Lutheran Colleges in Minnesota

Apr 23, 2018

Minnesota is home to several colleges that are affiliated with the Lutheran faith. This article looks at a few of the Lutheran-affiliated options and provides details about each school's campus life.

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In Minnesota, several Lutheran colleges and universities are available to students seeking to combine faith and education in and out of the classroom. If you are deciding which Lutheran college in Minnesota to attend, read about program offerings and on-campus spiritual life here.

School Comparison

There are many factors to consider when making an enrollment decision, including tuition. In Minnesota, private Lutheran colleges have tuition that ranges from roughly $15,000 to $46,000 per year.

School Name Institution Type Student Population Location Tuition (2017-2018)**
Concordia College 4-year, private not-for-profit 2,132* Moorhead, MN $38,378
Augsburg University 4-year, private not-for-profit 3,486* Minneapolis, MN $37,615
Gustavus Adolphus College 4-year, private not-for-profit 2,210* Saint Peter, MN $44,080
Martin Luther College 4-year, private not-for-profit 937** New Ulm, MN $14,680
St. Olaf College 4-year, private not-for-profit 3,040* Northfield, MN $46,000

Sources: *School Websites, **National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Overview of Lutheran Colleges in MN

These Lutheran-affiliated colleges offer accredited academics and faith opportunities. Several schools were founded by Nordic Lutheran immigrants in Minnesota and maintain a strong connection to Nordic heritage and tradition.

Concordia College

Concordia College had an 84.4% retention rate in 2016, which was up two percent from the previous school year. As many colleges do, Concordia has a first-year program that encourages growth and a welcoming spirit for freshmen on campus. This program includes a summer reading with discussion, orientation programs, and a freshman writing course. The school also offers several scholarship, grant, and fellowship opportunities for students in various areas.

Though 55% of students are Lutherans and the school is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Concordia encourages spiritual growth no matter your religious affiliation. For example, they host a 'Forum on Faith and Life' where friendly conversation and reflections can help all students become more compassionate toward each other.

Augsburg University

Augsburg University offers nursing programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels; the programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Along with nursing, the school has over 50 programs from which to choose. The most declared majors at Augsburg are biology, psychology, marketing, computer science, and communication studies.

Along with core requirements, Augsburg University has a required course called the Augsburg Experience. Here, students are required to spend a semester learning through an off-campus method, such as internships, study abroad, or individualized immersion experiences. The average class size is kept small for undergraduate students at roughly 16 students. Faith opportunities include morning chapel, interfaith dialogues, community service, and athletic fellowship.

Gustavus Adolphus College

U.S. News and World Report named Gustavus Adolphus College as the 36th best value school in the nation for 2018. In 1965, the college began hosting the Nobel Conference to explore the pressing scientific questions of the day; Nobel Prize winners and leading thinkers attend annually. In fact, this is the first symposium to be officially endorsed by the Nobel Foundation.

There are some unique programs offered by the school, including majors in Scandinavian studies, Japanese studies and Russian & Eastern European studies. Gustavus urges students to learn through their faith by attending weekly worship or joining one of the 12 student-run religious organizations. Most students live on campus; there are 14 different residence halls and apartments from which to choose.

Martin Luther College

Martin Luther College is the most affordable of the schools on this list. There are eight sports teams for both men and women, including tennis, track and basketball teams. Also the least populated of the schools, the degree offerings are primarily education and theology. In addition to bachelor's and master's degrees, Martin Luther offers Synod certification. This program allows students to become full-time staff ministers and teachers in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. This program is meant to compliment an education bachelor's and teaching certification. There is housing available, and the residence halls are divided by gender and school year. Chapel service is held twice daily.

St. Olaf College

St. Olaf College was ranked as the 57th best liberal arts college in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Similar to Martin Luther College, St. Olaf celebrates its Scandinavian background with unique programs in Norwegian (as a foreign language) and Nordic studies. These programs offer courses in Norwegian literature, the Vikings, topics in Norwegian culture, Nordic film, Henrik Ibsen, Nordic identity, and the Sami peoples. Students have many opportunities to put their faith to practice, whether in the classroom, at the Boe Memorial Chapel, in community service, or at a community meal. On top of nurturing your soul, join one of the 15 environmentally focused organizations that St. Olaf has to help nurture the planet.

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