National Louis University: Academics, Admissions & Tuition Info

Learn about National Louis University. Read about its admission info, financial aid and degree programs to make an informed education decision.

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About National Louis University

National Louis University (NLU) is a private institution offering undergraduate but primarily graduate programs to a diverse student body of largely nontraditional adult students. Its main Chicago campus occupies five floors of a downtown office building near Grant Park and the Art Institute. Originally founded in 1886 to train kindergarten teachers, NLU currently awards more graduate degrees in education than any other Illinois-based institution. In addition to the main Chicago campus, NLU has four additional campuses in Illinois, as well as campuses in Tampa, Florida and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


NLU has established three colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Management and Business and the National College of Education. Through these colleges, undergraduates can pursue 17 bachelor's degree programs. Most NLU undergrads pursue interdisciplinary majors, but management science, health administrative services and elementary education are also popular. Education programs are the most popular among the 35 master's degree options, specifically curriculum and instruction, elementary education and secondary education. Educational administration has the most candidates of NLU's eight doctoral programs. Students may also pursue 12 graduate certificate and four educational specialist degree programs.

On-campus programs are offered days, evenings and weekends. Most classes have fewer than 20 students. NLU also offers several blended or fully online programs. Among fully online program options are bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice, healthcare leadership and management information systems. Graduate students may pursue an MBA or complete Master of Education programs online. Teacher education students may benefit from NLU's partnership with Chicago Public Schools and develop hands-on leadership skills through the Academy for Urban School Leadership.


The university has a rolling admissions policy. Because specific deadline dates aren't published, prospective students are advised to contact the Office of Admissions for information about entering in a specific quarter. Applicants are encouraged to apply online, though a paper-based application is available. The only required admission materials are high school or college transcripts; ACT or SAT scores aren't required. On the general application, students indicate their program of interest and may need to fulfill additional program-specific admissions requirements, such as letters of academic or professional recommendation.

Undergraduates make up roughly one quarter of the total student body. While admission rates aren't available for graduate students, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that about 86% of undergraduate applicants were admitted to NLU for the Fall 2010 quarter. NLU reports the average age of its undergraduate and graduate students as 35 and 36, respectively. According to NLU data, most students are female (78%). Many NLU students are working adults, and the majority of all its students attend part-time.

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Tuition and Financial Aid

NLU publishes undergraduate and graduate tuition rates by quarter hour. There are variations among undergraduate tuition rates by college and course level. Nevertheless, the NCES estimated undergraduate tuition and fees as $18,895 for the 2011-2012 school year. Graduate tuition rates vary by college, degree program and, in some cases, by campus location. Most graduate programs are in the National College of Education. Though the general cost of tuition per quarter hour in this college was posted as $744 for 2012-2013, exceptions included the M.Ed. in Mathematics Education program, which was posted as $483 per quarter hour. The NCES estimated that the cost of books and supplies in 2011-2012 was $1,350.

Both undergraduate and graduate students receive financial aid packages that may include grants, loans, scholarships and work study. Undergraduates in specific education, human services and business administration programs can apply for Harrison Fellows scholarships, which award up to $50,000 over four years. The National College of Education offers scholarships to graduate students in programs that include reading and elementary education. Student payment plans include a deferred tuition payment plan, through which students can pay installments.

School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit*
Degrees Offered Bachelor's, master's, doctorates, certificates*
Religious Affiliation None*
Academic Calendar Quarters*
School Setting Large city*
Student Body 4,242 graduate students; 1,437 undergraduates**
Student Housing Commuter campus*
Schools and Programs 3 colleges, roughly 75 programs*
Student-Faculty Ratio 8 to 1**
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2010-2011:
Bachelor's: Interdisciplinary studies (192)
Master's: Curriculum and instruction (340)
Doctorate: Educational leadership and administration (40)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rates For students who started in 2005:
11% in 4 years
26% in 6 years**
Admission Rate 86% in Fall 2010**
First-Year Retention Rates 57% for full-time and 80% for part-time students**
Average SAT and/or ACT Score of Admitted Students SAT/ACT not required**
Application Due Date Rolling admissions*
Decision Notification Date Within 5 business days of submission of all application materials*
Tuition (2011-12) Roughly $18,895 for tuition (estimate includes fees)**
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Students Receiving it) In 2010-11: Grant or scholarship aid (72%), Pell grants (51%), federal student loans (69%)**
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid In 2010-2011: 100% of full-time beginning undergraduate students**

Sources: *National Louis University, **IPEDS Data Center, National Center for Education Statistics

School Contact Information

  • Address: 122 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603
  • Phone: (800) 443-5522
  • Website: www.nl.edu

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