Prairie State College has grown in many ways –in size, in facilities, in breadth and depth of educational options, and in reputation. Prairie State College’s 130-acre campus is located at South Halsted Street and Vollmer Road in Chicago Heights, Illinois.
The main campus, located south of Vollmer Road, houses administrative offices, classrooms, laboratories, and student services facilities such as the bookstore, the Counseling and Academic Advising Center, the Student Success Center, Enrollment Services, and the Business Office. The main campus also is home to the Conference Center, a place for special events, meetings, conferences, and the site of the Christopher Art Gallery. The Adult Training and Outreach Center, where the College's English as a Second Language, Adult Basic Education, and GED classes are held, and the Illinois workNet Center are also located on the main campus.
The College’s north campus facilities, to the north of Vollmer Road, includes the Health/Tech Center and the Fitness Complex, a unique partnership among Prairie State College, the Chicago Heights Park District, and St. James Hospital and Health Centers.
Prairie State College is a two-year community college offering associate degrees, technical and career certificates, and adult, corporate, and continuing education. Prairie State College is one of the 39 community college districts (comprising 48 colleges) in Illinois. Prairie State College was the first Illinois community college to guarantee all credits will transfer to other Illinois colleges and universities, an assurance that has grown through the Illinois Articulation Initiative.
Type of institution: Two-year community college
Classes Began: 1958
Location: Chicago Heights, Illinois (approximately 30 miles south of downtown Chicago)
Degrees Granted: Prairie State College offers degrees and certificates in more than 100 fields of study.
- Associate in Arts (A.A.)
- Associate in Science (A.S.)
- Associate in Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
- Associate in Arts in Teaching (A.A.T.)
Prairie State College offers dozens of degrees and certificates that providing training for a good paying career.
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission
Enrollment: 11,073 students enrolled in credit and non-credit courses
58 percent female, 42 percent male
54.7 percent part-time, 45.3 percent full-time
Average Student Age: 27
Full-Time Faculty: 79
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
College Campus: 130 acres
Number of Buildings: 13
Additional Sites: Matteson Area Center in Matteson, IL.
We also offer instruction and training on-site at area companies, schools and dozens of other locations throughout the Chicago south suburbs.
Founded in 1957 as Bloom Township Junior College, Prairie State College’s first classes were held in 1958 in the basement of the First Christian Church. Originally established to offer only transfer liberal arts courses and occupational-technical courses, the College was reorganized in 1967 as a Class I junior college. With the combining of four high school districts into an enlarged territory, the College was renamed Prairie State College. In 1989, the Beecher Community High School district was added to District 515 by the Illinois Community College Board.
In 1968, the College was housed in 10 interim buildings on its campus at Halsted Street and Vollmer Road. Construction of permanent facilities began in the fall of 1972 and was completed for the 1975-76 academic year. A vocational-technical addition to the Main Campus Building, housing classrooms and laboratories, was dedicated in August 1979. A new Library, the Christopher Art Gallery and the Community Instructional Center (later renamed the Conference Center) opened in 1996. In the 1998, the Matteson Area Center opened as a convenient off-campus location to accommodate district residents.
The Health/Tech Center, home to the Dental Hygiene, Surgical Technology and Networking programs, opened in 2000. The Fitness Complex, a unique partnership among Prairie State College, the Chicago Heights Park District and St. James Hospital and Health Centers, opened in 2001. Ground was broken in May 2002 for the Adult Training and Outreach Center and Children’s Learning Center; the dedication ceremony was held two years later. The Adult Training and Outreach Center is one of only such buildings in the country dedicated to adult education.
Prairie State College, Illinois Community College District 515, consists of the following communities: Beecher, Chicago Heights, Crete, Flossmoor, Ford Heights, Glenwood, Homewood, Matteson, Monee, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park, Sauk Village, South Chicago Heights, Steger, University Park, portions of Country Club Hills, Hazel Crest, Lynwood, Tinley Park and adjacent unincorporated areas of Cook and Will counties. To verify your address is in district, call the office of Admissions & Enrollment Services at (708) 709-3514.
The high schools that feed into Prairie State College include: Beecher, Bloom, Bloom Trail, Crete-Monee, Homewood-Flossmoor, Rich Central, Rich East, Rich South, and Marian Catholic.
The Board of Trustees adopted the Diversity Statement on November 29, 2005. This resolution affirms the College’s efforts to foster an atmosphere on campus where diversity is acknowledged, accepted and encouraged.
Prairie State College recognizes the diversity of students, faculty, staff and community as an integral part of lifelong learning. We are committed to building and maintaining an inclusive, accessible and supportive environment on campus. Prairie State College embraces the diversity of individual beliefs and opinions, and supports diversity in religion, gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability, age and socioeconomic status. The College will adhere to policies and procedures which discourage harassment and other behaviors that infringe upon the freedom and respect every individual deserves.
Prairie State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the north central region.
Contact information for the HLC:
Visit the Higher Learning Commission website for full details, including the Prairie State College Statement of Accreditation Status.
In addition to the institution’s accreditation, the college maintains accreditation for individual degree and/or certificate programs as follows:
Automotive Service Technology
National Automotive Technical Education Foundation (NATEF)
101 Blue Seal Dr., S.E., Suite 101
Leesburg, VA 20175
American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
211 E. Chicago Ave., Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60611
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
1361 Park St.
Clearwater, FL 33756
To obtain or review documents describing accreditation, approval or licensing, contact the President’s Office, room 2270, or email Pat Trost, Administrative Director-President’s Office and Board of Trustees, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies of letters or certificates of accreditation may be viewed at the Welcome Center and the President’s Office, room 2270.
Prairie State College is recognized by the Illinois Community College Board, Illinois Board of Higher Education, and the US Department of Education, and is approved by the State Approval Agency for Veterans Education, Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs.
The College is affiliated with the following:
- American Association of Community Colleges
- Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (athletics, music, art, writing)
- National Junior College Athletic Association