Luther College increases 2022-2023 tuition by 3%

Bar+graph+of+Luther+College+tuition+and+fees+from+2014+to+2021+based+on+data+from+Collegefactual.com.%0A

Bar graph of Luther College tuition and fees from 2014 to 2021 based on data from Collegefactual.com.

Luther students were made aware of a 3% increase in Luther’s comprehensive fee on Wednesday, November 3, after President Jenifer K. Ward sent an email to students and families informing them of the change. The message explained that the tuition fee for the 2022–23 academic year will raise from $57,116.5 to $58,830. This price climb is indicative of a variety of factors, and reflects ongoing changes in private pedagogy. 

Vice President for Finance and Administration Andrew Bailey explained that this comprehensive fee increase followed a formalized process that began with work between himself, former Vice President for Enrollment Derek Hartl, and Ward. The three of them worked on a recommendation that was then proposed to the Board of Regents, who formally approved the comprehensive fee. Bailey described the factors that went into the decision making process. 

“If you look at the sticker price — and we manage our affordability through financial aid, which more than 99% of our students receive — we have dropped [in tuition costs] relative to many of our peers,” Bailey said. “Also, the increasing costs that are required to provide an excellent student experience is something that we take very seriously. Ultimately, it becomes a matter of trying to balance affordability and excellence.” 

Sebastian Zavala (‘24) is a member of student senate and is on both the finance and betterment committees. He explained that although the student senate had themselves discussed the comprehensive fee increase, he wished that they had put more focus on it, because students have concerns about where their money is going. 

“Of course no one wants to pay more, [Luther is] already a very expensive college,” Zavala said. “The world’s economy is going through a really tough phase right now. It’s not only the increase in our tuition, but the increase in everything else with inflation. I will probably start having to work more hours, trying to find another source of income to help my parents. It’s really difficult because as an international student, I can’t really work here. That is one of my main concerns that I have.” 

In reaction to the increase, Madison Joiner (‘24) felt anger, fear, and anxiety. It prompted them to create a survey to see how other Luther students were feeling about the increase. They emailed a survey to one hundred students, and their findings reflected Zavala’s statement — many students reported that they felt that they would have to take on extra jobs in order to pay for the increase. 

“I don’t think I will be able to come to Luther next year with the increase in tuition,” Joiner said. “I don’t really know where I’ll go after this. I don’t want to go, I love Luther, and the town is so beautiful and the professors are incredible. There are so many classes that I want to take, and I just decided my major. I want to be here next year very badly, but it’s just not in the cards for me if this comprehensive fee increase does not come with an increase in financial aid.”

 

Current students will not receive an increase in financial aid automatically. Students who have changes in circumstances are encouraged to talk to the financial aid office, as they may receive a change to their financial aid packages. Otherwise, it is only incoming students who will see an increase in their financial aid packages, reflecting the new comprehensive fee. 

“In most cases, I believe that an increase in tuition leads to an increase in resources,” Joiner said. “I would just like to see [an increase in resources] on campus at the very least. If students are dropping out, or not performing their best due to the immense financial strain, I think it is in Luther’s best interest to continue working with students on campus, instead of just charging us more and more.”

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