National Louis University

About National Louis University

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Committed to educating adults and empowering communities for more than 130 years

National Louis University is one of Chicago’s oldest private universities and most innovative institutions. Elizabeth Harrison founded what is now NLU in 1886 to prepare women in immigrant communities for a then-radical profession: teaching kindergarten.

NLU has grown into a regionally accredited institution with online degree programs in business, health care, human services, education, and other fields. Its focus remains on providing quality, accessible education to working adults who define success as making a lasting difference in their families and communities.

Barbara Provost, NLU graduate

NLU was a catapult to where I am today. I was told I wasn’t really college material so I didn’t put myself in that category. But when I walked across the stage to get my NLU diploma, I proved to myself that I could do anything I set my mind to. And I do!

Professionals who achieve, people who inspire

Explore Online Degrees at NLU

NLU by the numbers

6 locations + Online

In addition to its online programs and flagship campus in downtown Chicago, NLU operates campuses in:

  • Elgin, IL
  • Lisle, IL
  • Skokie, IL
  • Wheeling, IL
  • Tampa, FL

7,000+ students

NLU boasts a uniquely diverse student body:

  • 35% are undergraduate students
  • 84% are part-time
  • Average ages are 30 (undergraduate) and 37 (graduate)
  • 65% are graduate students

37 Online degrees and concentrations

Earn your degree from NLU entirely online. Specialize your degree with a variety of concentrations.

NLU offers seven convenient start dates each year and it's free to apply.

Next available start date:
April 5

Apply FREE this week

Meet our president

Today, just as in 1886, we believe in our mission of access to quality education and remain committed to the values of innovation, access and excellence.

- Nivine Megahed, Ph.D.,
President of National Louis University

130+ years of innovation in education


Elizabeth Harrison opens Miss Harrison’s Training School on Prairie Avenue in Chicago to prepare women to teach kindergarten — a radical idea for her time.


The renamed Chicago Kindergarten College moves to a new location on Michigan Avenue, while offering branch classes in other cities and a correspondence course.


The college changes its name to the National College of Education (NCE), and launches the first four-year teacher-training program in the state of Illinois.


NCE establishes new colleges and expands its degree offerings to meet the demand of local businesses for better-prepared graduates.


Thanks to generous financial support from Michael W. Louis and family, NCE is renamed National Louis University and moves into the historic Peoples Gas Building.


NLU creates the College of Professional Studies and Advancement (CPSA), home to NLU’s online programs.


TIME MONEY Magazine lists NLU among the Top 10 Universities Whose Graduates Make the World a Better Place.


NLU creates the School of Business: Graduate and the College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences: Graduate.


NLU maintains its status as one of Chicago’s oldest and most innovative private universities, as well as its distinct focus on serving working adults.

Success coaches help you persist on your path

At NLU, we know personalized support is absolutely essential to your success. When you’re assigned a success coach, you have a lifeline—whether or not your concerns are directly related to class. We’ll work with you to find the right resource to keep moving forward..

- Dara Wieser
Director of Enrollment Management

Questions about financial aid? Let’s talk about your options.

We are happy to answer your questions and provide additional support throughout your educational journey. Call or email to connect with our admissions team.