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Illinois (IL): Colleges, Universities and Technical Schools

Illinois is home to about 160 public and private non-profit colleges, universities and technical schools. Check out the largest and most affordable schools, among some of the schools' characteristics, in Illinois to determine which schools might be right for you.

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Illinois' many public and private non-profit schools include well-known universities, community colleges and everything in between. This article analyzes statistics for the schools to help compare them in four different categories, based on data from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES).

Illinois Schools Near Large Cities

About half of the public and private non-profit schools in Illinois are located in or around the cities of the state. Most of those are nearby to Chicago, or they are found within the city limits. Among these are City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman College, City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Loyola University Chicago.

  • Adler University (Chicago)
  • Chicago State University (Chicago)
  • DePaul University (Chicago)
  • Bradley University (Peoria)
  • Elgin Community College (Elgin)

Largest Schools in Illinois

A majority of the largest schools, according to their full-time student populations in the fall of 2014, had enrollments in excess of 10,000 students. The largest school is a 4-year public school offering undergraduate and graduate certificates, as well as undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The next school is a 2-year public school offering 1-2 year certificates and associate's degrees.

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (45,140 students)
  • College of DuPage (29,476 students)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (27,969 students)
  • DePaul University (23,799 students)
  • Northwestern University (21,554 students)

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Lowest Net Price

The NCES calculates the net price by subtracting the amount of financial aid an average student receives from the total cost of attending school. In the 2014-2015 school year, the schools with the lowest net price all had prices under $5,000. They're all 2-year public schools.

  • Lincoln Trail College ($1,120)
  • Olney Central College ($1,380)
  • Wabash Valley College ($1,521)
  • Frontier Community College ($1,813)
  • Carl Sandburg College ($3,902)

Highest Graduation Rate

The NCES measures overall graduation rates by examining the number of students who graduated from their programs within 150% of normal time. Among public and private not-for-profit schools, the following institutions had the highest graduation rates in Illinois, for full-time students, as of 2015.

  • Northwestern University (93% graduation rate)
  • University of Chicago (92% graduation rate)
  • Wheaton College (89% graduation rate)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (85% graduation rate)
  • Illinois Wesleyan University (83% graduation rate)

These lists divide the public and private non-profit colleges and universities in Illinois by highest graduation rates, net prices, student populations, and proximity to large cities.

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