National Lutheran News

Concordia University, St. Paul, announces tuition cut

Concordia University, St. Paul, President Tom Ries announces the school’s plan to drop base tuition $10,000 for all traditional undergraduate students beginning in the fall of 2013. Metro Lutheran photos: Bob Hulteen

Concordia University, St. Paul, is decreasing the annual tuition price of its traditional undergraduate program by $10,000 for the 2013-2014 academic year. The decrease will be in place for both new and returning students.

“We are under-endowed and tuition-dependent.”

The tuition decrease represents a 33 percent drop from the 2012-13 tuition price of $29,700, bringing it to $19,700. The price of room and board will be frozen at its 2012-13 level for 2013-14.

“In resetting our tuition to a price last seen a decade ago, we are responding to the concerns of students and families who feel our nation’s colleges have become unaffordable,” said Tom Ries, president of Concordia. “We hope that other private colleges and universities will soon be able to follow our lead.”

Nothing will be cut or eliminated from the Concordia educational experience, in or out of the classroom, to accommodate the tuition reset.

“After many years of prudent living within our means, we now have the fiscal capacity to reduce our tuition price without sacrificing the quality education Concordia is known for providing,” said Ries. “We had record enrollment numbers and a higher academic profile for our entering class in 2012-13, so Concordia itself is currently in a position of strength. But the economic recession has eroded the financial situations of the students and families we serve, so we recognized the call to respond in keeping with our mission to provide an education of outstanding value at an affordable cost.”

Ries said that the university had notified other private colleges about Concordia’s plan. He was set to meet with the presidents of many private Minnesota schools the afternoon of the announcement.

Concordia University senior Kyle Sorkness describes the benefits of a decrease in the school's tuition.

“I’m happy for [returning students],” said student body president Kyle Sorkness, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, a senior. “I’m now looking at grad school, and I know that the initial tuition amount can influence one’s interest in a school. It’s difficult to drill down to see the financial aid package.” Sorkness feels the new model will be easier to understand and make Concordia even more competitive.

Athletic scholarships will not be affected, in that Division II sports have few or no full-ride situations. The scholarships will be adjusted back to reflect the diminished cost of the new model.

“We are under-endowed and tuition-dependent,” explained Ries. “We believe that other similarly situated schools will follow us.” Concordia has an endowment of $27 million; generally, it is suggested colleges have an endowment three times the size of the annual operating budget, which for Concordia would be an endowment of about $120 million.

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