• Harper College (also William Rainey Harper College) is a two-year community college in Palatine, Illinois. The college was established by referendum in 1965, and in 1971 Harper's construction was finished, the first community college to be completed in Illinois. It is named for William Rainey Harper, a pioneer in the junior college movement in the United States and the first president of the University of Chicago.

School Highlights

William Rainey Harper College serves 13,477 students (34% of students are full-time).
The college's student:teacher ratio of 14:1 is same as the state community college average of 14:1.
Minority enrollment is 51% of the student body (majority Hispanic), which is less than the state average of 52%.

Quick Stats (2022-23)

  • Enrollment: 13,477 students
  • In-state tuition: $9,264
  • Out-state tuition: $11,076
  • Student:teacher ratio: 14:1
  • Minority enrollment: 51%
  • Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

Top Rankings

William Rainey Harper College ranks among the top 20% of public schools in Illinois for:

School Overview

The teacher population of 984 teachers has grown by 140% over five years.
William Rainey Harper College
(IL) Community College Avg.
Carnegie Classification
Associate's Colleges: High Transfer-High Nontraditional
Associate's Colleges: Mixed Transfer/Vocational & Technical-High Nontraditional
Institution Level
At least 2 but less than 4 years
At least 2 but less than 4 years
Institution Control
Public
Public
Total Faculty
984 staff
239 staff
This chart display total faculty of William Rainey Harper College and community college average number of faculty in IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.

Student Body

The student population of William Rainey Harper College has declined by 9% over five years.
The student:teacher ratio of 14:1 has decreased from 37:1 over five years.
The William Rainey Harper College diversity score of 0.66 is less than the state average of 0.68. The school's diversity has stayed relatively flat over five years.
Total Enrollment
13,477 students
3,107 students
This chart display the total enrollment of William Rainey Harper College and community college average number of enrollment of IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
Student : Teacher Ratio
14:1
14:1
This chart display the student staff ratio of William Rainey Harper College and community college average student staff ratio of IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
# Full-Time Students
4,519 students
1,099 students
This chart display the total number of Full-time students enrollment of William Rainey Harper College and average number of community college Full-time students enrollment of IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
# Part-Time Students
8,958 students
2,008 students
This chart display the total number of Part-time students enrollment of William Rainey Harper College and average number of community college Part-time students enrollment of IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
This chart display the Full-time students and Part-time students enrollment breakdown of William Rainey Harper College.
This chart display community college average Full-Time students and Part-Time students enrollment breakdown of IL.
# Enrollment Undergraduate
105 students
365 students
# Full-Time Undergraduate Students
4,519 students
1,109 students
This chart display the total number of Full-time undergraduate students enrollment of William Rainey Harper College and average number of community college Full-time undergraduate  students enrollment of IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
# Full-Time Graduate Students
n/a
22 students
# Part-Time Undergraduate Students
8,958 students
2,080 students
# Part-Time Graduate Students
n/a
10 students
Total Dormitory Capacity
n/a
136 students
% Asian
12%
5%
This chart display the percentage of Asian students in William Rainey Harper College and the percentage of Asian community college students in IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
% Hispanic
29%
27%
This chart display the percentage of Hispanic students in William Rainey Harper College and the percentage of Hispanic community college students in IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
% Black
4%
13%
This chart display the percentage of Black students in William Rainey Harper College and the percentage of Black community college students in IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
% White
49%
48%
This chart display the percentage of White students in William Rainey Harper College and the percentage of White community college students in IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
% Two or more races
2%
3%
This chart display the percentage of Two or more races students in William Rainey Harper College and the percentage of Two or more races community college students in IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
% Non Resident races
1%
1%
This chart display the percentage of Non Resident students in William Rainey Harper College and the percentage of Non Resident community college students in IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
% Unknown races
2%
3%
This chart display the percentage breakdown of students of all ethnic groups in William Rainey Harper College.
This chart display the percentage breakdown of students of all ethnic groups in IL.
Diversity Score
0.66
0.68
This chart display the diversity score of William Rainey Harper College and the community college average diversity score of IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
College Completion Rate (Students who graduate in less than 4 years)
10.11%
2.73%
This chart display completion rates for First-Time of Full-time students of William Rainey Harper College and community college average completion rates for First-Time of Full-time students of IL by year, with the latest 2018-19 school year data.
College Completion Rate (Students who graduate in 4 years or more than 4 years)
n/a
1.54%
Average Graduate Earnings (10 Years)
$39,400
$32,200
This chart display average graduate earnings (10 Years) of William Rainey Harper College and community college average graduate earnings (10 Years) of IL by year, disaggregated by student subgroups with the latest 2012-13 school year data.

Tuition and Acceptance Rate

The public in-state tuition of $9,264 is more than the state average of $8,222. The in-state tuition has stayed relatively flat over four years.
The public out-state tuition of $11,076 is more than the state average of $10,831. The out-state tuition has stayed relatively flat over four years.
In-State Tuition Fees
$9,264
$8,222
This chart display tuition fees for an in-state student of William Rainey Harper College and the public community college average tuition fees for an in-state student of IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
Out-State Tuition Fees
$11,076
$10,831
This chart display tuition fees for an out-of-state student of William Rainey Harper College and the public community college average tuition fees for an out-of-state student of IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
% Students Receiving Some Financial Aid
51%
76%
This chart display the percent of students who is receiving some financial aid in William Rainey Harper College and the percent of community college students who is receiving some financial aid in IL by year, with the latest 2019-20 school year data.
Median Debt for Graduates
$9,750
$8,029
This chart display median debt for students who have completed a certificate or degree in William Rainey Harper College and average median debt for community college students who have completed a certificate or degree in IL by year, with the latest 2018-19 school year data.
Median Debt for Dropouts
$5,500
$4,618
This chart display median debt for students who have not completed a certificate or degree in William Rainey Harper College and average median debt for community college students who have not completed a certificate or degree in IL by year, with the latest 2018-19 school year data.
Acceptance Rate
n/a
100%
SAT Reading
n/a
390
SAT Math
n/a
360
SAT Writing
n/a
355
ACT Composite
n/a
17
ACT English
n/a
17
ACT Math
n/a
17
Source: 2020 (or latest year available) Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) , School Administrators

School Notes

  • Harper College (also William Rainey Harper College) is a two-year community college in Palatine, Illinois. The college was established by referendum in 1965, and in 1971 Harper's construction was finished, the first community college to be completed in Illinois. It is named for William Rainey Harper, a pioneer in the junior college movement in the United States and the first president of the University of Chicago. We offer a full range of credit and non-credit courses, career training opportunities and continuing education options for professional development and personal enrichment as well as academic transfer programs. Our faculty is among the best. And because, like William Rainey Harper himself, we believe that higher education should be accessible to all, we offer a flexible schedule of daytime, nighttime and weekend classes at our main campus and at several other sites conveniently located throughout our service area. Avanté, Center for Science, Health Careers and Emerging Technologies is a state-of-the-art learning center for Harper College's nationally acclaimed programs in health, science and computer technology. The Center occupies 292,926 square feet of space, or six and one half acres. Avanté houses 10 major academic programs including nursing, dental hygiene, medical imaging, cardiac care, electronics, computer science, biology and chemistry. The name Avanté implies “advancement” or “moving forward,” while the Center itself creates an inspiring environment to advance teaching and learning in the sciences, technology and health care for current and future generations. It contains 400 rooms.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does William Rainey Harper College cost?

William Rainey Harper College's tuition is approximately $9,264 for In-State students and $11,076 for Out-State students.

What is William Rainey Harper College's ranking?

William Rainey Harper College ranks among the top 20% of community college in Illinois for: Diversity in US community colleges, Largest student body, Highest graduate earnings (10 years post graduation) and Highest completion rates.

Recent Articles

10 STEM Degrees You Can Earn at Your Local Community College
10 STEM Degrees You Can Earn at Your Local Community College
We highlight some of the best degrees offered by community colleges in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Community College Students Headed to NASA
Community College Students Headed to NASA
Some community college scholars have been selected by NASA to design robotic rovers. Learn about the program and some of the students selected.
Get Your Feet Wet with a WaterBotics Camp at Your Local Community College
Get Your Feet Wet with a WaterBotics Camp at Your Local Community College
This summer, community colleges across the country have been participating in an innovative program known as “Waterbotics,” developed at the Stevens Institute of Technology by the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education.

Quick Stats (2022-23)

  • Enrollment: 13,477 students
  • In-state tuition: $9,264
  • Out-state tuition: $11,076
  • Student:teacher ratio: 14:1
  • Minority enrollment: 51%
  • Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

Related School Videos

Did You Know?

For Cook County, IL public community colleges, the average tuition is approximately $8,794 per year for in-state students and $10,031 for out-of-state students. Read more about average community college tuition costs across the country.

Cook County, IL community colleges have a diversity score of 0.58, which is lower than the national average of 0.71. The most diverse community college in Cook County, IL is Robert Morris University Illinois. Read more about community college diversity statistics in the USA.

Quick Links