About University Center

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the University Center of Lake County?
A. The University Center of Lake County is a partnership of public and private colleges and universities offering coursework and degrees within Lake County. It is a non-profit organization whose budget comes mainly from the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
Q. What degrees are offered?
A. Bachelor's degree completion (Jr./Sr. level courses), master's degrees, one doctoral degree and professional certificates are currently offered. Visit our "Find a Degree" page to access a searchable list with links to pdfs describing each program.
Q. Where is the Center located?
A. The main 91,000 square foot University Center of Lake County building is located at 1200 University Center Drive on the Grayslake campus of the College of Lake County.

The University Center of Lake County at Waukegan is at 1 N. Genesee St., Suite 300.

To arrange for a tour of either facility, please call 847/665-4000.
Q. Who will issue my degree?
A. Your degree will be issued from the individual college or university who offers your degree program, and will be identical to that same degree offered on the institution's main campus.
Q. Can I start my bachelor's degree at the University Center?
A. The University Center of Lake County offers bachelor's completion programs and, in most cases, only upper division (junior and senior) level undergraduate courses. Admission requirements vary from institution to institution, but generally include approximately 60 hours of undergraduate coursework and/or the equivalent of an associate degree. You can begin your bachelor's degree elsewhere in Lake County, though. The College of Lake County can provide that lower division coursework through their associate's degree programs.
Q. Can I apply any life or work experience for credit toward a bachelor's degree?
A. Yes. Some of the institutions allow credit for life experience that can be demonstrated to be college equivalent through a portfolio process. It is usually referred to as Prior Learning Assessment (or PLA).
Q. How do I register?
A. Registrations are taken by the individual institutions, either in person, by phone, or via the institution's website.
Q. Who teaches University Center classes?
A. University Center classes are taught by faculty who are on staff at the member schools' main and satellite campuses.
Q. I've heard the University Center of Lake County called a "virtual campus." What does that mean?
A. A "virtual campus" is the re-creation on the internet of the academic and student services that would be available in person at a college campus.

The University Center has physical campuses in Grayslake and Waukegan, plus programs running at Great Lakes. However, there are many online programs offered through the University Center. Schools who run online programs also provide "virtual" student services.

(Don't worry, there are also real people available at the University Center to provide some student services.)
Q. What about financial aid and tuition reimbursement from my employer?
A. Most of the member schools offer financial aid and some even offer scholarships for UC students. Each program profile lists a financial aid contact--usually a website or a phone number. Contact each institution for specific information or visit our "Paying for School" page for general scholarship information. Talk to the HR office at your workplace for information about tuition reimbursement benefits.
Q. Is advising available?
A. Yes, pre-admissions advising is available from UC staff, and from the member schools. Call (847) 665-4000 for pre-admissions advising information.
Q. Where do I buy textbooks?
A. Textbooks can be purchased through the member schools, and in most cases can be ordered online or by phone using a credit card and shipped directly to the student's home or office. Some schools enable students to purchase textbooks through any online vendor. Some schools rent textbooks to their students.
Q. Are there any accelerated degrees available?
A. Yes, several run on intensive five-week, seven-week, or eight-week terms or on weekends. Some cohort programs are not tied to the academic calendar. As soon as enough students are admitted to populate the "cohort," the program starts and continues for a designated number of weeks or months.
Q. I am not interested in completing a degree at this time. Can I take courses as a student-at-large?
A. Yes. In many cases you can take courses without being admitted to a degree program. It's important to check with the individual school to find out how many hours taken in a non-degree status will transfer toward a degree should you choose to pursue a degree at a later date.
Q. How is the University Center funded?
A. Most of the University Center's funding comes through the Illinois Board of Higher Education. However, each member institution pays an annual membership fee; those who run courses in University Center facilities also pay facility usage fee. The University Center also earns income from conferences and meetings held at the Center.
Q. Do I need to meet with the University Center advisor before talking to the admissions contacts at the member schools?
A. No, you are not required to go through the University Center. If you already know which program you want, feel free to contact the person listed in the program’s profile. Be sure to check the Update form to see if that contact has changed since the Program Guide went to print. If you are using the website, those pdfs will include any changes that have been made since the Guide was printed.

If your question has not been answered, please Contact Us.