Conservative Lutheran Colleges

May 20, 2019

Conservative Lutheran colleges, while open to students of all faiths and beliefs, typically offer a higher education experience in an unmistakably Lutheran, faith-based environment. The key information associated with such institutions is introduced here.

There are numerous Lutheran higher education institutions across the US that provide a range of academic programs offered in an environment which respects the traditions of Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism. However, some Lutheran colleges deliver this religiously affiliated environment in a more conservative fashion than others. Here, several conservative Lutheran colleges and universities are introduced. The most basic information regarding these institutions is summarized below.

School Comparison

The table below outlines the location and tuition cost of some conservative Lutheran colleges in the US.

School Name Institution Type Location Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*
Martin Luther College 4-year, Private not-for-profit New Ulm, Minnesota $15,410
Wisconsin Lutheran College 4-year, Private not-for-profit Milwaukee, Wisconsin $29,725
Concordia University-Wisconsin 4-year, Private not-for-profit Mequon, Wisconsin $29,450
Concordia University-Texas 4-year, Private not-for-profit Austin, Texas $31,810

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Description of Schools

The conservative Lutheran colleges introduced in the above table offer a range of degree and certificate programs. Many are concentrated in the Midwest and all offer a private, higher education experience.

Martin Luther College

Martin Luther College was founded in 1995 when the Dr. Martin Luther College and Northwestern College joined together. The college is owned and operated by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) and specifically seeks to train future pastors, teachers and staff ministers for public ministry within the WELS by offering undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in educational ministry and seminary studies.

In 2019, the student body totaled more than 750 students. There were also 92 faculty members, which resulted in a student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to 1, according to the school website. The college's retention rate for 2016/2017 was 85%, and the graduation rate for students starting in 2011 was 69%, said NCES.

Wisconsin Lutheran College

Established in 1973, Wisconsin Lutheran College is a relatively young institution affiliated with the WELS that provides around 60 programs to around 1,200 undergraduate, graduate and adult students, across a range of subject areas including the traditional sciences, social sciences and humanities. The student-to-faculty ratio, as of 2019, was 11 to 1. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers online courses. The student body represented 35 states and seven different countries, and 72% of students lived on campus, stated the school's website in 2019.

The retention rate for students starting in 2016 and returning in 2017 at Wisconsin Lutheran was 79%, while the graduation rate for students beginning in 2011 was 67%, according to NCES.

Concordia University-Wisconsin

Affiliated with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Concordia University-Wisconsin was founded in 1881 and offers over 120 undergraduate and graduate programs alongside a further 6 associate's programs and 40 certificates and licensures. These various programs are offered in a range of subjects from the arts to the sciences, including a number of religious based pathways.

The student number as of 2018 was 7,288 (3,709 undergraduate), with a student-to-faculty ratio of 11 to 1. The retention rate in 2016/2017 was 82% and the graduation rate for students starting in 2011 was 53%, said NCES.

Concordia University-Texas

Founded in 1926, Concordia University-Texas is affiliated with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees on campus and online. The campus is set in northwest Austin, and the university offers programs in subject areas such as business administration, education, fine arts, applied sciences, and nursing. In 2018, the student body numbered around 2,600 students. The student-to-faculty ratio was 12 to 1, according to NCES.

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