University President Eric Gilbertson comments on the state funding cuts to Michigan colleges and what SVSU and students can do to keep funding.
Michigan universities are facing a $4.2 million cut in federal aid.
President Gilbertson said the cut is not expected to affect SVSU and won’t hurt a student’s ability to receive financial aid.
Although the decreased federal aid will have little to no impact on the University, Gilbertson said decreased state university funding has not gone unnoticed.
Today the University receives $23.5 million, almost $4 million less than it received a decade ago.
Less funding ultimately means rising tuition costs, which can be daunting to students.
Nursing sophomore Ali Deighton appreciates that SVSU has the lowest tuition out of the 15 public universities in the state, and she would hate to see that change.
She chose to attend SVSU because of the nursing program, but low tuition cost was on her mind as well.
“It was definitely something I really considered highly,” Deighton said.
Her parents are helping her pay, but she understands how quickly costs add up.
“It’s important to me to be conscientious that they still have two other kids’ educations to pay for,” she said.
Jacob Howe, computer science freshman said the low tuition cost was his deciding factor when selecting a college. Fewer student loans seemed like a major plus to him.
“You have to pay it back eventually,” Howe said. “The less you have to take, the less you have to pay back.”
Gilbertson said the University has already taken penny-pinching actions to keep cost of attendance low.
One of the biggest money savers is the tight schedule for classes.
There is a reason it’s difficult to register for desired classes before they fill up.
“The best way for us to control cost is to be sensible about what we’re offering,” Gilbertson said.
He said carefully planning the number of sections for courses ensures there isn’t unnecessary money spent.
The University offers few graduate programs and instead places its focus on undergraduates, which is another reason cost stays low.
The fairly new campus was built to be energy efficient, which Gilbertson said saves money, as well.
He said students should be conscious about conserving energy, too.
Gilbertson said keeping thermostats turned down whenever possible and remembering to turn off lights in dorms are simple money saving tricks students might not take into account.
“Anything that helps save us money helps keep tuition low,” Gilbertson said.
He said that he encourages on-campus residents to go to class on foot, as it costs money to create more parking spaces. Also, if individuals refrain from littering, no money needs to be spent cleaning it up.
All these actions help soften the blow of state cuts, which Gilbertson surmises will begin to diminish in the future as the economy begins to turn around.
State cuts or not, Gilbertson said he is optimistic about tuition staying relatively where it is. However, inflation will always play a small part.
“We can’t stop inflation,” Gilbertson said. “Prices go up.”
If and when state cuts minimize, the University’s money saving tactics will put them one step ahead.