5 Cheapest Universities in Chicago

//5 Cheapest Universities in Chicago

While Chicago provides the charming hustle and bustle of an urban setting, it is also surrounded by relaxing natural settings. Sandy beaches provide a reprieve from concrete buildings, honking taxis, and busy roads. Chicago has a unique, public art scene that attracts many visitors as do attractions like museums, parks, zoos, and botanical gardens. In short, the city has something to offer for everyone, including an affordable college experience for students who don’t necessarily live in the state in which they want to attend college! Read on to learn about some of the most affordable universities in Chicago.


Cheap Universities in Chicago

1. Western Illinois University

  • Tuition : $8,541

WIU is committed to its students and offers a 13:1 student to teacher ratio. In addition to cheap tuition, Western Illinois University also offers a student employment program that allows students to work on campus to cover some of their academic costs. Student employees are encouraged to seek on-campus employment opportunities to build their skills and credentials and can even be awarded as the Student Employee of the Year. Students at WIU are not just encouraged to pursue an internship, many majors and programs require that students complete an internship to increase their employability. Students can even intern abroad for a unique experience outside of Chicago. Students who attend WIU are sure to feel that they got the “bang for their buck” and often enter the work force post-graduation with confidence.


2. DePaul University

  • Tuition : $37,626

DePaul is a historical, Catholic university in the city that was built in the 19th century. DePaul is very welcoming towards international students and is said to represent more than 60 countries. The university has also always advocated for both first-gen and financially disadvantaged students and in 2017, the university was named one of the nation’s Best Value Colleges by Forbes. Because of its generous financial aid, DePaul University is considered to be the cheapest universities in Chicago. The university has also received multiple awards for excellence in diversity. In terms of enrollment, DePaul ranks as one of the largest private schools in North America. While DePaul does have 11 residence halls, nearly 90% of students reportedly live in the city or surrounding area and commute to school every day, often utilizing the city’s excellent public transportation. The main campus houses five schools which include the College of Education, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Science and Health, the School of Music, and the Theatre School.


3. The University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Tuition: $ $14,281 to $16,416 out-of-state

Next on our list of cheap universities in Chicago is the University of Illinois at Chicago, which is the second oldest public university in the state and has a 74% acceptance rate. UIC is a popular choice for international students and over 30% of the student population can speak more than one language. There is also plenty to do around the university. Students might venture out for a meal off campus at popular restaurants like Pokelab, Cracked, or Sakanaya. Or, students might plan a weekend excursion to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio for a tour of the architect’s first home. Students can also easily access the Brookfield Zoo, the Chicago Botanical Gardens, and the Morton Arboretum by utilizing public transit. On campus, students may desire to take advantage of the Student Recreation Facility (SRF), which features a climbing wall or the Sport & Fitness Center (SFC) for a fully equipped training room. Law students hoping to study in the city of Chicago will be particularly interested in UIC because it is home to the city’s only public law school.


4. Chicago State University

  • Tuition: $20,617 out of state

While CSU had small beginnings, it is now a fully accredited, 4-year university. It offers a total of 36 undergraduate programs and 25 graduate programs. One of the most unique details about CSU’s history is that the school was originally housed in a railroad freight car. Under 60 students were enrolled, but the university has grown, expanded, and has even been recognized nationally. Now, the university is well-known for supporting students from underserved communities in Illinois. While the campus was once located in South Chicago, it has moved, and is now located much closer to the Loop. For this reason, students have easy access to all of the city’s amenities. Chicago State University also has a strong fraternity and sorority presence and proudly promotes that it contains chapters of all nine of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations. The university reports that its most popular majors are Business Administration and Management, Psychology, and Criminal Justice and Safety Studies. Notably, 96% of students receive some form of financial aid for their pursuit of higher education. Most graduates of CSU find jobs in major cities like Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.


5. Northeastern Illinois University

  • Tuition : $18,111

We end our list of cheap universities in Chicago with the Northeastern Illinois University. NEIU takes student health very seriously.  In fact, the university has been a smoke-free campus since 2015. Students will find a number of recreation activities such as swimming, Zumba, and water polo are open to them. All enrolled students can enter recreation facilities for free by presenting their student IDs. Students are provided with conveniences like complimentary towels and lockers. In addition to top-notch fitness facilities, students at Northeastern Illinois University will find that the campus boasts more than 70 student organizations, but students are also encouraged to create their own organizations if they can’t find a club that suits their interests. NIU also understands that college can be stressful—financially, academically, and socially. The university is dedicated to offering mental health and wellness services for students, faculty, and staff. Those interested can even get involved in a Mindfulness Meditation session mid-day on Mondays and Thursdays for a casual event intended to help calm the body and the mind. The university is also serious about educating students about what factors can contribute to stress and how students can cope with difficult situations. Importantly, Northeastern has been ranked the best at graduating students with the least amount of debt in the nation by both U.S. News & World Report and LendEDU.


I hope that this article on cheap universities in Chicago was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Cheap Tuition Category!