When Luther College first began in 1861, there were two groups of students: traditional college students and students with no formal high school education. The latter group of students were separated into the Preparatory Department, a division of Luther College that served as high school education, as none existed in the Decorah area at that time. While Luther College did not charge tuition, the Preparatory Department charged $20 for the first year and $10 for the second year (circa 1888). By the 1920s, enrollment in the Preparatory Department had decreased, due to the rising number of public high schools. The Department was no longer making enough money to pay for the teachers and housing and in 1928, the Preparatory Department saw its last students.
[Luther College, 1861-1961, p 215]