Montana University System New Proposal


Making Postsecondary Education and Training More Accessible for Montanans


       Specific elements of initiative:


         Increase State financial aid

       Increase dollars available for MTAP/Baker Grants ($1,000,000)

o         Awards are made to students from low and middle-income families. The awards are only available to students who are working their way through school and whose family s expected family contribution is below $6,500. Approximately 7% of students attending Montana colleges and universities receive this grant. he average award is $553. The maximum is $1,000. The increased funding would enable another 1,800 students to receive this grant.

       Montana Higher Education Grants ($400,000)

o         Awards are made to students who are among the neediest in qualifying for financial aid. Approximately 2% of students attending Montana colleges and universities receive this grant. The average grant award is $300. The federal maximum is $5,000. The additional funds would enable another 667 students to receive this grant.

       Increase dollars available for Montana Work Study Program ($400,000)

o         Awards are made to students who have need based on the federal criteria. Students have to find their own job on campus. Salaries range from $5.25 per hour (minimum wage) to $9.00 per hour. The average award is $853. The maximum award is $5,000. About 2% of the students attending the Montana University System and the three state community colleges receive these funds. The increased funding would enable another 235 student to receive this award.

         Fund tuition differential for two-year colleges, and smaller four-year campuses. ($974,400)

         This funding would permit us to continue to hold tuition increases at the Colleges of Technology (and two-year programs at Northern and Western) to 4% per year below what the tuition increases will be for the four-year campuses. Over the biennium, tuition would increase at the four-year campuses by 8% more than at the two-year campuses.

         Fast Forward Education Program - - A cooperative effort among educational providers to establish a seamless educational structure that focuses on students success. Area elementary, secondary, and higher education providers cooperatively construct a program that begins with student career development activities in the seventh grade and works with students to move them forward based upon their abilities, talents, and interests. The program will build on successes and what we have learned from our Educational Talent Search program and our GEAR-UP program. ($800,000)

         Tribal college support for non-beneficiary students - an initiative to return tribal college support for non-beneficiary students to the FY00-01 level of approximately $1,500 per student. ($834,000)

         Indian Education for All (MCA 20-1-501ff) In order to improve campus services for and sensitivity toward Native American students statewide training will be provided to front-line student services and operations personnel and their supervisors and assist them to develop effective modes of interaction with Native American students and families. Faculty training will be designed to help them learn what cultural issues affect student learning and interactions in the classroom. ($150,000)


       Investment: $4,558,400


       Return on investment:


         Better retention of Native American students in higher education and greater numbers of students completing programs of study.

         Increase job opportunities for Montanans, improve family and per-capita income, and thereby increase the State s tax revenues.

         Increased enrollment of economically disadvantaged Montanans, leading to better postsecondary education participation rates, better retention and graduation rates, better employment opportunities and higher income levels.

         The non-beneficiary student tribal college assistance program provides support for 322 non-beneficiary students per year attending Montana tribal colleges.


       Accountability measures:


         Improved postsecondary participation rates for Montanans as they graduate from highs school and for the population aged 25-44.

         Increase in percentage of MUS students enrolled in COTs and smaller four-year campuses.

         Increased participation in higher education for students from low-income and Native American families.