In the last few weeks, the Grand Valley State University student senate sent three senators to Lansing, Michigan to speak with representatives about funding appropriations.

Funding for GVSU has consistently been in the bottom half of public universities, even though Lakers have shown growth in graduation rates, retention rates, job placement and an expanding student population. Our performance rates are usually among some of the top in the state. So, what the hell? It seems like Lakers aren’t getting recognized or rewarded for our hard work, and that’s just not fair.

When Gov. Rick Snyder spoke at the Michigan Press Association luncheon late last month, he chalked funding up to “metrics,” saying that he thought they needed to be changed, but had no mention of any concrete plans to do so.

Since then, Snyder has announced a 6.8 percent increase in higher education appropriations for GVSU, higher than the average of 4.3 percent. The plan still has to go through the House of Representatives and the Senate, and will likely be negotiated for a lower percentage. However, the Lanthorn urges the Congress members of Michigan to retain that 6.8 percent increase in funding. We’ve done our time, we’ve proved our worth and now it’s time to see the results.

GVSU, one of the largest public institutions in the state, works to be competitive with surrounding public universities, some of which have much higher funding appropriations. Let’s be honest, everyone likes to say that money isn’t everything, but 25,000 students comes with a cost. A high cost.

If, in a perfect world, GVSU was granted the 6.8 percent increase, total state appropriations would go from $65 million or $69 million, making up 20.1 percent of GVSU’s total general fund budget.

There are some things that money can buy, and one of those is more financial aid for students, which is one thing provided by state appropriations. Currently, over $40 million is appropriated toward financial aid, and with the increase, that number would become nearly $43.2 million.

Construction costs also fall under state appropriations, meaning that GVSU can rely less on private donors to fund new projects. The current construction appropriations sit at $14.02 million, which would increase to $14.97 million, almost a million dollars more than currently allowed.

That’s some significant funding. Having $3 million more to give to students in the form of financial aid, scholarships and grants would have a significant impact on GVSU’s future and would serve as a attraction point for more students. Having more money to put toward construction would mean better academic buildings and living centers and the money to operate them.

While a 6.8 percent increase may seem like a lot to ask for from the state, it’s far past time that GVSU starts to see some reward for its increasingly impressive performance from its students.

Lakers are consistently behind only Michigan State University and the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor in performance metrics, so it’s high time our state appropriations start to match those of the big players in Michigan higher education.