2022 best colleges in Illinois best-colleges

A few of the country's top schools are located in Chicago, alongside underappreciated gems like the University of Illinois in Chicago. And 17 of the midwest 24 Hispanic serving institutions are located in Illinois, most in Chicago. But don't sleep on University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. While the Fighting Illini have been decidedly mediocre in the Big 10, students can take some solice in the excellent engineering program, one of the best in the country. Considering that Chicago is the third largest city in the US and is surrounded by miles and miles (and miles) of pristine - if flat - countryside, there are relatively few quality liberal arts colleges in the state. 

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Net cost: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

Earnings: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

Payback: The amount of time in years it takes to pay off the median net cost by the median earnings. For this calculation, the median earning of high school graduates (in the school’s home state) are deducted from the median earnings.

Degree premium: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state. This is called “Vs. state average” in school profiles below.

Ranking: The payback rate is divided by the degree premium (set as a percentage), the lower the number the higher the rank. (i.e. payback=1, degree premium 20% higher than state school median: 1/120% = .883.

Net cost
Earnings
Payback
Degree premium
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, Illinois

Admission rate: 64%

Grad rate: 85%

Net cost: $15,880

Payback: 1.4 Years

Earnings: $71,539

Vs. state average: + $26,702

Economic score: 0.90

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#2 in Illinois

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Admission rate: 10%

Grad rate: 96%

Net cost: $24,664

Payback: 1.8 Years

Earnings: $80,033

Vs. state average: + $35,196

Economic score: 1.03

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#3 in Illinois

Illinois Institute of Technology

Chicago, Illinois

Admission rate: 61%

Grad rate: 74%

Net cost: $22,831

Payback: 2.0 Years

Earnings: $77,682

Vs. state average: + $32,845

Economic score: 1.16

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#4 in Illinois

University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Admission rate: 8%

Grad rate: 95%

Net cost: $27,315

Payback: 2.2 Years

Earnings: $76,730

Vs. state average: + $31,893

Economic score: 1.28

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#5 in Illinois

University of Illinois Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Admission rate: 73%

Grad rate: 68%

Net cost: $13,312

Payback: 1.8 Years

Earnings: $59,780

Vs. state average: + $14,943

Economic score: 1.32

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#6 in Illinois

University of St Francis

Joliet, Illinois

Admission rate: 61%

Grad rate: 67%

Net cost: $17,538

Payback: 2.2 Years

Earnings: $59,498

Vs. state average: + $14,661

Economic score: 1.68

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#7 in Illinois

Saint Xavier University

Chicago, Illinois

Admission rate: 80%

Grad rate: 62%

Net cost: $14,528

Payback: 2.2 Years

Earnings: $53,990

Vs. state average: + $9,153

Economic score: 1.81

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#8 in Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield

Springfield, Illinois

Admission rate: 78%

Grad rate: 55%

Net cost: $12,477

Payback: 2.2 Years

Earnings: $49,747

Vs. state average: + $4,910

Economic score: 2.02

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#9 in Illinois

Lewis University

Romeoville, Illinois

Admission rate: 67%

Grad rate: 67%

Net cost: $18,664

Payback: 2.6 Years

Earnings: $55,906

Vs. state average: + $11,069

Economic score: 2.08

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#10 in Illinois

Illinois Wesleyan University

Bloomington, Illinois

Admission rate: 57%

Grad rate: 79%

Net cost: $26,039

Payback: 3.2 Years

Earnings: $66,966

Vs. state average: + $22,129

Economic score: 2.11

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#11 in Illinois

Bradley University

Peoria, Illinois

Admission rate: 74%

Grad rate: 78%

Net cost: $25,634

Payback: 3.0 Years

Earnings: $61,889

Vs. state average: + $17,052

Economic score: 2.14

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#12 in Illinois

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

Edwardsville, Illinois

Admission rate: 86%

Grad rate: 54%

Net cost: $14,423

Payback: 2.5 Years

Earnings: $51,671

Vs. state average: + $6,834

Economic score: 2.18

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#13 in Illinois

Elmhurst University

Elmhurst, Illinois

Admission rate: 66%

Grad rate: 67%

Net cost: $21,485

Payback: 2.9 Years

Earnings: $56,183

Vs. state average: + $11,346

Economic score: 2.30

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#14 in Illinois

Governors State University

University Park, Illinois

Admission rate: 48%

Grad rate: 60%

Net cost: $12,077

Payback: 2.5 Years

Earnings: $48,796

Vs. state average: + $3,959

Economic score: 2.30

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#15 in Illinois

DePaul University

Chicago, Illinois

Admission rate: 71%

Grad rate: 69%

Net cost: $30,090

Payback: 3.3 Years

Earnings: $63,489

Vs. state average: + $18,652

Economic score: 2.35

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#16 in Illinois

Illinois State University

Normal, Illinois

Admission rate: 82%

Grad rate: 72%

Net cost: $20,895

Payback: 3.0 Years

Earnings: $55,457

Vs. state average: + $10,620

Economic score: 2.39

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#17 in Illinois

Lake Forest College

Lake Forest, Illinois

Admission rate: 58%

Grad rate: 71%

Net cost: $26,426

Payback: 3.2 Years

Earnings: $59,021

Vs. state average: + $14,184

Economic score: 2.41

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#18 in Illinois

Dominican University

River Forest, Illinois

Admission rate: 77%

Grad rate: 65%

Net cost: $19,268

Payback: 2.9 Years

Earnings: $52,781

Vs. state average: + $7,944

Economic score: 2.49

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#19 in Illinois

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois

Admission rate: 56%

Grad rate: 60%

Net cost: $14,607

Payback: 2.8 Years

Earnings: $47,991

Vs. state average: + $3,154

Economic score: 2.58

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#20 in Illinois

Northern Illinois University

Dekalb, Illinois

Admission rate: 60%

Grad rate: 58%

Net cost: $18,259

Payback: 3.1 Years

Earnings: $52,792

Vs. state average: + $7,955

Economic score: 2.60

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