Mid Michigan College (Mid) has a significant history of serving the residents of Gratiot and Isabella counties. The College first opened its doors to students in 1968 in Clare and Gladwin counties. But just a year later, Mid began offering courses and serving students in Gratiot and Isabella counties as well.
“Mid’s first nursing and technical courses were in Isabella county,” said Scott Mertes, VP of Community Outreach. “Our flagship programs really took root here and we have been going strong ever since.”
The College has two proposals on the November ballot for those who reside within the Gratiot/Isabella RESD. The first proposal asks voters if they will join the College’s district. The second proposal asks voters to approve the millage rate of 1.2232 mills.
Because this is an annexation, two proposals are required by the State and both must pass in order for the proposals to take effect.
Over 1,100 students from Isabella and Gratiot counties are attending Mid this fall, accounting for nearly 35% of its enrollment. By comparison, Clare and Gladwin county residents make up 26% of enrollment.
“Students from Isabella and Gratiot counties have historically accounted for a large percentage of our enrollment,” said Mertes. “That’s why we work to serve our southern region with a campus in Isabella County. And it’s why we are working with the schools in Gratiot County to expand our presence.”
Local K-12 school districts have been an important part of the Mid’s growth over the past several years. Over 380 high school students from Isabella and Gratiot counties are taking dual enrollment courses. These students have an opportunity to get a head start on college and transfer seamlessly to their next step after high school.
According to data from the State’s Center for Educational Performance and Information, Mid is the top choice for college among high school graduates from the Gratiot/Isabella RESD.
“Many students attend Mid during high school and then continue pursuing their degree with us when they graduate,” said Mertes. “Those students then move on from Mid and work for local employers or transfer to the university of their choice to continue their education.”
Mid’s students often stay local when they graduate, which supports workforce and economic development in the region. Local businesses have recognized the importance that Mid plays in the community.
The Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce, for instance, has backed Mid’s ballot proposals.
“We fully support Mid’s efforts to annex the GI-RESD territory and feel this will greatly benefit the greater Gratiot communities and support its businesses,” said Brendan Kelley, Executive Director of the Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce.
Over the years, Mid has partnered with local businesses and groups like the Middle Michigan Development Corporation, Chambers of Commerce, and the Central Michigan Manufacturers Association to train the next generation of workers.
In fact, Mid hosts the CMMA’s office on its Mt. Pleasant Campus. At the same location, Mid is the home for the Small Business Development Center, which helps small businesses and entrepreneurs start and grow in mid-Michigan.
These, and countless other resources, come together at Mid to support local growth for students, businesses, and the region.
“Building partnerships and helping people succeed is at the core of everything we do,” said Mertes. “And it pays off for the community. Mid’s annual impact on the region is over $69 million and we directly support 1 out of every 43 jobs.”
If both ballot measures pass, residents of the Gratiot/Isabella RESD, who are not already part of a community college district, will be annexed into Mid’s district. Although the proposals apply to residents of the GIRESD, this is not a GIRESD proposal and it will not impact their operations.
The College would receive about $3.1 million in property tax revenue, of which, over $1.5 million would be passed on to students through reduced tuition.
For those in the College’s expanded district, tuition would be lowered by 40% - from $220 to $132 per contact hour. This change would save a full time student over $2,100 in tuition each year.
“We are committed to Isabella and Gratiot counties,” said Mertes. “If the ballot measures pass, the College will have a more stable funding model that will allow us to reduce tuition, support local businesses, and help students succeed.”
Mid Michigan College has compiled information about its annexation proposal, including short explainer videos, on its site: midmich.edu/annexation-proposal. To speak with someone directly about the College’s annexation proposals, contact Dr. Scott Mertes, Vice President of Academic Affairs & Community Outreach at (989)386-6622 x230 or by email at email@example.com.