University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign Review

By Henry R. Steele - October 16, 2017
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign is a public university that was established in 1867. Its current total undergraduate enrollment is 33,932 and total enrollment is nearly 50,000. The university overall is ranked by US News and World Report as the #52 national university for 2018.

Favorite Features

Very affordable online MBA tuition

The entire online MBA tuition at this university is only approximately $22,000. This makes it a very affordable MBA that is an excellent value when one considers that the MBA program was ranked in the top 40 by US News and World Report in the past, as well as Poets & Quants. The latter publication has stated that the cost of tuition versus quality of the program is ‘a breakthrough.’ Tuition is only $250 per credit hour for both in state and out of state students. Also, the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign has been ranked #3 by Businessweek in terms of ROI.

College of Business is accredited by the AACSB

The College of Business at the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign continues to maintain its business and accounting accreditation by the respected AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This esteemed accreditation is earned by only 6% of business schools globally.

Learn the Difference AACSB vs ACBSP for Online MBA Accreditation

To maintain AACSB accreditation, the program must undertake a rigorous internal review every 60 months. It also has to show consistent commitment to 15 AACSB quality standards that relate to quality of faculty, resource strategic management, faculty and student interaction, and continuous improvement.

Standardized test scores are not required for online MBA

According to US News and World Report, the online MBA at this university does not require the submission of GRE or GMAT scores. This means that students do not have to spend up to several months studying for this exam and spend a considerable amount of resources on getting a high score. Many educational experts think that high standardized test scores do not necessarily reflect an ability to do well at the graduate school level.

Highly selective online MBA admission process

In the most recent academic year, there were 559 students who applied and only 119 were accepted. This is a very low acceptance rate of 21%; this is unusual for an online MBA program. A low acceptance rate typically indicates a higher degree of quality in the program.

University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign has partnered with Coursera

One of the primary reasons that the online MBA is so affordable at just $22,000 is that the university partnered in 2015 with Coursera. Coursera is a major provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). By using Coursera to deliver the MBA, the university is able to greatly reduce costs, which benefits students.

Another plus of this development: Students have the option of paying full freight to earn the online MBA for $22,000. Or they can effectively ‘audit’ the MBA program at no cost. This option will NOT result in the earning of an MBA, but it may be a useful option for some students who want to learn advanced business management principles. Another option is to pay $79 and get an identity-certified certificate of completion (this option also does not confer an MBA to the student).

Least Favorite Features

High level of work experience required

Many MBA programs want their students to come into the program with a lot of work experience. It is common for MBA programs to expect at least three or five years of work experience. However, this program at the University of Illinois has an average of 123 months of work experience among its students. This is more than 10 years of work experience.

A student body with a higher level of work experience is often very valuable for enhancing the quality and value of the program, so this is good. But this program may be unsuitable for students with limited work experience.

Online MBA program is no longer ranked by US News and World Report

The current edition of US News and World Report’s college rankings states that this program was ranked by US News and World Report in 2017. But for 2018, the program is no longer ranked ‘based upon communication between the school and US News.’ No other explanation for this development is provided.

It could be that the university’s new partnership with Coursera to deliver its online MBA content is a factor here, but that is not confirmed.

Coursera partnership could make some employers question degree quality

As noted above, the university has partnered with Coursera to deliver much of its MBA content online. This has led to dramatically lower costs. But it is possible that some employers could question the quality of an online MBA delivered via Coursera. It also is notable that US News and World Report no longer ranks the university after the Coursera partnership, but it is unclear if this is related or merely coincidence. See dozens of other Online business courses offered by Coursera and others.

The Details

General Information

  • Founded in 1867
  • University type: Public
  • Application deadline: June 30
  • Application fee: $50
  • Term Schedule: Semester
  • Location: Urbana and Champaign, IL
  • Student-faculty ratio: 20:1
  • 55% female overall

Tuition Rates

  • Online MBA – $22,000 total; $250 per credit hour

Business Degrees

  • Online MBA

MBA Specializations Covered (all are required for all students)

MBA Class Profile

  • Students come from 17 countries and 19 states

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 4 year graduation rate is 70%
  • 93% of all students return for a second year, which is very high

US News Rankings

  • National universities: 52
  • Best value schools: 105
  • High school counselor rankings: 62
  • Top public schools: 14
  • Accounting: 2
  • Insurance: 3
Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on

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