Are ‘guest students’ a growing trend?

Source: Grand Rapids Community College, Institutional Research and Planning

A growing number of students attending Michigan universities are spending their summer at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC), embracing an opportunity to get solid transfer credits while saving money. 

“Guest students” are enrolled in other universities but take GRCC classes during the summer. They transfer their GRCC credits back to their home universities, including Grand Valley State University (GVSU), Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

The number of summer guests at GRCC has increased steadily during the past five years: from 867 students in 2013 to 1,379 in 2017.

“This is another powerful example of how the high-quality higher education that GRCC provides serves West Michigan residents,” said Michael Vargo, dean of arts and sciences at the college. “Universities across Michigan accept GRCC transfer credits, which reflects the caliber of our programs and faculty.”

Cost savings

The total cost per credit hour at Michigan’s 15 public universities averages $429, with a high of $555 per credit hour and a low of $327. Because of GRCC’s lower per-credit hour cost — $121 for in-district tuition and fees — summer classes save guest students money while helping them to stay on track to graduate in four years.

In 2017, most GRCC guest students came from GVSU, followed by Michigan State University, Ferris State University and Calvin College.

“Summer classes have a variety of start dates and are offered in person and online, making it easier to work around summer jobs and other activities,” said Tina Hoxie, associate provost and dean of student affairs at GRCC. “They are great opportunities for all students, including those who are working on degrees at other universities.”

About the Author

David Murray
is director of communications at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan.