Early College agreement approved between Suttons Bay, NMC

TRAVERSE CITY – Beginning this fall, Suttons Bay High School students will have the opportunity to graduate with an associate’s degree or technical certificate from NMC in addition to their diploma – and do so on the state’s dime.

Approved by the Michigan Department of Education this week, the new “Early College” program between NMC and Suttons Bay allows academically capable students who commit to a five-year high school program to begin taking college classes in grade 10. They can take up to 66 college credits during their high school career, replacing typical high school courses with college courses.

After the end of what’s being called “grade 13,” the students would be ready to transfer to a four-year college as a junior. Per-pupil state revenues Suttons Bay receives for that 13th year would pay for the cost of NMC tuition. Students would spend all of the 13th year on the NMC campus, expect for one online course from Suttons Bay.

“The state… is paying for the students, not the students themselves. That’s a pretty good deal,” said Stephen Siciliano, NMC vice president for educational services. He added that Early College fits into NMC’s strategic goal of reaching out to partner school districts. “The Early College model is a great model for the Suttons Bay students to take advantage of,” he said.

Suttons Bay Superintendent Mike Murray said Early College not only allows students to accelerate their college careers at considerable savings, but enables them to take foundation courses from professors at NMC, rather than the typical graduate student-led courses at many universities. 

“By staying in their home community one more year, when they go off to the college or university of their choice, they can actually start working on their major,” Murray said.

He estimates a small number of students will enroll initially. To qualify, the enrolling sophomores will need to score high enough on placement tests to be admitted to NMC.

“To be academically capable means they meet (NMC) standards for admission,” Murray said. In 2011, 35 percent of graduating Suttons Bay seniors attended NMC.

Early college is an expansion of traditional high school dual enrollment. In addition to taking classes on the NMC campus, NMC instructors  will teach some courses in Suttons Bay. As a third option, some concurrent credit classes with an NMC-approved curriculum would be taught by approved Suttons Bay instructors.

Release date: April 20, 2012

For more information

Mike Murray, Suttons Bay Superintendent
(231) 271-8600

Stephen Siciliano, NMC Vice President for Educational Services
(231) 995-1373