Illinois Schools and Higher Education Overview

There are 159 public and private not-for-profit schools within Illinois. See how these schools stack up against each other to find the right school for you.

Illinois students have many higher education options available at schools of varying sizes that offer everything from undergraduate certificates to doctoral degrees. We compare the largest public or private not-for-profit schools, along with the schools' graduation rates, location and affordability. This data is based on statistics from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES).

Illinois Schools Near Large Cities

Most of the schools near large cities are located in or around Chicago. A majority of those are 4-year private non-profit schools.

  • Chicago State University (Chicago)
  • City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College (Chicago)
  • Columbia College-Chicago (Chicago)
  • DePaul University (Chicago)
  • East-West University (Chicago)

Largest Schools in Illinois

The largest schools in Illinois are mostly public schools. A majority of those schools had more than 10,000 students, as of Fall 2014.

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (45,842 students)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (29,048 students)
  • College of DuPage (28,678 students)
  • DePaul University (23,539 students)
  • Northwestern University (21,655 students)

Lowest Net Price

NCES calculates the average net price for full-time beginning students by subtracting the average financial aid package awarded from the total cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, books and room and board. The following schools had the lowest net prices based on 2014-2015 for full-time undergraduate students.

  • 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

Graduation rates could point toward student satisfaction with schools in general or with particular academic programs. NCES calculates this rate by tracking the percentage of full-time beginning students who graduate within 150% of the normal time for their programs, such as six years for a bachelor's degree and three years for a two-year program. The following schools had the highest graduation rates for full-time undergraduate students beginning in 2009 for 4-year schools and 2012 for 2-year institutions.

  • 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)

Learn more about the public and private non-profit institutions in Illinois with the information presented here designed to help you make a well-informed decision about your postsecondary learning experience.

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