For Parents


Affording a Private College

Affording a private college

It is more than possible that you have some concerns about how you are going to pay for college. With the average stated tuition, room and board costs exceeding $40,000 at many institutions, a college education represents a significant investment on the part of families and students.

While you may have read this before, we want to stress that the ELCA institutions are committed to helping every admitted student afford a Lutheran experience. We do this in a wide variety of ways. We leverage resources wherever they exist. These include:

  • Institutional grants and scholarships, which are funded through past and current gifts by alumni and other friends of the colleges. Collectively, these represent the largest dollar amount of aid given to our students, and while students do not have to pay them back, we certainly hope they become contributors in their own right upon graduation.
  • Federal grants (also known as Pell Grants), which are provided by the federal government and do not need to be paid back.
  • State grants (where they are available), which also do not need to be paid back.
  • Loans, which are available to students and parents. Some are backed by the government, some offered through private companies. Our individual colleges will help you determine which might be the best to help defray the immediate costs of college.
  • Student work, which oftentimes occurs on our campuses. We need help with everything from the library to timing track meets. Student work can be a wonderful way of allowing students to earn the money they need for expenses incurred throughout the year.
  • Outside scholarships from a variety of sources. While our colleges make great effort to provide enough financial aid for every student, there is every reason for you to pursue outside scholarships, as well. Churches, employers, local organizations and even insurance companies provide scholarships and grants for students. We encourage you to research these opportunities.
  • Four-year graduation savings. While we note this elsewhere on the site, the financial return for students and parents who can finish college in four years can be substantial. When you are calculating the cost of an education, be sure to distinguish between the cost per year and the cost of the entire experience.
  • Sample financial aid awards are available through our partner organization at You can find more information here. We encourage you to review the samples, as they can give you a better sense of how aid works for individual families.

Call us! We always encourage parents and families to contact the admissions offices at any of our colleges with questions about financial aid and affording college. Our staff members are trained to help you through the process.