Swenson Scholarship


Made possible by the generosity of a couple who are members of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Dana Point, California, the Swenson Scholarship program was designed to encourage members of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations in Orange County, California, to attend California Lutheran University (CLU). The donors are strongly committed to making an undergraduate education in a college of the church affordable.

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The scholarship critera has since been expanded with priority consideration being given to students who are members of an ELCA congregation in Orange County. Secondary consideration is to be given to financially needy students (not necessarily Lutheran) majoring in one of the following disciplines in preference order: Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Biology.

To be eligible for the Swenson Scholarship, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • U.S. Citizen
  • Demonstrated motivation and drive
  • 3.0 academic GPA (as calculated by CLU)
  • Admitted to CLU by March 15
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • member of an ELCA congregation in Orange County, CA or majoring in one of the following disciplines: Chemistry, Biochemistry or Biology.

To keep the Swenson Scholarship while at Cal Lutheran, a student must meet the following:

  • Full-time student (12 or more units per semester)
  • 3.0 cumulative GPA

GPA is evaluated at the end of every semester. If a student's GPA drops below the minimum, the student will be notified he/she is on probation and has one semester to bring his/her GPA back up. If it is still low after that semester, the student is no longer eligible for the scholarship (suspension). If a student loses his/her scholarship and then brings his/her GPA back up to the minimum, he/she may be eligible for reinstatement if there are any scholarships available (only 16 scholarships are available in any year). There is no guarantee that the scholarship can be reinstated.

Scholarship Availability and Amount

Half Tuition and Student Fees scholarships are awarded to eligible incoming freshman and transfer students. The number of available scholarships varies from year to year.

For incoming freshmen, this scholarship is renewable for up to three additional years of undergraduate education following the first year, provided the student maintains the GPA and unit requirement above. For incoming transfer students, the scholarship is renewable for up to three additional years of undergraduate education following the first year at Cal Lutheran, provided the students maintains the GPA and unit requirement above. For transfer students, the years of availability for the scholarship are based on grade level at the time of enrollment. for example, if a transfer student enters Cal Lutheran as a junior, he/she is eligible to receive the Swenson Scholarship for two total years.


The Swenson Application will be available online through the Cal Lutheran Scholarships system when the application period begins. To access the application, a student must be admitted to Cal Lutheran and have received their MyCLU username and password. In addition to submitting the application, the applicant should request the pastor or youth minister of his/her congregation complete a letter of recommendation, which the applicant may upload with their electronic application.

Both the application and the recommendation must be submitted and/or received in the Office of Admission by the deadline. No late applications will be accepted.

Recipients of the Swenson Scholarship who are eligible for other CLU academic or VAPA scholarships will have the opportunity to choose which scholarship they would like to receive. The Swenson Scholarship replaces (if higher) any academic or VAPA scholarship the student was awarded. Students cannot receive an Academic Scholarship (or Presidential Scholarship), the CLU Guarantee Scholarship, the VAPA Scholarship and the Swenson Scholarship at the same time. If a student was awarded an Academic Scholarship (or Presidential Scholarship), or CLU Guarantee scholarship prior to being determined eligible for the Swenson Scholarship, they will be given the option to choose one of the scholarships they would like use while attending Cal Lutheran. The student must retain the scholarship they choose at that time (Academic/Presidential/CLU Guarantee/VAPA/Swenson Scholarship) and may not change their award decision after they begin attending Cal Lutheran.

To determine financial need we highly encourage all students who are interested in the Swenson Scholarship to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to the priority deadline, as financial need is the criterion of this scholarship. The FAFSA can be filed online at: www.fafsa.gov.


If you have any questions regarding the Swenson Scholarship, please contact the Financial Aid Office via e-mail finaid@CalLutheran.edu or phone 805-493-3115.