As a member of Student Senate, I have the honor of getting an inside look into what is happening on and around campus. This past meeting, Senate invited the heads of the Academic Planning Committee (APC), Kevin Kraus, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, and Todd Pedler, physics professor, to talk to us about the APC’s proposed changes for the College.
For some brief background on the subject, for the past couple years, the student body has gotten smaller with each incoming class. While my own class of 2019 was about at the average (620 or so), both the classes of 2018 and 2020 were low, with the class of 2020 about 100 students less than the class of 2019. While the student faculty ratio is supposed to be at about 13:1, the reduction in students has led it to be closer to 11:1. Obviously, reduced numbers translate to reduced income to pay for the extra staff.
To address growing financial concerns in the Fall of 2016, the APC was charged by President Carlson and Dean Kraus to find ways to achieve a 13:1 ratio, which include cuts to certain majors and minors.
While there are many implications to these cuts, the main focus of this post is to emphasize how much I respect what Luther is doing as an institution to remain competitive without a loss of values.
- Luther College is taking a proactive approach to finances. The College is still in a strong financial position and is taking action now rather than later.
- Relative to the 6-8% increase per year in tuition that was typical in the past 10 years, tuition since has increased by about 1-2% each year since I have been here. (Granted I absolutely hate any increase in the already hefty price tag, but 2% is a bit more doable than 8%)
- Merit scholarships at Luther are really good. I applied to 8 liberal arts colleges throughout the country, and Luther had by far the best merit scholarships.
- Luther is very transfer credit friendly. Whether it is AP, IB, or community college credits, Luther is really good about accepting credits.
- Ability to graduate early. This element feeds off of #4, but because I transferred in about a year’s worth of AP credits, I am able to graduate early, saving me A LOT of money.