Colleges in Chicago: Full List of Schools
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A transportation and commercial hub since the 19th century, Chicago attracts people worldwide to settle and study. Higher education institutions here include the world-famous University of Chicago and many renowned public colleges and universities.
A Chicago city government report from June 2023 gives many reasons you should apply to colleges in Chicago. For one, Chicago features a robust public transportation system, making it easy for students to get around. Secondly, its cost of living is lower than that of many other major U.S. cities.
Read on to learn more about popular schools and for a full list of colleges in Chicago, Illinois.
5 Popular Colleges in Chicago
Here are five popular colleges in Chicago to jumpstart your college search. We chose these schools based on factors like number of applicants, academic quality, and overall prestige.
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $36,991
- Acceptance Rate: 5%
- Total Student Enrollment: 18,339
The birthplace of the first nuclear reactor and a highly prestigious private university, UChicago offers a sprawling campus dotted with beautiful Gothic architecture. The school also maintains partnerships with international universities, allowing you to choose from over 70 study abroad programs.
Although UChicago's average annual net price exceeds that of public colleges in Chicago, the university's numerous merit scholarship programs can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs. You could qualify for even more funding if you graduated from a Chicago Public Schools high school.
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $22,095
- Acceptance Rate: 7%
- Total Student Enrollment: 23,161
Educating over 23,000 students across three campuses, Northwestern features a 6-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Based in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, the university offers dozens of majors, including anthropology, film and media studies, and teaching. What's more, its online graduate programs let you complete your degree from anywhere.
The 240-acre campus features many landmarks, including The Rock, a prominent boulder students may paint if they guard it overnight. In 2008, Northwestern became a global university when it opened a branch in Doha, Qatar.
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $10,384
- Acceptance Rate: 79%
- Total Student Enrollment: 33,747
At UIC, you can select from over 100 undergraduate majors, including biomedical engineering, Earth and environmental sciences, and public health. The university also offers professional certificates in the healthcare field.
UIC is home to eight residence halls, and the campus provides convenient access to public transportation. Finally, the school's Chancellor's Fellows program awards up to $7,500 per year to eligible students so long as they maintain good grades.
Featured Online Programs
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $37,511
- Acceptance Rate: 79%
- Total Student Enrollment: 16,899
Consider Loyola if you want a school that values environmental sustainability and inclusion. Here, you can earn a bachelor's degree in fields like art history, economics, and software engineering. The school also offers nine online bachelor's degree-completion programs, such as an RN-to-BSN program for nurses.
A private Jesuit Catholic university, Loyola is a bit on the pricier side; however, incoming first-year students can qualify for a $10,000-$25,000 scholarship based on their high school performance. This scholarship renews each year if you maintain full-time status and a minimum 2.0 GPA.
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $32,151
- Acceptance Rate: 70%
- Total Student Enrollment: 20,917
Situated just north of downtown Chicago, DePaul educates over 20,000 students. You can select from more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs here. In addition, the university offers 3,800 extracurricular organizations to enhance your educational experience.
When it comes to career support, DePaul's Career Center can help you make the most of your education with in-person and virtual services, such as Big Interview and videos from job-hunting experts.
List of All Colleges in Chicago
We've created a complete list of all four-year nonprofit universities in Chicago and Chicago suburbs. You can use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.
The following table uses 2022-2023 school data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Schools with fewer than 500 undergraduates were not included in this list.
|School||Total Student Enrollment||Avg. Annual Net Price||Acceptance Rate||Number of Applicants|
|Chicago State University||2,317||$6,446||49%||7,404|
|Columbia College Chicago||6,646||$28,387||95%||7,701|
|Governors State University||4,427||$9,833||57%||1,865|
|Illinois Institute of Technology||6,943||$28,702||61%||7,243|
|Lake Forest College||1,753||$27,839||60%||4,665|
|Loyola University Chicago||16,899||$37,511||79%||40,909|
|Moody Bible Institute||2,410||$21,368||94%||324|
|National Louis University||7,525||$14,769||92%||3,181|
|North Central College||2,695||$25,285||61%||5,099|
|North Park University||2,660||$19,029||68%||5,039|
|Northeastern Illinois University||5,756||$14,262||63%||4,603|
|Saint Xavier University||3,523||$11,302||84%||7,833|
|School of the Art Institute of Chicago||3,532||$53,923||79%||6,075|
|Trinity Christian College||908||$18,822||71%||706|
|University of Chicago||18,339||$36,991||5%||37,522|
|University of Illinois Chicago||33,747||$10,384||79%||23,562|
|University of St. Francis||3,297||$18,560||58%||2,198|
Cost of Living in Chicago
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Chicago metropolitan-area residents paid considerably more for housing than the national average in 2020-2021. They also spent more on education and healthcare.
That said, transportation and entertainment costs were below the national average.
Compared to other major cities, Chicago ranks as one of the more affordable for housing. BLS data shows that Chicago residents benefit from a lower cost of living than those in Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and San Francisco.
Nevertheless, Chicago's food and transportation costs rank above those in other large cities.
You can reduce your cost of living in many ways, such as by enrolling in an online program, applying for scholarships, and living with relatives or roommates.
Benefits of Studying in Chicago
There are many reasons to consider colleges in Chicago, such as good public transportation and unique neighborhoods. Delicious food and a melting pot of cultures also make the Windy City an exciting place to study and even call home.
The latest BLS data from August 2023 shows that Chicago residents enjoy a higher average salary than the typical American, earning about $100 more per week.
Chicago's diversified economy also makes it an attractive place to study. Professional services, education and health services, financial activities, and trade make up more than half of the local economy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in Chicago
What is the No. 1 college in Chicago?
The University of Illinois Chicago ranks as the No. 1 college in Chicago for student enrollment, while the University of Chicago ranks first for selectivity. UChicago also consistently ranks as one of the world's best research institutions.
Ultimately, the best school for you will depend on your unique needs. As you research colleges in Chicago, Illinois, be sure to weigh different factors, like schools' graduate outcomes, tuition rates, and financial aid opportunities.
What is the prettiest Chicago campus?
In 2017, Travel + Leisure ranked the University of Chicago campus as the most beautiful in Illinois. Both the historical architecture and Hyde Park make UChicago an oasis within Chicago's bustling metropolis.
Is Chicago a good city for college?
Chicago can be a great city for college depending on what you wish to study and get out of your college experience.
The metropolis is home to many top-notch, academically rigorous colleges, such as UChicago and UIC. It also offers tons of activities and boasts many internship and career opportunities for recent graduates.
In June 2023, the Chicago Police Department reported fewer incidents of violent crime compared to 2022. Colleges in Chicago provide extensive resources and other tools to keep you safe both on and off campus.