Originally published Sept. 25, 2013

Co-written with editorial board

The economic recession has directly and indirectly left college students in a predicament. Not only are their tuition bills and cost of living rising each year and draining their bank accounts at exponential rates, but they’re also facing higher competition for jobs, which prevents them from refilling said accounts. Even when they’ve secured a job, that doesn’t guarantee them enough hours to pay off their various debts and bills. They need to make sacrifices.

And then those lucky enough to bring in a little extra money every month and diminish their debt are forced to sacrifice another necessity: time. The time required to make money also takes students away from other priorities—including studying, exercising and taking to time relax—and forces them to refocus their energy on tedious jobs. So the economic troubles have created a domino effect that disrupts multiple facets of student life.

We at the Lanthorn have come to find that it’s all about opportunity cost. What does a student have to sacrifice to make another investment, such as education or food? Not much at Grand Valley State University.

The university has actually been very helpful in reducing financial stress.

For example, it has consistently offered competitive tuition rates, with its annual fees ranked sixth lowest out of Michigan’s 15 state schools. It has also continually increased the amount of financial aid available each year; fall 2011 saw almost a 20 percent increase from the fall 2012.

The university has found ways to help students cut costs not only in the obvious academic fees, though.

While University of Michigan students max out their printing capabilities two weeks into the semester and are forced to pay for personal printing, their peers at GVSU are enjoying a stress-free, unlimited printing experience. While some choose to have their own printing packages, most appreciate the extra $20 in their pockets that would’ve otherwise been spent on paper, ink and technology maintenance.

Similarly, while students at the Big Ten schools are depleting their savings on one season of football tickets, their peers at GVSU are waltzing into Lubbers Stadium before heading over to the many other athletic complexes to cheer on the Lakers in various competitions – without ever opening their wallets. The couple hundred dollars saved by not having to purchase sport tickets allows for students to splurge on a hot dog or pretzel every once in a while, too.

It’s the little things that students don’t have to sacrifice to get an education that the Lanthorn staff wants to express gratitude for. Sure, we all have less time on our hands as we take on full work schedules on top of 16 credits and recreational activities, but the financial stress is minimized at GVSU, and we surely appreciate that.


Original publication: http://www.lanthorn.com/article/2013/09/no-money-mo-problems