2021 Best Colleges in Illinois Badge

2021 Best Colleges in Illinois by Salary Score

By the GradReports team | Updated 3/1/2021

We calculate our Salary Score for each college in Illinois to determine the colleges with the best salary outcomes for alumni in the first year after graduation. We compared median alumni earnings for graduates from a specific major at a college to data for the same major at other universities. We combined these program scores into our overall Salary Score to compare how each university stacks up against schools across the country. The top 25 colleges in Illinois all feature a Salary Score above the nationwide median, and two schools also rank in our 2021 list of the 50 best colleges in the U.S.: Northwestern at #24 and the University of Chicago at #32. The majority of the top schools in Illinois are located in the Chicago area.

To be considered for our state rankings, schools must offer and provide data for at least 8 bachelor's programs. You can click on a school's name to view individual program scores. Read our methodology to learn more about how schools were ranked.

Start Your Online College Search:
Our Salary Score™ is based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Salary Score
#1 #1 Northwestern University Evanston Evanston $63,468 93.57
#2 #2 University of Chicago Chicago Chicago $64,260 91.77
#3 #3 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign Champaign Champaign $15,714 75.30
#4 #4 Concordia University - Chicago River Forest River Forest $34,964 73.04
#5 #5 DePaul University Chicago Chicago $42,840 72.91
#6 #6 Lewis University Romeoville Romeoville $36,530 67.98
#7 #7 Illinois State University Normal Normal $15,170 67.47
#8 #8 Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington Bloomington $53,814 67.26
#9 #9 North Central College Naperville Naperville $43,046 66.82
#10 #10 Lake Forest College Lake Forest Lake Forest $52,902 64.32
#11 #11 University of St. Francis Joliet Joliet $36,000 63.91
#12 #12 Loyola University Chicago Chicago Chicago $49,498 63.46
#13 #13 Elmhurst University Elmhurst Elmhurst $40,232 62.85
#14 #14 North Park University - Chicago Chicago Chicago $34,020 61.18
#15 #15 Wheaton College - IL Wheaton Wheaton $42,240 60.68
#16 #16 Northern Illinois University Dekalb Dekalb $12,662 60.45
#17 #17 Trinity Christian College Palos Heights Palos Heights $34,325 59.13
#18 #18 Augustana College - IL Rock Island Rock Island $47,916 58.67
#19 #19 Benedictine University Lisle Lisle $34,290 57.02
#20 #20 Bradley University Peoria Peoria $37,800 56.99
#21 #21 Aurora University Aurora Aurora $27,420 56.75
#22 #22 Northeastern Illinois University Chicago Chicago $12,101 56.51
#23 #23 Governors State University University Park University Park $10,468 53.90
#24 #24 Saint Xavier University Chicago Chicago $35,770 52.95
#25 #25 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago Chicago $50,640 52.79