5 Cheapest Universities in Chicago for International Students

5 Cheapest Universities in Chicago for International Students

Last Updated on August 29, 2023 by Akwaowo Akpan

This article is on cheapest universities in Chicago for international students. The city of Chicago consists of numerous colleges and institutes for higher studies, and most of them are often very expensive to get into. Especially for international students, exchange programs and freshmen costs are even higher than US citizens.

For students looking for an affordable place to study, here are the cheapest universities in Chicago. All of them provide greatly affordable tuition fees even for international admissions and offers broad fields of study opportunities.

Cheap Universities in Chicago

1. Chicago State University

Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 7100 to 11000 USD
Chicago State University (CSU) is one of the cheapest universities in Chicago for international students. It’s a public university and was founded in 1867 in Illinois. Currently, about 2674 students have enrolled here along with 260 academic staffs, which makes a great student to teacher ratio. It holds 5 colleges and a total of 56-degree programs. Pharmaceutical studies are best here, and CSU is considered the best school for pharmacy in the Midwest. Beyond undergraduate studies, it offers many affordable professional program fees ranging from 50 to 175 USD per credit hour.

CSU is a great place for international students seeking admission within financial walls. Among the total students, more than 30% are international, coming from over 28 countries. This makes CSU a diverse and multicultural institute. Apart from studying, it also has more than 80 student organizations, a moderately large library for extensive studies, and an automated library system for efficient handling. US News ranked Chicago State University in 120th place among regional universities in Midwest.

2. Northwestern Illinois University

Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 9000 to 10000 USD per term
Next on our list of cheapest universities in Chicago is the Northwestern Illinois University (NIU), a public university founded in DeKalb in 1895. Along with an affordable tuition fee range, it’s also a national research school. A total of 12277 students and 3291 academic staff are here within its 6 campuses, having a 13:1 student to faculty ratio. Among them, 735 international students are here from 118 different countries, and more than 230000 alumni are spread worldwide. To maintain quality, NIU offers nationally accredited programs. Some of its courses are also highly ranked.

Among the 7 colleges and 42 schools and departments, NIU offers 56 majors, 73 minors, 7 pre-professional programs, and 24 doctoral programs. As part of R2 High Research university, undergraduate students receive over 20000 annual research hours. They can also study abroad in 75 countries for many courses. Apart from studying, NIU has more than 300 student organizations and 6000 of its students receive scholarships. General admission and scholarship considerations require a 3.0 cumulative GPA. US News placed Northwestern Illinois University at 300th place nationally.

3. East-West University, Chicago

Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 7000 USD per term
East-West University is a private yet affordable university in Chicago, which was founded in 1980. It operates within a quarterly academic calendar and has about 755 undergraduate students. The university is relatively small in area, having three academic buildings. East-West University boasts the 2nd lowest student loan debt per graduate in the country, because of having a very low tuition fee. It has a less selective application procedure and the application fee is 300 non-refundable USD.

East-West University offers 8 study programs, among which 7 are a bachelor and 1 associate program for liberal arts. For international students, the university offers up to a 30% tuition fee discount as an institutional scholarship. Besides these, it offers loans, grants, and work-study opportunities for students in need. For the rolling admission system, students can apply to the university all year long, and after processing, they’ll be placed under a quarter. US News placed East-West University in 180th place among National Liberal Arts Colleges and 188th for the top performer on social mobility.

4. Roosevelt University

Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 31000 to 39000 USD per yea
Roosevelt University is a private institution founded in 1945. It has 4 campuses within Illinois, and 4071 students are currently admitted here with 197 teachers, among which 87% are Ph.D. holders. It has a student to faculty ratio of 10:1 and an average class size of 18 persons. The university has 6 colleges for art, business, education, and pharmacy, and offers more than 120-degree programs. Among them, 64 are undergraduate majors, 38 minors, 54 graduate, and 2 doctoral programs. Besides studies, students maintain over 50 organizations for various activities.

The Wabash academic building of the university is the 4th largest academic building in the world, offering luxury views. For international students, ACT and SAT scores are required to get admitted, and the fees are relatively low. The application fee is 40 USD non-refundable. Students also get financial aids like scholarships, loans, and Federal Pell Grant. Roosevelt University offers luxury and plenty of space for students at an affordable range. It is ranked 300th in national universities by the US News.

5. DePaul University

Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 40000 to 41000 USD per year
We end our list of affordable universities in Chicago with DePaul University, a private institution founded in 1898 as a Catholic university. It has 2 campuses, and a total of 21922 students with 950 academic faculty. It is one of the R2 Doctoral universities for high research activities. The student to faculty ratio is 15:1 here. The university has 10 colleges and schools, and more than 130 undergraduate and 175 graduate programs. It is also friendly for international students. Students from 50 states and 114 countries are currently studying here under a quarterly system.

Students also get the benefit to study abroad in 30 countries. DePaul University maintains less than 40 students per class, and it offers nationally ranked programs in game design, business, arts, and communication. The university is very affordable in terms of finance. The placement exam for admission is 50 USD, and an additional 170-290 USD is required for health insurance fees for international students besides the tuition fee. DePaul University is 3rd best college cities in the US according to The Princeton Review.


  • Akwaowo Akpan

    Hi there, welcome to Online Studying Services. As a fan of authentic information and a student, I devise this means to offer reliable information to international students wishing to either study abroad or online. Thanks for stopping by!

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