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2021 Top Illinois Men's Football Schools

28 Colleges
$34,672 Avg Tuition & Fees*
52% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

With all of the options student athletes have for higher education today, it can be tough to choose which direction to take. College Factual has developed its Best Colleges for Men's Football in Illinois ranking as one item you can use to help make this decision.

After analyzing 28 schools in Illinois, we came up with our list of those that offered the best educational experiences for Men's Football athletes in Illinois. To come up with this ranking, we look at a number of factors that are all objective measurements. These factors include the school's overall quality as determined by our Best Colleges ranking and the athletic competitiveness of the school. Thus, in order to rank well, the school must offer a quality education in addition to having a great sports team.

Get more details on our ranking methodology.

Customizing Your List

Since one ranking on its own is not enough to give you a complete understanding of your educational options, you can refine this list by location. We've also developed a number of other tools and rankings based on other factors. These other rankings highlight colleges that excel in other factors such as value or diversity as well as schools that excel in serving different groups of students such as online students or returnings adults.

One of our other unique offerings is College Combat. This tool lets you build your own customized comparisons utilizing the factors that are most important to you. Test it out by comparing your favorite schools against others you are considering, or bookmark the tool so you can experiment with it later.

Top Colleges in Illinois for Men's Football athletes in Illinois

See which schools came out on top of our ranking:

#1

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Our 2021 rankings named Northwestern University the best school for Men’s Football athletes in Illinois working on their bachelor’s degree. Northwestern University is a large private not-for-profit school located in Evanston, Illinois that handed out 2,770 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Northwestern took home $63,246,903 in revenue and paid out $32,136,417 in expenses in recent times. That boils down to a yearly profit of $31,110,486 for the sports team. The team has a great academic progress rate of 995, signifying that team members care about their grades.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 6 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. Northwestern did well in our overall quality rankings, too. It placed #1 on our overall quality list.

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#2

University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

You’ll join some of the best athletes around if you attend University of Chicago. The school came in at #2 in this year’s ranking. Chicago, Illinois is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 2,024 students in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at UChicago made $641,173 in revenue.

With a student-to-faculty ratio of 5 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. UChicago not only placed well in this ranking, but it is also #2 on our overall quality list.

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#3

Wheaton College Illinois

Wheaton, Illinois

Out of the 28 schools in Illinois that were part of this year’s ranking, Wheaton College Illinois landed the #3 spot on the list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Wheaton, Illinois, and it awarded 720 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the Men’s Football team at Wheaton College Illinois took home $647,870 in revenue.

With a freshman retention rate of 93%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Wheaton College Illinois also took the #4 spot in our overall quality rankings.

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#4

Illinois Wesleyan University

Bloomington, Illinois

Out of the 28 schools in Illinois that were part of this year’s ranking, Illinois Wesleyan University landed the #4 spot on the list. Illinois Wesleyan is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Bloomington, Illinois. It awarded 434 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the Men’s Football team at Illinois Wesleyan took home $434,374 in revenue.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 89%. Illinois Wesleyan also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

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#5

Augustana College

Rock Island, Illinois

Out of the 28 schools in Illinois that were part of this year’s ranking, Augustana College landed the #5 spot on the list. Augustana is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Rock Island, Illinois. It awarded 855 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at Augustana made $793,936 in revenue.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 87%. On top of its placing in this ranking, Augustana also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#6

Knox College

Galesburg, Illinois

Knox College ranked #6 on this year’s Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois list. Located in Galesburg, Illinois, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 367 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at Knox made $293,069 in revenue.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 87%. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Knox also is in the top 20% of our overall quality ranking.

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#7

Lake Forest College

Lake Forest, Illinois

Lake Forest College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking, coming in at #7. Lake Forest is located in Lake Forest, Illinois and, has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 453 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

Speaking financially, the Men’s Football team at Lake Forest took home $400,273 in revenue.

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#8

North Central College

Naperville, Illinois

With a ranking of #8, North Central College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Naperville, Illinois, and it awarded 872 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The Men’s Football team at North Central made $782,089 in revenue, while incurring $694,276 in expenses. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $87,813 in profit.

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ranked #9 on this year’s Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois list. Champaign, Illinois is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 8,983 students in 2018-2019.

The Men’s Football team at UIUC made $58,155,936 in revenue, while incurring $23,418,953 in expenses. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $34,736,983 in profit. The academic progress rate of the team is 970.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 92%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. In addition to its Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking, and one of the reasons why the school is on the list, UIUC is ranked #3 for overall quality in Illinois.

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#10

Elmhurst University

Elmhurst, Illinois

With a ranking of #10, Elmhurst University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking. Elmhurst is located in Elmhurst, Illinois and, has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 863 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at Elmhurst made $647,187 in revenue.

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#11

Illinois College

Jacksonville, Illinois

Illinois College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking, coming in at #11. Illinois College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Jacksonville, Illinois that handed out 256 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at Illinois College made $381,111 in revenue.

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#12

Illinois State University

Normal, Illinois

Illinois State University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking, coming in at #12. Located in Normal, Illinois, the large public school handed out 4,822 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at Illinois State made $4,429,532 in revenue. The team has a respectable academic progress rate of 962.

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#13

Monmouth College

Monmouth, Illinois

Monmouth College ranked #13 on this year’s Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois list. Monmouth is located in Monmouth, Illinois and, has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 238 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The Men’s Football team at Monmouth brought home $309,310 in revenue in a single year.

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#14

Millikin University

Decatur, Illinois

Millikin University ranked #14 on this year’s Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois list. Millikin is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Decatur, Illinois. It awarded 448 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The Men’s Football team at Millikin made $695,580 in revenue, while incurring $687,245 in expenses. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $8,335 in profit.

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#15

North Park University

Chicago, Illinois

North Park University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking, coming in at #15. North Park University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Chicago, Illinois that handed out 499 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at North Park made $485,843 in revenue.

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#16

Northern Illinois University

Dekalb, Illinois

With a ranking of #16, Northern Illinois University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking. NIU is located in Dekalb, Illinois and, has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 3,441 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

Speaking financially, the Men’s Football team at NIU took home $8,386,474 in revenue. The academic progress rate of the team is 962.

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#17

Benedictine University

Lisle, Illinois

Benedictine University landed the #17 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking. Benedictine U is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Lisle, Illinois. It awarded 777 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Benedictine U took home $503,759 in revenue and paid out $459,562 in expenses in recent times. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $44,197 in profit.

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#18

Aurora University

Aurora, Illinois

With a ranking of #18, Aurora University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking. Aurora is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school situated in Aurora, Illinois. It awarded 1,138 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at Aurora made $567,636 in revenue.

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#19

Greenville University

Greenville, Illinois

Greenville University landed the #19 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking. Greenville is located in Greenville, Illinois and, has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 304 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The Men’s Football team at Greenville made $326,114 in revenue, while incurring $304,880 in expenses. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $21,234.

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#20

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois

Eastern Illinois University landed the #20 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking. EIU is located in Charleston, Illinois and, has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 1,244 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at EIU made $2,971,448 in revenue. The academic progress rate of the team is 930.

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#21

Concordia University, Chicago

River Forest, Illinois

With a ranking of #21, Concordia University, Chicago did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking. Concordia University, Chicago is located in River Forest, Illinois and, has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 385 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The Men’s Football team at Concordia University, Chicago brought home $527,232 in revenue in a single year.

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#22

Eureka College

Eureka, Illinois

Eureka College landed the #22 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Eureka, Illinois, and it awarded 157 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at Eureka College made $243,242 in revenue.

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#23

Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois

Western Illinois University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking, coming in at #23. This medium-sized public school is located in Macomb, Illinois, and it awarded 1,785 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the Men’s Football team at WIU made $3,100,811 in revenue. The team has a respectable academic progress rate of 959.

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#24

MacMurray College

Jacksonville, Illinois

With a ranking of #24, MacMurray College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking. MacMurray College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Jacksonville, Illinois that handed out 123 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Mac took home $283,518 in revenue and paid out $276,302 in expenses in recent times. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $7,216.

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#25

Rockford University

Rockford, Illinois

Rockford University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Men’s Football in Illinois ranking, coming in at #25. Rockford is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Rockford, Illinois. It awarded 251 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the Men’s Football team at Rockford took home $313,545 in revenue.

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Best Colleges for Men's Football in the Great Lakes Region

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Tuition and Fees and Avg 4-Year Grad Rate are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Revenue and expense information comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics Data Analysis (EADA) website.
  • The academic progress rate (APR) of each team was made available by the NCAA.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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