TOP 10 Cheap Universities In Chicago For International Students

Many people believe that Northeastern Illinois University is the cheapest in Chicago for international students since it offers relatively the lowest tuition fees in that area, sitting a little ahead of a few other inexpensive universities in Illinois, such as the University of Chicago and Chicago State University.

However, there is a handful of universities in Chicago that also offer affordable fees. In the rest of this article, we shall look at in-depth details on some of the cheapest universities in Chicago for international students.

10 Best Cheap Universities in Chicago for Foreign Students

Many international students with financial needs find it hard to afford the tuition fees of universities in Chicago, especially when there is no financial aid. You can expect the standard of living in Chicago to be pretty high, even for students, given that it is one of the most popular places for internationals.

So, schooling in such an environment is expected to strain your wallet. This is why many international students prefer to secure an education in Chicago through scholarships or the support of wealthy relatives.

Luckily, some educational institutions stand out in the area of affordability:

  1. National University of Health Sciences
  2. Western Illinois University
  3. Northeastern Illinois University
  4. Moody Bible Institute
  5. The University of Illinois at Chicago
  6. Chicago State University
  7. Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  8. DePaul University
  9. Illinois Institute of Technology
  10. Rush University

Before we go into the details, you should know that choosing between public institutions and private colleges is the first step to identifying what cheap university in the United States would suit you.

This is because there are more public institutions with lower tuition fees for international students than there are private colleges since, for the former, government financing is involved.

It should not surprise you that most of the cheap universities in Chicago are public institutions. Here is a review of the affordable universities that international students can attend in Chicago without breaking the bank:

1. National University of Health Sciences

The very first university in Chicago that Fastlagos recommends for international students looking for cheap institutions in the area is the National University of Health Sciences (NUHS)

Although it is a private university, NUHS offers one of the best affordable tuition rates for students who do not reside in Chicago but wishes to attend school there.

The school primarily offers professional degrees in naturopathic medicine and acupuncture. If you are an international student looking to pursue a degree in Oriental medicine or biomedical sciences, the National University of Health Science is also a great option.

Located in the Lombard suburb of Chicago, this institution operates six clinics in Illinois and Florida and has been working since 1906.

2. Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University is an apparent option for students who want to attend school in Chicago with a constrained budget. Moreso, international students planning to study for a bachelor’s degree at this institution must prepare a tuition fee of $15,000 to $17,000 per year.

This is very affordable when compared with the fees of most other universities in Illinois. Meanwhile, one huge advantage of the school is the student-to-teacher ratio which is 13:1.

This university also has a student employment program that allows international students to work on campus to foot their educational expenses.

International students who have passed through WIU are known for their post-graduation confidence, especially in employability, since the school offers a favorable ground for students to intern abroad for a unique experience outside Chicago.

Meanwhile, the on-campus employment opportunities at WIU are open to both domestic and international students since it is the leading way the school builds students’ skills and credentials.

3. Northeastern Illinois University

The Northeastern Illinois University also makes it to our list of cheap universities in Chicago with Northeastern Illinois University, popularly known as NEIU.

Aside from the inexpensive fees, international students can also take advantage of the school’s provision of recreational activities such as swimming, Zumba, and water polo. All these are made available because NEIU takes their student health seriously.

Considering how the institution has maintained a smoke-free campus for the past seven years makes sense.

It is one of the best considerations for international students who are not yet settled into the Chicago climate. The school has over 70 student organizations and top-notch fitness facilities. The concern about students’ health and well-being makes Northeastern Illinois University stand out among other affordable schools.

This is reflected in their provision of mental health and wellness services for students, faculty, and staff, which can help international students to escape the eventuality of financial, academic, and social stress that comes with schooling abroad.

According to authority platforms like the U.S. News, World Report, and LendEDU, Northeastern Illinois University is among the best at graduating students with the least amount of debt, making good calls for students abroad.

4. Moody Bible Institute

Another affordable university in Chicago worth enrolling in for international students is the Moody Bible Institute.

The Illinois-based private Christian college would only appeal to international students who are conservative evangelicals. In other words, the school has a doctrinal heritage followed by the student body and administration.

In other words, the scope of this school is not as liberal as the universities mentioned above. This explains why it has seemingly the lowest tuition rate on this list, but it doesn’t crack the top.

When it comes to undergraduate studies, this is one of the best affordable options in Chicago since you are only required to pay as low as $11,400 for tuition. Before applying, you’d want to know the courses offered at Moody Bible Institute HERE.

5. The University of Illinois at Chicago

International students interested in law would find the University of Illinois in Chicago as their best option since the university is the city’s only public law school with reasonable tuition.

Otherwise known as UIC, the university is the second oldest public university in the state and has a 74% acceptance rate which means, despite the low tuition expense, it is still pretty easy to get accepted into the institution, even as an international student.

The fun part of schooling at UIC is that it exposes you to diverse ways to have the best weekends off-campus, ranging from the plethora of restaurants to the Brookfield Zoo and Morton Arboretum.

6. Chicago State University

University applicants looking to study in Chicago but not In-state students can consider Chicago State University (CSU) as one of the best affordable options. The university is fully accredited, and the study spans four yours.

Despite the low tuition fee for international students, the public institution offers 36 and 25 undergraduate and graduate programs, respectively. The campus of CSU used to be in South Chicago but is now closer to the loop, making it easy for general students to take advantage of the city’s amenities.

International students at this university usually enroll for a degree in Business Administration and Management, Psychology, and Criminal Justice and Safety Studies. Plus, there are financial aids for students who want to pursue higher education.

The job opportunities trail post-graduation at CSU because most of the school’s graduates can be seen in firms in major cities like San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas, and even Los Angeles.

7. Chicago School of Professional Psychology

There are over 30 academic programs that international students can study at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. The private university is one of the most affordable for its category in Chicago, Illinois.

International students studying here should expect to pay around $15,000 as tuition expenses for the bachelor’s program, which covers fields like health care, psychology, business, health services education, and nursing.

Starting in 1979, the university now has campuses scattered around Anaheim, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Diego, and Washington. This is a good thing for international students since staying on campus is one of the best ways to save costs as a student in another country.

8. DePaul University

According to CollegeFactual, DePaul University is ranked 120th out of 1,279 institutions as the overall most popular U.S Colleges and Universities for International students.

In other words, this is where many international students choose to study in Chicago, and one of the prominent reasons for that is the affordable tuition fees.

The variety of academic programs offered is also a contributing factor. Here, bachelor programs in Business, Communication, Law, Media, Liberal Arts, Science and health, and Engineering are offered.

9. Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology is another affordable option for out-of-state students who want to study in Chicago, Illinois.

Academic programs offered in this institution include Engineering, Science, Psychology, Architecture, Business Administration, Law among many other courses that account for the most popular programs that international students apply for at the university. 

It may be one of the cheapest institutes in the United States, but the educational services are decent. As indicated above, the international tuition fee for all Illinois Institute of Technology undergraduate studies is $38,512 per academic year, including all other costs and taxes.

10. Rush University

It is impossible to create a list of the cheap universities in Chicago without mentioning Rush University. Aside from its popularity among international students in the city, the institution is known for its reputation, which is on par with its affordability.

A good representation of this is that they offer their students the opportunity to work alongside accomplished healthcare practitioners and researchers. The school started in 1972 and partnered with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.

International students who come here to study, in addition to the affordable tuition fees, would enjoy hands-on learning with expert faculty at the university’s state-of-the-art facilities and laboratories.

The institution is focused on educating future healthcare professionals. As a first-year international student, expect to pay between $18,336 to $21,024, which is affordable when your place is side by side with most other healthcare schools in Chicago.


Are Universities in Chicago Affordable?

As mentioned earlier, the general cost of living in a place like Chicago is high. Unfortunately, this robs of schooling in the area.

Judging from the average tuition fees, accommodation, health services, and other items necessary for setting decently in Chicago while schooling, I’d say earmarking about $80,000 is ideal for attending university in Chicago.

It is affordable for the average international student with insufficient financial capacity. But it is a decent cost for the value of education one would get from Illinois.

What Is Student Life In Chicago Like?

To begin with, studying in Chicago is a perfect blend of education and social life because the environment has appealing natural settings.

The city also owns the second-largest public transportation system in the United States, which means it would be straightforward for you to move around as a student without spending too much on transportation.


This list shows us that Chicago is an affordable college experience for students, including those who do not live in the state.

In addition to inexpensive tuition fees for students, the destination guarantees all sorts of life pleasures for those who want to live a comfortable life while studying.

The country is surrounded by various natural settings, including sandy beaches, busy roads, public art scenes, botanical gardens, parks, and many other monumental locations that attract foreigners.


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