Spring Arbor University

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Updated August 6, 2020

Spring Arbor University is a fully accredited university in Spring Arbor, Michigan. Founded as the Spring Arbor Seminary in 1873, it served as a primary school or academy that offered classes for elementary students and had an affiliation with the Free Methodist Church. Though that affiliation still exists, SAU welcomes students from other religious denominations and backgrounds. After voting to become a junior college in the 1920s, it changed its name to the Spring Arbor Seminary and Junior College. It dropped its elementary school classes at the beginning of the 1930s and gained regional accreditation in the 1960s, which led to the campus adopting the SAU name and offering only college classes. The college also launched a separate campus in Jackson that offered continuing education classes for adult students. It became Spring Arbor University in 2001.

SAU is unique because it offers some programs that it calls 2 + 2 programs that allow students to spend two years at a community college and then transfer to SAU and finish a bachelor's degree in just two more years. Though the university offers more than 70 degree options for undergrads, it also offers a number of graduate programs too. Its total enrollment includes more than 1,700 undergrads, more than 1,200 graduate students and nearly 1,200 students who either take classes online or on one of its satellite campuses. All students living on its campus must agree to attend two chapel services each week.

Spring Arbor University Accreditation Details

Though there are plenty of things you'll look for and at when choosing a college, make sure that you look for regional accreditation too. Regional accreditation means that the college or university has the approval and recognition necessary to award its degrees and that its students have the right to seek and receive federal financial aid. Not only does Spring Arbor University have regional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACA), which is a division of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), but it also has program or specialty accreditation too. Some of the program accreditation that Spring Arbor University has comes from agencies like:

  • Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • Teacher Education Accreditation Council
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Spring Arbor University Application Requirements

No matter what you want to study at SAU, you must meet all general admissions requirements. Students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university at the time that SAU classes start, and they must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in the last two years of the program they attended, which the university will check via an official transcript. Though you can apply while still in a bachelor's program, you'll need to submit proof that you finished your degree and maintained a high enough GPA before starting your graduate classes. If you want to transfer any graduate courses to the program, you'll need to supply a transcript from that program or college too. SAU also requires two letters of recommendation from professionals who are familiar with your school or professional work. There is also an application as well as a $30 application fee.

Those applying for a spot in the SAU Master's in Communications graduate program must meet other requirements. You need to submit a letter of recommendation from someone in your clergy that explains your character and why you deserve to attend graduate school. This program also asks for a personal goals statement of one to two pages and a writing sample. You'll also need to take a short computer survey to show that you are computer literate.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Spring Arbor University ranks among the most affordable religious institutions of higher learning in the country. The amount that classes cost depend the individual program that you want to study. Master's in Communications students pay $655 to $717 per credit hour.

Graduate students applying to Spring Arbor University must fill out the FAFSA a few weeks before the semester starts, though the university recommends that students file in the spring. The amount you get will depend on whether you are a dependent and supported by your parents or an independent student who supports yourself. Federal loans of just over $20,000 a year are available to graduate students. You may want to look at alternative or private student loans as well as outside grants. SAU recommends that students look at tax incentives that are available to them as well.

Master's in Communications

You can earn a Master of Arts in Communications in just 20 months through Spring Arbor University. This program, which ranks as one of the most affordable of its type in the United States, requires that students take 36 total credits of work. You'll learn how to communicate with others orally and via the written word as well as how to work in smaller and larger group settings. The Department of Communication and Media, which is the department that offers this program, emphasizes the importance of online communications and how the world keeps changing. Even if you do not take any online classes, you must still take a computer literacy exam that shows you are capable of keeping up with the demands of your classes.

Related Resource: 30 Top Affordable Online Master's in Communication

This program also emphasizes the importance of hands on learning because it wants all students to graduate with the skills necessary to succeed in their professions. In addition to communications classes, the university expects you to take classes in other subject areas like marketing, journalism and business. You can even take education classes to learn how to work with students of all ages as an elementary school, high school or college teacher. Many of the students enrolled in the MA communications program will also do an internship. Spring Arbor University uses internships as a way to help students gain practical experience as they complete their graduate communications degrees.

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