Augsburg College is changing its name this fall

They've been a college for nearly 150 years.
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Augsburg College is changing its name.

According to a news release, the Minneapolis-based college will become Augsburg University beginning September 1.

Why the change? Well, Augsburg says they are "more like a university than a college," because they offer advanced degree programs.

"The change reflects the reality that Augsburg already offers nine graduate degree programs—including Minnesota’s first program for physician assistants—in addition to its more than 50 undergraduate degree programs," the release states.

While universities are generally larger than colleges, Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow says the name change will not affect class sizes or the school's commitment to the liberal arts.

“Becoming Augsburg University does not change our dedication to our liberal arts mission or our commitment to being small to our students and big for the world,” Pribbenow said in the release.

It was approved by the Board of Regents this past October, and by the Augsburg Corporation on Thursday. Most of the costs associated with the name change will be covered by standard operating expenses, the school says.

An inaugural celebration of the new name will be held on Sept. 5, welcoming the first incoming class of Augsburg University.

College vs. University

Augsburg gathered input for over two years before making the decision. This included multiple discussions with the Board of Regents, conversations with current students and alumni, reflections from faculty and staff, and market research to understand the perceptions of the name.

Researchers discovered there is a "perceived difference" between colleges and universities, and that being labeled a university could be beneficial for the liberal arts school.

"The word "university" will better position Augsburg for international student recruitment (where the word “college” often is associated with high-school-level education)," the school website says.

The college also believes that degrees from Augsburg University may carry greater prestige commonly associated with universities.

Is there really a difference?

Although "university" and "college" are often used interchangeably in American English, Grammarist says universities typically offer full undergraduate and graduate programs, while colleges usually offer more narrow programs and may have no graduate studies at all.

But there are no official designations for these terms, and colleges and universities can call themselves what they want, the site adds.

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