Students seeking a liberal arts education in the center of a quirky, urban setting may want to explore Concordia University, a flower-filled campus located in downtown Portland, Ore. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod founded this Christian university in 1905. However, students from all belief backgrounds are welcome; Concordia hopes to cultivate not only the spiritual lives of their students, but also their core academic knowledge. In conjunction with their classes, scholars may attend daily campus worship sessions or meet with a campus pastor for religious guidance. In recent years, Concordia University’s online course offerings have also become a major selling point for the school.
The university currently offers 25 undergraduate degrees in topics like business administration, English, and social work. Potential graduate students can choose from seven master’s programs in subjects such as teaching, business administration, or international development and service; Ph.D. programs in education and Juris Doctor programs are also offered. Students who require a more flexible schedule can complete their degree exclusively online. Two undergraduate degrees (early childhood education and career and technology education) can be completed online, along with three graduate-level degrees in special education, technical education, or education leadership. The teacher-to-student ratio at Concordia is relatively low; most courses enroll fewer than 20 students.
Students enrolled on campus may take part in the 13 different men and women’s sports teams comprising the Concordia Cavaliers athletics program; basketball, baseball, golf, and soccer are among the most popular choices. Concordia University provides spacious, modern facilities in which teams can train, and the Hilken Community Stadium seats nearly 1,800 cheering fans.
Concordia University’s online degrees are more structured than most correspondence classes; students must regularly ‘attend’ class and adhere to a strict timeframe. For those who are new to online learning, Concordia provides enrolled students with an online guide to distance learning; they can collaborate with classmates and pose questions to instructors using virtual bulletin boards. Students are expected to take an active role in their online learning experience by speaking up, logging on regularly, and participating in course exercises.
Applicants who are interested in tuition assistance have access to federal student aid, loans, scholarships, and grants. Gift aid is granted to nearly 95% of freshmen; the average student receives $11,000 per year. Students are encouraged to annually submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if they qualify for this form of financial support. Scholarship and grant applications are also available to freshmen and transfer students.
Liberal arts academics and faith-based education go hand-in-hand at Concordia, and this unusual hybrid has proven quite popular with students of varying religious backgrounds. And with its location in the heart of Portland, those who attend the university have unparalleled access to one of the most offbeat music and artistic scenes in the country, as well as the scenic natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.