Great Seal of the Montana University System

 

 

 

WICHE Facts

  • MT has participated in WICHE PSEP for 70 years.
  • More than 1,600 MT residents have earned professional degrees through WICHE PSEP.
  • Montana PSEP fields of study:
    ✓ Dentistry
    ✓ Medicine
    ✓ Occupational Therapy
    ✓ Optometry
    ✓ Osteopathic Medicine
    ✓ Podiatry
    ✓ Veterinary Medicine
  • MT residents receive preference in admission and pay reduced tuition levels.
  • The average return rate of MT students graduating from WICHE PSEP 2007-2016 is 55%.
  • FY21 state contribution per student and field:

Dental - $27,350
Medicine - $32,650
Occupational Therapy - $14,300
Optometry - $18,830
Osteopathic Medicine- $23,400
Podiatry - $16,250
Veterinary Medicine - $32,400

  • Sharing educational resources throughout the West is fiscally responsible and cost effective for Montana.

Program Summary

Montana joined the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), a 15-state commission working to boost access to and success in higher education for students in the West, in 1951. The Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP) is one of three exchange programs offered through WICHE.  PSEP is aimed at providing affordable access to professional education primarily in the healthcare professions and enables students in 10 western states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) the opportunity to enroll in selected out-of-state professional programs which are not available at public institutions in-state. 

Montana has been sending students to professional programs through WICHE PSEP since 1953 and supports an average of 80 professional students annually in the fields of dentistry, medicine, occupational therapy, optometry, osteopathic medicine, podiatry and veterinary medicine.

Program Goals and Benefits:

  1. Facilitate sharing of higher education resources within the Western region in an effort to provide affordable access to professional education, primarily in the healthcare professions
  2. Provide Montana with a cost effective means to provide professional education to state residents without the expense of creating and maintaining all professional programs in-state

How Does the Program Work?

Residents of Montana can apply to various professional programs within the WICHE region in specific fields of study.   The large WICHE network of participating programs greatly expands the number of schools available to Montana residents.  For example, Montanans have the opportunity to apply to 14 dental schools; 16 medical schools; 16 occupational therapy programs; 4 optometry schools; 8 osteopathic schools; 3 podiatry programs; and 4 veterinary medicine programs.  WICHE PSEP students receive preference in admission and if selected for funding, pay reduced levels of tuition.  

State Support

In addition to the tuition paid by each PSEP student, Montana pays a “support fee” to the admitting school to help cover the cost of the students' education; this fee is negotiated between WICHE and the cooperating programs.  The number of students supported is determined through state legislative appropriation.  In FY21, the state appropriated $2.28M to support a total of 80 state residents attending professional programs across seven professional fields while also receiving 2 PSEP students and $23,550 in state support fees from other WICHE partner states.  Among Montana’s 2007-2016 PSEP graduates (2007-11 for physicians, 2007-16 for all other fields), 55% returned home to practice.