University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

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#57, overall score 59.25/100

Fun Fact:

The university library system holds 24 million items, including 12 million books.

Why should Jewish students attend University of Illinois? “Jewish life at the University of Illinois has something for everyone. Hillel is an opportunity for students to build their Jewish experience while finding their community and their home on a large campus. This student-run space holds religious and spiritual exploration, such as a weekly Soul Fitness exercise Torah story, Israel education, social experiences like our barn dance and much more. Our students have diverse backgrounds, from all walks of Jewish life. We have a reform, conservative and orthodox community that engages through services, holiday programming and other social gatherings. Our students are constantly working in the Champaign-Urbana community, taking their Jewish experience and knowledge into other spaces on campus. Between our Israel Week celebration once a semester to our Rosh Chodesh Women’s Gatherings once a month, Hillel is here to empower every student to create the positive experience they want while on campus and beyond.” — Bari Goldman, Springboard Fellow, Illini Hillel


  • Location: Champaign, Ill.
  • Region: Midwest
  • Campus type: College town
  • Public/Private: Public
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 33,932
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 3,250
  • Jewish population share: 10%
  • Student origin: 86% in-state / 14% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Daily Illini
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Fighting Illini
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Illinois Ultimate / Menace

COST & AID Score: 7.5/15

  • Score: 7.5/15
  • In-state tuition: $15,868
  • Out-of-state tuition: $31,988
  • Room & board costs: $11,308
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $14,652
  • Average loan debt: $25,222
  • Starting median salary: $58,600
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: Karson Family Scholarship

ACADEMICS Score: 8.33/20

  • Score: 8.33/20
  • Acceptance rate: 60%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 20:1
  • Median SAT range: 1280-1480
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Yes
  • Hebrew major: No

ISRAEL Score: 13/20

SAFETY Score: 2/11

  • Score: 2/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 6
  • Campus crime rate: 2.39/1,000 students (medium-low)
  • City crime rate: 39.77/1,000 people (medium-high)
  • LGBT center: Yes

What Students Say:

“The university could better call out anti-Zionist acts that are hidden anti-Semitic attacks.”

JEWISH LIFE Score: 28.42/34

  • Score: 28.42/34
  • Hillel: Illini Hillel
  • Chabad: Illini Chabad
  • OU-JLIC: Yes
  • Other Jewish outreach group: JET - Jewish Education Team
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi, ΣAM, ZBT
  • Jewish sororities: AEPhi, SDT
  • Jewish dorm: Bromley Hall, Allen Hall
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 9
  • Active Chabad clubs: 7
  • Hillel Friday night services: 3
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 125
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 100
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 1 (Reform)
  • Eruv: Yes
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Lee Falk
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: There is a strong community of Russian Jewish students at the University of Illinois that have come together to create a club that speaks Russian, hosts make-your-own pierogi nights and truly celebrates a commonality they have with one another.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? Mostly from Chicago, but from all over the country and all over the world.
  • Kosher food details: There is a full kosher mean plan on campus supervised by Chabad and the university. Lunch and dinner can be purchased all across campus. There is a kosher dairy cafe in the Hillel building for lunch Monday through Thursday, and Hillel also offers free kosher dinners through programming in the building. Kosher food is available in the building for lunch and dinner during the holidays. There is kosher dining for lunch and dinner in Allen Hall, and Chabad serves kosher dinner every Thursday at Bromley Hall. Chabad has a kosher stand at all weekday men’s basketball games. There is also an OV certified ice cream parlor in town.

What Students Say:

“The university has a large Jewish community with lots of resources, but there is a lack of Orthodox presence.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

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