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Pacific Lutheran University

Pacific Lutheran University Rating: 3.6/5 (10 votes)

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Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) was established in 1890 by a group of Norwegian Lutherans headed by Reverend Bjug Harstad from the Puget Sound area. The university was established with the main objective of helping immigrants adjust to their new land and find jobs. Another prime objective was to produce graduates who would serve the church and the community. Although it was set up as a university, it functioned primarily as an academy until 1918 when it closed for two years. It reopened after two years as the Pacific Lutheran College, offering two-year courses, and merged with the Columbia College. The Spokane College also merged with the Pacific Lutheran College in 1929. In 1960, the institution was reorganized and renamed Pacific Lutheran University.

Pacific Lutheran University is located on a 156-acre woodland campus six miles south of Tacoma, in suburban Parkland. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and has consistently been ranked in the top 15 Western region universities in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” survey.

Pacific Lutheran University is comprised of a College of Arts and Sciences and professional schools of Arts and Communication, Business, Education and Movement Studies, and Nursing offering undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs.


The College of Arts and Sciences offers B.A. and B.S. degrees programs. Courses are offered in areas such as Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.

The School of Arts and Communication offers the Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art & Design and Theatre, Bachelor of Musical Arts, and Bachelor of Music Education degree programs.

The School of Business offers BBA and MBA degree programs. The areas of concentration for the BBA programs include Accounting, Finance, Management and Human Resource, and Marketing. The MBA program offers concentration areas in Entrepreneurship & New Venture Management, Health Care Management, and Technology & Innovation Management.

The School of Education and Movement Studies offers the Bachelor of Arts in Education, Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education, Bachelor of Science in Physical Education, and Master of Arts in Education degree programs. The courses are offered in areas such as Instructional Development and Leadership and Movement Studies and Wellness Education.

The School of Nursing offers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the Master of Science in Nursing degree programs.

Most Popular Fields of Study


Pacific Lutheran University offers a competitive admissions policy; applications are scrutinized on the basis of grade point average, class rank, transcript patterns, standardized test scores, personal essay, and an academic recommendation. Students are required to take the SAT or the ACT. The required preparation courses include mathematics, a foreign language, English, social studies, laboratory science, visual or performing arts, and electives. Pacific Lutheran University also admits transfer students from regionally accredited colleges or universities. Transfer students need to have at least a 2.50 GPA with at least 30 semester hours of college level, academic coursework.

International students need to submit the application for admission, an essay, a letter of recommendation and a certificate of finances to demonstrate availability of funds to finance the education expenses for a year. They are also required to submit their high school and college transcripts. They are required to provide evidence of their proficiency in English by submitting their TOEFL scores.

Financial Aid

Pacific Lutheran University participates in a variety of financial aid programs to help students meet their educational expenses. Four types of financial aid are available for the students of the Pacific Lutheran University. These include scholarships and grants, loans, work-study programs, and payment plans.

The merit-based awards include Regents’ Scholarship, President’s scholarship, PLU Academic scholarship, National Merit scholarship, Washington Scholar’s award, and Phi Theta Kappa scholarship. The need-based awards include Q Club scholarship, University Grant, Dollars for scholars, Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and the Washington State Need Grant. Students may also be able to rreceive various loan options such as Stafford (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Parent PLUS loans, and Federal Grad PLUS loans. Students can also apply for work-study programs wherein they can seek in-campus and off-campus work-study positions.

To apply for financial aid from the Pacific Lutheran University, students are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the U.S. Department of Education. The Pacific Lutheran University recommends a priority deadline of January 31 to apply for the financial aid.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 4165th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Washington.


Pacific Lutheran University believes in creating an atmosphere where students are challenged to learn and grow outside the classroom. The campus has a home town feel. The Hong International Hall is a hub for campus activities primarily focused on culture, language, and international issues. The Lagerquist Concert Hall has brilliant acoustics where students get the opportunity to practice and perform. The Student Involvement and Leadership program features a student government which provides advice and support for student activities. The clubs and organizations in the Pacific Lutheran University provide a great opportunity to students to branch out into areas previously uncharted, or altogether unexplored.

Students can either join an existing club or form a new one. Common clubs on the campus of the university include Alpha Psi Omega, Anthropology club, Amnesty International, Circle K, Cycling Club, Hip Hop 101, Super Smash Bros. Club, the Mark, and the Nordic Klubb.

The Counseling Center provides useful advice, career guidance, and personal assistance to the students. Other facilities available on campus include a Campus Ministry, Diversity Center, Health Center, and a Women’s Center. The library houses new and used books, journals, and electronic resources. The Garfield Book company is the bookstore of the Pacific Lutheran University and houses books, apparel, merchandise, greeting cards, and gift items.

There are numerous housing options at the Pacific Lutheran University. The university offers guaranteed housing to all first-year students. There are many residence halls such as Foss, Harstad, Hong, Kriedler, and Ordal which are well-equipped and have facilities such as in-room cable TV, internet connection, kitchen microwaves, study lounges, desks and chairs, and twin extra-long beds. The dining options include The Commons, Old Main Market, Tahoma Bakery and Café, Espresso Cart, and The Cave.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


Pacific Lutheran University is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. The Pacific Lutheran University athletes are known as the Lutes and the official colors are yellow and black. Pacific Lutheran University participates in 20 varsity sports including baseball, men’s and women’s crew, men’s and women’s basketball, football, softball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, and women’s volleyball.

The on-campus athletic facilities include Olson Auditorium-Names Court, the home of the PLU volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams; Memorial Gymnasium, Swim Center, Names Fitness Center, Tennis Courts, Baseball Field, Softball Field, Soccer Field, and Track and Field.


  • Pacific Lutheran University. About PLU. Web. 30 July 2011.
  • Pacific Lutheran University. Office of Admission. Web. 30 July 2011.
  • Pacific Lutheran University. PLU Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 2010-2011. 2010. Print.

Information Summary

Ranks 5th in Washington and 244th overall
See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list

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College Building :: Pacific Lutheran University College Campus :: Pacific Lutheran University

Campus Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault N/A N/A
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape 9 0.26
Robbery N/A N/A
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 17 0.49
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft 7 0.20
Arrest 2 0.06

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 925 0.46
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter 11 0.01
Forcible Rape 125 0.06
Robbery 446 0.22
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 2,709 1.34
Larceny 7,228 3.59
Vehicle theft 2,125 1.05

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Master's Colleges and Universities (medium programs)
UndergraduateArts & sciences plus professions, some graduate coexistence
GraduatePostbaccalaureate with arts & sciences (education dominant)
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, selective, lower transfer-in
EnrollmentVery high undergraduate
Size & SettingMedium four-year, highly residential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringPost-master's certificate
Calendar SystemFour-one-four plan
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationEvangelical Lutheran Church
Congressional District5310

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 313th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $34,440 $34,440 $34,440
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $300 $300 $300
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $1,080 $1,080 $1,080
FT Graduate Tuition $25,920 $25,920 $25,920
FT Graduate Required Fees N/A N/A N/A
PT Graduate per Credit Hour $1,080 $1,080 $1,080
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $48,308 $48,308 $48,308
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $48,956 $48,956 $48,956
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $41,898 $41,898 $41,898

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $30,950 $33,100 $30,950 $33,100 $30,950 $33,100
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $972 $1,000
On-Campus – Room & Board $9,250 $9,620
On-Campus – Other Expenses $2,352 $2,398
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $9,250 $9,620
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $3,216 $3,010
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $5,808 $5,970

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application Fee$40
Graduate Application Fee$40
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 3,443 (1,302 male / 2,141 female)
Admitted 2,643 (970 male / 1,673 female)
Admission rate 77%
First-time Enrollment 648 (238 male / 410 female)
FT Enrollment 648 (238 male / 410 female)
PT Enrollment N/A (N/A male / N/A female)
Total Enrollment3,462

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /   / 
College Prep. Completion
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scores
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference Northwest Conference
NCAA Basketball Conference Northwest Conference
NCAA Baseball Conference Northwest Conference
NCAA Track & Field Conference Northwest Conference

ACT Test Admission

285th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 32%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 21 / 28
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 21 / 27
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 22 / 28

SAT Test Admission

384th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting SAT results 86%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 490 / 610
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 490 / 610
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 980 / 1220

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity1,755
Meals per WeekN/A
Room Fee$4,870
Board Fee$5,230

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 1590th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $67,001 ($72,023 male / $61,689 female)
Number of FT Faculty 228 (111 male / 117 female)
Number of PT Faculty 266
FT Faculty Ratio 0.9 : 1
Total Benefits $5,220,675

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1010 122nd St So
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
p. 253-531-6900
w. www.plu.edu

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