Edwardsburg High School students once again able to take classes at IUSB

Published 10:36 am Thursday, September 13, 2018

EDWARDSBURG — Four years ago, the administration at Edwardsburg High School worked out an agreement with IUSB to offer opportunities for their students to enroll in classes at Indiana University South Bend.

This allowed the district to have several students every year take more rigorous courses and earn credits not offered at Southwestern Michigan College, but less than two years later, the state forbade for schools from allowing students to take college classes out of state.

“Basically, the state of Michigan didn’t like the fact that we were sending Michigan money to the state of Indiana to pay for tuition,” said Ryan Markel, principal of Edwardsburg High School.

This penalized the district according to Markel, which saw IUSB as a valuable partner that offered the students a chance to take college courses that they could not take elsewhere is southwest Michigan.

Thanks to some work with other school districts throughout the state of Michigan and local legislatures, former Superintendent Sherman Ostrander was able to help get a law passed that allowed schools such as Edwardsburg to enroll its students at colleges across the state border once again.

“I was very excited, extremely excited,” Markel said. “It was disappointing when we lost it, and one of the challenges that we have this year school year is it wasn’t official when we had to make schedules last spring, so, unfortunately, our numbers aren’t where we want them to be, but next year we hope to get them back up in the 20s.”

Because IUSB is a regional campus of Indiana University, he said that the credits a student earns have a high transfer rate asset to other colleges. This has been a huge financial and academic to past Edwardsburg students, including Markel’s own children.

“My two oldest both went off to college with over 30 credit hours, so they essentially started off their freshman year as sophomores,” he said. “All the IUSB credits transfer.”

Markel said that the classes IUSB is able to cover come from a carefully selected cohort that includes traditional college freshman level courses.

“If a kid takes an IUSB credit then they go Michigan State University or wherever, those credits are going to transfer,” he said. “And the courses the kids can take at SMC are a little more liberal as far as they are interested in drawing or painting, so maybe they are taking an art class, whereas at IUSB it’s English, it’s psyche, it’s sociology. There’s a biology course.”

Going forward, Edwardsburg Public Schools plans to continue offering extra academic opportunities for it students, such as the ones they have at IUSB, SMC and the Berrien Math and Science Center.

Markel also hopes that now that a law supports Edwardsburg Students enrolling in classes in another state that parents will feel more comfortable with IUSB as an option since it is unlikely to go away like it did previously.