Honors college hikes tuition

gabriella patti

Starting in the fall 2014 semester, the Frederik Meijer Honors College of Grand Valley State University will be implementing an additional fee of $20 per credit hour for students of all class standing.

This is the first time that an extra fee is being added to the tuition of the Honors College. The money will be used to help cover the additional costs of running the college, said Jeffrey Chamberlain, director of the college.

Chamberlain said there are several factors that are causing the rise in the cost of tuition, including small class sizes, team teaching and significant administrative support.

“We often use multiple faculty from different disciplines in the classes, and the more intensive nature of the courses requires that classes be smaller,” he said.

Chamberlain also said the additional $20 will not cover all of the extra costs of running the Honors College. In an email sent to the students in the Honors College, Chamberlain expressed his hope that it would not be a financial burden for the students.

“I can understand how it could become an issue because if you are already taking five credit hours that is $100,” said freshman Rachael Vruggink, an honors student majoring in advertising and public relations.

However, Vruggink said that overall the school is a bang for her buck.

“It is reasonably priced college and I think that raising the tuition for the honors classes is totally justified,” she said. “The classes are high quality, the professors love what they are teaching, and during the classroom time you are getting the academics and education of an excellent university in a small classroom setting.”

Though the price increase may cause a strain on the wallets of students, Chamberlain said it is important to keep in mind that quality outweighs quantity.

“The value of participating in honors far exceeds the extra fee,” he said, adding that compared to other state schools, GVSU has been able to keep the cost down to a reasonable price. “I know that the administration’s goal is to provide a quality education at an affordable price. In my opinion, they are doing a very good job.”

According to the Honors College Annual Report, the university’s freshman-to-sophomore retention rate is 83 percent, whereas the Honors College has a rate of 93 percent.

In addition, the Honors College has almost a 20 percent higher graduation rate. In 2008, the Honors College four-year graduation rate was at 50.7 percent compared to 31.2 percent at GVSU.

“Honors students are among those who are able to complete their programs within a reasonable amount of time,” Chamberlain said.

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