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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Are ELCA schools affordable?'

As ELCA director for colleges and universities, James Unglaube hears many questions from parents about the 28 church-related institutions — often, "Are ELCA schools affordable?"

It's the wrong first question to ask, he says. "Look hard at the educational and growing-up needs of your student," he advises parents. "Don't put financial aid ahead of an admissions match. Look at those schools that seem right for your student. Then, with the school, explore potential support." He points out that in addition to direct aid from the school, support might include scholarships from your congregation, fraternal association or community groups.

ELCA schools, Unglaube says, serve a variety of student academic profiles. "That's an advantage," he says. They also represent a range of annual costs, from $12,000 to $25,000. He urges parents to be aware that the vast majority of students complete their education at ELCA schools in four years, rather than the five or even six now typical at some large state universities. "That begins to level the [expenses] playing field," he points out.

"Choose the school where your child's talents and abilities will be maximized," Unglaube advises. "I say spending money on education is the best investment parents can make."


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