Board approves new budget, 5.3 percent tuition increase

Lauren Fitch

The Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees had money or their minds at their July 16 meeting where the 2010-11 budget was approved to include a 5.3 percent increase in tuition.

The Board unanimously approved the next fiscal year’s budget, which also featured a wage freeze for the majority of GVSU employees and a change in health care coverage that requires employees to pay about 20 percent of their costs out-of-pocket instead of the previous 13 percent.

Jim Bachmeier, vice president for Finance and Administration, recommended the budget to the board.

“We worked hard to maintain affordability,” said Jim Bachmeier, vice president of Finance and Administration, as he presented the budget. He added that the university will continue its trend of increasing financial aid options at a higher rate than the tuition increase. About $26 million in financial aid will be offered to GVSU students in 2010-11, an increase of 6.3 percent.

Ferris State University and Central Michigan University recently upped their tuition by 4.7 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively. Bachmeier said some other universities are setting different tuition rates for each semester in hopes of making the increased cost look smaller.

“We’re really a transparent organization,” Bachmeier said of GVSU’s year-long tuition rate.

The increase will cost undergraduate students an average of $299 more each semester and put tuition at $9,088 a year, which is still below the state average.

Board members applauded faculty and staff for agreeing to the wage freeze as well as donating some of their pay to the campaign to fund student scholarships.

“We are very appreciative … to the faculty and staff for this freeze,” said Dorothy Johnson, a board member. “We know you had to make concessions, you had to make sacrifice, you had to use even more creativity.”

Bachmeier also commended the faculty for their dedication to the university.

“It is, I would say, broadly accepted that this was the right decision at this time,” Bachmeier said of the budget. “There’s a time when you have to do a little extra for a little less, and this is that year.”

President Thomas Haas maintained his proposal to decrease tuition by 5 percent if the state grants GVSU the average per-student aid that other universities received. However, it is predicted the state will cut its aid by another 3 percent.

Other topics addressed at the meeting included:

*an update on the Developmental Division report

*the approval of a Comprehensive Science and Arts for Teaching major

*the approval of GVSU’s first completely online course for Educational Technology

*a report on charter school performance

*the sale of property on Front Avenue from DeVries Development Properties LLC to GVSU for its new building for the Seidman College of Business

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