In December 1978 a diverse group of visionaries began to plan a new, urban, non-denominational institution of higher learning in Chicago. These founders recognized a need to expand educational access in the city, and had a unique vision for doing so. East-West University was incorporated in Wisconsin as a non-profit corporation on February 22, 1979, and was legally recognized by all three states (Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana) that make up the greater Chicago metropolitan area. The Internal Revenue Service awarded East-West University 501(c)3 status, making it tax-exempt and eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable gifts.
The University received approval and operating authority from the Illinois Board of Higher Education in May 1980, and the University’s first class began on September 15, 1980. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission certified the University in June 1980, and the United States Department of Education did so in July of 1981, making the University students eligible for all types of financial aid. In November 1981 the University was authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (now a part of the Department of Homeland Security) to enroll non-immigrant students from other countries and certify student visa applications.
East-West University is listed in all comprehensive higher education directories and guides. The University has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since December, 1983.