For nearly 130 years, Concordia College has been preparing its students to be ready for anything. And in a time when truly anything is possible, this seems more important than ever. As we welcome the next generation of Cobbers, the college seeks to build upon its rich traditions to become the Concordia the world needs now.

To promote the academic strengths of Concordia College and to bring clarity and accessibility to potential future Cobbers, Concordia announced three changes to be implemented in Fall 2021: the launch of a new pricing structure for tuition, a change to its academic framework by establishing a schools model within the college, and the introduction of the Cobber Flex Year.

Beginning in Fall 2021, the price for annual tuition will be $27,500, which is more than $15,000 lower than current tuition – a reduction of over 35%. As a priority identified in the college’s strategic plan approved in May 2019, this new pricing structure is a response to the confusion and anxiety many students and families experience after decades of rising tuition prices. In addition to decreased tuition, Concordia will continue to offer scholarships and aid to help students meet their college costs.

“With this new tuition price, Pell Grants, state aid, and external scholarships will go further toward reducing costs and limit the need for student loans,” says Dr. Karl Stumo, vice president for Enrollment and Marketing.

The change in the college’s pricing model will benefit continuing students as well. Historically, students have seen an average annual tuition increase of 4% or about $1,700. In the upcoming year, the increase in the out-of-pocket tuition costs for continuing students will be limited to $800 and no more than $1,000 for 2022-23 and 2023-24.

“Our campus leadership and our governing Board of Regents have worked together to frame Concordia for this new and changing time: to position Concordia strongly to serve our students, and the communities they will lead, as we send them out to influence the affairs of the world,” says President William Craft.

To further prepare students, Concordia implemented an academic reorganization to clearly name three schools. Under the new academic model, Concordia introduced the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Health Professions. These two new schools join the Offutt School of Business to encompass all areas of the college.

In addition to lifting up academics at Concordia, the three schools model also enables Advancement staff to partner with donors to underwrite the work of each of the schools.

“The schools model more clearly showcases the academic strengths of Concordia College and will help to engage philanthropic activity for innovation in teaching, learning, and applied problem-solving,” says Dr. Susan Larson, dean of the college. “Additionally, the three schools model enhances our commitment to students’ career exploration, preparation, and on-time graduation – so critical for the economic vitality of the region.”

As Concordia worked to fulfill its mission in innovative ways, the college also looked for ways to support students’ education during a pandemic. As a way to accomplish this, Concordia established a Cobber Flex Year option. The Flex Year option offers current students and those enrolling in Fall 2021 two tuition-free semesters of study beyond their anticipated graduation date. The Cobber Flex Year allows students whose college experience has been affected by the pandemic expanded possibilities to learn – both in the classroom and beyond – in ways they find most compelling.

Students may use the Cobber Flex Year option to complete degree requirements, add an additional major or minor, participate in a PEAK integrative learning opportunity or research experience with a faculty member, or take on an internship or service project that is not currently available. They may also have additional time to participate in music ensembles, fine arts, or athletics when tours and competitions have resumed more traditional schedules.

Cobbers have shown impressive creativity and resilience in this challenging time and the Cobber Flex Year ensures that all students will have options when they need flexibility to get the most out of their Concordia education.

In a world that is ever-changing, some things remain constant – including how Concordia’s rich heritage and meaningful traditions create an educational experience like no other. Through the gifts and talents of our faculty and staff and support from alumni and friends, we are building a Concordia that the world needs now.

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Originally published in the 2021 Concordia Magazine