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Best Schools in Illinois

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2021 Best Schools in Illinois

98 Schools Ranked
$42,029 Average Earnings
$30,553 Avg Student Debt

When it comes to higher education, there are a lot of options for students. Along with traditional schools that require in-person attendence, you can attend one of many reputable online schools. Some programs even offer a hybrid experience. Also, there are a number of trade schools and bootcamp with offerings that you might find attractive.

Along with in-depth profiles of schools and the programs they offer, Course Advisor has created the Best Schools in Illinois to help you in your search for the best school for you. Our analysis looked at 98 schools in Illinois to see which programs offered the best educational experiences for students.

View our full ranking methodology.

Top Schools in Illinois

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois
$68,272 Average Earnings
$43,359 Avg Student Debt

Our 2021 rankings named Northwestern University the best school in Illinois for students working on their degree.

Degree recipients from Northwestern U accumulate an average of $43,359 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $581 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, Northwestern U graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $68,272 during the early year of their career.

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#2

University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois
$61,293 Average Earnings
$38,366 Avg Student Debt

A rank of #2 on this year’s list means University of Chicago is a great place for students.

Degree recipients from UChicago accumulate an average of $38,366 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $470, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from UChicago, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $61,293 during the early years of their career.

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#3

Midwestern University - Downers Grove

Downers Grove, Illinois
$82,722 Average Earnings
$188,044 Avg Student Debt

A rank of #3 on this year’s list means Midwestern University - Downers Grove is a great place for students.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $188,044 in student loans. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $2,255, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from Midwestern University - Downers Grove, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $82,722 during the early years of their career.

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#4

Illinois Wesleyan University

Bloomington, Illinois
$38,633 Average Earnings
$24,119 Avg Student Debt

A rank of #4 on this year’s list means Illinois Wesleyan University is a great place for students.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $24,119 in student loans. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $275 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. During the early years of their career, Illinois Wesleyan graduates make an average of $38,633 annually.

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$84,275 Average Earnings
$32,727 Avg Student Debt

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Chamberlain University - Illinois. The school came in at #5 on this year’s Best Schools in Illinois list.

Degree recipients from Chamberlain - Illinois accumulate an average of $32,727 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $356 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, Chamberlain - Illinois graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $84,275 during the early year of their career.

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$49,122 Average Earnings
$27,963 Avg Student Debt

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Schools in Illinois ranking.

Degree recipients from UIUC accumulate an average of $27,963 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $274, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan. During the early years of their career, UIUC graduates make an average of $49,122 annually.

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$34,475 Average Earnings
$42,783 Avg Student Debt

Trinity International University - Illinois ranked #7 on this year’s Best Schools in Illinois list.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $42,783 in student loans. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $488, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, TIU Illinois graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $34,475 during the early year of their career.

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#8

Judson University

Elgin, Illinois
$40,350 Average Earnings
$26,592 Avg Student Debt

Judson University landed the #8 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best programs.

Degree recipients from Judson accumulate an average of $26,592 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $243, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan. During the early years of their career, Judson graduates make an average of $40,350 annually.

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$56,667 Average Earnings
$120,027 Avg Student Debt

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago landed the #9 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best programs.

Degree recipients from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago accumulate an average of $120,027 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $1,370, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan. During the early years of their career, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago graduates make an average of $56,667 annually.

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#10

Rush University

Chicago, Illinois
$72,478 Average Earnings
$69,872 Avg Student Debt

Rush University landed the #10 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best programs.

On average, students take out $69,872 in loans while pursuing their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $839 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, Rush University Medical Center graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $72,478 during the early year of their career.

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#11

Rasmussen College - Illinois

Rockford, Illinois
$36,236 Average Earnings
$24,477 Avg Student Debt

Rasmussen College - Illinois came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Schools in Illinois ranking.

Degree recipients from Rasmussen College - Illinois accumulate an average of $24,477 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $244, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, Rasmussen College - Illinois graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $36,236 during the early year of their career.

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#12

Illinois State University

Normal, Illinois
$42,245 Average Earnings
$22,890 Avg Student Debt

Illinois State University ranked #12 on this year’s Best Schools in Illinois list.

On average, students take out $22,890 in loans while pursuing their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $239 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. Once they receive their degree, Illinois State graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $42,245 during the early year of their career.

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$90,138 Average Earnings
$125,734 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #13, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working.

Degree recipients from RFUMS accumulate an average of $125,734 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $1,739, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from RFUMS, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $90,138 during the early years of their career.

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#14

University of St Francis

Joliet, Illinois
$63,891 Average Earnings
$30,751 Avg Student Debt

University of St Francis came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Schools in Illinois ranking.

On average, students take out $30,751 in loans while pursuing their degree. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $369. During the early years of their career, University of Saint Francis graduates make an average of $63,891 annually.

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#15

Augustana College

Rock Island, Illinois
$33,079 Average Earnings
$24,728 Avg Student Debt

Augustana College came in at #15 in this year’s edition of the Best Schools in Illinois ranking.

On average, students take out $24,728 in loans while pursuing their degree. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $273. Once they receive their degree, Augustana graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $33,079 during the early year of their career.

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#16

Bradley University

Peoria, Illinois
$45,292 Average Earnings
$25,543 Avg Student Debt

Bradley University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for students. It came in at #16 on the list.

Degree recipients from Bradley accumulate an average of $25,543 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $290, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from Bradley, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $45,292 during the early years of their career.

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#17

Lewis University

Romeoville, Illinois
$50,960 Average Earnings
$30,135 Avg Student Debt

Lewis University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for students. It came in at #17 on the list.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $30,135 in student loans. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $342 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from Lewis, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $50,960 during the early years of their career.

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#18

Fox College

Bedford Park, Illinois

With a ranking of #18, Fox College did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working.

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#19

Aurora University

Aurora, Illinois
$43,032 Average Earnings
$26,035 Avg Student Debt

Aurora University came in at #19 in this year’s edition of the Best Schools in Illinois ranking.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $26,035 in student loans. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $259 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from Aurora, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $43,032 during the early years of their career.

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#20

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois
$37,377 Average Earnings
$22,639 Avg Student Debt

Eastern Illinois University ranked #20 on this year’s Best Schools in Illinois list.

Degree recipients from EIU accumulate an average of $22,639 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $245 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. During the early years of their career, EIU graduates make an average of $37,377 annually.

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#21

Loyola University Chicago

Chicago, Illinois
$46,978 Average Earnings
$39,250 Avg Student Debt

Loyola University Chicago did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for students. It came in at #21 on the list.

On average, students take out $39,250 in loans while pursuing their degree. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $421, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from Loyola Chicago, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $46,978 during the early years of their career.

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#22

Illinois Institute of Technology

Chicago, Illinois
$62,621 Average Earnings
$47,751 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #22, Illinois Institute of Technology did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $47,751 in student loans. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $501. Once they receive their degree, Illinois Tech graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $62,621 during the early year of their career.

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#23

Adler University

Chicago, Illinois
$52,950 Average Earnings
$132,758 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #23, Adler University did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $132,758 in student loans. If you borrow this amount, expect your monthly student loan payment to be around $1,880, assuming you are on a 10-year repayment plan.After graduating from Adler, students go on to jobs where they make an average of $52,950 during the early years of their career.

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#24

Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois
$37,263 Average Earnings
$28,286 Avg Student Debt

Western Illinois University ranked #24 on this year’s Best Schools in Illinois list.

Degree recipients from WIU accumulate an average of $28,286 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Those who take out this much in loans have to make a monthly payment of about $277 if they are on a 10-year repayment plan. During the early years of their career, WIU graduates make an average of $37,263 annually.

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#25

Elmhurst University

Elmhurst, Illinois
$42,961 Average Earnings
$23,886 Avg Student Debt

Elmhurst University came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Schools in Illinois ranking.

By the time they get their degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $23,886 in student loans. For those students on a 10-year repayment plan, the average payment due each month is around $258. Once they receive their degree, Elmhurst graduates enter the workforce, making an average salary of $42,961 during the early year of their career.

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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