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UIS Named to Forbes’ Best Affordable Online Colleges List

The University of Illinois Springfield has been named to Forbes’ Best Affordable Online Colleges list for 2023. According to Forbes, UIS made the list because it has offered distance learning programs to students around the country for more than two decades. Forbes also noted that UIS offers a low net price per year, has a high online retention rate and offers mental health/counseling services to online students. “UIS provides students with access to affordable, high-quality educational opportunities that complement their busy lives,” said Michele Gribbins, director of the UIS Center For Online Learning, Research and Service. “Many faculty are mindful of the expense of higher education and have adopted open educational resources to reduce student textbook costs. Serving online learners is a strong part of what we do as an institution.”


Forbes also noted that most UIS online coursework is delivered asynchronously, meaning that while the courses have specific start and end dates, students can work on their classwork on their own schedule while meeting course deadlines. This assists students who have a variety of professional and personal obligations that may make attending class at a specific time each week difficult.


UIS offers 52 online undergraduate and graduate programs in fields like business administration, computer science, communications, history, management information systems and political science. UIS also recently added an online MBA program. “Our faculty continue to add new programs to our online offerings, such as a new online criminology and criminal justice bachelors degree program, to meet the needs of more learners,” Gribbins said. “Even many of our on-campus events, like the upcoming Student Technology, Arts, and Research Symposium, are designed to let online students engage from a distance.”


This year marks the 25th anniversary of UIS offering online programs. In 1998, UIS served 30 online students. By the spring of 1999, the management information systems degree was fully available online. By the fall of 2008, a total of 1,200 UIS students were enrolled in 16 fully online degree programs, and half of UIS students were taking at least one online class. This semester, UIS has 1,961 students taking classes fully online. Fully online students make up almost 40 percent of the UIS student body.

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