From Bruce Chuch, Ichabod Research Department:
Summary: The LCMS seminaries have the highest overhead per student of all the accredited Lutheran seminaries in America, in part due to an inadequate endowment fund. However, much of the overhead is a result of choices the LCMS seminaries and synod have made. First and foremost is the facilities overcapacity. One seminary on one campus would more than suffice for the needs of the LCMS (allowing for the expansion of classroom buildings and dormitories, of course). Secondly, there is the over-payment of professors at Concordia St. Louis, which campus has the highest tuition rates, by the way. Third, the federal government deems the LCMS seminaries to be in great financial shape, better off than most of the ELCA seminaries, and they of course charge much lower tuition. In other words, the LCMS seminaries could afford to lower their tuition quite a bit without losing their OK credit rating with the government, and without going broke.
Discussion: In the spreadsheet and charts, I have called overhead any cost not associated with professor salaries. However, if one wished, one could add to overhead the amount that he or she estimates the Concordia Seminary St. Louis professors are overpaid. When professor salaries are subtracted from tuition, a LCMS seminary student is paying $21,500 for overhead per year, twice as much as all the ELCA seminary students, except at one seminary. The fiscally troubled Philadelphia ELCA seminary still has $5,000 less overhead per student than the LCMS seminaries. Philadelphia also has the highest tuition and fees of any ELCA seminary, but its yearly tuition still trails $5,000 behind the LCMS seminaries.
The professor salary ($89,483) at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, is $22,923 more than the average ($66,560) holding at the nine other Lutheran seminaries listed. Its associate professor salary ($71,201) is $14,287 more than the average ($56,914) at the other seminaries. The assistant professor salary ($59,830) is $5,410 more than the average ($54,420) at the other seminaries. If the amount of this over-payment of professors were factored into the overhead cost, the overhead cost per student at the LCMS seminaries would be even greater.
Links of Interest:
With church membership dwindling and more families struggling to afford the cost of college, many private religiously-affiliated colleges and universities are slashing tuition and offering incentives to attract new students -- and to stay afloat.
Concordia Seminary FAQ on its high tuition--It's all your fault!
Dept of Ed Rates Private Seminaries and Colleges for Fiscal Soundness:
or download 2009-10 report here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/34974726/0910CompositeScores.xls
ELCA Seminary Fiscal News:
This report's spreadsheet and charts can be found here:
Seminary Tuition Scandal: