Loras College

Loras College appears in these rankings:

20 Best Value Colleges for Students with Autism

Loras College was officially established in 1839 by Most Rev. Bishop Mathias Loras as the all-male Saint Raphael's Seminary. After five subsequent name changes, its current distinction as Loras College was adopted for its centennial anniversary. Known for founding the Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society, Loras expanded beyond bachelor's degrees and became co-educational in 1971. Endowed for $30.5 million, Loras College remains a private, nonprofit Roman Catholic liberal arts school devoted to "God and Country." Overlooking the Mississippi River, its 64-acre, tree-lined campus in Dubuque, Iowa, welcomes over 1,600 Duhawks yearly. With an average retention rate of 80 percent, Loras produced notable alumni like Greg Gumbel, Pam Jochum, and Father Aloysius Schmitt.

According to the U.S. News, Loras College is the Midwest's 11th best school and 14th top value with the 194th best undergrad engineering programs nationwide. On Niche, Loras stands as America's 58th "Best College with No Application Fee" and 43rd "Best Catholic College." In 2016, Washington Monthly ranked Loras 11th among 1,500 baccalaureate institutions for contribution to the public good. The Society of Professional Journalists recognized Loras among the country's top 12 college newscasts. College Factual placed Loras College in the top 5 percent for engineering physics and gender diversity. PayScale ranked Loras 676th for a median mid-career salary of $70,900. Loras College also received the first President's Interfaith Community Service Award.

Loras College Accreditation Details

Reaffirmed through 2020, Loras College boasts full accreditation status from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCA). Founded in Chicago in 1895, this regional agency is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for reviewing colleges in 19 states, including Iowa. The Loras Engineering Program is proudly approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The B.A. in Athletic Training is accredited under the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Students in the BSW Major also receive preparation accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Loras College Application Requirements

Though Loras College is classified as "selective," the Fall 2015 acceptance rate was 95 percent. Prospective first-year Duhawks must have graduated with a high school diploma, finished a homeschool program, or passed the GED with a 450 or better. Academic rigor is evaluated with college-prep courses, including four years of English and three years of math. On average, freshmen rank in the top 50 percent of their class with a cumulative GPA of 3.46. Admitted undergrads also present a mean SAT score of 1090 and ACT score of 24. The admissions team takes a holistic approach to weigh extracurricular involvement, special talents, and faith too.

Transferring to Loras for the Lynch Learning Center's Autism resources is possible after just one full-time semester or 12 college-level credits. Undergrads at other regionally accredited colleges should have completed all transfer courses with a "C" or higher. Incoming transfers generally hold at least a 2.5 GPA, but conditional admission could be granted otherwise. Transfer agreements are established with several schools, including Northeast Iowa Community College, Harper College, Joliet Junior College, College of DuPage, and Iowa State University. International students on I-20 visas should certify English fluency with a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or TOEFL CBT score of 213.

Loras College has a rolling admission process with final ACT and SAT scores not due until August 31st. However, the Lynch Learning Center has a priority deadline of December 15th for entering the Enhanced or Autism Specific Program the next Fall. Applicants must create an online profile for submitting the free application and the following:

• Official high school and/or college transcripts

• Standardizing testing scores (Writing section optional)

• Typed, one-page personal statement of purpose

• At least one faculty recommendation letter

• Copy of Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Tuition and Financial Aid

Regardless of Iowa residency, full-time undergrads taking 12-18 credits per semester will be charged annual tuition at $31,418. Students are responsible for mandatory fees of $438 and the $1,030 technology fee each year. Living on-campus in Dubuque adds $4,000 for room and board annually. Loras suggests budgeting $1,100 for textbooks, $1,400 for transportation, $600 for personal expenses, and $59 for loan fees. Total annual cost of attendance is $43,885. A Loras bachelor's degree costs $175,540 before aid. Autistic students accessing disability services from the Lynch Learning Center also pay a $4,337 fee yearly.

Fortunately, the NCES shows that 100 percent of full-time Duhawks obtain financial aid packages worth $20,789 on average. After filing the FAFSA, students can compare low-interest loans from the Perkins, Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, and PLUS programs via FASTChoice. Undergrads may earn the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, or TEACH Grant for up to $4,000. Federal Work-Study jobs are available on-site for at least $7.25/hour. Hawkeye State residents should apply for the Iowa Tuition Grant, GEAR UP Iowa Scholarship, and All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship. Students with disabilities may claim prizes like the AHEADD Scholarship and Autism Society of Iowa Chapter Scholarship. Institutional awards, such as Four-State Flagship Grant, Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Scholarship, Pope John Paul II Memorial Program, and Carver Scholars Program, are also abundant.

Services for Loras Students with Autism

Loras College is a close-knit, AAU-approved liberal arts community offering high-quality academics for 49 majors, 11 minors, and nine pre-professional programs. Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder receive guidance to successfully complete their bachelor's. In fact, Loras was ranked 11th among College Choice's "50 Best Disability Friendly Colleges." Launched in 2015, the Lynch Learning Center offers the Autism Resources for Career and Higher Education (ARCH) to address undergrads' unique learning and social needs. Led by Director Lynn Gallagher, Ed.D., the four-year program connects autistic students to Certified Autism Specialists for honing study, self-advocacy, social, and stress management skills at the inclusive college.

Starting the freshmen year, the Autism Specific Program offers a five-day summer transition workshop and acclimates students to dorm housing two days before orientation. Students then meet weekly with their ARCH coach and attend bi-monthly mentoring sessions. Custom accommodations are available, such as extended-time testing, alternative text formats, and Red & Write GOLD technology, along with sensory tools. A two-credit Learning Strategies course is taken by freshmen. Autistic students benefit from resume counseling, job shadowing opportunities, and interviewing skills prep. The ARCH Program can also help Loras College students claim internships with The Washington Center, study abroad from France to Belize, and volunteer through Campus Ministry.