U.S. News & World Report Names 9 Universities in Illinois Among Best in Nation

U.S. News & World Report named nine universities in Illinois as some of the best in the nation for 2016, and two of them were among the top 12.

The schools were ranked based on their undergraduate academic reputation, freshmen retention rates, six-year graduation rates, ACT/SAT test scores, class sizes and faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving and were based on the class that began college in the fall of 2014.

The report outlined its two "pillars" upon which the rankings were based:

First, regionally accredited schools are categorized by their mission, which is derived from the breakdown of types of higher education institutions as refined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2010. The Carnegie classification, which is used extensively by higher education researchers, has been the basis of the Best Colleges ranking category system since our first rankings were published in 1983...

Once schools have been divided by category, we gather data from each college on up to 16 indicators of academic excellence. Each factor is assigned a weight that reflects our judgment about how much that measure matters. Finally, the colleges and universities in each category are ranked against their peers, based on their composite weighted score.

As the report on the rankings points out, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of "intangibles," or factors that go into college choice decisions by students and their families. On top of the metrics measured by U.S. News & World Report, finances, location, student life, areas of specialty, sports, student activities and many other factors must be considered before enrollment. But this list helps quantify a small portion of the variables facing future college students.

Here are the nine schools that were ranked, along with each college's acceptance rate, six-year graduation rate, test scores and national rank.