Western Illinois University

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Updated August 7, 2020

Western Illinois University appears in our ranking of 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Higher Education Online 2018

Western Illinois University is a public/state university in Illinois with a main campus in Macomb and a smaller campus that it calls its Quad Cities location. Established in 1899 as the Western Illinois State Normal School, it opened on a plot of land given to the state by the Freemasons. The school served to meet the needs of students living in the western portion of the state who had an interest in teaching. It took several years before the school added programs outside of educational fields to its curriculum. The success of the college led to the opening of its Quad Cities campus in 1960. Students today can take classes on either campus or online.

Forbes ranked the university, which also goes by the name of WIU, to its list of the best schools in the United States. WIU offers more than 40 programs for graduate and doctoral students, including both certificate programs and full degree programs. It has a strong reputation for being one of the best schools in the Midwest and appears on lists of the best schools in that region put out by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. More than 1,200 post-undergrad students attend WIU every year.

Western Illinois University Accreditation Details

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) granted accreditation to all of the WIU education and teaching programs. This accreditation applies to the undergrad programs that prepare students for their teaching careers and the advanced programs designed for licensed teachers. WIU also has regional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS) of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). NCACS accreditation not only makes it easier for students to transfer college credits between two schools, but it also allows students to get financial aid when they fill out and submit the FAFSA.

Western Illinois University Application Requirements

Prospective educational leadership students must meet some requirements put in place by the university. The first of those requirements is the university's application. It asks students to complete an application for the educational leadership program and to complete a second application to attend the WIU School of Graduate Studies. Both applications are available online, and students can submit both applications online as well.

Students will also submit transcripts from any college or university where they earned credit at the undergrad or graduate level. Their transcripts must show that they have graduate degrees in either educational leadership or a related field. The School of Graduate Studies asks for an official GRE test score too and requires that students submit a score that is no more than four years old. They will also submit letters of recommendation from at least two people they worked with in the professional field and a resume.

One of the more important application requirements is a portfolio. WIU asks that students create a portfolio that shows all the leadership and educational experiences they had in the past. There is also a writing sample that students must create and submit online. A screening committee will meet and go over all the information provided by the student and make a decision as to whether that student can begin the program. WIU typically notifies students of its decision within a few weeks of receiving all their application materials.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Both graduate students and doctoral candidates attending WIU pay the same tuition rates. The university allows all students who are American residents, including Illinois residents and students from other states, to pay the same amount. They pay around $324 per credit hour. Students taking classes on the Macomb campus pay around $90 in miscellaneous fees each semester, while those attending the Quad Cities campus pay around $25 a semester in fees. Distance education and online students pay $50 in fees each semester. The university offers room and board packages for graduate and doctoral students who want to live on one of its campuses too.

WIU offers four types of financial aid for doctoral and graduate students. Those who want to use student loans must complete the FAFSA. The government will determine whether students receive any loans based on how much they borrowed in the past. Students can also use alternative loans from other types of lenders. WIU has jobs available on its campus for older students who want to make money during the school year, but students can also apply for an assistant position. The university hires students to work as research and teaching assistants each year.

Students can also submit an application and apply for a university scholarship. Unlike other schools that only offer scholarships for undergrads, WIU has scholarships designed for doctoral and graduate students too. Students will typically submit scholarship applications directly to the educational leadership department. Western Illinois University awards students millions of dollars in scholarships every year.

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

Western Illinois University added a doctoral program in educational leadership to its curriculum in 2005. This program now ranks as one of the best programs for teachers in the Midwest. Designed for those who want to develop strong leadership skills and those who want to work in management positions, the program prepares students for working in consulting firms and government agencies. The university expects students to take core education classes and do a dissertation too.

The dissertation core consists of four courses, including Introduction to Dissertation Studies I and II. These two classes prepare students for doing the extensive research required for their dissertations. They will earn at least 12 credits for their research. This core also includes an exam that students must take, which ensures that they have the skills necessary to continue.

Students will also choose an emphasis or focus area in either working with students up through high school or higher education. No matter which focus area they select, they will take at least four classes from that area. This program features both a research core and an educational core too. Students will typically complete the research core before doing any dissertation work. The doctoral education core consists of four classes, including Global Perspectives in Leadership and Managing Organizational Resources. Western Illinois University also requires that educational leadership students take courses that prepare them for working in nonprofit organizations and in the social justice area of the education field.

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