Future Alumni Association teaches students about state funding, tuition dollars and other Laker randoms

Courtesy Photo/ GVSU Alumni Relations
Vice President for finance and administration Jim Bachmeier spoke at the Future Alumni Associations  GVS[You] event.

Courtesy Photo/ GVSU Alumni Relations Vice President for finance and administration Jim Bachmeier spoke at the Future Alumni Association’s GVS[You] event.

Rachel Melke

Grand Valley State University received $2,365 per student for the 2011-12 school year from the State of Michigan, which is about half of the state average and only one-third of the amount given to schools such as Michigan Technological University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

Many ask why this is, and Vice President for finance and administration Jim Bachmeier is out to answer that question.

The Future Alumni Association hosted GVS[You], an event that is part of Laker for a Lifetime to spread GVSU spirit. The event included a presentation by Bachmeier.

“When I was in school, tuition was really cheap and state funding was high,” Bachmeier said. “I’m trying to answer, ‘Why is tuition as high as it is?’”

Bachmeier explained that GVSU’s funding in comparison to other schools, showing how much the university is at a disadvantage.

“It’s not some conspiracy,” he said.

In the 1970s, Grand Valley State University’s enrollment sat between 6,000 and 7,500 students. Since then, enrollment grew to about 25,000 students. Throughout that time, the State of Michigan added two percent to GVSU’s funding each year, but did not significantly account for the enrollment growth, Bachmeier said.

“I’m trying to arm as many people I can that despite the fact that we don’t get the state
funding, we have a pretty good story here,” Bachmeier said, adding that people who
graduate from GVSU do get good jobs.

Because tuition is often misunderstood by many people, FAA student Emma Lazzar saw
the event as a good promoter for the university’s administration.

“It’s good for students to know where their tuition money is going and what Grand
Valley is doing for them. They’re actually fighting for students,” Lazzar said.

When asked about additional funding given by the state, Bachmeier added that if there
was an increase in state funding, GVSU would lower tuition.

Prior to the presentation, attendants were able to get their picture taken with Louie the

Following the presentation, students were invited to play Jeopardy Laker style.
Topics included GVSU history, spirit, traditions, students, presidents and information
learned from Bachmeier’s presentation. Random facts included that GVSU’s mascot used
to be “the Bruisers,” that Lake Michigan Hall is the oldest building on campus, and that
President Arend Lubbers served GVSU for 32 years. The final Jeopardy question allowed
teams to wager money to identify four out of the five GVSU campus locations. Every
team answered correctly.

“It was great to learn about Grand Valley and what it means to be a Laker for a lifetime,”
FAA member Megan Philipp said.

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