GVSU Trustees adopt budget, freeze salaries, set tuition

President Thomas Haas speaks at the Board Meeting.
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President Thomas Haas speaks at the Board Meeting.
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ALLENDALE, Mich. — Grand Valley State University’s Board of Trustees kept the state’s challenged economy front and center when adopting the 2010-11 budget at its July 16 meeting. The budget implements wage freezes for university employees and shifts health care costs, with employees paying a greater percentage.

There will be no annual wage increase for faculty and staff this year, and two union-represented employee groups have accepted wage freezes in new contracts recently bargained and now in effect. Grand Valley’s police officers, represented by the Police Officers Association of Michigan, and maintenance, grounds, and service staff, represented by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 2074, agreed to the wage freeze.

The Board also set tuition for the coming year. Tuition for an undergraduate Michigan resident will increase by $229 per semester beginning this fall. That brings annual tuition at Grand Valley to $9,088, which is below the state average for Michigan public universities. A PDF chart comparing rates can be downloaded here
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The university’s commitment to access and affordability has made possible an increase of 6.3% in student financial aid, bringing the total to more than $26 million. Grand Valley also employs nearly 5,000 students who will earn more than $12 million this year.

At the same time, state aid to public universities continues to decline.  It is expected to be cut by more than 3% in the 2010-11 budget year. Grand Valley already receives less state aid per student than any other Michigan public university, $2,857 as compared to the state average of $5,502. 

This year more than 50% of the university’s employees have donated some of their wages back to the university through the Development Division’s faculty/staff fundraising campaign. There are only a few colleges and universities nationwide that have giving rates at this level.
 
“The Grand Valley community is joining together to operate efficiently while staying true to our mission,” President Thomas J. Haas said. “This budget reflects our best efforts at keeping costs down and opportunities up for students. It also provides the stability that our faculty, staff and students have come to expect at Grand Valley. We are committed to balancing affordability, access and quality. We are partners with the state in its economic recovery and are confident our graduates are a key to Michigan’s future.”
 
The most recent surveys show that more than 90% of Grand Valley graduates are successfully employed or pursuing advanced degrees. Of those working, 88% have stayed in Michigan.
 
“A college degree remains an essential tool for individuals and our entire region,” said Kate Pew Wolters, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We approved this budget with confidence that the university is attentive to students’ academic and financial needs. Helping young people graduate and assume leadership roles in our state is vital to our future.”
 
A portion of this year’s budget will be prioritized to hire faculty and offer more sections of high-demand subjects. Nearly all Grand Valley degree programs can be completed in four years, which can produce significant savings for full time students. Under a new program called Grand Finish, every new student who enters this fall and completes 90 hours of credits at the end of his or her third year will receive a $1,000 Grand Finish grant.

The Grand Finish is just one aspect of the university’s commitment to student success and degree completion. For additional facts and illustrations of how Grand Valley is powering the state’s future, go to www.gvsu.edu/accountability.

DOWNLOADABLE AUDIO:

* President Haas said leaders worked to keep tution low without sacrificing quality (audio).

* President Haas said there will be an increase in student financial aid (audio).

* President Haas said tuition could be cut if the state gave Grand Valley its fair share of funding (audio).

* President Haas said the Grand Finish helps incoming freshmen plan to finish on time (audio).