INA, Ill. (Aug. 21, 2018) – Rend Lake College has maintained the number one spot as the best community college in Illinois for a third straight year, based on an independent study by financial website WalletHub. The ranking is based on 17 key factors, ranging from cost and finances to educational and career outcomes.

The ranking, published this week, compares 715 community colleges from across the country. This year marks RLC’s fourth total appearance on the list. RLC – in 82nd place overall – is also the only Illinois community college in the top 200 across the country.

RLC landed 18th in the nation when it comes to educational outcomes, up from 52nd place in the 2017 ranking. Metrics used when comparing educational outcomes include first-year retention rate, graduation rate, transfer-out rate, credentials (degrees and certificates) awarded per 100 full-time equivalency students, share of full-time faculty, and student-faculty ratio.

The college also placed 43rd in the nation for career outcomes, including return on educational investment, student-loan default rate, median salary after attending, and former students earning above the average earnings of a high school graduate.

This year, the site also ranked RLC tied in first when it comes to highest return on educational investment among all of the colleges across the country. The others ranked in first for highest return on investment, or the ratio of starting salary for graduates to the cost of education, includes two colleges in California, and one in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

Terry Wilkerson, RLC President, said he’s pleased to find RLC has maintained the first place ranking among Illinois colleges.

“The WalletHub ranking shows we’re doing something right. This year, with the addition of the number one spot on the list of colleges who provide the highest return on investment, is proof of our commitment to the community and students in our district,” said Wilkerson. “I want to recognize our faculty and staff for continuing to go above and beyond, and our students for making Rend Lake College their number one choice.”

According to WalletHub, the information and data included in the ranking was gathered from the National Center for Educational Statistics, US News, U.S. Department of Education, Council for Community & Economic Research, and College Measures. To view the WalletHub ranking, visit

This year marks the college’s fourth appearance on the list. Start your journey at RLC by visiting

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