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10 Popular Colleges in Chicago, Illinois
The Chicago area is home to 40 nonprofit four-year colleges and universities. We've compiled a list of all Chicago colleges below.
Before that, though, let's take a look at 10 popular colleges in Chicago based on student enrollment, overall reputation, and academic prestige.
All school data below comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Tuition and fees are from 2022-2023, while acceptance rates, enrollment statistics, net prices, and number of applicants are from 2021.
1. University of Chicago
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $64,260
- Acceptance Rate: 6%
- Total Student Enrollment: 18,832
UChicago is among the world's top research institutions. Founded in 1890, the private university has a main campus in the Hyde Park neighborhood, which lies south of downtown Chicago.
Popular majors here include molecular engineering, neuroscience, and data science. Many consider UChicago on par with Ivy League schools due to its premier academics and innovative research.
2. Northwestern University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $63,468
- Acceptance Rate: 7%
- Total Student Enrollment: 23,409
Situated along the shore of Lake Michigan, Northwestern is a private research university in the suburb of Evanston, just 12 miles north of Chicago.
Northwestern's highest-ranking programs are journalism, business, education, and medicine. The school is among only a few universities ranked in the top 20 nationwide in multiple graduate education categories.
3. Illinois Institute of Technology
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $50,640
- Acceptance Rate: 66%
- Total Student Enrollment: 6,486
As Chicago's only technology-focused university, Illinois Tech is one of 22 institutions in the Association of Independent Technological Universities. The school offers degrees in fields like human sciences, applied technology, law, engineering, science, architecture, business, and design.
Founded in 1890 to expand access to education, Illinois Tech is often considered one of the best schools in Illinois for social mobility.
4. University of Illinois at Chicago
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $14,046 (in-state) | $28,654 (out-of-state)
- Acceptance Rate: 79%
- Total Student Enrollment: 34,199
UIC is the largest university in the Chicago metropolitan area and a popular choice among the city's residents. Just how popular is UIC? Around 1 in 10 Chicagoans with a college degree are UIC alums.
The most popular majors at the public research university include psychology, engineering, and the social sciences. UIC's main campus is in the Near West Side area, a mixed residential and urban space.
5. DePaul University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $42,840
- Acceptance Rate: 69%
- Total Student Enrollment: 21,670
A private institution and the country's largest Catholic university, DePaul has two campuses: a main campus in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and a satellite campus in downtown Chicago.
Here, you can choose from among over 130 undergraduate majors and 170 graduate programs across 10 colleges and schools. DePaul's business school is one of the oldest in the U.S. and home to a top-ranking entrepreneurship program.
6. Loyola University Chicago
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $60,192
- Acceptance Rate: 77%
- Total Student Enrollment: 17,498
Loyola is a private Jesuit research university with six campuses in the Chicago metropolitan area. The school's main campus lies in the Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods on lakefront property.
At Loyola, 98% of incoming first-year students receive grants or scholarships. Jesuit-based education at Loyola focuses on cura personalis, a Latin phrase meaning "care for the entire person."
7. Wheaton College
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $42,240
- Acceptance Rate: 86%
- Total Student Enrollment: 3,047
Wheaton is a private Evangelical Christian liberal arts college, which shares its name with the Chicago suburb it calls home. The institution's music school is internationally recognized and runs the only conservatory within an Evangelical school of higher education.
Some experts consider Wheaton to be the best Christian institution in the country. Wheaton offers about 40 majors, the most popular of which include business and management, psychology, and biological sciences.
8. Roosevelt University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $43,332
- Acceptance Rate: 88%
- Total Student Enrollment: 4,127
A private university with a main campus located in The Loop of downtown Chicago, Roosevelt is known for incorporating social justice issues into its curriculum.
Part of Roosevelt's 34-acre campus includes the Wabash Building, the fourth-tallest educational building in the world. Wabash provides housing for incoming first-year students and transfer students.
9. Northeastern Illinois University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $12,101 (in-state) | $22,192 (out-of-state)
- Acceptance Rate: 62%
- Total Student Enrollment: 6,440
NEIU is a public university and Hispanic-serving institution based in a residential area on the northwest side of Chicago. The school has been recognized for its diversity, with around 60% of students identifying as people of color.
NEIU offers undergraduate and master's degrees in arts and sciences, business and technology, and education. The most popular majors include computer science, psychology, and social work.
10. Columbia College Chicago
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $31,026
- Acceptance Rate: 96%
- Total Student Enrollment: 6,736
Columbia (not to be confused with Columbia University in New York) is a private art college in downtown Chicago. Founded as an oratory school in 1890, the school offers more than 60 degrees in creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business.
With over 96,000 alums, Columbia has one of the world's largest alumni networks of any arts and media college. About 16% of students are first-generation college students.
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List of All Colleges in Chicago
Below is a list of all four-year nonprofit colleges and universities in Chicago, including the Chicago suburbs. You can find information on enrollment, net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants for each school.
|School||Total Student Enrollment||Avg. Annual Net Price||Acceptance Rate||Number of Applicants|
|American Islamic College||19||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Chicago State University||2,366||$4,846||47%||4,805|
|Columbia College Chicago||6,736||$25,262||96%||7,218|
|Governors State University||4,395||$9,943||52%||1,168|
|Hebrew Theological College||170||$3,914||80%||5|
|Illinois Institute of Technology||6,486||$26,789||66%||6,521|
|Lake Forest College||1,690||$25,126||64%||4,358|
|Loyola University Chicago||17,498||$29,371||77%||37,824|
|Moody Bible Institute||2,606||$21,399||98%||298|
|National Louis University||7,315||$14,665||97%||1,518|
|National University of Health Sciences||466||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|North Central College||2,728||$26,207||68%||4,551|
|North Park University||2,749||$20,260||67%||4,053|
|Northeastern Illinois University||6,440||$14,133||62%||3,399|
|Oak Point University||566||N/A||71%||3,762|
|Saint Xavier University||3,749||$13,419||85%||7,780|
|School of the Art Institute of Chicago||3,559||$50,214||81%||5,835|
|St. Augustine College||737||$15,337||N/A||N/A|
|The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago||1,297||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Trinity Christian College||985||$14,700||76%||1,048|
|Trinity International University||1,330||$20,328||91%||373|
|University of Chicago||18,832||$33,727||6%||37,974|
|University of Illinois Chicago||34,199||$10,725||79%||22,791|
|University of St. Francis||3,426||$16,949||68%||1,574|
|VanderCook College of Music||252||$20,855||100%||26|
Frequently Asked Questions About Chicago Colleges and Universities
How many colleges and universities are in Chicago?
There are 21 nonprofit colleges and universities in Chicago, according to NCES. If you count Chicago's suburbs, the total increases to 40 — four public universities and 36 private schools.
More than 217,000 students were enrolled in Chicago-area colleges and universities as of fall 2021.
Is there an Ivy League school in Chicago?
There are no Ivy League schools in Chicago. The Ivy League is a collegiate conference comprising eight private research universities, all of which are based in the Northeast.
That said, Chicago is home to two top-ranked private institutions — the University of Chicago and Northwestern University — which many often consider to be on par with the Ivies.
What is the most prestigious school in Chicago?
Most would agree that the two most prestigious colleges in Chicago are the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.
UChicago has consistently ranked among the most elite universities in the U.S. since its inception in 1890. Located in the suburb of Evanston, Northwestern is highly ranked in many subjects and is best known for its top journalism, music, and STEM programs.
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