Olivet Nazarene University


Olivet University began its educational journey as a grammar school in Georgetown, Illinois in 1907 when the Eastern Illinois Holiness Association opened Miss Mary Nesbitt’s grammar school inside of a house. After acquiring 14 acres of land, the original founders decided to move the grammar school to the village of Olivet in 1908. The school became a liberal arts college in 1909 and the name changed to Illinois Holiness University.

In 1912, the trustees and founders school gave the school to the Church of Nazarene in an attempt to reach a wider constituency and to promote Christian higher education. More than 800 Nazarene congregations throughout Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan are still committed to keeping the promise. The school changed names again to Olivet University in 1915 and to Olivet College in 1921.

Economic problems during the 1920s caused the trustees of the college to declare bankruptcy in 1926. T.W. Wilingham purchased the school at an auction with a new educational plan in mind. A devastating fire destroyed the main building of Olivet College in 1939, influencing the school to find a new location. The school moved again in 1940 to the previous campus of St. Viator’s college, which resided in 42-acres of land in Bourbonnais, Illinois. The school changed names again with the new location, and the name changed to Olivet Nazarene College. The school experienced its final name change to Olivet Nazarene University in 1986.


Information Summary

Ranks 49th in Illinois and 1214th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 77.5
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $47,670
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 26 / 1220
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 26 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 76% / 50%
Enrollment Total (all students) 4,655


The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Olivet Nazarene University. The college has 6 colleges and schools that include School of Graduate and Continuing studies, School of Education, School of Theology and Christian Ministry, School of Professional Studies, and College of Arts & Sciences. Associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees are available at Olivet Nazarene University. Students can earn associate degrees in Information Technology, Business, and Recreation Administration; bachelor’s degrees in Youth Ministry, Zoology, Environmental Science, and Sociology; master’s degrees in Nursing, Divinity, Middle School Endorsement, and School Counseling; and a doctoral degree in Ethical Leadership.

A few of the departments at Olivet Nazarene University are Department of Communications, Department of Art and Digital Media, Department of Computer Science, Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice, and Department of Business. Students can also choose between many concentrations, majors, and minors for a particular area of study. The university also offers nontraditional adult educational program and distance education for interested students.

Olivet Nazarene University also offers an honors program for students who qualify. The requirements are SAT scores of 1340 or higher or ACT scores of 30 or higher, a completed application form and the required essay, and an on-campus interview with two faculty members (phone interviews permitted in special circumstances).

Most Popular Fields of Study


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Students who wish to attend Olivet Nazarene University must complete and submit an application, application fee, registration fee, recommendation forms, SAT or ACT scores, and high school transcript. Additionally, student must submit college or university transcripts from the previous institutions attended. Graduate students also need to complete GRE and submit the results to the university. An undergraduate GPA and transfer credits must be a 2.75 GPA or higher for admission into the university. Students are also expected to display moral character that is consistent with attendance at a Christian university and demonstrate discipline and ability to pursue rigorous college level studies. International students need TOEFL results of 500 on the PBT and 173 on the CPT, 2 photos, completion of level 109 at ELS Language Centers, and proof of the ability to pay. International students must also advance pay the first semester of fees and tuition.

Financial Aid

Students who are interested in receiving financial assistance must first complete a FAFSA application. Once students complete this form, students may receive a number of grants, loans, scholarships, or work study options, depending on the financial need. Once students complete the FAFSA form and have all additional paperwork necessary to complete the form, applicants may begin submitting the application in early January. In order to receive priority, students must complete the applications by early March. Once the available funds are depleted, students may have to depend strictly on loans or outside forms of financial assistance.

Scholarships provide students with the chance to earn a degree without having to repay any of the money, and this is the form of financial assistance that many students prefer. Students may qualify for scholarships at Olivet Nazarene University or from outside sources. There are scholarships based on certain criteria, such ethnicity, religious beliefs, athletic talents, GPA, organizations, and more. Interested students may qualify for scholarships with certain departments or schools within the university as well. Consulting with a guidance counselor in school or the financial aid office at Olivet Nazarene University can steer students in the right direction for scholarship options. Completing the FAFSA application may also qualify students for certain scholarship, and in this case, students will be notified of all awards received.

Students may also qualify for grants after completing the FAFSA form, which is another way to help finance an education. Grants are a form of financial assistance does not require repayment. Students may qualify for grants based on their financial need. Grants may range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. There are federal grants and state grants for educational purposes. The university also offers certain state grants with specific criteria necessary to qualify. Outside sources may offer grants for students within the state who meet the required criteria.

Loans are the type of financial aid for which most students qualify. Loans require repayment. Students may qualify for a number of subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Awards range from hundreds to thousands of dollars in loans. Some require repayment of interest once the loan is taken out and others require repayments of interest once students begin repaying the loans. Parents may also qualify for parent loans to finance an education for their child. Federal loans generally have low interest rates, so most student prefer to take out loans qualified for through the FAFSA application. Outside loans through banks are another option. These loans may have higher or lower interest rates, depending on the creditworthiness of the borrower. Students may want to shop around for loan rates in order to receive the best rates possible.

Work study is another option to pay for an education. Students can earn wages to pay for university expenses. Work study programs are available through the Office of Career Services at Olivet Nazarene University. The information on the FAFSA application is another way to qualify for work study programs. Students have the convenience of attending school and working on campus. This is a great opportunity to finance an education.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 3504th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Illinois.


Students who attend Olivet Nazarene University may choose from several freshman and upperclassmen halls. Upperclassman can also enjoy apartment living if preferred. Freshman halls include Williams Hall, Parrot Hall, Chapman Hall, and Nesbitt Hall. Upperclassmen halls include McClain Hall, Hills Hall, and Howe Hall. Upperclassmen apartments include Grand Apartments, University Place, and Olde Oak & Oak Run Apartments. Residential halls and apartments have residential directors available for students’ needs.

The university has many exciting clubs and organizations that students may be interested in joining. Departmental clubs include Criminal Justice Club, Chemistry Club, Computer Club, Diakonia (Social Work) Club, and Equestrian Club. Educational organizations include Kappa Delta Pi, Lambda Pi Eta Theta Beta, and Kappa Delta Rho. There are also several male and female instrumental ensembles and choral ensembles that students may choose to join, including brass quintets, jazz band, concert singers, wind ensembles, university orchestra, and concert band.

There are also opportunities for students to have spiritual needs met. There are several ministry organizations that students may join. All of these groups are coordinated through the Office of Spiritual Development. Chapel services offer an opportunity for student to attend chapel services and worship in the community. Chapel services partners with local churches to offer students and staff the opportunity to worship together. Missions in Action (MIA) provide the opportunity to travel to various countries to spread religious teaching to others. 10 teams have the chance to provide this service. The Office of Spiritual Development coordinates this program.

The campus has a fitness club for student enjoyment. Students can also enjoy intramural sports. Intramural activities include electronic games, softball, baseball, badminton, wallyball, volleyball, billiards, racquetball, and flag football. The university also has club sports that include men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and volleyball. The Zone is an area that offers a chance for students to compete with others using high-tech games such as PS3.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


Olivet Nazarene University has 15 athletic teams, which include baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track, and volleyball. The Tigers participate in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I level. The teams compete in the Mid-State Football Association and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC).

A few notable accomplishments of the teams include 2 NAIA World Series appearances, baseball team’s; 11 CCAC Championships, men’s basketball; 3 NCCAA Victory Bowl, men’s football; 3 CCAC Championships, women’s basketball; 1 NCCAA National Championship, women’s cross country; and 4 NCCAA National Championships, softball.


  • Bowling, John C. To Alma Mater, Olivet: An Education With a Christian Purpose.Cedar Rapids: WDG Communications, Inc. 2007. Print.
  • Olivet Nazarene University. 26 April 2011. Web. 26 April 2011.
  • Parrott, Leslie. The Olivet Story: An Anecdotal History of Olivet Nazarene University 1907-1990.Newberg: Barclay Press, 1993. Print.

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