Northwestern University tops in Illinois for athletic student aid

Northwestern University spends $40,057 per player on student aid for its sports team athletes -- the highest rate among Illinois colleges -- according to an Illinois Business Daily analysis of U.S. Department of Education data. 

In comparison, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had the second-highest athletic aid rate for its teams ($20,985 per player), followed by DePaul University ($20,333 per player).

In total, Northwestern spent $19.1 million on athletic aid for its 478 student athletes in 2016.

In Illinois, the 70 colleges with sports teams spent a total of more than $140.1 million on athletic student aid. 

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education compiles athletics data annually from more than 2,000 schools receiving federal financial aid. The Illinois Business Daily analysis was based on those numbers.

More than 1,300 of those schools provide student aid to players on sports teams. In all, they spent more than $3.88 billion in 2016 on aid for 425,849 players.

Total athletic student aid among Illinois colleges

SchoolDivisionUndergraduate EnrollmentTotal Athletic Student AidTotal

Team Participation

Athletic Student Aid Per Athlete
Northwestern UniversityNCAA Division I-FBS8,249$19,147,191478$40,057
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignNCAA Division I-FBS32,126$12,506,785596$20,985
DePaul UniversityNCAA Division I without football13,126$6,221,958306$20,333
Northern Illinois UniversityNCAA Division I-FBS12,323$7,757,914458$16,939
Chicago State UniversityNCAA Division I without football1,464$2,020,597141$14,330
Loyola University ChicagoNCAA Division I without football10,261$4,580,111327$14,006
Southern Illinois University-CarbondaleNCAA Division I-FCS10,509$6,065,556458$13,244
Bradley UniversityNCAA Division I without football4,278$4,215,831330$12,775
University of Illinois at ChicagoNCAA Division I without football16,408$4,912,655405$12,130
Trinity International


NAIA Division I631$2,504,074225$11,129
Illinois State UniversityNCAA Division I-FCS17,420$6,249,539589$10,610
Southwestern Illinois


NJCAA Division I3,860$1,268,620136$9,328
Southern Illinois University-EdwardsvilleNCAA Division I without football9,883$2,528,010297$8,512
Robert Morris University IllinoisNAIA Division II2,253$9,090,7641,089$8,348
Kankakee Community


NJCAA Division II1,064$789,768101$7,819
Saint Xavier UniversityNAIA Division II2,599$2,708,814348$7,784
Western Illinois UniversityNCAA Division I-FCS7,482$3,648,799469$7,780
University of St FrancisNAIA Division II1,320$4,144,690548$7,563
Judson UniversityNAIA Division I786$2,323,488311$7,471
Lewis UniversityNCAA Division II without football3,741$3,572,390507$7,046
Quincy UniversityNCAA Division II with football1,035$3,338,070481$6,940
Lake Land CollegeNJCAA Division I2,261$592,68889$6,659
Eastern Illinois UniversityNCAA Division I-FCS5,117$3,660,782567$6,456
Lincoln CollegeNJCAA Division III727$1,904,489298$6,391
McKendree UniversityNCAA Division II with football1,820$4,929,848780$6,320
Danville Area Community CollegeNJCAA Division II973$441,71777$5,737
Olivet Nazarene UniversityNAIA Division II3,019$4,525,982798$5,672
John A Logan CollegeNJCAA Division I1,899$543,541102$5,329
University of Illinois at SpringfieldNCAA Division II without football1,896$1,545,073291$5,310
Trinity Christian CollegeNAIA Division II903$1,564,398300$5,215
Wabash Valley CollegeNJCAA Division I464$434,63487$4,996
Rend Lake CollegeNJCAA Division I1,135$549,376111$4,949
Heartland Community


NJCAA Division II2,107$459,81299$4,645
Frontier Community CollegeNJCAA Division I257$239,70953$4,523
Kaskaskia CollegeNJCAA Division I1,233$559,778137$4,086
Southeastern Illinois CollegeNJCAA Division I457$275,16270$3,931
Lincoln Trail CollegeNJCAA Division I386$396,934105$3,780
Illinois Central CollegeNJCAA Division II3,082$571,313153$3,734
South Suburban CollegeNJCAA Division II1,328$483,499132$3,663
Governors State UniversityNAIA Division II1,923$249,66369$3,618
Lincoln Land Community CollegeNJCAA Division II2,269$378,286107$3,535
John Wood Community CollegeNJCAA Division II965$230,81066$3,497
Shawnee Community


NJCAA Division I739$235,04670$3,358
Lewis and Clark Community CollegeNJCAA Division I1,731$463,200146$3,173
Olney Central CollegeNJCAA Division I479$253,90690$2,821
Sauk Valley Community CollegeNJCAA Division I792$271,79298$2,773
City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright CollegeNJCAA Division II3,149$66,16524$2,757
City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King CollegeNJCAA Division I1,570$112,19241$2,736
City Colleges of Chicago-Olive-Harvey CollegeNJCAA Division II781$98,08636$2,725
Carl Sandburg CollegeNJCAA Division II929$365,080135$2,704
Black Hawk CollegeNJCAA Division II1,909$239,80590$2,665
Prairie State CollegeNJCAA Division II1,400$272,231107$2,544
Parkland CollegeNJCAA Division II2,978$378,840155$2,444
City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X CollegeNJCAA Division I2,420$137,51661$2,254
Lincoln Christian UniversityNAIA Division II357$167,57786$1,949
Roosevelt UniversityNAIA Division II2,250$386,419209$1,849
Highland Community


NJCAA Division I823$157,81799$1,594
City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman CollegeNJCAA Division I1,599$75,98052$1,461
Kishwaukee CollegeNJCAA Division II1,570$65,42450$1,308
Moraine Valley Community CollegeNJCAA Division II6,186$218,468173$1,263
City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley CollegeNJCAA Division I1,901$40,84534$1,201
Benedictine UniversityNCAA Division III

with football

College of Lake CountyNJCAA Division II3,808$148,829125$1,191
Triton CollegeOther3,107$223,740197$1,136
Spoon River CollegeNJCAA Division II727$48,49843$1,128
McHenry County CollegeNJCAA Division II1,944$129,688115$1,128
Morton CollegeNJCAA Division II1,253$137,140129$1,063
Oakton Community CollegeNJCAA Division II2,596$141,796158$897
Waubonsee Community CollegeNJCAA Division II3,101$123,961147$843
Illinois Valley Community CollegeNJCAA Division II1,256$111,137132$842
Source: U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education

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