Northwestern Michigan College means a lot of things to a lot of people. For more than 60 years it has provided higher education opportunities that our region had sorely lacked. It is an economic driver for our area, worth an estimated $188 million annually. It is a great investment for students, as every dollar they spend on their education at NMC translates to $5.30 in increased future earnings.
That’s not to mention what NMC means as a valued contributor to the arts, with nationally renowned choral programs and the internationally revered Dennos Museum Center.
As business people, we know a good investment. That’s why we support the NMC millage. We see it every day. Workers trained at NMC are able to make an immediate impact in the workplace. Employees who are not only working, but also going back to school and learning new skills to make them even more valuable and marketable.
The proposal is for 0.4 mills for 15 years to return the college’s total millage rate to the 2.57 mills that Grand Traverse County voters approved in 1995. Due to the Headlee Amendment the rate has decreased to its current level. This millage will be worth $1.7 million in additional revenue that will help offset decreases in state and local funding over the last decade. The millage will mean an increase of about $3 per month for the average Grand Traverse County resident. Ten cents a day seems like a good investment in a world-class community college right here in our back yard.
The college has done a great job in keeping tuition costs down, as 19 of the 27 other Michigan community colleges have higher tuition rates than NMC. The college is a great bargain for Grand Traverse County residents with a tuition rate that is half that of residents of other areas of the state.