MOORHEAD – The college has announced a new tuition assistance program that will offer completely free tuition to students whose households have an adjusted gross income of under $90,000. The program referred to as the “Concordia Promise” will be offered to incoming domestic students for fall 2024.
To be eligible, students must be accepted to Concordia, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), report an adjusted gross income under $90,000 and attend the college full-time while maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Eligible students can renew the scholarship for up to four years.
The program is a partial response to Minnesota’s “North Star Promise” scholarship, Vice President for Enrollment, Ben Iversen said.
The Minnesota program offers free college tuition to students whose household adjusted gross income is below $80,000 and applies to students that are Minnesota residents and attend public institutions.
The largest differences between Minnesota’s North Star Promise and the Concordia Promise are the income thresholds, different by $10,000, and the students that the scholarships are offered to.
The Concordia Promise is offered to students from all over the country, whereas the North Star Promise is only offered to students who are Minnesota residents. Neither of the scholarships are offered to international students.
The program is couched within president Colin Irvine’s “Investing to Grow” initiative, in which the college invests in several new academic and co-curricular programs in hopes of gaining momentum and a larger enrollment for the school, Iversen said.
Through making education more accessible to incoming students, Concordia is investing in its future as an institution.
Even though the Concordia Promise focuses on those students with the greatest financial need, $90,000 and under, the school is still affordable to those households that bring in more than $90,000 through other financial aid available, Iversen said.
Although the sticker price is intimidating, Concordia has a wide range of scholarships and financial aid packages that make college education affordable for students, Iversen said.
Concordia is widely considered a relatively expensive school in comparison to the other surrounding colleges, but in reality, it’s not as expensive as the public thinks.
First-year student, Ethan Stohr, said that he was intimidated about the price of Concordia before attending. But as his first year has started and his tuition and financial aid are viewable, his worries have lessened.
“I have a single mother and she’s the only one who helps pay for my college, and we were worried because I wanted to get a good education without it being too expensive,” Stohr said. “But essentially, when I got here, we looked at all of the financial aid and how much I actually had to pay, and it wasn’t nearly as much as I was expecting.”
Along with that, Stohr said that the idea of the Concordia Promise is “really cool.”
Since the public announcement on Nov. 2, Concordia’s admissions office has been working to answer questions from potential incoming students and to continue spreading the word about the program. Admissions staff have been fielding questions from interested students and their families, organizing email campaigns and creating a mailer that will go out to prospective students.
Alexander Skaare, an admissions representative, has been spreading the word as he travels to different high schools.
“I have been getting the word out by interacting with counselors and teachers on high school visits,” Skaare said. “The college has done a great job with press releases and other marketing with getting the word out, so really, I have been answering more questions about it than really promoting it.”
However, cost is not the main part of Skaar’s presentations to prospective students. “I talk about our academic outcomes, music, theatre, visual arts, athletics, clubs, other opportunities on campus and most importantly, the community of Cobbers here,” he said.
“We’re really hoping to shine a light on the concept of affordability and help people understand that a private school like Concordia can absolutely be affordable,” Iversen said.