MISSOULA – Leaders of the Montana University System say a proposal to tighten up rules governing tuition rates for out-of-state students is not only an effort to clarify those requirements but to ensure resident students have an opportunity to learn.
Current policies require out-of-state students to live in Montana for a year, showing proof like a driver’s license, voter registration or that they own a home.
But under the rules being discussed by the Montana Board of Regents during their meeting in Missoula this week, students from outside the state would also have to show tax returns and relinquish residency in another state.
The idea is to make sure policies are applied fairly, just as done in other states.
“And really, this policy change is to strengthen and clarify the policy so that it’s intended purpose is honored,” explained Montana Board of Regents Chair Fran Albrecht. “And that is our taxpayer dollars that are going to ensure that our Montana students have the affordable access to that tuition rate.”
The Board of Regents is also looking at improved ways to provide higher education opportunities to the 44% of Montana high school graduates who haven’t been going to college.
The University of Montana reported a 7.6% decline from last fall’s student enrollment at the end of September.
The dip was expected by UM officials due to the number of 2018 spring graduates and the low number of new applicants.
A topic of discussion was ways UM — along with other Montana University System schools — can gain better access to high school students.
One area they focused on was the roughly 44% of Montana high school graduates, who do not receive a secondary education.
How can they make it easier for students? What tools are drawing kids towards the idea of going to college? These were just a few questions addressed in the meeting.
Making ACT information more available, Dual enrollment courses, a single application for all Montana University Systems — rather than having to apply to dozens and financial aid opportunities — are a few plans in the beginning stages to help build enrollment.
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News