Dominican University is a small Catholic school in the suburbs of Chicago. The school, founded in 1901 as a women’s college in small-town Wisconsin, now offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and minors, including Black world studies and Culinology (a degree program that blends food science with culinary arts).

The university values intimate classes, with one faculty member for every 11 students. Dominican takes its motto, “Caritas Veritas,” seriously, prioritizing love and truth between staff, students and faculty. It’s also been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. All Dominican University freshmen get grant aid from the college to fund their studies, contributing to a degree price that comes in at $136,732 — slightly above the average for all colleges in Money’s 2023-2024 ratings.

About 37 acres of trees surround Dominican’s scenic campus and its Gothic architecture (its website promises Harry Potter-style “Great Hall vibes”). While the local community of River Forest is quiet and residential, downtown Chicago is just a 20-minute train ride away. Want to explore even more? Try running the Des Plaines River Trail, which stretches all the way to the Wisconsin border.