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. 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. What degrees are offered?
A. Bachelor's degree completion (Jr./Sr. level courses), master's degrees, doctoral degrees 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. 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. 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. No, the University Center would be a second stop on your educational journey. 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. 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. Each program also provides advising for students enrolled in that program. Sometimes that is done in person. Sometimes it is by phone or via an internet connection.
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. Students register through the specific college or university offering their degrees, usually 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 see that many of your programs are offered in a fully online format. If the program is completely online, how does the University Center factor into it?
A. Even though they could access their courses from anywhere in the world, some students come to the University Center to access their online courses. Some students need to use the computers in UC's student services area or library to access their courses, either because they don't have computers at home or because their internet access is less robust. Other students come for the educational environment. They have adopted the strategy of "going to college" by making time in their schedule to come to the Grayslake facility to work on their courses. Often they fear that if they tried to work on their courses at home or at their office, too many distractions would intervene. By scheduling themselves to come to an academic building in which other adult learners are pursuing college coursework, they create a formal structure for their studies.
Q. What about financial aid and tuition reimbursement from my employer?
A. Financial aid is available through each institution. Some even offer special 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 such as university scholarships or scholarship research databases, 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. 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. 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 supports its mission through income from conferences and meetings held at the Center.
Q. I am not interested in completing a degree at this time. Can I take individual courses?
A. Yes. In many cases you can take courses as a "student at large" 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. I'm not sure which college program could help me reach my goal. Can you help me review my choices?
A. Yes, UC's Pre-Admission Advisor can meet with you in our Grayslake or Waukegan facility or by phone to help you determine which programs might help you realize your goals. She can also link you with the right program contact at each college or university and coach you on questions to ask them to help you compare your choices. To schedule a pre-admission advising appointment, use our contact form or call (847) 665-4000.
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.
Q. What's a "cohort program"?
A. A cohort program is a format in which a group of students are admitted and then move together through each required course in sequence. It creates a built-in support group for students.

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