Best Value Colleges in Illinois

The Illinois College ROI Report makes it easy for students and their families to determine which Illinois colleges provide the highest return on investment for their educational dollars.

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Rank 
School Name 
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
Total 4 Year Cost
 
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Total 4 Year Cost
 
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Graduation Rate
 
% of full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students who began their studies at the given school and graduate within 6 years. Source: IPEDS
Typical Years to Graduate
 
# of years it takes for at least 65 percent of graduates from a given school to receive their diplomas. Source: IPEDS
Average Loan Amount
 
Received by full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students, multiplied to represent amount over four years. Includes all Title IV loans and all institutionally- and privately-sponsored student loans. Source: IPEDS
% Grant Money Received
 
% of full-time, first-time undergrads who received local, state, federal, or institutional grant aid in the 2012-2013 academic year. Source: IPEDS
19.3%N/A12.5%N/A$585,000N/A$636,000N/A$118,000N/A85%4$27,60022%
1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign(In-State)
Annual ROI9.3%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI12.5%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$585,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$636,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate85%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,600
Grant Money Received22%
26.4%6.3%10.6%10.4%$577,000$571,000$705,000$699,000$236,000$241,00071%5$27,30032%
2Illinois Institute of Technology(Private)
Annual ROI6.4%
Annual ROI6.3%
Annual ROI10.6%
Annual ROI10.4%
20 Year Net ROI$577,000
20 Year Net ROI$571,000
20 Year Net ROI$705,000
20 Year Net ROI$699,000
Total 4 Year Cost$236,000
Total 4 Year Cost$241,000
Grad Rate71%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$27,300
Grant Money Received32%
37.1%N/A9.0%N/A$525,000N/A$576,000N/A$178,000N/A85%4$27,60022%
3University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI7.1%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$525,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$576,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$178,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate85%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,600
Grant Money Received22%
45.3%5.3%9.9%9.9%$481,000$481,000$635,000$635,000$267,000$267,00094%4$25,20015%
4Northwestern University(Private)
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROI9.9%
Annual ROI9.9%
20 Year Net ROI$481,000
20 Year Net ROI$481,000
20 Year Net ROI$635,000
20 Year Net ROI$635,000
Total 4 Year Cost$267,000
Total 4 Year Cost$267,000
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$25,200
Grant Money Received15%
57.9%7.9%11.2%11.2%$419,000$420,000$473,000$474,000$118,000$118,00058%5$24,50058%
5University of Illinois at Chicago(In-State)
Annual ROI7.9%
Annual ROI7.9%
Annual ROI11.2%
Annual ROI11.2%
20 Year Net ROI$419,000
20 Year Net ROI$420,000
20 Year Net ROI$473,000
20 Year Net ROI$474,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate58%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$24,500
Grant Money Received58%
64.6%N/A9.0%N/A$396,000N/A$552,000N/A$275,000N/A94%4$43,90012%
6University of Chicago(Private)
Annual ROI4.6%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$396,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$552,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$275,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$43,900
Grant Money Received12%
75.3%5.3%7.7%7.7%$370,000$370,000$446,000$446,000$207,000$207,00073%4$27,50030%
7DePaul University(Private)
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROI7.7%
Annual ROI7.7%
20 Year Net ROI$370,000
20 Year Net ROI$370,000
20 Year Net ROI$446,000
20 Year Net ROI$446,000
Total 4 Year Cost$207,000
Total 4 Year Cost$207,000
Grad Rate73%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,500
Grant Money Received30%
86.0%6.0%8.0%8.0%$369,000$369,000$423,000$423,000$169,000$169,00058%5$24,50058%
8University of Illinois at Chicago(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI6.0%
Annual ROI6.0%
Annual ROI8.0%
Annual ROI8.0%
20 Year Net ROI$369,000
20 Year Net ROI$369,000
20 Year Net ROI$423,000
20 Year Net ROI$423,000
Total 4 Year Cost$169,000
Total 4 Year Cost$169,000
Grad Rate58%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$24,500
Grant Money Received58%
94.9%4.9%9.2%9.2%$344,000$344,000$466,000$466,000$218,000$218,00070%4$28,40045%
9Lake Forest College(Private)
Annual ROI4.9%
Annual ROI4.9%
Annual ROI9.2%
Annual ROI9.2%
20 Year Net ROI$344,000
20 Year Net ROI$344,000
20 Year Net ROI$466,000
20 Year Net ROI$466,000
Total 4 Year Cost$218,000
Total 4 Year Cost$218,000
Grad Rate70%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$28,400
Grant Money Received45%
105.6%5.6%8.2%8.2%$343,000$343,000$413,000$413,000$176,000$176,00074%4$30,30024%
10Bradley University(Private)
Annual ROI5.6%
Annual ROI5.6%
Annual ROI8.2%
Annual ROI8.2%
20 Year Net ROI$343,000
20 Year Net ROI$343,000
20 Year Net ROI$413,000
20 Year Net ROI$413,000
Total 4 Year Cost$176,000
Total 4 Year Cost$176,000
Grad Rate74%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$30,300
Grant Money Received24%
117.1%7.1%9.3%9.3%$336,000$336,000$374,000$374,000$115,000$115,00047%5$29,70048%
11Northern Illinois University(In-State)
Annual ROI7.1%
Annual ROI7.1%
Annual ROI9.3%
Annual ROI9.3%
20 Year Net ROI$336,000
20 Year Net ROI$336,000
20 Year Net ROI$374,000
20 Year Net ROI$374,000
Total 4 Year Cost$115,000
Total 4 Year Cost$115,000
Grad Rate47%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$29,700
Grant Money Received48%
125.5%5.2%8.5%7.9%$315,000$303,000$384,000$373,000$162,000$174,00051%4$25,90042%
12Benedictine University(Private)
Annual ROI5.5%
Annual ROI5.2%
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI7.9%
20 Year Net ROI$315,000
20 Year Net ROI$303,000
20 Year Net ROI$384,000
20 Year Net ROI$373,000
Total 4 Year Cost$162,000
Total 4 Year Cost$174,000
Grad Rate51%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$25,900
Grant Money Received42%
137.5%7.5%9.1%9.1%$302,000$302,000$326,000$326,000$93,500$93,50048%5$25,00035%
13Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville(In-State)
Annual ROI7.5%
Annual ROI7.5%
Annual ROI9.1%
Annual ROI9.1%
20 Year Net ROI$302,000
20 Year Net ROI$302,000
20 Year Net ROI$326,000
20 Year Net ROI$326,000
Total 4 Year Cost$93,500
Total 4 Year Cost$93,500
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$25,000
Grant Money Received35%
145.6%5.6%7.1%7.1%$299,000$299,000$337,000$337,000$152,000$152,00047%5$29,70048%
14Northern Illinois University(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI5.6%
Annual ROI5.6%
Annual ROI7.1%
Annual ROI7.1%
20 Year Net ROI$299,000
20 Year Net ROI$299,000
20 Year Net ROI$337,000
20 Year Net ROI$337,000
Total 4 Year Cost$152,000
Total 4 Year Cost$152,000
Grad Rate47%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$29,700
Grant Money Received48%
156.6%6.9%8.8%9.2%$286,000$290,000$322,000$327,000$109,000$104,00072%4$31,90030%
15Illinois State University(In-State)
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROI6.9%
Annual ROI8.8%
Annual ROI9.2%
20 Year Net ROI$286,000
20 Year Net ROI$290,000
20 Year Net ROI$322,000
20 Year Net ROI$327,000
Total 4 Year Cost$109,000
Total 4 Year Cost$104,000
Grad Rate72%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$31,900
Grant Money Received30%

* N/A indicates school does not have an on campus living option.

Attending college in the Prairie State isn’t just smart because of the high earning potential that many graduates enjoy. It’s also a great choice because of the hustle and bustle of Chicago, where the majority of schools in this report are located. PayScale’s data can help you identify the best value colleges in Illinois before you apply.

Illinois boasts many schools that appear within the top 200 rankings nationwide. Illinois Institute of Technology, commonly known as Illinois Tech or IIT, is of particular note. This prestigious private, not-for-profit school is famous for its incredible science and engineering programs; IIT researchers were behind some of the most important technological advances in recent memory, including spacecraft re-entry technology and magnetic recording. Architects who graduated from the design school here have helped shape the iconic Chicago skyline, which you will enjoy gazing at every day as an IIT student.

If you dream of following in the footsteps of Bill Gates and other technology and business leaders, the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign should be up your alley. This well-known public university will provide plenty of bang for your education buck, and you could very well land a job at Microsoft post graduation. After all, Gates himself once noted that the company hires more graduates of UIUC than any other school.

Northwestern University earns a well-deserved place near the top of the list of top college return of investment Illinois schools. This prestigious, private, not-for-profit university, which is located in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood and is a founding member of the Big 10, counts numerous Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize laureates and other illustrious folks among its alumni. From cheering on the Wildcats to graduating from a school that produced a current U.S. Supreme Court justice (John Paul Stevens), Northwestern is a worthwhile option to consider for many reasons.

Finally, the University of Chicago offers a value of college education Illinois students and their families are sure to approve of. Founded following a generous donation by John D. Rockefeller, U of C is best known for its incredible professional schools, including the Booth School of Business and the Pritzker School of Medicine.


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