You've probably noticed over the last few years that Illinois rarely makes a good showing in lists of "The Best _______ in America," but we do rank highly in many of the lists that a state would prefer not to. However, when it comes to colleges and universities, Forbes magazine says we're doing really well here in the Land of Lincoln.

Forbes' new rankings include the top 660 colleges and universities in America, and here's what they were looking for:

This is the ninth annual FORBES ranking of the best colleges and universities in the country. It is our answer to the debate over whether higher education is worth it: For these outstanding institutions, we give a resounding yes. It is our definitive guide to the top 660 schools.

This list of 660 schools distinguishes itself from competitors by our belief in “output” over “input.” Meaning, we’re not interested in what gets a student into college, like our peers who focus heavily on selectivity metrics such as high school class rank, SAT scores and the like. Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting out of college?

To come up with their numbers, Forbes tallied up these factors:

The results show Illinois has 26 of the top 660 colleges and/or universities in the country. The highest-ranking in the state goes to Northwestern University, which came in at #15 out of the 660.

Here's a look at some of Illinois' schools, with their state ranking first, followed by their national ranking:

  • Northwestern University (1/15)
  • University of Chicago (2/20)
  • U of I Urbana-Champaign (3/72)
  • Wheaton College (4/87)
  • Knox College (5/191)
  • Illinois Wesleyan (6/234)
  • Bradley University (7/259)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology (8/264)
  • Loyola University (9/279)
  • DePaul University (10/280)

Closer to home, Northern Illinois University in Dekalb gets a state ranking of #20, with a national ranking of #606.

The nation's number one college or university, according to Forbes, is Stanford University, followed by Williams College, Princeton University, Harvard, and the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology.