Southern Illinois University

Carbondale, IL

Located in Carbondale, Illinois, Southern Illinois University offers three different Associate of Applied Science programs, three Bachelor of Science programs, and three Master of Science degrees in aviation.

The aviation program is smaller than others but they are nationally recognized and work with many industry partners to ensure their students are set up for success.

Program Highlights

Southern Illinois University hangers its aircraft at Southern Illinois Airport (KMDH), which is about a 15-minute drive from the main campus. This is also where aviation students will take most of their aviation classes.

Aviation programs the school offers include:

  • Associate of Applied Science
    • Aviation Management
    • Aviation Technologies
    • Aviation Flight
  • Bachelor of Science
    • Aviation Management (professional pilot concentration available)
    • Aviation Technologies (concentrations in maintenance, electronics, or helicopter maintenance)
    • Aviation Flight
  • Master of Science
    • Aviation Management
    • Aviation Technologies
    • Aviation Flight
  • Minors
    • Air Traffic Control
    • Aircraft Product Support
    • Airport Management

Southern Illinois works with the Chicago Department of Aviation to provide students with internships while completing their program. There are about 16 available paid internships each semester. The school also works with other companies like Chicago Executive Airport, Alaska Airlines, and Envoy to provide additional internships.

Airline partnerships include:

  • Air Wisconsin
  • Republic Airways
  • SkyWest Airlines

The school is part of Region 8 of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association.


Southern Illinois University is a mid-priced university for in-state students and is on the higher end for out-of-state. The annual rate of tuition is around $14,904 for in-state and $29,000 for out-of-state students. Flight training costs between $74,000-$110,000 are additional fees associated with the professional pilot path.

Financial aid is available to in-state and out-of-state students.

Aviation focused scholarships are available to students from several different organizations including the:

  • William R. Norwood Aviation Scholarship
  • Jerry L. Kennedy Aviation Career Advancement Scholarship
  • Steven Staples Memorial Aviation Scholarship

Fleet and Facilities

Southern Illinois’ fleet includes 38 aircraft. The fleet consists of:

  • Seven Cessna 152s
  • 23 Cessna 172s
  • Three Piper Arrows
  • Three Cessna 310s
  • One Cessna 340
  • One Cessna 421
  • One Frasca CRJ 200 level V FTD with visual display
  • Three Frasca 172 True Flights with visual displays
  • Three Frasca 141
  • One Frasca 142

Students finishing the Southern Illinois University flight program can take advantage of the 500-hour ATP reduction.

Campus Life

Student Life at Southern Illinois University is similar to most traditional universities. The school offers Greek life and tons of student organizations to join that are aimed at specific interests such as religion, graduate and professional students, and history buffs.

The college offers five residence halls and specialty housing for disabled students, veterans, living learning communities, and upperclassmen. On-campus dining is also available.

The Bottom Line

Southern Illinois University can provide a traditional college experience to students without sacrificing the quality of their aviation department. Its mid-sized fleet can accommodate many students looking to become professional pilots. Plenty of activities and organizations are available for students looking for extracurriculars.

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Other Information

  • In-State Tuition (Per Year) $14,904
  • Out-of-State Tuition (Per Year)$49,360
  • Flight Cost $93,000
  • In-State Total Estimated Program Cost$122,808
  • Out-of-State Total Estimated Program Cost$191,720
  • NIFA (Y/N)Yes
  • NIFA Region8

Southern Illinois University Score

Overall: 37 out of a possible 50 points in Colleges

Points Earned

7 out of 10 in Industry Partners

7 out of 10 in Value

9 out of 10 in Fleet

7 out of 10 in Campus Life

7 out of 10 in Facilities and Location

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