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Grand Valley Trustees adopt budget, set tuition

Posted on July 12, 2013

Grand Valley's Board of Trustees adopted the university's FY 2014 budget on July 12 and set tuition rates for the coming academic year. The action, which is in compliance with the state's tuition cap, keeps Grand Valley's tuition in the lower half of all Michigan universities.

Click here for a chart detailing tuition rates at Michigan universities.

Trustees voted to increase tuition by $188 per semester. This is one of the smallest tuition increases in the last 20 years and brings annual tuition to $10,454 for a full-time undergraduate Michigan resident. (Today’s action follows release earlier this week of a U.S. Department of Education study showing that the net cost of attendance at Grand Valley has actually dropped by 3 percent).

University leaders said Grand Valley has held the increase in its cost of operations to the rate of inflation for at least the past 20 years. However, Grand Valley’s appropriation from the state in the coming year will be $503 per student below the amount the university received just five years ago, equating to a drop in state support of $11 million.

Despite the state’s disinvestment, Grand Valley’s below-average tuition continues, while at the same time the university receives high praise for its performance*. The university is expected to receive state funding of $55.4 million plus a one-time state grant of $2.3 million based on Grand Valley’s best-in-class performance. Trustees earmarked the entire state allocation for student financial aid, debt service, maintenance, and utilities for classroom buildings.
“The quality of the education students receive at Grand Valley is remarkable,” said Shelley Padnos, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Michigan employers know that. Our graduates are finding work in Michigan and contributing to our region’s economic stability. We have increased financial aid, enabling students to borrow less, and while we had to raise tuition, we kept the dollar amount manageable. When comparing Grand Valley’s costs to those at other schools, it’s important for students and their families to look at the bill in dollars, not the percentage increase in tuition. Michigan has 15 public universities. None receive the same appropriation per student, and none charge the same tuition. That’s why dollars matter, not percentages.”

President Thomas J. Haas briefed board members about how the conversation in Lansing has shifted to universities’ performances, but noted the challenges of crafting the university budget when changes in enrollment are not a factor in state appropriations.

“I am grateful to Gov. Snyder and lawmakers for rewarding universities that perform well. Grand Valley and our students benefit from this,” Haas said. “But a one-time performance allocation does not fix what is fundamentally flawed in higher education funding – changes in enrollment don’t count. Grand Valley’s performance metrics place us among the top of our peer institutions, yet we receive the lowest appropriation per-student in Michigan and nearly the lowest per-student funding in the nation. Even with such challenges, we continue to serve Michigan by producing outstanding graduates who are leading businesses and communities across this great state. I will continue to make our students and their families my priority as I work with the leadership in Lansing to make sure that both students and performance count.”
Haas also noted that nearly 30 percent of the increase in undergraduate degrees awarded in Michigan during the last decade comes from just one school – Grand Valley State. Of Grand Valley’s most recent graduates, nearly 90 percent are employed or in graduate school, or both. Of those working, 84 percent are employed in Michigan.
The budget adopted today by the board includes $35 million for student financial aid, an increase of $1.4 million, and a modest 2 percent wage increase for faculty and staff members.

The board also heard an update on the Grand Finish grant, another opportunity for Grand Valley students to reduce the cost of attendance. The Grand Finish, now concluding its second year, is awarded to students entering their senior year who are on track to finish their degree in four years. In the 2012/2013 academic year, 2,745 students received Grand Finish grants of up to $1,000. In the first year of the program, approximately 1,000 students received the grant.

* For additional information highlighting Grand Valley's performance, visit


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