Grand Valley State University is a four-year public university providing undergraduate and graduate education. It serves nearly 25,000 students each year, making it one of America's 100 largest universities. Yet for all it size and resources, it offers an academic experience typically associated with a small private college. Virtually all of the university's more than 200 areas of academic study incorporate the skills acquired through its liberal education focus into the learning process.
The Michigan legislature chartered Grand Valley State College in 1961, in response to the need for a public, four-year college in the state's second largest metro area. The name was changed to Grand Valley State University in 1987.
GVSU grants 82 undergraduate degrees and 30 graduate degrees. The average class size is 27. The student-faculty ratio is 17:1 and 24 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students.
The gender distribution of undergraduate students is roughly 42% male/58% female. About 25% of students live in college-owned, operated or affiliate housing. 70% of these students have cars on campus. The university recommends but does not require that all first-year students live on campus.
The GVSU Lakers compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Eight men's and 10 women's sports are offered. Athletic teams have won nine national championships in five sports and have been national runners-up 13 times in eight sports. The school is a seven-time winner of the Director's Cup as the nation's best NCAA Division II athletic program.
GVSU's main campus is located in Allendale, 12 miles west of Grand Rapids. The 1,304-acre campus is perched above the Grand River next to a system of ravines. The campus feels very secluded but it is adjacent to a major state highway. Classes are also offered at the Robert C. Pew campus, on the banks of the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids.