Chicago Area Colleges and Universities

There are over 30 colleges and universities within the Chicago area. Read about the schools with the most program variety, lowest net price, highest graduation rates and lowest student-faculty ratios to find the school for you.

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Most Program Variety

With over 30 schools available in the Chicago area, students that aren't exactly sure what they want to study can choose from a wide variety of programs. Listed below are the three schools that offer the most diverse academic programs and degree levels.

1 - DePaul University

Located in Chicago, DePaul University is a 4-year private institution that offers about 300 undergraduate and graduate programs through ten colleges and schools. In 23 areas of study, including arts, law, education, communication and business, students can find programs ranging from bachelor's to doctoral degrees. Certificate programs are also available. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report ranked the university 134th among national universities and 58th among the best online bachelor's programs in 2013.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2011-2012, there were 6,730 degrees conferred, with general studies the most popular major for bachelor's seekers, and business administration and management the most popular master's program. Additionally, law was the most popular doctoral program. Adult students interested in furthering their education may want to check out the School for New Learning, which offers customized individual learning programs.

2 - University of Illinois at Chicago

Ranked 77th among top public schools by the U.S. News and World Report in 2013, the University of Illinois at Chicago is a public research university that offers over 240 undergraduate and graduate programs. The university offers students 25 areas of study, including applied health sciences, architecture and arts, business, education, engineering, medicine and public health. The NCES stated the most popular bachelor's program in 2011-2012 was psychology followed by biology. Most master's holders were concentrated in the fields of business administration and social work. Medicine was the most sought program for doctoral candidates, stated NCES, and the University of Illinois at Chicago was ranked 59th among the best medical schools for research by U.S. News and World Report in 2013.

3 - Roosevelt University

Located in downtown Chicago, Roosevelt University is a 4-year private school that was ranked 78th among regional universities in the midwest by U.S. News and World Report in 2013. The school, which also has a campus location in Schaumburg, Illinois, offers 126 undergraduate and graduate programs in 20 major areas of study.

Available programs range from less than 1-year certificates to doctoral programs. Fields of study are available in business, computer sciences, education, visual arts and social sciences, and there were 1,790 undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded in 2011-2012, according to the NCES. In 2011, the most popular undergraduate and graduate programs were in the business, management and marketing fields.

Lowest Net Price

To ascertain the average net cost for U.S. colleges and universities, the NCES subtracts the government or institutional financial aid amount received by students from the total attendance cost. In the Chicago area, the net price of most schools ranges from under $5,000 to more than $40,000; however, the schools profiled below featured a total net price of less than $9,000 in 2010-2011.

1 - City Colleges of Chicago - Harold Washington College

With an average net cost of $4,231 in 2010-2011, this 2-year public college is the area's most affordable college or university. As of 2012-2013, the NCES estimated the yearly tuition and fees were $3,070 for in-district, $5,961 for in-state and $7,498 for out-of-state students. Off-campus room and board costs were $10,464 per year. In 2011, the percentage of first-time undergraduate students receiving financial aid was 75%.

2 - City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College

Malcolm X College is the second most affordable school, with an average net price of $7,400. The college has less than 8,000 students and offers access to government and institutional grants and scholarships. Of the first-time entering undergraduates, there were 88% receiving some form of aid in 2011, according to the NCES. The room and board and tuition and fees cost were the same as Harold Washington College.

3 - University of Illinois at Chicago

With a 2010-2011 net cost of $8,697, the University of Illinois at Chicago, which offers undergraduate and graduate education to more than 28,000, is an affordable option for students seeking a 4-year university. In 2012-2013, the yearly tuition and fees were $13,122 for in-state students and $25,512 for out-of-state students, while the on-campus room and board was $10,399, stated NCES. Additionally, College Board statistics stated that the average indebtedness at graduation was $22,256, and 61% of students had their need met.

Highest Graduation Rates

According to the NCES, the graduation rates are reported for full-time students that graduated in 150% of the 'normal time' (e.g. six years for a bachelor's degree). In the Chicago area, the schools reported graduation rates greater than 50%. The profiled schools listed graduation rates ranging from 54%-66% for students who began their studies in 2005.

1 - DePaul University

The NCES listed a 66% overall graduation rate for DePaul University students. Among these graduates, 49% of students completed their program in four years. Additionally, the first-year retention rates were 86% for freshman returning for their sophomore year.

2 - Illinois Institute of Technology

Located in Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology is a research university that features a student population of 7,787 and an overall graduation rate of 64%. Of the students who began in 2005, 34% of students graduated in four years. Of the first-time freshmen entering the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2010, 89% returned to the school for their sophomore year in 2011, stated the NCES.

3 - University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago boasts a 54% graduation rate for students who completed in 150% of the 'normal time' for program completion (or six years). In 2010, the NCES reported that 79% of full-time and 42% of part-time students returned to school in 2011. Additionally, 27% of students who began their program in Fall 2005 completed their program in four years.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Chicago is a diverse area that offers students several educational opportunities; however, those looking for individualized attention may want to consider a school with a low student-faculty ratio. Profiled below are the three Chicago schools that listed a 12 to 1 or less student-faculty ratio, based on NCES statistics in 2011.

1- National Louis University

With a relatively low student population of 5,679 and 91% of classes with fewer than 20 students, this Chicago private not-for-profit university offers a low student-faculty ratio of 8 to 1, according to NCES. As of Fall 2011, the university featured 208 full-time and 364 part-time faculty. According to the U.S. News and World Report, 75% of full-time faculty held a Ph.D. or terminal degree.

2 - Columbia College - Chicago

With a student-faculty ratio of 10 to 1, Columbia College - Chicago is a 4-year private college that offers average class sizes of fewer than 20 students. Like National Louis University, this college offers both full- and part-time instructors. As of Fall 2011, the NCES listed 371 full-time and 1,895 part-time instructional faculty.

3 - Illinois Institute of Technology

U.S. News and World Report stated that more than 50% of the classes at Illinois Institute of Technology had less than 20 students, along with a student-faculty ratio of 11 to 1. The school features 453 full-time and 317 part-time instructional faculty members. In addition to instructional faculty members, the school has 465 graduate assistants.

Chicago Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Programs Levels Offered Chicago Ranking
City Colleges of Chicago - Harold Washington College Chicago, IL 2-year, public Certificate; associate's degree Lowest Net Cost
City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College Chicago, IL 2-year, public Certificate; associate's degree 2nd Lowest Net Cost
Columbia College - Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit Certificate; bachelor's and master's degrees 2nd lowest student-faculty ratio
DePaul University Chicago, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit Certificate; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Most Program Variety,
Highest Graduation Rates
Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees 2nd Highest Graduation Rates,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
National Louis University Chicago, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit Certificate; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Roosevelt University Chicago, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit Certificate; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees 3rd Most Program Variety
University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, public Certificate; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees 2nd Most Program Variety,
3rd Lowest Net Price,
3rd Highest Graduation Rates
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