December 30, 2003
TO: Board of Regents of Higher Education
FROM: Rod Sundsted
Associate Commissioner for Fiscal Affairs
SUBJECT: Background on Tribal College Assistance – Non-beneficiary Students
System Issues – Item b
In 1995 the Fifty-Fourth Montana Legislature passed HB544 appropriating general fund to the Board of Regents for fiscal years 1996 and 1997 to provide financial assistance to tribally controlled community colleges for enrolled resident non-beneficiary students. HB544 limited the assistance to the tribal colleges to a maximum of $1,500 per full-time equivalent resident non-beneficiary student and also included guidelines regarding eligibility and calculation of the distribution. HB544 also provided that the assistance per student be prorated based upon funding provided. Because HB544 was a temporary appropriation bill, it did not continue the appropriation beyond fiscal year 1997.
The Fifty-Fifth Montana Legislature in 1997 passed SB84 containing many of the same guidelines included in HB544. SB84 was not an appropriation bill. Rather, it placed these guidelines in permanent statute (20-25-428 MCA). SB84 also limited the distribution to a maximum of $1,500 per full-time equivalent resident non-beneficiary student. SB84 also included a provision that required the tribal colleges to provide fee waivers to non-beneficiary students in the same percentage as the number of Indian students who are receiving fee waivers to attend a unit of the Montana University System (approximately 1.9%). Because SB84 was not an appropriation bill, it contained a provision that made the assistance subject to a line item appropriation for this purpose. While the legislature passed SB84, no line item appropriation for this purpose was included in HB002. As a result, no tribal college assistance was provided in FY98 or FY99.
In 1999 the Fifty-Sixth Montana Legislature included in HB002 a line item appropriation (restricted/one-time-only) of $417,000 for fiscal year 2000 and $417,000 for fiscal year 2001 for tribal college assistance. The impact of the restricted/one-time-only designation was that the appropriation would not be included as part of the base budget when developing the budget for fiscal year 2002 and fiscal year 2003.
HB002 passed by the Fifty-Seventh Montana Legislature during the 2001 session included a line item biennial appropriation of $100,000 for tribal college assistance. However, this biennial appropriation was reduced to $96,500 when the Governor ordered expenditure reductions triggered by shortfalls in state revenue. The entire $96,500 was distributed in fiscal year 2002. Even when distributed in one fiscal year, the assistance provided per student had to be prorated to a level of approximately $334 per student.
The Fifty-Eighth Montana Legislature in 2003 included in HB002 a line item biennial appropriation of $96,500 for tribal college assistance. These funds will again be distributed entirely in FY04 and no additional funds will be available for FY05.
The first chart below shows the number of full-time equivalent resident non-beneficiary student by tribal college for those years when the legislature provided an appropriation for tribal college assistance. In years when no appropriation was available the tribal colleges were not required to provide the full-time resident non-beneficiary enrollment counts. The second chart shows the funding provided by fiscal year along with the support per full-time resident non-beneficiary student for the same fiscal years.
Full-Time Equivalent Resident Non-Beneficiary Enrollments
Reported by Tribal College
Little Big Horn College
Stone Child College
Salish Kootenai College
Blackfeet Community College
Dull Knife Memorial College
Fort Belknap College
Fort Peck Community College
Tribal College Assistance - Total Funding and Funding per Full-Time Equivalent Resident Non-Beneficiary Student
Reported Non-beneficiary FTE
Total State Funding
Funding per Non-beneficiary FTE
Pending NB FTE