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What Does it Cost to Attend Illinois Wesleyan University?

It’s hard to predict just how much a college education will cost you, yet planning for college expenses is a major concern among many American families. CNN reported in 2016 that the average American family paid over $100,000 for a college degree from a private university, and the National Center for Education Statistics confirmed the same year that over 85% of full-time college students received financial aid.


It can be difficult to anticipate college costs due to their wide variability. That’s why, in this series of posts, we at CollegeVine analyze the costs of attending over 1000 schools to help shed more light on the subject. In this post, we take a look at what your family might expect to pay at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Why Are College Costs So Variable?

College costs vary widely due to the number of factors that affect them. How much your family pays out of pocket for a college degree will depend on which college your student attends, how much your family earns, and how much merit aid or scholarship money your student is awarded. All these factors can align in nearly countless combinations, making college expenses very difficult to predict. Taking a closer look at how these factors can stack up will help you to better predict your college costs.


One of the biggest factors in how much you pay for college is a college’s list price. The list price at a college is generally the amount that you would spend to attend that school without any financial assistance. This is usually an all-inclusive sticker price, covering tuition, room and board, and necessary fees. These sticker prices themselves can vary widely, with some schools costing under $20,000 per year and others over $60,000.


While list price is a good starting point for understanding college costs, few families actually pay the full sticker price. Instead, most receive aid that offsets these expenses. The net cost of attending a college is how much money a family actually pays out of pocket to attend that school. This number depends on how much financial assistance a family receives. This financial assistance can come in the form of institutional aid, merit aid, and federal, state, and local aid. The average net cost at a college can give you a clearer picture of how much families actually pay to attend that school.

What is the List Price at Illinois Wesleyan University?

In 2016-2017, the list price at Illinois Wesleyan was $56,720. Illinois Wesleyan is a private university, so the list price is the same for students regardless of their state of residence, unlike at public universities.


Still, the majority of families will not pay list price. Only those with a combined annual income of $175k or more usually pay the whole list price.

What is the Net Cost of Attending Illinois Wesleyan?

The average net cost of attending Illinois Wesleyan after applying financial aid in 2017 was $49,109. For students not eligible for financial aid, the generous merit aid packages at Illinois Wesleyan drove down the average net cost to $36,547.


Again, because Illinois Wesleyan is a private university, these costs remain the same no matter what state a student calls home.

What is the Net Cost Based on Income of Attending Illinois Wesleyan?

A family’s income level is the primary factor impacting how much financial aid that family receives. This means that net cost can vary based on income, too, and taking a closer look at costs as broken down by income level can provide another layer of insight. At Illinois Wesleyan,

net costs as broken down by income level are as follows.


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $18,303
$30,001-$48,000 $19,164
$48,001-$75,000 $24,434
$75,001-$110,000 $26,167
$110,000+ $33,318

How Much Merit Aid is Typically Awarded at Illinois Wesleyan?

Illinois Wesleyan offers generous merit aid packages, with 95.1% of students ineligible for financial aid having received merit aid in 2017. The average merit aid award for a student without financial need was $20,173, again bringing the average net cost for these students down to $36,547. This places Illinois Wesleyan at 61st in the over 1000 schools that we ranked based on merit aid generosity.

How Many Students Take Out Loans to Attend Illinois Wesleyan?

About half of all students at Illinois Wesleyan use federal loans to help fund their education. In 2017, 48% of enrolled undergraduate students had federal loans and the average federal student loan per undergraduate student was $7,072.

Student Outcomes

A college degree represents a significant upfront expense, but families can feel justified in this investment by the increased earning potential that it brings. Consequently, looking at student outcomes can give you some idea of the return you might expect on your investment.


At Illinois Wesleyan, 79% of students who begin a degree complete it within six years and the average salary ten years after graduation is $59,100.

Local Area Cost Considerations

Over the course of a four-year degree, your student is bound to amass other expenses aside from the college tuition bill. Costs like transportation, groceries, and even off campus housing may add up, so thinking about the local cost of living in the area is a good idea.


Illinois Wesleyan is located in Bloomington, Illinois where the cost of living index is 89.6. This means that living in Bloomington is about 11% more affordable than the national average. Low transportation costs and affordable housing options are the two factors that drive down the cost of living in Bloomington the most. Students living off campus can expect to pay about $603/month on a studio rental or $1223/month on a three-bedroom.


The job market in Bloomington is decent. Unemployment rates and recent job growth are in line the national average, but long-term projections for job growth are about 10% below average. The minimum wage in Illinois is currently set at $8.25/hr, hardly above the federal minimum, but lawmakers recently passed a bill to raise it to $15/hr by 2025.

Other Ways to Fund a College Education

While financial aid often provides the foundation for college funding, there are other ways to help offset costs. Scholarships are a great option for many students.


The largest scholarship program in the country is the National Merit Scholarship Program. Each year, more than a million high school juniors enter the program by completing the PSAT. High scoring students can qualify for awards from the National Merit Scholarship Program and other programs, including the National Hispanic Recognition Program and other specific corporations or colleges. To learn more about the program, check out our post How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.


The National Merit Scholarship Program may be the biggest scholarship program in the country, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Countless other scholarship options exist in almost every shape and size. Some scholarships attract large national pools of applicants, while others offer awards in highly specialized skill sets or specific local areas. To learn more about some of the options out there, check out these CollegeVine posts:



Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.