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What Does it Cost to Attend Luther College?

Paying for college is hard enough–anticipating college costs shouldn’t make it harder. Unfortunately, that’s the reality for most families as they begin to think about paying for college. Many factors influence how much you will pay out of pocket to send your student to college, and almost no two families end up paying the exact same amount. This can make planning for college costs even more challenging.


In this series of posts, we deep dive into college costs and analyze how much families spend at hundreds of colleges across the country. Our goal is to help you more accurately predict just what your college costs will be. In this post, we take a closer look at how much families spend to send their students to Luther College.

Why Are College Costs So Variable?

There are so many factors that ultimately come into play when determining out of pocket college costs. First, colleges have highly variable price tags to begin with, so starting points are already a wide range. Then, factors such as family income and how much merit aid or scholarship money a student is awarded will come into play. The number of different ways that all of these factors can align means that there are nearly countless possible projections for college costs, but learning about these factors can you to more accurately predict your costs.


List price is the all-inclusive cost of attending a college without any financial assistance. This typically includes things like tuition, room and board, and fees. List prices, also sometimes referred to as sticker prices, vary from under $20,000 to over $60,000, so knowing a college’s list price is an important factor in narrowing down potential costs.


That being said, few families actually pay the entire list price. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 85% of college students now receive financial aid. Consequently net cost, or the amount that a family actually pays out of pocket after financial assistance, can be a much more useful metric. Net cost also varies widely, because it depends on how much institutional aid, merit aid, and federal, state, and local aid that a family receives. Looking at the average net cost at a college can give you a clearer picture of how much families typically spend to attend there.

What is the List Price at Luther College?

In 2016-2017, the list price at Luther College was $52,595. Though public schools will have reduced list prices for students who live in-state, Luther College is a private college so it does not offer discounts for in-state students. Still, few students actually pay the entire list price at Luther. Instead, typically only those with a combined annual family income of $175k or more would expect to pay list price.

What is the Net Cost of Attending Luther College?

For students who receive financial aid only, the average net cost of attending Luther College is $44,799. For students who receive merit aid only, the average net cost of attending Luther College is $32,807. It’s worth noting that many students at Luther receive some combination of both financial aid and merit aid.

Net Cost Based on Income of Attending Luther College

A family’s income level is the primary factor impacting how much financial aid they typically receive. Breaking down net cost by income level can help you to further refine your college cost estimate. At Luther College, costs break down in the following way.


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $17,762
$30,001-$48,000 $20,199
$48,001-$75,000 $22,099
$75,001-$110,000 $25,051
$110,000+ $28,416

How Much Merit Aid is Typically Awarded at Luther College?

Luther College is very generous when it comes to awarding merit aid. In 2017, 96.6% of students without financial need were awarded merit aid. The average merit aid award for a student without financial need was $19,788. This places Luther College at 68th in the pool over 1000 schools we analyzed for merit aid generosity.

How Many Students Take Out Loans to Attend Luther College?

Loans are not overly common for Luther College students, but they certainly aren’t unusual either. In 2017, 41% of Luther College students held loans. The average federal loan amount per undergraduate student was $5,880.

Student Outcomes

College expenses are no doubt a large investment, but they are also one that you can usually count on for a long-term return. In fact, people with a college degree tend to have an increased earning potential over their lifetime. Looking at student outcomes from specific colleges can help you to estimate the potential return on your initial investment.


At Luther College, 78% of students who begin a degree program are able to complete it within six years. The average salary for graduates ten years out of school is $47,400.

Local Area Cost Considerations

Costs associated with tuition and housing are not the only expenses you’ll need to anticipate over the course of a four-year degree. There will also be transportation expenses, groceries, and perhaps even off campus housing. The local economy will have an impact on how much your student spends while in college, and on how much he or she is able to earn working in a local job.


Luther College is located in Decorah, Iowa. The cost of living index in Decorah is 91.9, meaning it is just about 8% below the national average. Transportation costs in Decorah are particularly affordable, and housing too falls below the national average. A student living off campus would spend roughly $481/month on a studio apartment or $908/month on a three-bedroom apartment.


The job market in Decorah isn’t great but it’s not horrible either. Unemployment rates run just 1% below the national average, but job growth in recent years has been poor and while it’s projected to improve, it isn’t expected to close the gap with the projected national average. Minimum wage in Iowa is set at the federal minimum of $7.25/hr, but Iowa employers can pay a new employee who is under 20 years of age a training wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of employment.

Other Ways to Pay for College

Scholarships are a great option for helping to supplement college funding, and there are scholarships to fit many different shapes and sizes of student accomplishment. The largest scholarship program in the country is the National Merit Scholarship Program. Through this program, over a million high school juniors take the PSAT and are considered for awards based on their scores. Awards are also given for PSAT scores through the National Hispanic Recognition Program and awards from specific corporations or colleges. To learn more about the program, check out our post How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.


Many other scholarships exist on both the national level and the local level, and there are countless options at every level in between. Some scholarships are limited to local students or to highly specialized skill sets. Others are open to a national pool of talented scholars. You can find out more about some of the options out there in these CollegeVine posts:   



Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.