Illinois is a stronghold for higher education with nine public universities, about 50 community colleges, and nearly 100 private not-for-profit schools, the state an ideal location for those looking to pursue a degree or credential at any level. Keep reading to learn more about the educational opportunities Illinois has to offer, including college rankings, cost comparisons, and planning programs specific to the state.

Ranking the 2017 Best Colleges in Illinois

Illinois Illinois

Choosing a school is never easy, so we’ve compiled a list of the best colleges and universities in Illinois to help make the process less daunting. The list has been calculated using important factors like tuition cost, alumni earnings, financial aid availability, student-to-teacher ratio, graduation rate and more. Explore the top-ranking Illinois colleges for 2017 below.

Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
Carl Sandburg College
99.70
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$28,800
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
33%
26% N/A 0 54 Yes No
2
Illinois Central College
99.17
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,000
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
26%
23% N/A 3 111 Yes No
3
Richland Community College
98.57
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,900
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
31%
21% N/A 2 106 Yes No
4
Rend Lake College
98.30
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,200
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
44%
51% N/A 0 79 Yes No
5
Lincoln Land Community College
96.73
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,800
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
11%
25% N/A 0 88 Yes No
6
Highland Community College
96.49
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$25,900
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
30%
37% N/A 0 51 Yes Yes
7
College of Lake County
96.29
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,200
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
9%
17% N/A 0 137 Yes No
8
Black Hawk College
96.28
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,000
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
24%
19% N/A 0 81 Yes Yes
9
Shawnee Community College
96.23
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$22,000
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
44%
28% N/A 1 52 Yes No
10
John Wood Community College
96.10
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,800
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
26%
31% N/A 2 52 No Yes
11
Kankakee Community College
96.08
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,900
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
16%
20% N/A 0 71 Yes No
12
Danville Area Community College
96.06
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$24,700
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
16%
29% N/A 0 64 Yes Yes
13
Parkland College
95.84
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,000
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
11%
16% N/A 0 104 Yes Yes
14
Oakton Community College
95.77
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,500
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
13%
14% N/A 0 96 No Yes
15
Waubonsee Community College
95.63
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$30,800
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
12%
30% N/A 2 116 Yes Yes
16
Triton College
95.57
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,000
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
8%
15% N/A 0 95 Yes Yes
17
Harper College
95.05
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,600
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
6%
24% N/A 1 115 Yes Yes
18
College of DuPage
94.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,000
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
6%
16% N/A 0 171 Yes Yes
19
Lake Land College
94.74
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,700
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
24%
30% N/A 0 86 Yes Yes
20
Kaskaskia College
94.67
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$24,600
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
19%
46% N/A 2 97 Yes No
21
Prairie State College
94.53
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,200
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
11%
13% N/A 0 62 Yes Yes
22
Kishwaukee College
94.51
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,200
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
10%
18% N/A 0 61 Yes Yes
23
Lincoln Trail College
94.40
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,500
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
96%
43% N/A 2 27 Yes Yes
24
Moraine Valley Community College
94.18
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,000
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
6%
20% N/A 1 97 Yes No
25
Rock Valley College
94.00
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$30,900
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
4%
22% N/A 0 72 Yes No
26
Olney Central College
93.60
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$28,200
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
86%
37% N/A 3 33 Yes Yes
27
Elgin Community College
93.59
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,300
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
14%
29% N/A 0 98 Yes Yes
28
South Suburban College
93.35
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,500
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
16%
22% N/A 0 68 Yes Yes
29
Joliet Junior College
93.13
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,600
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
7%
13% N/A 3 119 Yes Yes
30
Sauk Valley Community College
93.06
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,700
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
24%
29% N/A 0 60 Yes Yes
31
Morton College
92.86
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,200
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
6%
15% N/A 0 42 Yes Yes
32
Heartland Community College
92.85
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,900
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
8%
23% N/A 0 49 Yes No
33
Southwestern Illinois College
92.68
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,000
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
14%
27% N/A 0 110 Yes Yes
34
City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College
92.62
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,000
38:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
9%
8% N/A 0 49 Yes Yes
35
Spoon River College
92.37
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,600
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
27%
22% N/A 0 30 Yes Yes
36
Lewis and Clark Community College
92.06
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$24,900
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
12%
13% N/A 0 90 Yes Yes
37
City Colleges of Chicago – Wilbur Wright College
92.01
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,500
33:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
14% N/A 0 50 Yes Yes
38
Illinois Valley Community College
90.74
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$28,600
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
6%
30% N/A 0 64 Yes No
39
MacCormac College
90.71
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$28,400
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
32%
37% N/A 0 6 No No
40
Wabash Valley College
90.42
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$28,900
34:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
44% N/A 2 41 Yes Yes
41
John A Logan College
90.17
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$25,400
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
7%
26% N/A 1 85 Yes No
42
City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College
89.73
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$22,500
27:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
9%
26% N/A 0 57 Yes Yes
43
City Colleges of Chicago – Harry S Truman College
89.24
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,100
29:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
5%
12% N/A 0 46 Yes Yes
44
McHenry County College
88.72
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$28,400
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
24% N/A 6 75 Yes No
45
City Colleges of Chicago – Malcolm X College
87.56
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$23,700
29:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
3%
8% N/A 0 35 Yes Yes
46
Frontier Community College
87.40
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$22,900
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
91%
57% N/A 2 37 Yes Yes
47
City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College
86.44
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$24,900
33:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
9% N/A 0 42 Yes Yes
48
City Colleges of Chicago-Olive-Harvey College
86.01
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$23,700
30:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
3%
9% N/A 0 36 Yes Yes
49
Southeastern Illinois College
86.00
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,400
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
28%
24% N/A 3 48 No Yes
Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
Northwestern University
99.79
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$64,100
7:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
54%
93% 13% 6 230 Yes No
2
University of Chicago
99.25
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$62,800
6:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
62%
92% 9% 1 104 Yes No
3
Bradley University
98.32
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$52,400
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
78% 64% 0 152 Yes No
4
Illinois Institute of Technology
97.98
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$68,200
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
68% 51% 17 102 Yes No
5
Augustana College
97.73
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$49,600
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
78% 54% 0 75 Yes No
6
Illinois Wesleyan University
97.30
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$54,600
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
82% 60% 0 40 Yes No
7
University of St Francis
97.10
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,600
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
56% 51% 12 64 Yes Yes
8
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
96.93
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$56,600
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
42%
84% 59% 21 245 Yes No
9
Lewis University
96.91
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$47,100
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
59% 62% 7 107 Yes Yes
10
University of Illinois at Chicago
95.92
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$51,600
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
64%
58% 74% 4 178 Yes No
11
Loyola University Chicago
95.86
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$50,600
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
93%
70% 63% 11 180 Yes Yes
12
Elmhurst College
95.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$48,100
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
93%
74% 68% 2 82 Yes Yes
13
Dominican University
95.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,400
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
93%
66% 61% 9 72 Yes Yes
14
Saint Xavier University
95.75
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,300
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
54% 50% 4 110 Yes Yes
15
Benedictine University
95.73
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$51,000
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
95%
53% 77% 9 74 Yes Yes
16
Millikin University
95.47
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,900
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
55% 63% 0 45 Yes Yes
17
DePaul University
95.18
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$50,900
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
94%
68% 70% 11 198 Yes Yes
18
Roosevelt University
95.18
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,600
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
92%
42% 78% 7 100 Yes Yes
19
Lake Forest College
94.93
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$48,100
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
70% 55% 0 36 Yes No
20
North Central College
94.78
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,700
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
68% 60% 0 67 Yes Yes
21
Illinois State University
94.58
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,100
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
38%
71% 74% 2 112 Yes No
22
Northern Illinois University
94.37
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,900
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
79%
54% 51% 0 112 Yes No
23
Principia College
94.29
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
7:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
77% 79% 0 26 No No
24
North Park University
94.28
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,400
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
56% 55% 5 59 Yes No
25
Wheaton College
94.15
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,600
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
69%
90% 69% 0 51 Yes No
26
Knox College
94.13
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,600
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
81% 68% 0 35 Yes No
27
McKendree University
94.10
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,500
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
49% 61% 11 55 Yes No
28
Illinois College
93.88
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$37,700
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
62% 54% 0 34 Yes No
29
Quincy University
93.76
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,500
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
56% 89% 7 43 Yes Yes
30
Trinity Christian College
93.75
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,400
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
54% 90% 0 47 Yes No
31
Judson University
93.65
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$37,000
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
50% 73% 2 56 Yes Yes
32
Eastern Illinois University
93.60
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,200
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
67%
60% 50% 3 83 No Yes
33
National Louis University
93.51
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,700
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
70%
44% 97% 12 55 Yes Yes
34
Greenville College
93.44
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$37,700
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
94%
54% 56% 7 64 Yes Yes
35
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
93.38
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,500
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
79%
48% 82% 6 165 Yes Yes
36
Monmouth College
93.32
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$40,700
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
58% 69% 0 36 Yes No
37
Governors State University
93.17
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,700
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
N/A 94% 4 52 Yes Yes
38
Rockford University
92.93
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$39,100
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
38% 55% 0 47 No No
39
Olivet Nazarene University
92.58
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$37,700
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
57% 74% 9 94 Yes Yes
40
Aurora University
92.54
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,500
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
52% 81% 9 52 Yes No
41
Trinity International University-Illinois
92.52
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,200
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
55% 100% 0 47 Yes Yes
42
Eureka College
92.50
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$37,300
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
56% 64% 0 22 Yes No
43
Western Illinois University
92.41
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,100
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
56%
54% 70% 5 103 Yes Yes
44
University of Illinois at Springfield
92.38
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,800
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
93%
47% 62% 18 43 Yes Yes
45
Concordia University-Chicago
92.21
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,500
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
49% 54% 18 87 Yes Yes
46
Rush University
91.56
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$74,300
5:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
N/A N/A 3 25 No Yes
47
Blackburn College
91.45
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,000
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
45% 65% 0 39 Yes No
48
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
91.15
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$39,800
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
47%
52% 87% 6 93 Yes No
49
Chicago State University
90.60
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,200
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
46%
21% 30% 2 57 Yes Yes
50
MacMurray College
90.16
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$36,700
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
36% 78% 2 19 Yes No

Illinois College Search Tool

With so many higher education options to choose from in Illinois, it’s no wonder that learning about each one seems impossible. The tool below allows users to search Illinois colleges and universities by tuition, school name, city or degree type, and compare key attributes to help them make an informed decision.

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Illinois College Outreach & Planning Initiatives

Planning for college can be overwhelming and confusing at times, but the state of Illinois offers a variety of programs aimed at student success. These programs can help students prepare for college financially, learn which career and educational path may suit them best, and more. Here are a few state programs helpful for those planning to go to college in Illinois:

Golden Apple Scholars Program

The Golden Apple Scholars Program identifies academically exceptional high school seniors and college freshmen and sophomores in Illinois pursuing a career in education in high-need schools. The non-profit organization is dedicated to fostering a community of inspired and dedicated teachers. The program offers scholarships for those selected as Golden Apple Scholars as well as summer institutes, mentorship programs and on-site classroom experience. This program is especially concerned with helping increase the number of minority and bilingual teachers.

Illinois Dream Fund

There are over 11 million undocumented workers for whom higher education may be inaccessible. But the Illinois Dream Fund is a program dedicated to making a post-secondary degree financially possible for the growing undocumented community. By making financial resources available to students who meet the Fund’s requirements, the educational and professional careers of the next generation of leaders are made possible, regardless of their immigration status.

How Much It Costs to Attend Colleges in Illinois

With the annual fee and tuition costs at public universities in Illinois rising to nearly $14,000 in 2015, it’s important to understand how much you can expect to pay. The charts below illustrate the average cost of attending college in Illinois compared to the national average. They also provide a comparison of financial aid availability, a key component of overall cost.

Average Illinois Tuition &
Fees at 4-Year Public Colleges

Source: CollegeBoard

% of Illinois Students
Receiving Financial Aid

Source: IPEDS

Average Financial Aid Award
for Illinois Students

Source: IPEDS

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Illinois’ Most Cost-Efficient Colleges

While knowing how a state’s average college costs and aid compare nationally is important, the next step is learning which colleges in Illinois are the most affordable overall. Continue on to see the six-school ranking of the most affordable colleges in Illinois based on net price, how they compare to other Illinois colleges, and where they stand nationally.

Average
Annual Net
Price

Cost for students awarded federal financial aid, after school and government aid is deducted. At public colleges, only applies to in-state students.

Illinois College Net Price vs. National Average
ILLINOIS $20,309 Average
Annual Net Price
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Illinois Colleges With the Top-Paid Grads

One of the biggest benefits of going to college is a higher salary in the workforce, but some Illinois colleges produce higher-earners than others. Below is a six-school ranking highlighting which colleges produce the highest paid alumni ten years down the line. It also includes a helpful comparison between the state and the national average.

Annual
Median Earnings
10 Years
After Entering
College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

Illinois Alumni Salaries vs. National Average
ILLINOIS $46,860 Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Colleges in Illinois Featuring Lowest Student Debt

Increasing college debt is an emerging stress for new college graduates. Knowing what colleges are affordable is the first step to minimizing financial strain; the next is knowing which Illinois colleges’ graduates carry the lowest average educational debt. The following schools top the chart.

Median
Federal Student
Loan Debt After
Graduation

Only for undergraduates who completed college; does not include Parent-PLUS loans.

Illinois College Grad Debt Vs. National Average
ILLINOIS $23,326 Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

More Financial Factors: Illinois’ Cost-of-Living

Generally speaking, the cost of living in Illinois is just below average. Though cost of living is something that many prospective students overlook when looking for their perfect school, it’s actually an incredibly important consideration as it determines how much money will be spent on food, housing, utilities and more. Take a look at the chart below to see average living expenses for the largest metropolitan areas in Illinois.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 95% 88% 99% 98% 103% 99% 97%
Chicago 117% 139% 115% 103% 114% 100% 106%
Joliet-Will County 101% 102% 105% 98% 108% 106% 95%
Peoria 98% 98% 97% 104% 98% 97% 97%
Rockford 92% 79% 94% 93% 104% 104% 95%
Springfield 89% 76% 100% 76% 96% 102% 96%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

Accreditation & Quality in Illinois Colleges

Accreditation is a vital, yet often overlooked factor for students considering colleges in Illinois – and or anywhere else. Accreditation is the mark of approval by a national accrediting agency certifying that the rigor and curriculum of a program meet professional standards. In other words, accreditation is an integral part of the quality assurance process for universities. Illinois universities regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which oversees much of the Midwestern states. However, there is also programmatic accreditation that applies to specific disciplines offered within a college. These organizations ensure that individual programs meet high quality. Below are two examples of programmatically accredited schools in schools.

Illinois’ Major College Cities

Champaign

Located 135 miles south of Chicago, the city of Champaign offers a completely different student experience. Champaign is home to the state's oldest public university, the University of Illinois, and has a strong tradition of fostering the education. In that respect, Champaign is what one might imagine a college town to be.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

ChampaignUniversity of Illinois Urbana - Champaign Public $18,798 $56,600
The University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign is a land-grant institution known for its innovation and successful alumni. With over 44,000 students from around the country and world, the university emphasizes diversity. Not only is it a large, diverse campus, but the university is also becoming a pre-eminent research institution. Its success is visible with 25 Pulitzer-Prize-winning alumni, and was the birthplace of the first graphical web browser.
ChampaignParkland College Public $6,376 $31,000
Parkland College is an accredited two-year community college in Champaign, Illinois. It's home to approximately 20,000 students. The college was built in 1967 to accommodate Illinois's largest community college district at the time. The school offers vocational and technical training to students, and is known nationally for its high academic standards and sprawling campus.
Chicago

Chicago is a hub for top-tier institutions of all kinds, from prestigious universities to high-quality community colleges. The city's higher education tradition is one of the oldest in the country and, as such, had plenty of time to flourish and develop into one of innovation. That spirit fits right in with the industrious city.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

ChicagoUniversity of Chicago Private not-for-profit $25,335 $62,800
The University of Chicago is a prestigious private, non-profit university. The non-denominational university is home to 15,700 undergraduate and graduate students, and prides itself on being an elite, but diverse institution. The university is known for its interdisciplinary approach to research, and has been at the forefront of breakthroughs like discovering a link between genetics and cancer. Well-known research at the university also extends to economic theory and the development of urban educational tools.
ChicagoLoyola University Chicago Private not-for-profit $28,237 $50,600
Loyola University Chicago is a well-known, Jesuit Catholic institution serving nearly 16,500 students across five campus locations in and around the city. As Loyola is a Catholic university, it pursues a mission in academics with an emphasis on social responsibility. However, it should be noted that Loyola is open to students of all faiths. The university is comprised of 11 colleges and schools of different disciplines.
ChicagoMalcolm X College Public $7,211 $23,700
Malcolm X College is a community college located near the Illinois Medical District, making it the premier choice for students looking to work in the healthcare field. There are nearly 16,000 part-time and full-time students enrolled at the two-year college, and the school prides itself on its commitment to launching the professional careers in the healthcare industry. The college is the ideal place to continue adult education, gain a professional certificate or receive an associate's degree.

Source: College Scorecard

Find More Information on Colleges in Illinois

Below is a list of additional college resources for current and future students researching colleges in Illinois.

College Scholarships

Scholarships and grants for Illinois are listed along with financial aid tips and tricks.

Illinois Board of Higher Education

The Illinois Board of Education is an excellent resource for those that want more information about general programs and resources on post-secondary schools in the state.

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Non-citizens can learn more about the Illinois Dream Act here in addition to scholarship resources for immigrant students.

Illinois Scholarships

This page is a helpful resource that outlines scholarship opportunities in Illinois with easy to view award sums and deadlines.

Illinois Student Assistance Commission

ISAC offers a college toolbox where prospective students can easily access tools like financial aid comparison and college checklist.

Think College Illinois

This website helps students with developmental disabilities go to, and succeed in, college.

Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver Program

ISETTW is a program that helps teachers and academically gifted students pursuing a career in special education waive their tuition costs.