Read more about our ranking methodology.
* These statistics utilize the most recently released data from IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System)
Sources for school statistics and data include U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Data may vary depending on school and academic year.
Source data obtained from U.S. Department of Education's Office of Post-secondary Education (OPE)
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Director Ang Lee, Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, astronaut Scott Altman, women’s rights activist Dorothy Day, film critic Roger Ebert, and Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon all attended U of I. History major Robert L. Johnson went on to establish Black Entertainment Television. Suze Orman received a degree in social work before developing a career as a popular financial guru.
U of I is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, about 140 miles south of Chicago. The 1,783-acre campus features more than 350 buildings, including several on the National Register of Historic Places. At Lincoln Hall and Engineering Hall you’ll see some of the school’s Renaissance Revival architecture, while Altgeld Hall is considered one of the finest examples of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. About half of the student body lives in college-owned housing. And a quarter of the roughly 33,000 undergrads belong to a fraternity or sorority, making the university’s Greek system the largest in the world.
The university aims to provide online programs that deliver the same quality education as campus-based classes. Some classes utilize real-time technology in which all participants log in at a designated time. Others can be completed on a flexible schedule. Similarly, some classes require at least one on-campus meeting per semester; others rely solely on distance education.
As might be expected at such a large school, football and basketball games draw huge crowds. But student-athletes have plenty of other choices, too. U of I fields 10 men’s and 11 women’s teams in NCAA Division I and are part of the Big Ten Conference. The men’s gymnastics team won the national title in 2012. A leader in disability sports, the Fighting Illini have earned 15 national championships in men’s wheelchair basketball and 14 in women’s.
U of I’s stand out programs include library and information science, accounting, engineering, and condensed matter physics. Total annual research funding exceeds $600 million, and the university consistently ranks among the top five for National Science Foundation-funded research. Among faculty and alumni are 23 Nobel Prizewinners and 18 Pulitzer Prizewinners.