It's one thing to graduate from high school with an honors diploma. It's another thing to graduate from high school with over half your college credits under your cap.
For the 13 members of Marquette Catholic University High School (MQTT-U)'s original class, they find themselves in a unique and enviable position: this year, they're high-school seniors. Next year, they'll be college juniors, academically speaking.
MQTT-U's Class of 2021 is racing down the home stretch of a scholarly marathon that began in August of 2017. The goal then was for these students to graduated with 60 college credits. As we sit at the halfway point of its seventh semester, all 13 students will depart Marquette with at least 61 college credits, and five are on track to graduate with between 83 and 86 college credits.
"I was always very confident in the success of the program. I never could have imagined the heights we would reach and that's a testament to these students. I think we've prepared them unlike any other class in the recent history of Marquette," academic advisor and MQTT-U director Tracy Wagner said.
This cohort laid the groundwork for future Blazers to arrive at college with most, if not all, of their general education requirements, fulfilled.
It doesn't take an MBA to calculate the ROI on MQTT-U.
Take Joaquin Lopez for example. He's one of three students expected to graduate with 86 college credits. Joaquin plans on attending Indiana University-Bloomington, where the cost of attendance for an Indiana resident in 2020-2021 is $26,186. With nearly six semesters worth of credits earned, he's saved over $75,000 in future college undergraduate costs.
Aidan Bartnicki, who is planning to attend Wabash College, is also on track to leave Marquette with 86 college credits. The cost of attendance there is $60,200 for the current academic year. With needing just 34 credits to achieve a bachelor's degree from Wabash, Aidan earned a cost savings of over $150,000.
The financial windfall produced from the early-college program comes at a time when students and families try to solve the jigsaw puzzle that is funding a college education. MQTT-U has leveled the playing field for all.
MQTT-U's opening in 2017 coincided with the launch of the Michigan City Promise Scholarship, a civic initiative that would rely on city funding and donations from the corporate sector, namely Blue Chip Casino. This past April, Michigan City mayor Duane Parry expressed his concerns over the viability of the program to the Michigan City Common Council before recommending the suspension of the Promise Scholarship.
Meanwhile, Marquette students, who were ineligible to qualify for the Promise Scholarship, bet on themselves. And they've won big.