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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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By the Numbers: 7 of Illinois’s most prominent universities compared

Illustration by Danny O’Grady
Seven Illinois universities are compared by admissions, tuition, class sizes and more.

Illinois is home to over 100 colleges and universities. These institutions differ in academics, athletics and the makeup of their student bodies. Statistics for seven of the state’s most prominent universities — Bradley University, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Chicago (UChicago), University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) — present a broad view of the state of higher education in Illinois.

The data comes from the Common Data Set, which asks universities a set of shared core questions “to improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to all involved in a student’s transition into higher education, as well as to reduce the reporting burden on data providers,” according to the initiative’s website. The data for each university pertains to the 2022-2023 school year, except for UChicago, which comes from the 2021-2022 school year.


UIUC is the largest university by enrollment in Illinois with 56,916 total students, over 20,000 more than UIC, which comes in second. NU and DePaul boast the largest enrollments of the private universities depicted, with 22,732 and 20,917 students respectively. The average number of total students across the seven universities is 24,720.

Undergraduate Class Sizes

Classes offered at each institution were classified by number of students. Just as with total enrollment, UIUC and UIC offer the most total classes. Meanwhile, Northwestern offers 1,027 classes with less than 10 students, the most out of all institutions measured. UIUC offers the most large classes, with over 100 students in them. In contrast, DePaul offers two such classes and Bradley offers five. 


Each of the seven measured institutions receive thousands of first-year applicants every year. For the 2022-23 school year, UIUC received the most applications, at 63,257. Bradley received the least with 11,352.

Northwestern and UChicago have the lowest admissions rates at 7.2% and 6.9%, respectively. UIUC is the next most exclusive institution with an admission rate of 45%.

Faculty Breakdown

Data on faculty demographics including gender, race and terminal degree were reported. A terminal degree is the highest attainable degree in an academic field, so it can be used to see the overall qualifications of teachers at each university. Loyola is the only university measured in which under half of the total instructional faculty has received a terminal degree in their respective fields.

Student Diversity

Each of the university student bodies have a plurality of white students, except for UIC, which has a plurality of Hispanic/Latine students.

Meanwhile, UChicago has the highest percentage of international students in its undergraduate population, with about 16%. In comparison, 2.2% of Bradley’s undergraduate population is made up of international students.

Financial Aid

Many students receive financial aid from federal, state, university or other sources to reduce the cost of attending university. Financial aid can be broken down into need-based and non-need-based aid. Need-based financial aid is more prevalent at each of the measured universities. 

UIUC students receive the most need-based financial aid compared to the other measured institutions with approximately $378 million received in total, over $60 million more than the second highest, DePaul. Meanwhile, Loyola students receive the most non-need-based financial aid with over $150 million dollars received in total.

Student to Faculty Ratio

Universities reported the ratio of full-time students to full-time instructional faculty, not including departments which are predominantly graduate students like law and medicine. UIUC has the largest student to faculty ratio at 21:1, closely followed by UIC at 18:1. In comparison, NU and UChicago have the two smallest student-to-faculty ratios at 5:1 and 6:1 respectively. 

Undergraduate Tuition and Cost

The total cost of attending university ranges from approximately $86,000 at Northwestern to approximately $29,000 at UIUC for in-state students. The cost of attending Northwestern breaks down into approximately $65,000 in tuition and $20,000 in room and board.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @DannyMOGrady04 

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