Is Augustana Affordable?

Zain Shrestha

Since 2011, Augustana College tuition has increased around 30 percent according to According to first-year Nabin Neupane, the rising costs makes college much less affordable.

Neupane says there’s a matter of concern whether Augustana is “actually” affordable despite the college’s endeavors. 

Despite the scholarships Neupane has received, Neupane says Augustana is still too expensive. For the quality of education and standard of living Augustana offers he believes his annual fee might be justifiable for the US, however, coming from Nepal, it’s “fairly expensive” for him.

According to Neupane, there’s no denying that colleges in the US have been expensive over the years. This raises some problems for most international students coming from developing nations.

“Scholarship was one of the biggest factors for me deciding my college being an international student. Augustana was one of the colleges that provided me with higher scholarships and grants. However, I’m still paying around $20,000 and that’s still a very huge sum of money to be easily manageable,” Neupane said.

However, according to Chief Financial Officer Kirk Anderson, Augustana has been putting forward a substantial amount of effort to reduce the costs of students attending the college. 

Although tuition prices have increased, Anderson said that the scholarships the school offers generally offsets the cost increase.

“Academic merit scholarships are one of the higher-end scholarships we provide. They can range up to $28,000 annually for the presidential scholarship. Besides that, a lot of students are also eligible for various fine arts scholarships, such as music and art,” Anderson said. 

The amount of money given for academic merit scholarships only increases for incoming students. Students who earned an annual scholarship in previous years at a certain amount do not receive increased funds as the amount goes up.

John Cage, director of financial aid, said that Augustana is providing students with more grants and scholarships every year to support them. Additionally, Cage said that 2,265 students in Augustana are financial aid recipients, receiving $32,000 on average.

“This year, Augustana has provided students with a total of $72 million in institutional grants and scholarships. That is a 16 percent increase from 2017. We are committed to providing access to world-class education and our increased investment in our students over the past five years exemplifies that,” Cage said.

According to Anderson, although Augustana tries its best to fulfill the needs of all the students, sometimes, it’s just not possible. Anderson said there is a limited amount of funds, and once those funds are committed to a certain student, they can not be redistributed to help another student.

Overall, Anderson said that Augustana is committed to working with students to make the cost of college affordable. Anderson says that although the cost has risen throughout the years, out of pocket cost for students has stayed at around the same price. 

“One of the things Augustana has been able to accomplish is that the students that are studying now are on average paying the amount students ten years ago paid,” Anderson said.