GVSU Board sets tuition, raises aid

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MUSKEGON, Mich. — Grand Valley State University's Board of Trustees set tuition for the 2009-2010 academic year against a backdrop of a rocky state economy, internal budget cuts of $7.2 million, and eroding state appropriations. The board also voted to dampen the impact of the tuition increase with a boost to student financial aid that will help ensure affordability and access.

Tuition for Michigan resident undergraduates will be $4,315 per semester, an increase of about $200, under the budget adopted at today’s meeting.  At the same time, student financial aid will increase by 7 percent more than the hike in tuition.  Grand Valley’s tuition remains below the state average for Michigan public universities. A chart comparing the 2009-10 tuition and fees can be viewed here (PDF).

“We at Grand Valley State University understand the financial challenges being faced by our students and their families,” said President Thomas J. Haas. “We have reduced operating costs, avoided new expenditures, and expanded financial aid by creating nearly two dozen new scholarships.  We remain committed to the high academic quality, small classes, and personal attention that define the Grand Valley experience.”

Audio Clips from President Thomas J. Haas on tuition.
  • Haas said a great deal of effort was made to keep an increase minimal (audio clip)
  • Haas said student financial aid was increased more than tuition (audio clip)
  • Haas said a reduction in state aid was one reason for the increase (audio clip)
  • Haas said higher education will play a significant role in turning the economy around (audio clip)

    Grand Valley will disburse more financial aid in 2009 than ever before in its history. At the same time, state government support for public higher education continues to erode. This year, state aid will constitute just 19% of Grand Valley’s total revenue — less state aid per student than any other Michigan public university.

    To combat the shrinking funding at the state level, Grand Valley has absorbed $7.2 million in budget reductions since 2008.

    At today’s meeting, the Board of Trustees also approved a faculty/staff salary increase of 2.8% but with a third of that increase withheld until April, 2010.  It will be paid only if the university achieves budget goals. President Haas will return his salary increase to the university in 2009-10; in addition, he will make a major personal contribution to the university’s Shaping Our Future comprehensive campaign. Likewise, the university’s executive officers will return their salary increases to the university in 2009-10. The President and executive officers have invited faculty and staff to join them in making gifts to programs that support Grand Valley students.  All of Michigan’s public universities are expected to award salary increases in 2009-10. 

    Grand Valley will continue to offer its “Grand Value” tuition discount plan, in which full-time undergraduates pay for 12 credit hours but may take up to 16 hours per semester without additional charge.

    “A college education is the best investment in the future that Michigan residents can make,” said Lucille S. Taylor, chair of the Board of Trustees.  “Our university is responsive, flexible, and adaptable and remains committed to producing graduates and jobs for Michigan’s knowledge-based economy.”

    Taylor noted that Grand Valley has been named one of “America’s 100 Best College Buys” for 13 years in a row — the only Michigan school to receive that recognition. The university is also an important economic engine for west Michigan, creating nearly 10,000 private sector jobs and producing a regional economic impact of more than half a billion dollars. 

    The Board of Trustees approved the following new degree programs: 
    • Supply Chain Management, to be offered by the Marketing and Management departments of the Seidman College of Business

    • Diagnostic Medical Sonography, in the College of Health Professions.  Grand Valley will be only university in Michigan offering DMS as a baccalaureate major and the only university in the US offering pediatric echocardiography to undergraduates

    • Radiation Therapy, in the College of Health Professions

    • Radiologic and Imaging Sciences, in the College of Health Professions

    • Extension of the Master’s of Education degree in the College of Education to include the following specialties: Literacy Studies, Educational Leadership, Higher Education, and Instruction & Curriculum

    In other action, the Board authorized the university to:
    • Acquire vacant real estate near the Allendale campus for $622,895.00.  The land is presently owned by the Diana Alderink Trust and comprises 36 acres on the east side of 42nd Ave. in Georgetown Township, just south of the Allendale campus border

    • Issue charter school operating authorization for the Washington-Parks Academy in Wayne County’s Redford Township.  Washington-Parks is expected to enroll students for the 2009-10 school year and open in September, 2009.
     
    At the conclusion of today’s meeting, the Board appointed Trustee Kate Pew Wolters of Cascade to chair the Board, and selected Noreen K. Myers of Lowell as vice chair.  Board leadership terms run for one year. Wolters is head of the Richard and Kate Wolters Foundation; Myers, an attorney in private practice, is an alumna of the university.
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