Located in Allendale, Mich., Grand Valley State University is a relatively young college, having only been in existence for about 50 years. In that time, the university has grown to become one of the largest universities in the nation in terms of enrollment, an athletic colossus and a well-respected provider of health care and business professionals.
The university offers a mix of rural and urban living thanks to its location in Allendale — close enough to nearby big cities, but also close to more natural settings like Lake Michigan.
Grand Valley State University offers 81 undergraduate majors and almost 30 graduate programs. The college has bachelor’s, post-bachelor’s, master’s, post-master’s, certificate and doctoral programs. The university’s offerings are divided into eight colleges: the F.E. Seidman College of Business, the College of Community and Public Services, the College of Education, the College of Education, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, the Kirkhof College of Nursing, the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and the College of Health Professions.
The most popular majors at the school are business/commerce, health services, allied health and health sciences. In fact, the university is the number one provider of health care professionals in Michigan. With the rising medical needs of an aging Baby Boomer population, it’s expected that the university’s health programs will continue to expand and offer more majors and courses in the future.
The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits schools in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The NCA also accredits schools in the Navajo nation. More than 1,000 colleges are accredited by the NCA.
Grand Valley State University has a vibrant and active research program. In recent years, the university has engaged in more than 196 research projects which it received more than $40 million in grant funding to perform. Recently, the university’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Endergy Center got more than $3.7 million in funding for a three-year project to test wind energy on Lake Michigan. The Annis Water Resources Institute frequently researches water resource projects involving ecosystems, the impact of contaminants and toxic substances, water quality, land use and more. The university has a growing commitment to sustainability and green initiatives, so much of its research is reflecting this commitment.
Grand Valley also has a vibrant study abroad program, offering students many opportunities to further their studies at partnering universities abroad. The university has also branched out into online learning, offering a number of degree programs online. Online learning is a major trend for universities throughout the nation because of the convenience they can offer students and faculty.
Grand Valley is an extremely well-reviewed institution. U.S. News and World Report ranks it No. 34 among regional universities in the Midwest. The Princeton Review has ranked it among the best colleges in the Midwest and Forbes Magazine recently ranked it as one of the best colleges in the nation.
The university’s business college receive particularly high marks from the Princeton review. Some of Grand Valley State University’s top-rated graduate programs include its nursing, occupational therapy, social work, public affairs and business programs.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Grand Valley State University has a reputation as being a tough school to get into. Admission is selective and the average student has a high school GPA of between 3.3 and 3.8 and the average ACT score is between 22 and 26. Students are selected based on high school GPA, ACT scores and other factors not specified by the university.
The Grand Valley State University admission deadline for new students is March 1. Priority applications are due Feb. 1. The application fee was $30 as of April 2011.
Students applying to Grand Valley State University are eligible for federal grants and student loans. There are also a number of grants and scholarships offered by the state of Michigan, the university and other organizations that students may be eligible for.
The univeristy’s website has a database of scholarships students can search through to find financial aid for which they may qualify. For example, the Laker Scholarship is available to new students who have high school GPAs of 3.5 or higher and ACT scores of 23 or better or SAT scores of 1070 or better. The scholarship is renewable over the typical four-year college career and provides $1,000 in funding.
The university’s office of financial aid also stands ready to help students find other grants and scholarships they may be eligible for.
Student Financial Aid Details
Grand Valley is one of the largest universities in terms of enrollment in the nation, and as such there’s a wide range of interests and personalities on campus.
Grand Valley State University is about 84 percent white, but the university has launched diversity initiatives to recruit more minority faculty and staff. More than half of the university’s students are female. The vast majority of Grand Valley’s students are traditional students, but like all institutions, Grand Valley has seen more non-traditional students, that is students age 24 or older, in recent years.
The university has 15 fraternities and 13 sororities. About 5 percent of the university’s students belong to a Greek organization.
Grand Valley State University offers more than 300 student organizations and clubs, so chances are that no matter what a student’s interests are, he or she will find a university organization that fits. Some unique student organziations at Grand Valley include a fencing club, a Muggle Quiditch team and a sound science group.
With regard to nightlife, students have a lot to choose from in the Allentown/Grand Rapids area. Some popular student hangouts include Mojo’s Dueling Piano Bar and Flanagan’s in Grand Rapids. For students seeking to enjoy nature, Lake Michigan is a big draw for many who enjoy the recreational opportunities provided by this natural wonder.
The university recently started work on a new library. The Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons will have more than 1,500 seats for student study, have about 20 rooms for group study and a high tech information storage and retrieval system. About $21 million has been raised from private donors for the project..
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Grand Valley State University is a respected athletic powerhouse, having won several national championships and offering students a chance to compete in many sports. The wide range of athletics offered to Grand Valley State University Athletics is one of the advantages of the school’s size, as it is one of the 100 largest schools in the country with regard to enrollment.
The university’s varsity teams have captured seven national championships in four different sports and have also regularly placed as runners-up in national championship games. The university has had a lock on the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Director’s Cup for most of the last decade, winning it from 2004-2010. This award is given to athletic programs based on the overall performance of their teams in national finishes.
Grand Valley State University fields teams in men’s baseball, basketball, cross country, football, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and golf and women’s basketball, cross country, soccer, swimming and diving, golf, track and field, volleyball, lacrosse, softball and tennis.
Grand Valley State University is a NCAA Division II school and competes in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. GVSU teams are called the Lakers and the school’s colors are blue, black and white.
Although it’s only been in existence for 50 years, in that time Grand Valley State University has developed a number of traditions unique to that institution.
The university holds a President’s Ball each year that’s open to all students, staff and community members. The ball is one of the biggest social occasions of the year for the campus and the community.
The university is also becoming known as a “green” university and frequent environmentally-themed events and activities are cropping up as the green movement works its way more into the university’s ethos.
Grand Valley has also developed close partnerships with many local K-12 schools and hosts annual events to further the education of these students, who may attend Grand Valley one day.
Additional School Information
Grand Valley has rapidly grown from under 1,000 students at its founding to more than 24,000 students today.
Grand Valley has recently established a number of satellite campuses, including the Pew Campus in Downtown Grand Rapids, the Meijer Campus in Holland and other facilities in Traverse City and Muskegon.
Because Allendale doesn’t have it’s own police department, university police actually serve as the de facto police department for the town, and can work in any part of Ottawa County.
The university has a number of notable alumni, including Greg Colton, who writes and directs the popular animated series, Family Guy, screen writer Patrick Shehane Duncan (Mr. Holland’s Opus) and former Republic of Palau President Tommy Remengesau.
The College Board College Handbook, 2010 . 47th ed. New York: College Board, 2009. Print.
McGrath, Anne. Ultimate college guide 2010 . 7th ed. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Inc., 2009. Print.
Grand Valley State University." Grand Valley State University. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2011. <http://www.gvsu.edu/>.