Facts for Students About GVSU Tuition, Financial Aid, and the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget

In response to students’ concerns regarding Grand Valley State University’s upcoming academic year's tuition, financial aid investment and availability, and the surrounding budget impacts due to COVID-19 circumstances, we’re sharing the following information with you for greater transparency and understanding.

Your Education is Our Priority

First and foremost, our priority through this pandemic has been and continues to be you – the students – and maintaining the Grand Valley experience as close as possible given the current guidance surrounding in-person classes and health precautions we are mandated to follow. Our surveys have indicated that more than 90 percent of you desire to have an in-person fall semester. Our campus is ready for that, and we are excited for your return! The quality of the education delivered in this upcoming year will not be diminished, regardless of the method in which it may be delivered.

Tuition Increase Factors

There has been much discussion regarding Grand Valley’s tuition rate for this academic year. The university budget and resulting tuition rate is impacted by many variables:

  • COVID-19 conditions are projected to reduce enrollment levels by 7 percent. 
  • The State of Michigan’s Fiscal Year 2020 Higher Education Budget was cut 11 percent due to a $2 billion loss in state revenue as a result of COVID-19. This 11-percent reduction in 2021 state appropriation support may be reduced further depending on changing state budget conditions.
  • Grand Valley, as well as other Michigan public universities, is fighting broader demographic trends, which decreases student enrollment levels and associated revenue. 
  • Grand Valley State University is facing a projected Fiscal Year 2021 budget shortfall of approximately $42 million. 

GVSU faculty and staff have taken a number of proactive steps to reduce spending without altering the Grand Valley experience for students and will continue to look for new and innovative ways to do so. 

Increased Financial Aid Support

Despite budget challenges that necessitated an average tuition increase of $192 per semester, the Board of Trustees approved a substantial 13 percent increase in financial aid:

  • $5.7 million in additional permanent recurring funding means more merit- and need-based financial aid for our students this year and in the future.  
  • An additional $2.25 million of institutional financial aid that students can apply for right now to address hardships this academic year.

These investments in financial aid have offset the tuition increase for many students and lowered average net tuition overall.


Other Financial Aid Support for Students

  • Grand Valley awarded more than 1,000 scholarships totaling more than $1 million to student employees who could not work due to COVID-19.
  • The university distributed $9.1 million in CARES Act funding directly to 7,000+ students in May.
  • Grand Valley earmarked an additional $7 million in institutional aid to be spread over a period of four years to support educational pursuit.
  • Grand Valley has assisted 8,000+ students due to hardship needs using both federal and institutional dollars.   
  • The university eliminated the online course fee saving $1.5 million in charges to students.
  • Grand Valley has no additional student fees (student activity fee, technology fee, etc.), which are often charged at other institutions.



Net Cost of Tuition for a Typical GVSU Student



Source: Estimate from GVSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

You May be Eligible for Financial Aid

There are two main focuses of institutional financial aid: merit-based aid and need-based. Over the last few years, GVSU has been able to improve financial aid awards for both categories to remain competitive for recruitment and to support retention through our financial aid programs. Aid may be available to you, even if you think you do not qualify, so please reach out and inquire

Submit Your Financial Aid Request

A Great Educational Value

Through all of this, Grand Valley State University remains an excellent choice for pursuing your higher education goals. 

Preparing You for Whatever’s Next

Our first-rate faculty, hands-on learning opportunities, small class sizes, state-of-the-art facilities, competitive cost, extensive alumni network, and job placement and career support all make up the Grand Valley experience and prepare you for whatever is next, even in these trying times. The current budget supports all those benefits. As a future Laker for a Lifetime, you have a stake in ensuring your school remains in a strong, competitive position and continues to be a national leader in higher education. That’s the Laker Effect and we’re glad you’re proud to be a part of it.

Page last modified August 17, 2020