Housing and dining prices see annual increase

GVL / Marissa Dillon

GVL / Marissa Dillon

Drew Howard

For the more than 6,000 freshmen moving to Grand Valley State University in the fall of 2015, housing and dining on campus is about to get a bit more expensive.

The decision for a price increase came after a meeting between GVSU’s eight-member Board of Trustees. They decided unanimously that housing and dining plans for students on campus would increase 2.8 percent.

As a point of comparison, the traditional living center’s $4,100 per semester price stamp in the fall 2014 and winter 2015 semesters will jump to $4,180 in the fall 2015 and winter 2016 semesters. The traditional living center is currently GVSU’s most popular option and includes a 14 meal plan.

Annually, this increase will bring the traditional living center cost up to $8,360.

Kristen Evans, assistant director of recruitment and training, said the decision for the price increase was affected by a number of circumstances.

“Rate increases are influenced by various factors impacting the operation of the Housing department including staffing, utilities, overhead costs, etc.,” Evans said. “Housing is an auxiliary enterprise, which means it is self-funded, so tuition dollars do not contribute to the operation of housing. We work hard to keep the rate increases as low as possible while also maintaining our high quality housing offerings.”

Evans noted that, while the budget process occurs more than a year in advance and requires a large amount of research, the increase in pricing is still routine.

“An annual increase of 1 to 3 percent is pretty standard,” Evans said. “The GVSU weighted average is 2.8 percent, as compared with the weighted state average of 3.0 percent.”

Andy Beachnau, director of housing, residence life and health services, said GVSU continues to perform better than state averages in terms of housing and dining prices.

“Currently (2014-2015), our meal plan cost is 32 percent below the state average with an annual cost of $2,700,” Beachnau said. “The state average is $3,975 with nine out of the 14 public universities with meals plans at a cost exceeding $4,000.”

Cost for meal plans in the fall of 2015 will increase from $1,350 to $1,425, bringing the annual cost to a total of $2,850.

Brian Copeland, associate vice president for business and finance, said students can expect a variety of new food options starting in the fall 2015 semester.

“The Marketplace will include Starbucks and Which Wich, a sandwich concept with over 300 locations in the U.S. and internationally,” Copeland said. “The Kirkhof Center will feature food upstairs where the current bookstore is located. We are also adding Panda Express as a food option.”

Beachnau explained the routine price increase is also affected by costs for students employed in campus dining and the Consumers Price Index.

“We very carefully review our cost structure annually and take very seriously the cost to our students,” Beachnau said. “This year, the Consumers Price Index for food has increased 3.7 percent. Additionally, there is also an increase in the minimum wage that increases our costs more than $300,000 – as we have approximately 1,000 students employed in our campus dining operation.”

Evan said that living on campus will continue to be a popular and worthwhile choice for incoming students.

“On campus housing is a popular choice for GVSU students,” Evans said. “Students enjoy the high quality facilities, convenience of living on campus and the academic and social support that comes with on campus living.”

For more information about housing and dining prices, go to

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