ILLINOIS - With the first “early decision” college-application deadline looming on Nov. 1, and tuition and room and board at a four-year college costing around $27,000 - $55,000 per year, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its 2022’s Best College & University Rankings report, as well as accompanying videos, in addition to separate rankings for colleges and for universities.

To help college-bound seniors make the most informed school choices, WalletHub compared over 1,000 higher-education institutions in the U.S. based on 30 key measures grouped into seven categories, such as Student Selectivity, Cost & Financing, and Career Outcomes. The data set ranges from student-faculty ratio to graduation rate to post-attendance median salary.

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

Top 10 Colleges & Universities in Illinois

1. Northwestern University6. University of St Francis
2. University of Chicago7. North Park University
3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign8. Wheaton College
4. Illinois Institute of Technology9. Knox College
5. Illinois Wesleyan University10. Bradley University

With that in mind, here’s a closer look at some of the top schools and how each performed in certain metrics:

School Snapshot: Northwestern University (1 = Best; 21 = Average; 41 = Worst):

  • 2nd– Admission Rate
  • 40th– Net Cost
  • 2nd– Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 7th– On-Campus Crime
  • 6th– Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 2nd– Graduation Rate
  • 2nd– Post-Attendance Median Salary

School Snapshot: University of Chicago (1 = Best; 21 = Average; 41 = Worst):

  • 1st– Admission Rate
  • 41st– Net Cost
  • 1st– Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 5th– On-Campus Crime
  • 2nd– Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 1st– Graduation Rate
  • 3rd– Post-Attendance Median Salary

School Snapshot: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1 = Best; 21 = Average; 41 = Worst):

  • 19th– Admission Rate
  • 28th– Net Cost
  • 41st– Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 19th– On-Campus Crime
  • 5th– Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 4th– Graduation Rate
  • 4th– Post-Attendance Median Salary

To view the full reports, please visit:

Best Colleges & Universities Overall:

Best Colleges:

Article continues after sponsor message

Best Universities:

More from WalletHub

Expert Commentary

What type of universities do you think provide the best return on investment?

“Within the four-year sector of higher education, I think the regional comprehensive universities are often overlooked and often provide a great experience and value for the student. These institutions tend to be smaller to mid-sized, offer the experiences that provide for meaningful student growth, and have a more personal level of education and interaction. This is not to say that every regional comprehensive university is created equal; some really struggle to maintain a high-quality faculty, or their resources might be problematic, but generally, the cost of tuition and fees at these institutions is a smart investment.”
Michael T. Miller – Professor, University of Arkansas

“The one you can afford. For students with greater means, a small, higher-priced liberal arts college or the out-of-state public university located somewhere the student aspires to eventually pursue a career may be affordable, logical choices. For students with limited means, two years at a community college followed by two years at one of their state universities will provide them quality education and open up career opportunities without necessarily crushing them with debt. Where people attend college does not inexorably determine the trajectory of their lives. What they do with that education matters more.”
Dick Carpenter, Ph.D. – Professor, University of Colorado in Colorado Springs

What tips do you have for a student looking to graduate with minimal debt and great job prospects?

“Pick a major in a growing area and work on getting real-world experiences. I think the more time students spend in the actual jobs they are studying for, the more likely it is they will be prepared for that career. I also think faculty need to get out and see the world as much as possible and not put up walls between academic pursuits and practical pursuits – there should be no separation. It is hard to say what strategies might result in minimizing the debt burden of graduates. You can look for scholarships and accept aid in the form of grants, but that may not cover all your expenses. There are programs for debt relief linked to public service, and some of those might be good options, although some of the debt relief programs work better than others, and some appear to be ineffective, and some are even scams.”
Tim Mahoney – Chair, Department of Educational Foundations, Millersville University

“Students must closely follow their academic program plans and aggressively seek scholarships, grants, and internships. By garnering multiple streams of support that are aligned with their academic and career goals, students are more likely to graduate on time and are better prepared to enter the job market.”
Melanie Carter, Ph.D. – Associate Provost, Howard University

Are Ivy League and other “name brand” schools worth the high sticker price?

“A school, of any reputation, may have very strong programs in one area and less strong programs in another, impacting how worthwhile it might be to pay more in the long run. One thing that potential students and their families should consider is that Ivy League and ‘name brand’ schools with high sticker prices may have greater resources to reduce the actual cost to students and families. For example, some schools have very large endowments from which they can pull financial aid beyond what might be offered through federal or state funding. Grants and scholarships may be available to students regardless of citizenship or immigration status. When institutions can offer aid that reduces financial barriers, financial access can be increased for applicants and the ‘sticker price’ can look quite different than the actual cost of attending.”
Elizabeth Gil, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Fordham University

RBRadioLaunchGif"George Strait - Ocean Front Property" now playing on The River, the Riverbend's only Country station. Check out Riverbender Radio Today and Listen to Win!