Sep 28, 2023 - Education

Illinois makes the grade on new college rankings

Illustration of a line chart on a college pennant.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The new U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings are out, and Illinois schools score near the top of the list.

By the numbers: Northwestern University is No. 9 in the country for the 2023-24 school year, up one position from last year. Meanwhile, University of Chicago ranked No. 12 — dropping six spots.

  • Princeton, MIT and Harvard ranked top three in the nation.

The intrigue: This year U.S. News & World Report significantly changed up its methodology. The new list places more emphasis on social mobility and graduation outcomes, while de-emphasizing class size, alumni giving, and the proportion of graduates with federal loans.

Yes, but: The rankings have been criticized as unreliable. A number of higher education institutions — including Columbia University and Harvard Medical School — stopped providing data for them.

Zoom in: Northwestern and the University of Chicago aren't the only Illinois institutions that made the top 100:

  • No. 37: University of Illinois (Urbana/Champaign)
  • No. 82: UIC
  • No. 98: Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)

Of note: In addition to the general rankings, the report also analyzed categories including liberal arts colleges where downstate Principia College came in at No. 51.

  • No. 56: Wheaton College
  • No. 73: Lake Forest College
  • No. 75: Knox College
  • No. 100: Augustana College

What's more: Illinois Wesleyan University ranked No. 1 in the Best Regional Colleges Midwest Rankings.


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