GVSU Grads Staying Home


    GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas recently uttered some words of comfort for government officials, economic developers, employers and anyone else concerned about the much-touted brain drain that reportedly is costing Michigan its youngest and most promising talent.

    Haas recently told city commissioners that a university report revealed that 97 percent of recent GVSU graduates are employed or in graduate school. Now for the capper: Of the grads who are employed, 88 percent work in Michigan, 79 percent in West Michigan. That is a pretty impressive retention rate when most published reports have graduates running for the border still wearing their caps and gowns.

    “We keep our students right here in West Michigan to have a job and raise their families,” said Haas.

    The numbers Haas spoke of came from the 2007 GVSU Accountability Report. Other report highlights were:

    • This year’s incoming freshmen at GVSU had the second-highest aggregate GPA in the state, while their median composite ACT score ranked third statewide.
    • The university’s freshmen-to-sophomore retention rate was third in the state.
    • Eight of the school’s 10 programs that require grads to sit for license exams had a pass rate ranging from 92 percent to 100 percent. The remaining two programs showed a pass rate in the top six.
    • 94 percent of GVSU students are Michigan residents. Kent, Ottawa, Oakland, Wayne, Muskegon and Macomb are the counties with the most students enrolled at GVSU.

    Haas also told commissioners that curriculum changes were in store for the life sciences and nursing programs.

    The Kirkhof College of Nursing currently offers bachelor’s and mater’s degrees in nursing, but Haas said he sees the university developing a doctorate in nursing practice in the near future and it will be a terminal degree.

    “I’m very, very hopeful we will get this particular program running,” he said.

    In 2006, there were 490 undergraduates and 50 graduate students enrolled in Kirkhof.

    A Pretty Good Report Card

    An overwhelming number of graduates from Grand Valley State University are employed — and employed in Michigan. Here are the numbers for the past three years.

    Fall 2005

    Fall 2006

    Fall 2007

    GVSU graduates employed
    or in graduate school




    GVSU graduates employed          
    in Michigan   




    Source: Grand Valley State University 2007 Accountability Report

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