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202 South Halsted Street
Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226
p. 708-709-3500
w. www.prairiestate.edu

Prairie State College

Prairie State College Rating: 3.1/5 (18 votes)

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Prairie State College is a two-year community college in Chicago Heights, Illinois. First founded in a church basement as Bloom Township Junior College in 1957, the school grew enormously over the decades, adding vocational and technical facilities in the 70’s, The Community Education Center and Matteson Area Center in the 90’s, and The Health and Technology Center, Fitness Complex, Children’s Learning Center, and Adult Training and Outreach Center in more recent years.

The college was the first in Illinois to guarantee that credits earned can be transferred to four-year colleges and universities, ensuring efficient degree completion for students who wish to earn a bachelor’s or other four-year degree. Today many students take advantage of this program to transfer to University of Illinois, Illinois State University, and other four-year schools in the area.


Academic courses of study include associate’s degrees and professional certificates in nearly a hundred different areas of study. Classes are available during evenings and weekends as well as online to meet the needs of students with significant responsibilities outside of the classroom. With a student to faculty ratio of 17:1, it is relatively easy to take small, intimate classes and work closely with faculty.

Degrees offered include Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science, Associate in Fine Arts, Associate of Arts in Teaching, and Associate in General Studies. Particularly popular courses of study include business and organizational management, performing arts, health services, human services, and information technology.

The school also offers an array of professional and technical training and non-degree courses. In addition, Prairie State College has led the state in developing initiatives to facilitate transfers to four-year colleges and other institutions.

Full academic accreditation is granted by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Most Popular Fields of Study


The admissions process is open and designed to foster the matriculation of all prospective applicants. After completing the school’s standard application form, applicants will be asked to undergo a round of placement tests designed to assess current skill letters and to guide placement in the correct classes. As part of the admissions process, students must furnish proof of high school graduation or completion of a GED equivalency exam.

Financial Aid

As part of its mission to extend college-level opportunities to as many students as possible, PSC offers applicants a full state of financial aid opportunities designed to offset tuition, fees, and other costs of attendance. In order to be eligible for financial aid, students must furnish proof of high school graduation or GED equivalency. Proof of citizenship or legal residence in the United States is also a key financial aid requirement.

The financial aid process begins with completion of the standard FAFSA form, as well as all applicable supporting documentation. Although the school uses rolling deadlines, representatives suggest submitting materials as early as possible to receive full consideration.

Common sources of financial aid include the federal Pell Grant, the federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, the Illinois Monetary Award Program, the Illinois Incentive for Access, grants for Dependents of Police/Fire/Correction Officers, the Arthur F. Quern Information Technology (IT) Grant Program, grants for Illinois Veterans and National Guard Members, the Bonus Incentive Grant Program, work-study jobs, Stafford loans, and unsubsidized student loans.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 5068th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Illinois.


The student body is diverse, drawn from a broad swath of surrounding communities and other states and countries. A large majority of students attend full-time, and nearly 40% choose non-traditional programs such as weekend or night classes. The average student age of 29 reflects the fact that the student body includes both recent high school graduates, as well as returning adults and other non-traditional students.

Student Leadership and Activities

The Student Leadership Center on campus allows student clubs and activities to organize themselves, hold meetings, and otherwise hold business. Common student activities include the Art Club, cultural groups, anime club, chess and debate club, sustainability club, student veteran club, pre-professional organizations, honor societies, and service organizations.

Fitness Club

Students have use of the Fitness Center, located in the Technology Wing of the main building. Personalized programs are available through the center staff. Lectures, personal trainers, and physical education classes are all also available at the Fitness Center.

Student Enrollment Demographics


The Prairie State College Pioneers participate in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference within Region IV of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The athletic department fields teams in men’s soccer, cross country, golf, basketball, and tennis, and women’s volleyball, cross country, tennis, golf, basketball, and softball.


Notable alumni include:

  • Dr. Terri L. Winfree, current president of the college
  • Kathleen Austin, Human Services Provider for the Chicago Guild for the Blind
  • Andrew DiCosmo, owner of PC Ingenuity, Inc.
  • Michael Hopkins, attorney with Sepsia, Ayers, and Ardaugh
  • Yesenia Avalos, assistant dean of development at Daley College
  • Kathryn Humecki, owner, Kathryn Humecki & Associaties, Ltd.
  • Roxane Geraci-Militello Director of Communications for the Will County Executive’s Office
  • Mario Planera partner, DeTella Plannera Architects
  • Marlene Gallagher, artist

Information Summary

Ranks 124th in Illinois and 3653rd overall
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Campus Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault N/A N/A
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape N/A N/A
Robbery N/A N/A
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary N/A N/A
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft N/A N/A
Arrest N/A N/A

Demographics – Main Campus and Surrounding Areas

Reported area around or near Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226
Surrounding communityLarge suburb (inside urban area but outside city, pop. over 250,000)
Total Population60,461 (60,215 urban / 246 rural)
Households20,232 (2.95 people per house)
Median Household Income$40,626
Families14,901 (3.46 people per family)

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Associate's — Public Suburban-serving Single Campus
Undergraduate PopulationHigher part-time two-year
EnrollmentExclusively undergraduate two-year
Size & SettingMedium two-year

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringAssociate's degree
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District1702

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 3733rd for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $2,592 $6,600 $7,920
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $384 $384 $384
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $124 $291 $346
FT Graduate Tuition N/A N/A N/A
FT Graduate Required Fees N/A N/A N/A
PT Graduate per Credit Hour N/A N/A N/A
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $4,976 $8,984 $10,304
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $18,696 $22,704 $24,024
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $11,180 $15,188 $16,508

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $2,516 $2,784 $6,524 $6,600 $8,276 $7,560
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,608 $2,000
On-Campus – Room & Board N/A(N/C)
On-Campus – Other Expenses N/A(N/C)
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $4,500 $6,264
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $4,162 $4,898
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $3,702 $4,898

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record N/A /  N/A /  N/A
College Prep. CompletionN/A
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scoresN/A
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NJCAA

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm CapacityN/A
Meals per WeekN/A
Room FeeN/A
Board FeeN/A

Student Completion / Graduation Demographics

Total 429 97 6 3 372 19 943
Accounting Technology/Technician and Bookkeeping 3 1 2 7
Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, General 1 1
Animation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics and Special Effects
Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician 18 6 2 8 1 37
Biological and Physical Sciences 26 5 10 41
Business Administration and Management, General 1 1 2
Business/Commerce, General 1 1
Business/Office Automation/Technology/Data Entry
CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician 1 1 2
Cabinetmaking and Millwork
Child Care Provider/Assistant 5 1 3 9
Commercial Photography 5 5
Computer Engineering Technology/Technician
Computer Installation and Repair Technology/Technician
Computer Programming/Programmer, General 1 1
Computer Software Technology/Technician 1 1
Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications 4 4 8
Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management, Other 1 1
Criminal Justice/Police Science 3 5 8
Dental Hygiene/Hygienist 1 2 21 25
Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering Technology/Technician 1 1
Electrician 8 1 9 1 19
Emergency Care Attendant (EMT Ambulance) 39 6 28 1 74
Emergency Medical Technology/Technician (EMT Paramedic) 21 10 40 2 77
Fine/Studio Arts, General 1 1
Fire Prevention and Safety Technology/Technician 4 4
Fire Science/Fire-fighting 4 1 1 22 28
General Studies 5 1 1 7
Graphic Communications, General 1 1
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General 9 3 2 14
Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Refrigeration Maintenance Technology/Technician 4 2 1 6 1 14
Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance Technology 1 2 3
Information Technology 1 2 3
Kinesiology and Exercise Science 8 1 3 1 13
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 104 19 2 85 2 218
Machine Tool Technology/Machinist 1 1
Mechanical Drafting and Mechanical Drafting CAD/CADD
Network and System Administration/Administrator 3 3
Nursing Assistant/Aide and Patient Care Assistant/Aide 145 31 3 70 7 259
Prepress/Desktop Publishing and Digital Imaging Design
Recording Arts Technology/Technician 1 1
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 10 2 19 31
Surgical Technology/Technologist 3 1 6 10
Teacher Assistant/Aide
Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design 2 1 3
Welding Technology/Welder 1 7 1 9

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 1631st for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $66,517 ($73,285 male / $65,411 female)
Number of FT Faculty 82 (34 male / 48 female)
Number of PT Faculty 355
FT Faculty Ratio 0.2 : 1
Total Benefits $1,064,591

Elisabeth Bailey+

Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

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