Should I go to Pacific Lutheran University or Seattle Pacific University? Compare the two schools' costs, SAT, ACT, GPA, admissions criteria and outcomes to help you determine if PLU or SPU is the better college for you.

PLU Comparison

Pacific Lutheran University vs. Seattle Pacific University comparison
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Location Tacoma, WA Seattle, WA
Setting Large Suburban Large City
Students 3,207 3,688
Type Private 4 Year Private 4 Year
Religious Affiliation Evangelical Lutheran Church Free Methodist
Status Non-profit Non-profit


Tuition (In State) $42,066 $42,480
Tuition (Out of State) $42,066 $42,480
Room & Board $10,790 $11,796
Avg Net Price $24,567 $31,078
Avg Grant Aid $26,984 $23,350
% Receiving Grant Aid 99% 98%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 79.8% 90.1%
Avg High School GPA 3.66 3.55
Admissions Standards Difficult Challenging
Applicant Competition
ACT Range 20/28 20/27
SAT Range 1070/1270 1030/1240
Application Deadline Feb 1, 2020


Graduation Rate 66% 74%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $52,300 $50,400
Making Student Loan Payments 74% 82%
Median Student Loan Debt $25,800 $25,603
Median Loan Payment $266 $264
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Comparable Facts

  • Seattle Pacific University is larger than than PLU based on total student enrollment (3,688 students vs. 3,207 students)

PLU vs. SPU Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, PLU or SPU?

  • Seattle Pacific University is 1% more expensive to attend than PLU for in-state tuition ($42,480.00 vs. $42,066.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 1% higher at SPU than Pacific Lutheran University ($42,480.00 vs. $42,066.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at Pacific Lutheran University than SPU ($24,567 vs. $31,078)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at Pacific Lutheran University are 9.3% lower than costs at Seattle Pacific University ($10,790 vs. $11,796)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at Pacific Lutheran University than Seattle Pacific University (99% vs. 98%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by Pacific Lutheran University students is 15.6% larger than aid received Seattle Pacific University ($26,984 vs. $23,350)

PLU vs. SPU Admissions Difficulty Comparison

Which college is harder to get into, PLU or SPU? Average SAT and ACT scores plus acceptance rates offer good insight into the difficulty of admission between SPU or PLU .

  • The average SAT score at Seattle Pacific University (1145) is 28 points higher than at PLU (1117)
  • Incoming SPU students have a 1 point higher average ACT score (26) than students at PLU (25)
  • SPU has a higher acceptance rate (90.1%) than PLU (79.8%)

PLU vs. SPU Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, PLU or SPU? Graduation rate, salary and amount of student loan debt are indicators of a college which offers better outcomes for its graduates. Compare the following outcomes facts between SPU and PLU.

  • The graduation rate at SPU is higher that Pacific Lutheran University (74% vs. 66%)
  • Graduates from Pacific Lutheran University earn on average $1,900 more per year than SPU graduates after ten years. ($52,300 vs. $50,400)
  • Seattle Pacific University students graduate with a $197 lower median federal student loan debt than PLU graduates. ($25,603 vs. $25,800)
  • SPU graduates are paying $2 less per month on federal student loans than PLU graduates. ($264 vs. $266)
  • More SPU graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former PLU students, three years after graduation. (82% vs. 74%)

Sources: U.S. Department of Education IPEDS and College Scorecard