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Grand Valley State University


Grand Valley State University is a regional college campus in Michigan that has an enrollment of around 25,000 students. Founded as Grand Valley State College in 1960, the college received donations from more than 5,000 organizations and people that led to the construction of a new campus in Allendale. A little over 200 students enrolled in its first year, and more than 130 students graduated from its first class four years later. It became GVSU in the 1980s after switching to more traditional classes. It has two satellite campuses near its main campus and also operates three extension centers too. Those extension centers cater to adult students and working professionals.

GVSU offers more than 30 graduate programs and more than 60 undergrad programs. It also offers more than 70 certificates that students can earn at the same time they earn a degree. Those certificate programs are also open to both online and traditional students who want to earn a professional certificate without earning a degree. Forbes ranked GVSU as one of the nation’s top colleges, and U.S. News & World Report ranked it on a regional level. Washington Monthly also ranked its graduate school as one of the top in the country.

Grand Valley State University Accreditation Details

Most high school students and prospective college students today compare two or more colleges before applying. Though you should look for regional accreditation, you should also look for program accreditation. Regional accreditation means that you qualify for federal aid and that the university will continue meeting your needs until you graduate, while program accreditation means that certain programs have the approval of a larger organization.

Grand Valley State University has both types of accreditation. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS) gave it regional accreditation, but it also has program accreditation from 16 organizations, including:

Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, Inc. (ABET)
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
National Association of Schools of Art and Design
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Nework of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration
Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
American Psychological Association (APA)
Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc.

Grand Valley State University Application Requirements

Make sure that you look at all the admissions requirements before applying. The university looks at factors like your class rank, history of grades, courses and test scores. Most students scored at least 21 on the ACT and have a GPA of 3.3 or higher. You must also complete a college prep series of courses that includes at least four years of classes in English, writing or literature and at least three science classes, which must include two classes with a lab component. You should also take three years of math classes, three years of social sciences or humanities classes and at least two years of the same foreign language.

GVSU offers an online application that you can complete in one sitting or over time. If you want to go back in and work on it later, you need to set up an account with the site. When you submit that application, the university asks for a $30 fee. You also need to provide GVSU with a score from a standardized test and your high school transcript. If you took college classes or advanced placement (AP) classes, you will need to submit documentation for those classes later to gain course credit.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Going to college can be expensive, but as a smaller regional university, GVSU keeps tuition costs low. Michigan residents pay just over $11,500 a year, which lets them take 12 to 15 credits each semester. Nonresidents of Michigan pay around $16,400 for the same number of classes. If you take more than 15 credits in a semester, you’ll pay $480 to $683 for each additional hour, based on whether you are a resident. Once you complete 55 credits, your tuition rates will increase to around $12,100 as a resident and around $16,400 as a nonresident.

Whether you live in Michigan or not, you should still file the FAFSA and apply for financial aid. Grants, loans and acceptance into the work-study program are only available for those who file this document. You can usually borrow a little over $5,000 during your freshman year, but the amount you can borrow will increase every year after. To qualify for merit-based scholarships, you must apply by the end of the year before you enroll. Other scholarships have deadlines around the beginning of March. GSVU can also help you find other scholarships and work out payment arrangements to pay your tuition over several months.

Student Experience

Through the combination of online classes and nontraditional classes, Grand Valley State University makes it easy for you to earn your degree while working around your own schedule. You can also take classes on one of its three campuses or three extension centers. Located just a short drive from Grand Rapids, the university also makes finding and securing placements and internships easier. Many students also study in an international destination through its study abroad program. You may want to volunteer for Spotlight Productions to find entertainment opportunities for other students or for the Laker Leadership Program to gain better leadership skills.

As Michigan is such a melting pot, you’ll find that you can major in the study of different cultural groups like Chinese or Japanese studies. You may want to minor in African studies or a similar subject after selecting a major in education. GVSU offers a teacher certification education program that helps you meet the steps for getting your Michigan teaching license. The university also makes it easier for you to enroll in its graduate program and major in special education or an advanced area of teaching.

It is also one of a few colleges that offers a major in advertising and public relations. The courses you take will prepare you for copywriting, creating ad campaigns for others, hosting focus groups and doing market research. Grand Valley State University offers this major as a BS or BA program, with the BS program featuring more science, math and research classes.