The Robert B. Miller College was established in response to a call from the business and educational communities of Calhoun County for an affordable, locally-based institution of higher learning at which residents of the Battle Creek area could complete bachelor’s degrees. Prior to the establishment of Miller College, higher education options for students and workers living in the Battle Creek area were limited to associate’s degree programs through Kellogg Community College and a small number of bachelor’s degree completion programs offered through extension sites by Michigan colleges based in other localities. However, few of these programs afforded students the opportunity to complete all of the coursework for a bachelor’s degree in Battle Creek, requiring that students commute to fulfill residency obligations at the respective institutions.
As a consequence of this lack of a local avenue for completing bachelor’s degrees, the Battle Creek area has one of the lowest per capita rates of adults holding bachelor’s degrees or higher in the state of Michigan, according to US Census figures. Furthermore, the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research recently compiled statistics indicating that the metropolitan area with the lowest percentage of adults age 25 to 34 holding bachelor’s degrees in Michigan is Battle Creek (Erickcek & Watts, 2008, slide 40). As previous Governor Jennifer Granholm has argued, increasing the number of college graduates is essential for Michigan’s economic recovery, and it is in the service of achieving this vision for Battle Creek that Miller College was founded.
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