Colleges and universities in Peoria, IL

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Peoria, Illinois is home to several excellent higher education institutions. This local guide will provide an overview of the colleges and universities located in Peoria, including information on academics, student life, admissions, and more.

Bradley University

Bradley University is a private university located in Peoria, Illinois. Founded in 1897, Bradley has a total undergraduate enrollment of around 5,000 students.


Bradley offers bachelor’s degrees in over 185 academic programs across five colleges:

  • Foster College of Business
  • College of Education and Health Sciences
  • College of Engineering and Technology
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • College of Communication and Fine Arts

Some of Bradley’s most popular majors include business, nursing, biology, psychology, criminal justice, mechanical engineering, and interactive media.

Bradley also has an excellent graduate school with masters and doctoral programs in areas like business, nursing, physical therapy, and more.

Campus Life

Bradley has a suburban campus located along the Illinois River. There are over 300 student organizations to get involved in, as well as 18 Division I athletic teams. Greek life is also popular, with over 35% of students joining one of Bradley’s fraternities or sororities.

On-campus housing is guaranteed for freshman and includes residence halls, suites, apartments, and townhouses. Bradley also has a brand new $30 million student center for activities and events.

Other campus facilities include the Bradley library, Markin Recreation Center, and Olin Quad. Downtown Peoria is only a few minutes away, giving students access to restaurants, shopping, and nightlife.

Admissions and Tuition

Bradley is moderately selective, accepting around 70% of applicants. Popular majors like nursing and business tend to be more competitive.

Here are some key admissions stats:

  • ACT range: 23-29
  • SAT range: 1080-1270
  • GPA: 3.6 average

Tuition and fees at Bradley come out to around $35,000 per year including room and board. Over 90% of Bradley students receive some form of financial aid.

Notable Alumni

  • Philip Jose Farmer, science fiction writer
  • Kirby Puckett, baseball player
  • Dan Kuntz, NFL football player
  • Craig Breslow, MLB baseball pitcher

University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria

The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria is the medical school for the University of Illinois system. It is located along the Illinois River in downtown Peoria.

The College of Medicine has about 250 medical students enrolled across four years of study. It offers a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree program with clinical rotations at OSF HealthCare and UnityPoint Health hospitals.

The medical school curriculum includes two years of classroom instruction followed by two years of clinical rotations. There are also opportunities for students to conduct research. Graduates complete a residency after medical school to become fully licensed physicians.

The College of Medicine is more focused on training primary care physicians and keeping doctors in Illinois, especially in rural areas. It has partnerships with hospitals and clinics throughout central and southern Illinois.

Admissions to the UIC College of Medicine is very competitive, with only about 150 students admitted each year out of over 5,000 applicants. Students have an average GPA of 3.8 and MCAT score of 511. In-state residents are given preference.

Illinois Central College

Illinois Central College (ICC) is a large public community college in Peoria. It offers associate degrees and certificates in over 120 majors.


ICC has transfer programs for students looking to complete their first two years of college before transferring to a four-year university. Popular transfer majors include business, education, nursing, and STEM fields.

The school also has over 35 career and technical programs leading to an associate degree or certificate. Some examples are construction management, automotive technology, IT, healthcare, paralegal studies, and creative arts.

Other academic features at ICC include:

  • Honors program
  • Online and hybrid classes
  • Adult education like GED preparation
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) courses

Campuses and Student Life

The main ICC campus is located just north of Peoria. There are also two smaller campuses in Pekin and East Peoria.

Over 15,000 students attend ICC each semester. The average class size is 22 students. ICC has student organizations, athletic teams, art galleries, and music/theater performances.

On-campus amenities include libraries, computer labs, dining services, fitness centers, and accessible resources. There is no student housing, but ICC helps connect students to off-campus apartment options.

Admissions and Tuition

As a community college, ICC has an open admissions policy for students with a high school diploma or GED. New students take placement tests for math and English course assignments.

Tuition is very affordable, at just $135 per credit hour for in-district students. Financial aid and scholarships are widely available. ICC also has partnerships with local businesses to provide employee tuition benefits.

Midwest Technical Institute

Midwest Technical Institute (MTI) is a small private college located in Peoria. It offers career-focused training programs in the medical, business, and trades fields.

Programs of Study

MTI has diploma and certificate programs taking 9 months – 1 year to complete. Areas of study include:

  • Medical assisting
  • Medical billing and coding
  • Dental assisting
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Computer-aided drafting (CAD)
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Welding
  • CNC machining

These programs combine classroom instruction with hands-on training using industry technologies and equipment. Students gain practical experience through labs, simulations, and practicums.

MTI works directly with employers to design curriculum to meet job market needs. The school has strong job placement rates for graduates.

Campuses and Student Experience

The main MTI campus is located just off I-74 in Peoria. There is a second campus in East Peoria as well. Class sizes are kept small, usually 10-20 students.

MTI offers flexible schedule options including morning, afternoon, evening, and some weekend classes. Programs can be completed in 3-4 academic quarters.

On-campus resources include computer labs, libraries, tutoring services, and career counseling. The school regularly hosts career fairs for students.

Admissions and Tuition

MTI employs a rolling admissions policy – students can enroll year-round in upcoming start dates. A high school diploma or GED is required. MTI has an open admissions policy.

Tuition varies by program length and field of study. Most programs range from $13,000 – $19,000 total. MTI offers payment plans, federal financial aid, and private student loans.

Higher Education Options in Peoria

In addition to the major colleges profiled above, there are a few other higher education choices located within Peoria city limits or the surrounding metro area.

Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing

Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing is a small, private college that trains students to become registered nurses (RN). The College of Nursing is affiliated with OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

  • Offers Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) and RN-BSN programs
  • Competitive admissions with about 120 students enrolled
  • Located in downtown Peoria along the riverfront

Brown Mackie College – Peoria

Brown Mackie College – Peoria is a for-profit college owned by Education Management Corporation. It offers career-oriented programs at the certificate, associates, and bachelor’s degree levels.

  • Areas of study include business, criminal justice, early childhood education, graphic design, IT, medical assistant, and veterinary technology
  • Also has online degree options and evening/weekend classes
  • Total enrollment around 600 students

Trinity International University – Peoria

Trinity International University – Peoria is a Christian liberal arts university affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America. The Peoria extension offers degrees in business, education, and theology.

  • Bachelor’s and master’s degrees available
  • Main 76-acre campus located in Deerfield, IL; small Peoria extension site
  • Total student population around 1000, with around 50 in Peoria

Considerations When Choosing a College in Peoria

If you’re considering attending one of Peoria’s colleges or universities, here are some factors to keep in mind:

Types of Programs Offered

  • Peoria has excellent options for career/technical fields like business, IT, healthcare, engineering, manufacturing, construction through schools like ICC, Bradley, and MTI.
  • For a more traditional liberal arts curriculum, look to Bradley University and the Trinity International University extension site.
  • Bachelor’s degree options are mainly through Bradley, but Brown Mackie College and the Trinity extension also offer four-year programs.

School Sizes and Campus Resources

  • Bradley and ICC are the two largest schools with the most extensive campuses and student resources.
  • Smaller options like MTI and Trinity have much lower enrollments for a more intimate learning environment.
  • Schools like the UIC College of Medicine and Saint Francis CON have highly-specialized, academically rigorous programs.

Tuition Costs and Affordability

  • Bradley University is a private school with higher tuition around $35k per year. ICC is the most affordable option at just $135 per credit hour.
  • Make sure to research financial aid options, scholarships, and payment plans at each school. Employer benefits like tuition reimbursement may also be available.

Job Prospects and Earnings After Graduation

  • Graduates from career-oriented programs at ICC, MTI, and Brown Mackie tend to have strong local job placement. Bradley also has good outcomes in fields like business, engineering, and healthcare.
  • Earnings potential varies based on your major and specific career path. Nursing, IT, engineering, and business grads tend to have higher starting salaries.


Peoria offers a nice mix of higher education options to choose from. Top schools like Bradley University, ICC, and the UIC College of Medicine provide quality academics alongside smaller specialized colleges.

With a range of academic programs, school sizes, and tuition costs, Peoria can meet the needs of most students seeking post-secondary education. By carefully evaluating program offerings and school culture, students can find their ideal college fit.

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