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University of Chicago scholarships, student loans and grants

How to foot this private school's 80K bill.

Like any private school, the University of Chicago (UChicago) isn’t cheap. While it offers need- and merit-based funding to all students, you might have to take out student loans to help cover the cost — especially if you’re not a Chicago high school graduate.

How much does it cost to go to the University of Chicago?

Costs of attending UChicagoAnnual cost
Room and board$17,004
Books and supplies$1,800
Other expenses$2,175
Total cost for the 2019–2020 academic year$80,277

When tallying up the cost of attending the University of Chicago, there’s more to consider than just tuition and fees. As you can see, personal expenses, textbooks, meal plans and more factor in to the total cost of attendance (COA).

What’s the average student debt load for University of Chicago graduates?

UChicago students graduated with an average student debt load of $23,852 in 2016, according to the Department of Education.

While that’s $13,000 less than the national average that same year, it’s still higher than what you’d find at some other private schools. You can reduce your debt load even more by looking into scholarships, grants and work-study programs before taking out a loan.

Does the University of Chicago offer a tuition payment plan?

Yes. You can enroll in UChicago’s 9-Pay Annual Payment Plan (APP), which breaks up your annual COA into nine monthly installments. It costs $75 to enroll each year and runs from September to May, with payments due on the first of each month.

Students can enroll online or authorize a family member to make payments through their online account through EBill or EPay. Enrollment is typically open from August to October, and you need to be a full-time student in good academic standing to qualify.

University of Chicago scholarships and grants

The University of Chicago has a handful of need- and merit-based grants and scholarships available. However, its UChicago Promise scholarships are only open to Chicago residents — students from outside the city might have better luck qualifying for federal, state or private scholarships.

University Grant

All UChicago students can potentially qualify for this need-based grant. After calculating your expected student and parent contribution, as well as federal and state aid you’re eligible for, this grant covers any remaining portion of your cost of attendance.

You must apply each year by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the University of Chicago Financial Aid Worksheet and submitting your parent’s tax returns.

Odyssey Scholarship

This donor-funded scholarship provides additional funding for low-income students so you don’t have to take out student loans. Eligibility is based on financial need — most Odyssey Scholars have a family income of $90,000 or less. UChicago automatically considers all students who submit a financial aid application for this award.

In addition to funding, this scholarship program subsidizes summer internships, study abroad programs and health insurance. It also offers networking and mentorship opportunities not available to other students.

UChicago Promise scholarships

UChicago Promise is a cross-campus pledge made by the University of Chicago and other schools to help increase access to higher education to Chicago high school graduates. Aside from waiving the $75 application fee, it offers special scholarships, internships, mentorship programs and more to Chicago high school students interested in attending college.

UChicago Partner Schools Scholarship

This merit-based scholarship covers up to four years of full tuition for high-achieving students who attended a partner high school. UChicago automatically considers all students who apply for financial aid for this scholarship — there are no additional forms or documents to submit.

UChicago hosts regular information sessions on this and other Chicago-related scholarship programs where you can learn more and ask questions. Contact the admissions office at 773-702-8650 for more details.

Chicago Police and Fire Scholarship

UChicago provides full funding to children of sworn-in Chicago police officers and fire fighters. You must be a first-year student to qualify — transfer students are ineligible. To apply, you must submit a certification form proving your parent’s eligible employment along with your UChicago application.

Chicago Public Schools Scholarship

Students who graduated from a Chicago public high school are eligible for this merit-based full-tuition scholarship. Awards typically go to students with a strong academic record — such as a high GPA and test scores. The school automatically considers all applicants for this scholarship, so you don’t need to submit any additional forms or documents to apply.

Chicago Public Schools Educators Award Scholarship

Children of full-time Chicago public school teachers or staff members can get 100% of their tuition covered through this scholarship. You’ll need to visit the UChicago Promise website to learn more about how to apply for this award.

City Colleges of Chicago Star Scholarship

Transfer students coming from a City College of Chicago who already received a City Colleges of Chicago Star Scholarship may be able to keep that award as a UChicago student. It’s the only merit-based scholarship available to transfer students, though you need to already be a scholar before you attend UChicago to qualify.

Are there other scholarships and grants available?

Yes, you can also apply for federal, state and private scholarships and grants. State grants are typically only available to Illinois residents — high school graduates from elsewhere might want to look into programs available in their home state instead.

Student loans to pay for the University of Chicago

If your scholarship, grant and work-study awards don’t cover your total cost of attendance, you might want to consider student loans. UChicago recommends that you apply to federal loans first — these typically come with more flexible repayment options and highly competitive rates.

However, there’s a limit to how much you can receive in federal loans, and not all students are eligible. After federal funds are no longer available, you might want to consider applying for a private student loan.

Compare private student loan providers

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
$1,000 - $200,000
7 to 20 years
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
3.74% to 10.74%
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 15 years
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
Starting at 1.24% with autopay
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $1,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

It costs over $80K to attend the University of Chicago. While students are automatically considered for most merit- and need-based awards, you might want to look into outside scholarships as well to minimize the amount of loans you need to take out.

You can learn more about how paying for school works by reading our guide to student loans.

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