Grand Valley Trustees adopt budget, set tuition

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Grand Valley State Universitys Board of Trustees approved the universitys budget at its July 15 meeting, keeping the states financial challenges and students finances front and center.

The board also set tuition for the coming year. Tuition for an undergraduate Michigan resident will increase by $314 per semester beginning this fall. That brings annual tuition at Grand Valley to $9,716, keeping Grand Valleys tuition in the lower half of Michigans public universities  number 10 out of 15. 

Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas said the university is now operating on a base state appropriation that is just 14% of its operating budget. The base appropriation of $48 million is the same per student as it was in 1979 when Grand Valley had 7,100 students; it now has almost 25,000.  Additionally, the university will be eligible for a one-time $4 million tuition mitigation grant to be awarded this year for keeping the tuition increase below 7%.

Given the near-privatization of the universitys budget, for the first time ever, the board earmarked the entire state appropriation to student financial aid and debt service on university facilities. State appropriations will no longer be used for salaries and general university operations. 

It is helpful to have the state budget enacted so that we can plan for our year, Haas said. We are living within our means while carrying out our responsibilities to the state and our students for a quality education. We understand that sacrifice and accountability must be shared, but the state is telling Grand Valley to educate 18,000 more students with the same appropriation per student it gave us in the late 1970s.

At the same time, were called on to keep tuition low. This is a difficult challenge that well do our best to meet. We continue to look for a partnership with the state that is sustainable, mutually supportive and signifies a commitment to the people of Michigan.

National data from 2008-09 (IPEDS) showed that of 612 universities reporting, Grand Valleys appropriation of $2,962 per student was in the lowest 5% in the nation. Grand Valley remains the lowest funded public university per student in Michigan. The current appropriation will likely place the university in the lowest 1% in the nation.

Despite all this, Grand Valley produces more graduates at a lower cost than many institutions, Haas said. Our graduates are sought after and we continue to keep high quality, well-educated workers in Michigan.

The budget passed by the board for this year includes a 1.9% wage increase for faculty and staff; all salaries were frozen during 2010-2011. It also includes more than $30 million in student financial aid  an increase of $5.2 million or 18.7%. 

We approved this budget after serious consideration of quality and affordability, said Kate Pew Wolters, chair of the Board of Trustees. We know how critical the financial aid piece is to families and individuals who are already sacrificing to pay tuition. The states future depends on an educated workforce, and this board is confident of the value of a Grand Valley diploma.

The private-public partnership continues to be integral to Grand Valleys success, as is the support of Grand Valleys own employees. Despite the wage freeze last year, more than half (51%) of faculty and staff gave back to the university this year.

For additional facts and illustrations of how Grand Valley is powering the states future, go to www.gvsu.edu/accountability.

To see tuition rates for other Michigan colleges and universities click here.