UChicago Expands Support & Financial Aid for International Students

Greetings from UChicago!

During these challenging times, I want to assure you that the University of Chicago remains deeply committed to ensuring that all students from every background around the world can find a home on our campus. To support students and families during the current crisis and as part of our commitment to access, UChicago is expanding resources and enhancing educational programs and admissions policies.

Building on the success of the Odyssey Scholarship Program, the University’s flagship financial aid program that supports undergraduate education, UChicago is expanding Odyssey to include international students by doubling international scholarships and career support for international students.

Additionally, in an effort to support high school students and educators around the world impacted by unplanned or extended school closures due to health emergencies or natural disasters, UChicago will offer new free online college admissions and career exploration sessions that allow impacted high schools to engage students in meaningful, college-preparatory work that can be done remotely.

To enable access to regions of the world where students are unable to participate in US-based standardized testing due to distance from testing locations or testing cancellations, UChicago will extend its test-optional policy to all students, including those students residing outside the United States, which will empower students with greater flexibility in demonstrating their academic promise, extracurricular talents, and college readiness.

Thanks to the generosity and vision of UChicago alumni, friends, and parents from around the world, the University has recently raised an additional $100 million in Odyssey Scholarships to support undergraduate financial aid for international students, strengthening the University’s commitment to include students of high academic ability from around the world, regardless of financial means. President Robert J. Zimmer affirmed the importance of international inclusion and collaboration to the University of Chicago’s mission, saying, “Welcoming international students and scholars enhances all of the University’s efforts in research and education, and enables us to reach our highest aspirations as an intellectual destination for people of all backgrounds.” UChicago thrives on the extensive diversity of ideas and experiences found in our campus community, and international students contribute essential perspectives that fuel groundbreaking innovations, conversations, and discoveries.

Over the last decade, the Odyssey program has built a record of success in providing comprehensive support for College students with the greatest financial need and providing additional support during their time on campus, helping them to thrive at UChicago and pursue rewarding careers after graduation. Odyssey provides families support for tuition, room and board, replaces loans with scholarships, and funds study abroad opportunities, academic support and tutoring, summer enrichment, and career advancement through paid, substantive internships and research opportunities. All First-Generation students (first in their families to attend a university) are guaranteed a minimum $20,000 in scholarship funding over four years at UChicago and also a paid internship opportunity during the summer following their first year in the College.

Expanded international support and programming are providing new opportunities for students from across the globe. International scholarships have more than doubled, enhancing the University’s ability to recruit highly-qualified, deserving students from around the world

Beginning with the Class of 2025, UChicago will expand global access by making submissions of standardized test scores optional for students attending schools outside the United States. Limited availability and access to test centers and test preparation resources as well as widespread international test cancellations in recent years have negatively impacted students and educators navigating the U.S. admissions process. This international expansion of UChicago Empower removes major roadblocks to international students and provides them greater flexibility and control in the admissions process.

To provide easier and less costly opportunities for international students to demonstrate their English proficiency, UChicago now accepts the Duolingo English Test (DET) from undergraduate applicants – a modern, reliable, and affordable English proficiency exam that can be taken online, on demand from one’s computer for only $49. Traditional English proficiency exams can be difficult to schedule, require travel to a test center, and cost over $200. DET results are available within 48 hours, and students can share their results with an unlimited number of institutions.

Students, educators, and families around the globe at times experience sudden, extended school closures due to natural disasters, disease outbreaks, political turmoil, and other unforeseen circumstances. At such times of distress, UChicago will offer impacted schools a new free online curriculum and resources, including an ongoing workshop series on college admissions and career exploration. These online sessions will feature presentations on university academics, the selective admissions process at US colleges and universities, and student life. This curriculum is intended to be a framework in the future that can be deployed and tailored to various audiences quickly, when needed. UChicago has already successfully deployed similar support locally to students and families impacted by the recent Chicago Public Schools teachers strike. Our goal is to minimize the impact of unplanned, extended teaching interruptions by engaging students in meaningful work that can be done remotely and in their own homes.  

UChicago is immediately launching these online sessions. The full online curriculum can be offered as a multi-week program and will feature a combination of live webinars and workshops along with an online library of videos, podcasts and other academic and college-preparatory resources available on demand to students. Topics covered will include U.S. highly-selective admissions & finding the right fit, career development and preparation, international student experiences, college essay writing, undergraduate research, campus and student life in the U.S., as well as subject-specific, faculty-led webinars. For more information on our webinar series, please complete our interest form online. You may also access our online library of publications, videos, and podcasts to learn more about UChicago and US college admissions.

The spirit of intellectual curiosity and exploration at the heart of the UChicago experience transcends borders. Students benefit from an environment of diverse collaboration, made possible by a campus with a global consciousness and a global reach. With renewed and enhanced access to additional resources, students and educators worldwide will benefit from UChicago’s transformative educational environment and contribute to a rich diversity of ideas on campus.

Best regards,

James Nondorf
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
Vice President for Enrollment and Student Advancement