Located in Springfield, Illinois, the University of Illinois – Springfield is one of the largest public colleges in Illinois. Founded in the 1960s as Sangamon State University, it initially operated as a college of higher education studies. Students completed their first two years of study at another college before transferring to Sangamon State. The university also offered some graduate programs. Classes met in a local church before the university established its own campus. In 1995, the university became part of the University of Illinois School System and adopted its current name. This led to the university, which also goes by the name or UIS, introducing more traditional college programs that allowed students to enroll as freshmen.

The UIS campus sits just six miles away from downtown Springfield and is close to Lake Springfield too. U.S. News & World Report calls the campus a Regional University and ranked it within the top 10 of all public colleges in the Midwest and among the top 40 of all colleges in the region. It also received recognition from the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency for its programs that prepare students for working in jobs in these government departments. Enrollment at UIS tops 5,000 students.

University of Illinois – Springfield Accreditation Details

Though colleges have the right to seek accreditation, students should attend a college or university with institutional accreditation. Also called regional accreditation, this means that the college has the approval of a higher body to award degrees to students who fulfill all program requirements. UIS, which has institutional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, created its own program that allows faculty members and students to work together to maintain its accreditation. That group meets at least once a year to look over any problems relating to its accreditation and to ensure that the university receives a renewal of its accreditation later. USI also has program or specialty accreditation like that awarded to the university by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, which applies to its counseling programs.

University of Illinois – Springfield Application Requirements

UIS has a rolling admissions policy, which allows the university to accept students as long as there is space remaining in its specific programs. though it doesn't set a deadline for applications, the university does recommend that students apply weeks or even months in advance of the coming semester. Once the university runs out of space, it will stop accepting new students.

Like other colleges, UIS looks for students who followed a college prep curriculum that prepared them for college. Students should take at least three years of classes in life sciences with a lab component, math and social studies. They should also take two years of either performing arts classes or foreign language classes. Other things that the university looks at include test scores, class ranking and a student's grade point average.

The UIS application is available online and serves as the first step in the application process. A prospective student must then submit a transcript from the high school he or she attended and an official score from either the SAT or ACT. This transcript should list the student's cumulative grade point average and his or her class ranking. All students must also supply the university with both an academic statement and a personal statement. Each statement must be at least 500 words long but no longer than 700 words. An honors application is also available, but UIS only accepts around 100 students into its honors program every year.

Tuition and Financial Aid

UIS offers an online tuition calculator that helps students see exactly how much they will pay each year. This calculator bases their tuition costs on the number of credits taken in a single semester, where the student lives and if that student is an Illinois resident. The base rate for new students starts at around $300 per credit hour. If a student takes more than 12 credits hours in a single semester, he or she will pay less than $20 for each additional credit hour. UIS now has a guaranteed tuition rate that allows students to pay the same rate for all four years they remain enrolled in the university, even if the tuition rate increases in the future.

Any student interested in attending UIS should file the FAFSA in the late winter or early spring in the same year the student hopes to start classes. Based on the income of their parents, those students may qualify for a combination of loans and grants that come from either the federal government or the state government. Many undergrads qualify for subsidized student loans and can borrow a larger amount with each passing year. Students can also receive financial aid in the form of scholarships from the university itself.

Political Science Program

Students with a passion for politics can enroll in one of the political science programs offered by the UIS Department of Political Science. The university now offers an online political science program that includes the same courses available on its campus. This program is only open to those who live at least 50 miles away from Springfield and had a GPA of 3.0 or higher in high school. Both the online and the traditional on campus bachelor program requires that students take at least five introductory political science courses like political analysis, international relations and political philosophy. They also take 15 credit hours of higher level political science classes and a final seminar.

UIS created a public policy program that went live in the fall of 2016, which allows students to earn a bachelor's degree in public policy. This newer program focuses on issues that can relate to politics such as microeconomics and macroeconomics. It includes courses on ethics and public policy, economic analysis and empirical data. Public policy majors must take a capstone course at the end of the program.

Related Resource: Top 20 Most Affordable Online Master's in Political Science

Those who hope to attend graduate school can apply for admission to the university's integrated BA/MA program, which lets them earn both a bachelor's and a master's degree in political science in as little as five years. Students in this program begin taking graduate courses during their senior years. The University of Illinois – Springfield is one of the only colleges in America with an integrated program in political science.