By Martin J. Kidston
In an effort to freeze tuition at Montanas two-year colleges and schools of technology, the Montana University System Board of Regents voted to raise tuition at the states four-year schools earlier this month.
The tuition increase averages 4 percent for all four-year schools, said Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Crofts. Upperclassmen, namely juniors and seniors enrolled at four-year schools including MSU-Northern, will see the cost of their education increase by 4.3 percent. Tuition for freshmen and sophomores will remain the same.
This came out of the desire to get students to consider two-year colleges and schools of technology, Crofts said. Our tech students pay the highest tuition in the country. Were trying to bring that down to a reasonable level.
Crofts said that Montanas tech students currently pay for one-third of their education, while students nationally pay only 18 to 25 percent. By the regents creating the tuition freeze, the difference should begin to close.
Tuition should remain frozen through the biennium for sure, Crofts said.
However, while lower classmen and tech students enjoy the tuition freeze, the cost of pursuing that four-year degree will grow increasingly expensive. According to Crofts, upperclassmen should expect to see their tuition increase on an annual basis, even though the board is doing its best to keep such increases to a minimal.
Tuition will continue to increase, said Crofts, but the regents wanted us to bring the amount of the increase down. Weve been averaging seven percent, and we reduced the increase to four percent.
Currently, tuition for a full time student at Montanas four-year schools is $1,346 for residents and $3,824 for non-residents. After the 4.3 percent increase, tuition will rise to approximately $1,403 resident and $3,988 non-resident.