WE ARE RESPONDING
To reduce the debt load of our graduates and to assure that nothing hampers the recruiting of future gospel ministers, the MLC Governing Board and administration invite all our partners throughout the synod to join us in addressing this challenge as wisely and aggressively as possible. Under God’s blessing, we seek to:
- Increase gifts to financial aid.
We will cultivate even more generous foundation grants, individual gifts, and special congregational contributions, such as those facilitated by the Congregational Partner Grant Program (CPGP). Such grants and gifts will significantly increase our ability to award merit-based and especially need-based financial aid, allowing us to offer more competitive financial aid packages to prospective students.
- Enhance student financial literacy.
We will expand the current excellent program that teaches students wise stewardship of their financial resources. The MLC program, established before it was common practice at other college campuses, offers students guidance about summer employment, limiting working hours during the academic semesters, and sensible budgeting in a consumer-mentality culture. Recent research by the Trellis Company confirms the positive impact of financial counseling, and all such growth provides a blessing long after graduation.
- Encourage family financial support.
We will encourage parents to help fund their children’s college education in ways consistent with their resources. In a growing trend, more parents are asking their children to bear an increasing percentage of college costs. While having students contribute to their college education does foster maturity, parents might not realize that student employment comes nowhere close to covering the full cost of college, and that government support has shifted almost entirely from grants to loans. When parents help pay for college, they provide a double blessing: reducing their children’s debt load and assisting their children to make a stronger beginning in public ministry.
- Urge students to utilize government loans judiciously.
We will help students evaluate the long-term ramifications of student loans so that they don’t borrow too quickly or carelessly. We will also assist them with loan repayment options. When we combine greater financial literacy with increased financial aid and additional parental support, we will be well on our way toward fewer and smaller student loans.
Under God’s blessing, we would like to cut student indebtedness in half in ten years. The current ratio of debt to starting salary is 92 percent. The goal is to reduce that ratio to 46 percent in ten years.
In 2020 dollars, a $1,500 per year increase in each of three areas—student contribution, family contribution, and financial aid—would result in an $18,000 decrease in the average debt over four years. That would more than meet this goal! The challenge is not as significant as it may first appear.
In this, as in all things, we ask God to help us. May our efforts ease the financial burden our graduates carry, remove hindrances to ministry recruitment, and raise an ever larger corps of Christian witnesses who are qualified to meet WELS ministry needs.
 This ratio lists the average indebtedness of the 2019 MLC graduate ($27,196) as a percentage of the 2019-2020 WELS salary matrix column C with 0 years of experience ($29,511).
Martin Luther College
1995 Luther Court
New Ulm, MN 56073
1 (507) 354-8221
Need Help? Contact Us