Mid Michigan College Offers Annexation For Isabella, Gratiot Counties

As community colleges are becoming a more viable option for students, one college is looking to expand their footprint.

Right now Mid Michigan College services Isabella and Gratiot Counties but students from those communities do not pay discounted rates. The college is looking to change that by annexing the school districts.

“In some sectors, annexation is not a positive word,” says Scott Mertes of Mid Michigan College.Mid Mich Annexation Pic

The state gave the go ahead for Mid-Michigan to invite schools in the Gratiot-Isabella RESD to annex with the college.

“And to be assessed in-district tuition rates,” says Mertes, “Which are about 40% less than out-of-district.”

This entire plan hinges on the passage of two ballot proposals in November. If one fails, the entire thing does.

First off the voters are going to have to accept the proposal to be annexed into the district for mid-Michigan. Then they are going to have to approve paying for it.

With 1.2232 mills, the median household in Isabella County will pay about $69 a year and in Gratiot County, it’s more like $56.

“For the college, it will bring in approximately $3.1 million,” says Mertes, “However due to the reduction of tuition rate, that’s actually a net gain of about $1.5 million.”

The other $1.6 million is essentially the savings students would see, making community college much more attractive for area graduates.

“Obviously the cost of college education is creeping up every year,” says William Chilman, superintendent at Beal City Public Schools, “It’s important that we try to make sure we have opportunities so people can get that education and better than selves. To be able to do what they want to do with their life.”

With so much unknown in a post-COVID world, the options at a community college can benefit more than just graduating high schoolers but anyone looking to add adult education.

“We know at some point, when the economy recovers, education is going to be a big part of whatever recovery takes place,” says Mertes, “When we bounce back from COVID.”

“I think the payoff will be great for our community,” says Chilman, “Educationally speaking.”