Success Story: New rate drops cost for high school students outside Grand Traverse County

February 7, 2024

If a typical 2020 high school graduate stayed on track for a bachelor’s degree, they’re now a college senior, expecting to graduate in a few months.

Kaitlyn WatsonThanks to dual enrollment at NMC, however, Kaitlyn Watson (right) graduated in December 2022 from Michigan State. On top of her two and a half year dash to a degree, the 2020 Grand Traverse Academy valedictorian reached the finish line without any debt.

Now, a newly-established dual enrollment tuition rate for students outside Grand Traverse County will allow hundreds more students to access that fast track to an affordable degree.

“Dual enrollment allowed me to complete college quickly, debt-free, and begin to pursue my true passions,” said Watson, whose degree in statistics landed her a job at MSU that allowed her to move back to Traverse City and work remotely. “It truly changed my life.”

Watson is one of NMC’s many dual enrollment success stories. Most have been from Grand Traverse County because of what, until now, have been higher costs to residents outside the county.

Jacie KingThere’s 2019 Kingsley High School graduate Jacie King, (left) who says her NMC dual enrollment credits kept her on track after she transferred from Albion College to Grand Valley State University. She found out many of the Albion credits didn’t transfer to Grand Valley, but her dual enrolled NMC credits did.

“I am very thankful that I was able to dual enroll, otherwise I would have been starting all over,” said King, one of four siblings who all dual-enrolled at NMC.

King graduated from GVSU in December and is now employed by Allendale Public Schools in her chosen field of health and physical education. Besides saving her tuition money – dual enrollment is paid for by a student’s home school district – King found a second financial advantage.

“Because I had so many credits early I was able to start substitute teaching earlier in my program, and got paid experience through that,” she said.

School districts use a portion of their state funding to cover dual enrollment tuition. Since a student’s residency factors into their NMC tuition rate, however, the state dollars haven't always covered the total bill. Districts could bill families for the difference.

The new rate ($160/contact hour), unanimously approved by NMC’s Board of Trustees in January, is expected to cover the bill, eliminating out-of-pocket tuition costs for most dual-enrolled students, regardless of where they live.

To find out more, attend a family information session in person or virtually later this month. Students can also contact their high school guidance counselor to find out more about the new rate and how to apply to be a dual enrolled student starting this fall.

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