Mid Michigan College asking voters in Gratiot, Isabella counties to join its district

HARRISON, MI – Mid Michigan College, a community college serving in Clare and Gladwin counties, is looking to formally expand its tax base and local service area by adding Gratiot and Isabella counties to its district.

Voters in Gratiot and Isabella will decide two proposals on the Nov. 3 election ballot.

The first proposal would annex any residents within the Gratiot-Isabella Regional Education Service District that aren’t already part of the college’s district. The second proposal would set a millage rate of 1.2232 mills, or $1.22 per $1,000 of taxable property value. This would grant the college about $3.1 million in yearly revenue, and it plans to use about half of that income to cut tuition for local students, according to a news release. Those from the college’s expanded district would see tuition reduced by roughly 40%, saving a full-time student more than $2,100 a year. Both of the proposals have to pass to take effect.

More than 1,100 students from the two counties make up about 35% of the college’s fall 2020 enrollment, eclipsing 26% from Clare and Gladwin counties. More than 380 high school students from Isabella and Gratiot are dual-enrolled at the college, according to the release.

“Students from Isabella and Gratiot counties have historically accounted for a large percentage of our enrollment,” said Scott Mertes, vice president of Community Outreach, in the release. “Many students attend Mid during high school and then continue pursuing their degree with us when they graduate… Those students then move on from Mid and work for local employers or transfer to the university of their choice to continue their education.”

The college claims it brings more than $69 million in annual economic impact. The Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the proposals, according to the release.

“We are committed to Isabella and Gratiot counties,” Mertes said in the release. “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.”

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