National Lutheran News

Grant will help Lutheran boost their colleges

Thrivent pledged over $400,000 for the initiative

With only 5% of Luthean college students attending Lutheran colleges and universities, the two largest U.S. Lutheran groups are teaming up with their fraternal financial services agency to boost that percentage.

The Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation has approved a three-year, $417,000 grant to the Luther-an Educational Conference of North America (LECNA). While LECNA serves a dozen Lutheran church bodies, the schools of the two largest among them are included in the initiative. It’s designed to inform those within and outside the Lutheran community about the lifelong values and benefits of attending and utilizing Lutheran colleges and universities of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

“Connecting Colleges and Congregational Ministry” includes an effort to identify, solicit and train “congregational advocates” in the 16,000 congregations of both ELCA and LCMS. Their task will be to serve as cheerleaders for Lutheran colleges and universities among the more than 400,000 Lutheran youth who will soon be considering where to go to college.

LECNA commissioned a study in recent years, comparing and contrasting the value of education in a Lutheran college or university on the one hand, and in a public university on the other. The findings were dramatic. Luther-ans who graduated from both kinds of schools evidenced a significant “satisfaction gap.” The graduates of Lutheran schools consistently ranked their schools better.