Update – please see ‘Short-Term Trends in the Concordia University System‘.
We have entered the college shopping phase for our oldest daughter, and have run the rule on several dozen options to find the best fit for her and us. As part of that exercise, I extracted a subset of all the Lutheran tertiary institutions, further refined to the Concordia University System. Herewith my findings based on publicly available data:
- The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Concordia’s offer better value-for-money than ELCA schools when measured by total cost divided by rank (based on a custom ranking score based on the status of a college and its U.S. News national or regional ranking).
- ELCA schools are more elite academically, but also much more expensive.
- The LCMS schools have remarkably similar total tuition and boarding expenses.
- Unfortunately, there was no publicly available data on the percentage of students who are from LCMS households. Anecdotal reports suggest that Seward has the highest percentage, whilst Portland and Selma have the lowest.
- Seward is the highest ranked LCMS school.
- St. Paul offers the best value relative to its ranking, but only marginally so against the runner up, Seward.
- Texas and Portland offer the least value at almost double the price paid for the best value schools.
- Seward attracts the brightest students.
- Seward has the best performance in keeping students and graduating them.
- Selma has a shocking retention and graduation rate that is several standard deviations outside the mean.
- Seward, Mequon, and Irvine are in close competition by many measures. There is a message there for the required rationalization of CUS, especially as the LCMS prepares to confront challenges to the religious liberty of its universities.
- Given the importance of spouse-matching during the university years, LCMS men are spoiled for choice, but our women have a distressingly small pool to choose from
- The Seward and Ann Arbor campuses have the most balanced gender ratio which also matches the national gender ratio (51% female / 49% male).
- The least balanced is Selma (35%, 65%)
- The most likely campus to find a wife is Portland with 77% women and total enrollment exceeding 7,000. Pity the young ladies there, especially if they are Confessional LCMS members, who already face daunting marriage odds in their home churches.
- The most likely campus to find a husband is Texas with 40% men and total enrollment of 2,500. Seward is close behind.