Analysis ranks Northwestern as top school in Illinois


A personal finance website ranked Illinois colleges and universities and gave the state's top spot to Northwestern University.

WalletHub compared higher education institutions using 30 metrics, including cost and financing, student to faculty ratio and graduation rate. WalletHub also analyzed post-attendance metrics, the student-loan default rate and the share of former students earning more than students who graduated from high school but didn't get a bachelor's degree.

Institutions were considered colleges if they provide only undergraduate, or baccalaureate degrees and programs, and universities if they offer undergraduate, including masters and/or doctoral degrees and programs.

WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez said the top school in the state also fared well nationally.

“No. 1 was Northwestern,” Gonzalez said. “Northwestern also ranked in the top ten nationwide, so obviously a great school with a very low admission rate.”

The University of Chicago came in second followed by the Illinois Institute of Technology. Downstate, the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana ranked fourth, Illinois Wesleyan University in Normal ranked sixth, and Bradley University in Peoria ranked ninth.

Other notables in Illinois included Quincy University, which ranked as the 369th best school in the country and at No. 380, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

Nationally, the top three schools in the country were Harvard University, Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All three are private schools.

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