GVSU tuition increases 2.8 percent
Increase is lowest in 10 years, thanks to meeting performance guidelines.
Current and future Lakers are looking at the lowest tuition rate increase in the last 10 years.
Grand Valley State University announced recently that the board of trustees has adopted a new budget for the 2015 fiscal year that includes a 2.8 percent tuition rate increase, which is the lowest percentage and dollar amount increase in the last decade. The university’s board accepted the new budget and tuition rate during its July 11 meeting at the L. William Seidman Center in Grand Rapids.
Matthew McLogan, vice president of university relations at GVSU, said the board is always very careful in making this important financial decision.
“For the board, it is always a balance on a three-legged stool, and those legs are quality, access and affordability. In the last decade, it has been very difficult to pull off that balance because state aid has been reduced in almost every single year of the last 13,” said McLogan. “This year, with a substantial increase in the state’s commitment to higher education, there is a little more money available to us and, as a consequence, the first place we put that is with a tuition number as low as the board could possibly do it.”
Student tuition for the 2014-2015 school year increased by $149 per semester to $10,752 per year for full-time undergraduates enrolled as Michigan residents. GVSU is anticipating it will receive $63 million in state funding, which will go toward student financial aid, debt service, and maintenance and utilities for classroom buildings, according to a press release.
The budget for the 2015 fiscal year also includes an increase of $3.1 million in financial aid funding through scholarships and grants, for a total of $38 million. Also included in the budget approved by the board is a 3 percent increase for faculty and staff wages.
With the historical shift in how universities are able to fund operational costs from taxpayers to students and their families, McLogan said the 2 percent growth in state allocation for the upcoming year is very welcome, bringing the allocation from 16 percent to 18 percent in correlation with GVSU’s budget model.
“We are very, very pleased that the state has recommitted itself to the support of higher education,” said McLogan. “Grand Valley received the largest percentage increase, not the largest dollar increase … from the state of any of the 15 public campuses, and the reason for that is Grand Valley’s high quality and our conformance with the performance measures the state has now made part of the appropriations process.”
Thomas J. Haas, president of GVSU, said he applauds lawmakers for bridging performance measures with state funding allocation, which benefits both the university and its students.
“The state is investing again in higher education and demanding outcomes, which serves Grand Valley well,” said Haas in the press release. “We have been judged best in class, and we are now able to share the increase in the state’s investment in Grand Valley with our students. The state’s recognition of our performance has allowed us to hold down tuition and increase financial aid. This is welcome news for our hard-working students.”
The National Conference of State Legislation noted state allocation based on funding formulas using performance indicators is being used in 25 states, including Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Washington and Texas. As of the fiscal year for 2014, $21.9 million in additional funding was added for university allocation based on performance metric evaluations in the state of Michigan.
To receive performance-based funding, universities have to meet requirements such as limiting the tuition rate increase to 3.75 percent or lower and participating in at least three reverse transfer agreements with community colleges, according to the National Conference of State Legislation. Other requirements include maintaining a dual enrollment credit policy that does not factor whether credits were used in high school graduation, and participating in the Michigan Transfer Network.
Universities are also measured on performance metrics, including number of graduates in a high-demand job skill field, research and development expenditures, six-year graduation rates, total degree completions, and institutional support in terms of core expenditure percentage.
“This is one example where the university’s high quality and adherence to performance standards has benefitted the students,” said McLogan. “We get the least amount of state aid per student out of any of the campuses, yet our tuition is below average. What that means is the university is efficient and skilled in its operations of balancing quality, access and affordability.”