primary care clinics, public health clinics, hospices and skilled nursing home environments throughout Joliet and the surrounding communities.

Financial Aid:The Leach Endowed Scholarship is awarded to St. Francis University nursing students who’ve demonstrated financial need and who maintain a 2.5 GPA. The university also encourages nursing students to apply for external scholarships. Funds may also be eligible from federal and state sources upon submission of the FAFSA form.

7. Bradley University, Peoria

About the Bradley University Department of Nursing: “U.S. News and World Report” has commended Bradley University as a school that offers great value, and that accolade certainly applies to the education its nursing department offers. The university is famous for its entrepreneurial programs, and nursing students are encouraged to think outside the box, too. An example? The Teddy Bear Clinic where nursing students give local elementary school children stuffed animals and teach the kids how to give injections, wrap bandages and listen to their animals’ heart and breath sounds. The result? A marked decrease among these children in anxiety associated with trips to the doctor!

High-tech experiential learning opportunities are incorporated into the nursing curriculum through the use of simulation scenarios based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, a spinoff from the National Academies of Science that focuses specifically on leadership in the realm of health care. Students use their new skills during clinical rotations at Peoria’s many hospitals, county health organizations, nursing homes and social service agencies.

Financial Aid: Bradley University offers a number of institutional scholarships; although none of these are nursing-specific, nursing students are invited to apply to the ones whose criteria they meet. Students may also apply for needs-based federal grants and work-study, and Illinois MAP grants by filling out and submitting a FAFSA form.

8. St. Xavier University, Chicago

About the School of Nursing and Health Sciences @ Saint Xavier University: The School of Nursing and Health Sciences at St. Xavier University is another nursing degree provider in IL that gets plaudits from “U.S. News and World Report.” St. Xavier University was founded by the Catholic Sisters of Mercy in 1846, and the nursing school adheres closely to Mercy values such as reverence for the dignity of all people, commitment to the poor and stewardship of resources. If you attend this school, you’ll be fully prepared to meet the challenges inherent in caring for diverse populations whose health care needs to date have been underserved.

The Nursing/Health Science Learning Resource Lab is an immersive environment where clinical reasoning and decision-making skills are integrated into hands-on learning experiences. The School of Nursing and Health Sciences partners with some of Chicago’s top hospitals, community clinics and other health care facilities to provide students with clinical rotation sites where they will maximize their experiential learning.

Financial Aid: As a St. Xavier nursing student, you’re eligible to apply for 12 scholarships that are specifically endowed for nursing students. You may also meet the criteria for other university-wide scholarship opportunities. In order to be considered for scholarships as well as for federal and state needs-based funding, you will need to submit a FAFSA form.

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