Grand View GV Complete Program Proving Successful
October 12, 2016
Two years ago, Grand View University unveiled GV Complete, a personalized whole degree-planning program that allows students to see a clear path to graduation – both academically and financially. This innovative program is designed to make a Grand View degree more affordable and predictable, as well as reduce student debt, encourage four-year graduation, and improve financial literacy. Students and their families have begun to plan for – and finance – the entire college degree, rather than a year or semester at a time.
As the student progresses at Grand View, there are opportunities for personal financial assistance and counseling to help the student stay on track with his or her financial and academic completion plan – and stay on track to graduate in four years. The goal is that students will graduate with a good foundation for budgeting and financial planning. Another attractive aspect of the plan is that increases of rates for annual tuition and campus-based room and board are locked at a predictable rate of increase for participants. For the first three cohorts, this has been a 2% cap on tuition, room and board. While some schools are locking tuition only, Grand View is including room and board in their plan and adding financial literacy coaching.
There are now 3 cohorts with over 600 students in the program. Students meet with their Student Empowerment Coaches twice in their freshman year and at least yearly thereafter. The coaches work closely with academic advisors, student life staff, accounts receivable, and the financial aid office to help students navigate college experience. Empowering students to understand their choices is key to the program. GV Complete is transformational, not transactional. The relationships and personalization for each student matter.
According to a recent Sallie Mae report, having a plan pays off for students. Families who have a plan (includes saving, anticipating and researching costs and expenses, and identifying sources of funding) save 3.5 times more than non-planners, and students borrow 1/3 less than non-planners. According to their data, only 2 out of 5 students have created a plan to pay for college. GV Complete provides a plan to each and every student in the program – and then the plan is revised and updated throughout their college experience.
The GV Complete ’14 cohort is running 18% ahead of the 5-year historical retention rate. They are also projecting lower student loan debt over Grand View’s historical average and fewer students are indicating “finances” as their primary reason for leaving the university if they do leave. Grand View attributes this to having a better understanding of what the costs would be up front. In addition to improved retention and lower projected student loan debt, GV announced a 26% increase in their freshman class over fall 2015, the 3rd largest incoming class in history. Full-time enrollment is also up this year – to 1,550 students. The total number of students is now 1,970. Debbie Barger, Vice President for Enrollment Management, discusses reasons for the increase, “New students and their families selecting Grand View as their college choice see a vibrant, exciting campus environment with state of the art facilities and excellent academic programs. Through our GV Complete program, we are also assisting them in finding it an affordable choice and helping them plan for all four years while controlling their student debt.”
Grand View has also woven financial literacy education throughout the university with a new “Financial Fitness” programming. Academic courses, workshops and a partnership with SALT – a financial literacy program created by American Student Assistance, a nonprofit organization, to help GV students become more financially savvy. Grand View University wants to ensure that students stay financially healthy for life, so teaming up with SALT™ helps students manage their money and student loans free of charge.