Great Falls College is offering engineering students a unique path to earn their degrees.
The 1+3 Engineering Transfer Program allows students to spend one year here in Great Falls getting their core classes out of the way before they go to Montana State University in Bozeman for the last three years.
Students like Russell Gagne like all the perks that the program offers, such as smaller class sizes, opportunities to save on tuition and other expenses, and an easier transition to college.
“It’s nice saving money,” Russell said with a smile. “So, this year I’m not spending hardly any money. I don’t have to pay for a lot of the food and the only thing I really have to pay for is tuition and transport fees. It’s really nice.”
The program offers paths for nine engineering program options, including Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.
Director of General Studies Leanne Frost says that the key to growing the program is simply more publicity.
“A lot of people don’t know the options that are available here in Great Falls,” explained Frost. “We had high school students here this morning, they had a chance to find out about engineering in general, and then also some local engineers who came and presented on their specific areas of engineering.”
Although the information session for the program last week was sparsely attended due to snowy weather outside, the college is still finding other ways to step up their advertising game. Not only that, but the program has been passed around by word-of-mouth quite a bit. Russell heard about the program because his brother was a part of it a few years earlier. Now that his brother has completed the program, Russell is following in his footsteps.
Other than the money aspect, another advantage that’s popular with students is the chance to get a leg up in their future classes.
“Just to be able to have kind of a baseline in math,” said Gagne. “(I’ll be) maybe a year ahead in math here because we can go through four different calculus courses in a year, so I’ll be ahead in math and just have that baseline and be ready for engineering in Bozeman.”