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Luther College is home to 1600 undergraduates in Decorah, Iowa, in the geographically unique Driftless Area of the Midwest. For Wisconsin families, Luther might be enough distance to encourage independence without being too far from home (a 3-hour drive from Madison and 4 hours from Milwaukee). Popular majors on this 200-acre campus include music, nursing and health sciences, biology, and business. Here are five things that set Luther College apart:


Luther’s dedication to sustainability is impressive and reaches all parts of the campus community. Luther is on track for carbon neutrality by 2030 and 53% of campus energy comes from their own wind and solar energy (the wind turbine is named Darryl, in case you were wondering). Campus has zero waste and sustainable food programs, along with LEED-certified Sampson Laboratories, which features a rain garden. This environmental focus even extends into classrooms: all departments have sustainability course offerings. 


Luther has strong music programs, with over 600 student musicians participating in orchestras, choirs, and ensembles. They are home to 6 touring ensembles, which welcome participation by music majors and non-majors alike. Additionally, Luther offers audition-based talent scholarships for students with an interest in music, theater, or dance. 

Merit aid:

All students are automatically considered for merit scholarships with their application, and, unusually, everyone will receive at least one. 100% of students receive financial assistance of some sort, with academic scholarships ranging from $26,000 to $34,000 based on GPA. There is even an award for simply participating in an official campus tour or other in-person visit!

Small-town charm:

Decorah is home to 7500 people, making Luther an ideal environment for students looking for a more personalized and community-based experience. The upper Midwest location provides access to many interesting local natural resources, including campus-owned woodland trails, the Upper Iowa River, and Dunning’s Spring waterfalls. Students and faculty make use of the Anderson Prairie and Hickory Ridge Wood for recreation as well as fieldwork and study in ecology and environmental sciences. 

Beyond Iowa:

Students interested in a global education shouldn’t overlook Luther College. 82% of 2021 graduates studied abroad, which earned the college a US News and World Report #2 ranking for Most Students Studying Abroad. Luther offers January term, partner program, and faculty-led study away options both domestically and internationally. 

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