Top 5 Tips: Understanding Art Institute of Chicago Costs
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 5 min read


  1. Get a comprehensive breakdown of tuition
  2. Factor in costs of living
  3. Consider transportation costs
  4. Calculate supplies and materials expenses
  5. Explore scholarships and grants

If you're dreaming of honing your creative skills at the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), you're probably asking, "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?" Well, you're not alone. Many potential students like you find themselves pondering the same question. So, let's take a walk together and unravel the mystery of SAIC costs.

Get a comprehensive breakdown of tuition

First things first, let's talk tuition. That's the big number you see when you search "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?" But what does it actually include? Let's break it down.

Undergraduate Tuition

If you're looking to get your Bachelor's degree at SAIC, the tuition cost will be your primary expense. As of the 2022-2023 academic year, full-time tuition for undergraduates is around $47,930. Yes, you read that right. But remember, this is just the base cost, before any financial aid or scholarships you might be eligible for.

Graduate Tuition

For those pursuing a Master's degree, your tuition will vary based on the program you select. On average, full-time graduate students can expect to pay about $50,870 per academic year. It may seem steep, but think of it as an investment in your future creative career.

Part-Time Tuition

Maybe you're juggling work, family, or other commitments and thinking about studying part-time. In that case, you'll pay on a per-credit basis. The cost per credit hour for undergraduate students is roughly $1,590, and for graduate students, it's approximately $1,690.

Understanding the tuition costs is a good first step in figuring out "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?" But remember, tuition is just one piece of the puzzle. We'll explore other factors like living and transportation costs, as well as potential ways to offset these expenses, in the sections to follow.

Factor in costs of living

So, you've got a handle on tuition. But what about the other costs associated with studying at SAIC? One of the major contributors to "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?" is your cost of living. Let's dive into this.

Housing Costs

Whether you choose to live on-campus in one of the SAIC residences or find your own place in the city, housing is a significant part of your budget. On average, on-campus housing can cost between $10,000 to $15,000 per academic year. Off-campus, depending on the neighborhood, you might pay anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 per month in rent. Keep these figures in mind when setting your budget.

Food Expenses

Next up is food. If you're staying on-campus, you could opt for a meal plan, which averages around $4,490 per academic year. If you prefer to cook or explore the culinary delights of Chicago, plan for a few hundred dollars a month for groceries or eating out.

Personal Expenses

Last but not least, don't forget about personal expenses. Things like toiletries, clothing, entertainment, and leisure activities can add up. A safe estimate is to budget an additional $2,000 to $3,000 per academic year for these costs.

By now, you have a clearer picture of "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?" when taking into account living expenses. But, we're not done yet. Let's keep going and consider transportation and supplies costs too.

Consider transportation costs

Chicago is a bustling city, and whether you're commuting to campus or exploring its vibrant neighborhoods, transportation costs are another key factor to consider when determining "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?"

Public Transportation

Chicago has an extensive public transportation system, including buses and the 'L' train. A monthly pass for unlimited rides on CTA buses and trains costs around $105. If you're planning on using public transit regularly, this can be a cost-effective option.

Biking or Walking

If you're fortunate enough to live close to campus, walking or biking could be a great way to save money and stay healthy. Consider the cost of a bike, maintenance, and a good lock if you go down this route.

Driving and Parking

Planning on driving? Keep in mind that parking in Chicago can be expensive. On-campus parking permits are available but come at a cost, and street parking can be a challenge. Factor in the costs of gas, insurance, and vehicle maintenance if you plan to drive.

With transportation costs added to our running total, you're getting a more complete answer to "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?". But let's not forget about supplies and materials, which can be quite significant for art students.

Calculate supplies and materials expenses

One of the often overlooked aspects when figuring out "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?" is the cost of supplies and materials. As an art student, these can add up quickly.

Art Supplies

Depending on your area of study, you might need a wide range of art supplies. Paint, brushes, sketchbooks, sculpting tools, photography equipment...the list goes on. The cost can vary greatly based on the quality and quantity of materials you need. Set a budget and plan ahead to avoid surprises.

Books and Software

Don't forget about textbooks and any specific software programs you might need for your coursework. While the school library might have some resources, owning your own copies can be beneficial. Remember to include these in your budget.

Printing and Other Miscellaneous Costs

There might be other expenses related to your coursework like printing costs, field trips, exhibitions, and more. They might not seem like much, but they can add up over time.

Adding these expenses to the mix provides a clearer picture of "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?". But before you start feeling overwhelmed by the numbers, let's explore something that can significantly offset these costs - scholarships and grants.

Explore scholarships and grants

When you're asking yourself, "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?", it's important to remember that help is available. Scholarships and grants are just the ticket to alleviate some financial pressure.

Types of Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants come in all shapes and sizes. Some are merit-based, rewarding academic or artistic achievement. Others are need-based, providing support to students who may not have the financial means to pay for their education. There are also specific scholarships for different fields of study or for students from certain backgrounds.

Finding Scholarships and Grants

So, where do you find these scholarships and grants? Start by checking out the Art Institute of Chicago's Financial Aid office. They can guide you to the scholarships and grants that are available specifically to students at the school. You can also look at national and local art organizations, charities, foundations, and even corporate sponsors. Don't be afraid to dig a little - there's a lot of support out there for budding artists like you.

Applying for Scholarships and Grants

Once you find a scholarship or grant that suits your needs, the next step is to apply. This often involves filling out an application form and sometimes submitting a portfolio or writing an essay. It can be a bit of work, but the potential reward is worth it. Remember, every dollar you receive in scholarships or grants is a dollar less you need to worry about when calculating "how much does school of the art institute of chicago cost?"

So there you have it. With a better understanding of the costs associated with attending the Art Institute of Chicago and the financial aid available, you're well equipped to make an informed decision about your future in the arts. Remember, investing in your education is investing in your future as an artist.

If you're looking to better understand the costs associated with the Art Institute of Chicago and want to weigh the pros and cons of attending art school, check out the workshop called 'Was it Worth it? The Pros and Cons of Art School' by Faira. This workshop will provide valuable insights and advice to help you make an informed decision about your art education journey.