All you need to get your summer started.


Engage Chicago 2024 runs from June 16 to August 9. There will be an orientation program on the first day to introduce you to all aspects of Chicago, from its history to its transit system, before the regular program schedule begins. Further details about the orientation day will be provided to accepted students in the spring.


As a participant, you will receive an unlimited CTA transit card for the duration of the program. The card can be used 24/7 on all city buses and trains, which are easily accessible from the SAIC campus.

You are responsible for travel to and from Chicago at the beginning and end of the program. With ample free public transit accessible from our program site, there is no need to bring a car. Parking near our host campus is quite limited and expensive, so students are discouraged from doing so.


Engage Chicago students live together in a residence hall at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in the heart of downtown Chicago – right across the street from the historic Chicago Theatre on State Street in the Loop.

Loft-style studio apartments (both single and doubles) are available; and each apartment has its own private kitchen and bathroom. Shared lounges on each floor provide a gathering space for movie nights, discussions, special events and more.

The residence hall provides a 24-hour security, is air-conditioned, and includes laundry and workout facilities inside the building.

Academic Credits

All students earn two Northwestern University course credits for their participation in the program. Students interested in earning additional course credits should contact us about the possibility of pursuing a 3- or 4-credit version of the program.

See below for more information about applying credits at Northwestern or transferring them to another institution.

Northwestern Students

Northwestern students receive two Northwestern course credits from Chicago Field Studies (CFS) through the Engage Chicago course, CFS397: Field Studies in Civic Engagement—Engage Chicago. These credits count toward graduation and may also count toward distribution, major and/or minor requirements, depending on your course of study.

Use the following resources to determine how these credits might fit into your academic plan.

Contact us if you would like to discuss the course credits or have any additional questions.

Visiting Students

If you plan to transfer credit to another college or university, check with your registrar or advisor to determine the amount of credit your school grants for courses taken at Northwestern. You can find more information about transferring credit on the Northwestern Summer Session website.

Students from across the country regularly participate in the program and transfer the course credits back to their home institution. We’re here to help you navigate this process and can assist in a variety of ways, from providing grade reports to speaking with your academic advisor. However, it is your responsibility to work with your home institution to make sure you understand your school’s policies and processes for transferring credits.

Contact us if you would like to discuss the course credits or have any additional questions.

Tuition and Aid

We’re committed to doing our best to make Engage Chicago accessible to all students, regardless of financial background. In 2023, about seventy percent of our students received financial support through a variety of channels, from financial aid to summer grants.

We know that the process can be confusing, so we work one-on-one with each financial aid student to discuss all available options and determine the best strategy. The process starts upon acceptance into the program, but prospective applicants can get a sense of the financial aid options below.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Substantial financial aid resources and scholarship funds are available to make the program more financially accessible for accepted students. EC staff work with students navigate this process. Any student can seek financial support, regardless of university affiliation or financial aid eligibility. Click below for more details.

Northwestern Students

There are a variety of resources available that may help Northwestern students participate in the program. The best approach to pursuing these resources varies depending on each student’s unique circumstances (financial need, aid status, etc.). Accepted students are therefore encouraged to meet with Engage Chicago program staff to discuss options.

Some of the resources that may be available to Northwestern students include:

  • Northwestern Financial Aid

    Northwestern students who receive financial aid during the academic year can apply for summer aid through the Office of Undergraduate Financial AidStudents apply by completing a brief Summer Financial Aid Application, which will be available through Northwestern’s Office of Financial Aid in spring quarter.

  • Engage Chicago Scholarship Fund

    Students may also be eligible to apply for funding through the Engage Chicago Scholarship Fund. Award amounts vary and typically fall between $2,000 and $6,500. Information about applying for these scholarships will be provided to admitted students.  

Visiting Students

  • Scholarships and Financial Aid from Home Institutions

    Some schools offer financial aid, grants, or scholarships for students completing summer internships, field studies, or other coursework. Students should contact their home institution’s financial aid office to discuss possible opportunities.

    Some students have also received special scholarships from relevant offices like student activities or career development. These funding sources are typically reserved for students pursuing experiential learning opportunities, internships, or special projects. Contact your advisor or financial aid counselor to inquire about these types of resources on your campus.

  • Engage Chicago Scholarship Fund

    Visiting students can apply for funding through the Engage Chicago Scholarship Fund. Award amounts vary and typically fall between $2,000 and $6,500. Information about applying for these scholarships will be provided to admitted students. 

Summer 2024 Costs

Please note: University Tuition & Housing Rates are set by Northwestern and our housing partners at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

  • Tuition for two credits


    Engage Chicago is a two-credit program. Each Northwestern credit is $5,407, bringing the total to $10,814.

  • Housing (2024)

    $3,040 (double) or $3,995 (single)

    Residential students will be housed at the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) in downtown Chicago. Students can request to live in a single or double room, as availability allows.

  • Registration fee (visiting students only)


    Northwestern charges visiting students a one-time registration fee.

Students are responsible for travel to & from Chicago and for meals throughout the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Internship & Placement Process:

Room & Board:

Money & Financial Aid: