William Rainey Harper College


Opened in 1967, Harper College is a two-year community college in Palatine, Illinois. Named after Dr. William Rainey Harper, who was a pioneer in the junior college movement and the first president of the University of Chicago, the 200-acre main campus is located about 25 miles northeast of downtown Chicago in the suburb of Palatine. Classes and services are also offered at the school’s other locations, including the Northeast Center in Prospect Heights and the Harper Professional Center in Schaumberg.

Information Summary

Ranks 63rd in Illinois and 1989th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 63.6
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $4,784
Admission Success rate N/A
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 22 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 75% / 54%
Enrollment Total (all students) 13,530


Eight types of associate degrees are available, along with more than 40 certificates, and numerous classes in the following areas of study: Architecture, Design, and Construction; Arts, Communication, Media; Business and Management; Computers; Education and Social Science; Health; Law, Law Enforcement, and Public Safety; and Science, Math, Engineering.

Associate degrees in Arts, Science, Fine Arts, and Engineering Science are primarily aimed at students who wish to transfer to four-year institutions, while the Associate in Applied Science is designed for those in two-year career programs. There is also an Associate of General Studies Degree available for people who have done coursework in the past but have never completed a degree. Most certificates can be completed in a single year, allowing students to quickly add to their credentials and advance their careers.

Chicago-area professionals can take advantage of the many valuable resources available. Reasons for adult learners to continue their education here include: quality education, an adult-friendly learning environment, career fast tracks, flexible schedules, exceptional career counseling services, and accelerated earning power.

Multiculturalism is an important part of the Harper College vision, and a welcoming ESL program and numerous study abroad opportunities help further this mission by encouraging international students and fostering a global community of learning.

Most Popular Fields of Study


Science, Health, Technology Building :: William Rainey Harper College College building :: William Rainey Harper College
Conference Center :: William Rainey Harper College Performing Arts Center :: William Rainey Harper College


Full-time students (those students who intend to enroll in at least 12 credit hours) who have not previously been admitted or enrolled in credit courses here must fill out an online application or print one out and pay a fee at the time of submission. Prospective students must also submit a high school transcript or an official copy of GED results, as well as official transcripts from any colleges attended. Students under 24 years old who have not previously completed 12 or more semester hours of college level credit must also provide ACT scores. The final step in the application process for full-time students is to attend an orientation, which includes assessment, testing, and academic advising. After completing these steps, students are able to pay and register for classes.

The application process for new part-time students is the same, except that the orientation is recommended, rather than mandatory. High school juniors and seniors who are 16 or older can also apply to enroll in a credit course while still in high school, either during the school year or over the summer. These students must complete the Concurrent High School Admission packet to be considered.

To be admitted into some of the more competitive programs, students must meet certain program-specific minimum requirements. These limited enrollment programs are mostly related to the health care industry.

Financial Aid

The college serves District 512 communities, and tuition for in-district residents (including students who are full-time employees of companies within Harper’s district) is about a quarter of the cost per credit hour that it is for out-of-district, out-of-state, and international students.

Senior citizens are eligible for a 100% discount on all credit courses.

In addition to need-based financial aid, several scholarship opportunities are offered to students. These include Academic and Leadership Scholarships available to incoming freshman entering directly after high school, the Adult Learner Grant for students in the Fast Track program, Foundation Scholarships funded by the Harper College Educational Foundation, and Transfer Scholarships for students planning on transferring to a four-year program.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 6190th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Illinois.


About 45% male and 55% female, the student body is comprised of about 15,000 students from diverse backgrounds, with minorities representing over 30%. As a community college, students live off campus and commute to classes daily. However, there are many on-campus amenities and activities that enhance student life, including a fitness center, a performing arts center (where Oscar-winning actress Marnie Matlin got her start), computer labs with WiFi, and over 40 student clubs and organizations.

Student Enrollment Demographics


The Hawks are consistently recognized as All Americans by the NJCAA. Sports teams which have recently placed nationally include football, volleyball, men’s cross country, men’s track and field, women’s track and field, and wrestling.

The Division III track and field team won the national championship in 2007, and the wrestling team were national champions in 2001 and 2006.


All courses, educational programs, counseling services and distance learning programs are fully accredited by the High Learning Commission of the North Central Association of College and Secondary Schools.

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