|Source: Living Lutheran|
Committed to the accessibility and affordability of higher education, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Tacoma, Washington pledges to fix tuition rates for a student’s entire 4-year course of study.
The university’s pledge comes as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes in the United States and PLU hopes to make education more accessible to families who have been impacted by the American student loan debt crisis.
With the announcement, PLU will become the first institution of higher learning among the 26 affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to have a fixed tuition rate.
University President Allan Belton said, “Increased costs of less than $1,500 on average can make a difference for a student. It’s nice to see us coming to terms with doing what we have to do to provide access to an education.”
Annual tuition in the United States has increased at a rate of 3-4% each year, while financial aid and scholarship awards remain approximately the same for a student’s entire tenure. “This can push families into financial hardship or force students to leave their university with debt but without a degree,” Belton said. “We need to stop that cycle.”
“Now when someone asks me, ‘What is tuition going to look like next year?,’ I can tell them, ‘Exactly what it looks like this year.’”
This fall, PLU’s first-year tuition of $49,472 will be guaranteed to all students for the length of their full-time enrollment. Tuition hikes may apply to subsequent classes however, once announced university officials planned to lock tuition for each class of new arriving freshmen.
“Now when someone asks me, ‘What is tuition going to look like next year?,’ I can tell them, ‘Exactly what it looks like this year,’” said Melody Ferguson, associate dean of admission. “It’s really nice to be able to say that.”
PLU was founded in 1890 by Norwegian immigrants. Operating under the core elements of Lutheran higher education as ascribed by the ELCA, the average out-of-pocket cost for students to attend PLU for one year, including room, board and fees, is about $19,000.
Commenting on the university’s announcement, Ferguson said, “Two years ago, our board of regents and our president asked a few of us to rethink the traditional model of constant increases in tuition…We came up with this idea of fixed tuition, and we didn’t find a lot of reasons not to do it.”
Source: Living Lutheran