Illinois State University

Illinois State University Enrollment and Financial Aid Info

Located in Normal, IL, Illinois State University is a public university that offers bachelor's, master's and doctorate programs. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus ranking, tuition and admission information.

Is Illinois State University the School for You?

Illinois State University (ISU), located in Normal, IL, was established in 1857 by James Fell and Abraham Lincoln. The university, originally named Illinois State Normal University, was primarily a teaching institution before expanding its academic offerings. Read on to find out if this is the right school for you.


  • Acceptance rate is 10.2 percentage points higher than the national average
  • Average student debt upon graduation is $1,893 lower than the national average
  • Career Center offers assistance in career planning and other services


  • Student-to-faculty ratio is three points higher than the national average
  • Not an ethnically diverse student population
  • Total cost is $7,556 more for residents and $1,165 more for non-residents than the national average

Illinois State University at a Glance

Some of the academic colleges at ISU include applied science and technology, arts and sciences, business, education, and nursing. An Amtrak station is located two blocks from campus, providing easy access to the surrounding areas. ISU is also near various major interstates. You should know that the tuition costs are higher than the national average for both resident and non-resident students.

The College Board estimates that 74% of applicants are accepted at ISU, higher than the national average of 63.8%. It also estimates that ISU doesn't have a particularly ethnically diverse campus with a student population that's 82% white. U.S. News and World Report indicates that at ISU the average student debt at graduation in 2011 was $24,767, while the national average student debt that year was $26,660. According to ISU's website, the student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1, higher than the national average of 16:1.

Admissions & Financial Aid at Illinois State University

When applying, you can choose to complete the university's paper or online application. Once you've completed the initial paperwork and paid the registration fee, you'll need to submit your high school or GED transcripts, along with your ACT/SAT scores. If accepted, during the final portion of the process you'll typically complete your housing application and visit the campus again for ISU's orientation for new students. ISU also offers a live chat for students who have questions during the admission process.

ISU utilizes financial aid calculators to assist you in determining your financial aid eligibility and the amount you'll need for tuition and other expenses. The university's website includes tips for filling out the online or paper FAFSA, the free application offered through the U.S. government. This determines the type of aid you'll be eligible for, including federal grants and loans. ISU's financial aid counselors will also assist you in applying for scholarships, private bank loans and other available forms of financial aid.

Application and Tuition Information
Regular Application Deadline (2012-2013) March 1st*
Financial Aid Priority Application Deadline (2013) March 1st ***
Admission Notification Date (2013) Varies*
Application Fee (2013) $40*
Acceptance Rate (fall 2012) 74%***
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $12,726 (in-state), $20,016 (out-of-state)****
Percent of Students with Need Met (2011) 34.6%****
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2011) $24,767****
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 3%**

Life at Illinois State University

Students at ISU come from 49 different states, various territories of the U.S. and a number of foreign countries. Many students live on campus and there are about 372 student organizations and clubs according to U.S. News and World Report. This is a NCAA Division I school with a wide variety of athletic teams.

ISU is home to Watterson Towers, which the school claims is one of the tallest student residence halls in the world. This dorm can house more than 2,000 students. The university also has Red Alert, a registered student organization on ISU's campus, which is a student-led spirit club that is one of the largest in the country. Milner Library has more than 1.5 million books on its shelves and an ever-increasing electronic database available to all students.

The Career Center offered by ISU is available for students, alumni, campus faculty and parents. As a student, you can develop career training through internship opportunities or mock interviews. There are Career Center staff that offer specialized assistance, such as resume critiques and one-on-one career advisement, in each of the university's academic fields.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Small city
Student Population (2012) 18,207 undergraduates, 2,295 graduate students*
% of Male-to-Female Student (2011) 45% to 55%**
% of Full Time Students (2011) 94%**
% of In-state Students (2011) 99%**
% of International Students (2011) 0%**
Retention Rate (2011) 85%**
Campus Housing Available Yes*
% of Students Living on Campus 30%****
Number of Libraries 1*
Extracurricular Activities 372 clubs and organizations****

Sources: *Illinois State University, **NCES College Navigator, ***College Board, ****U.S. News and World Report.

School Contact Info

  • Address: 201 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 2200, Normal, Il 61790
  • Phone: (309) 438-2181