Commissioner – Era Of Tuition Freezes Comes To An End – Increases Throughout University System Coming
Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education Kevin McRae said several weeks ago that the legislature restored $11 million in funding to the university system, but that did not mean tuition would remain frozen.
"After a decade of tuition freezes in the Montana university system, Montana has been only one in three states that saw tuition freezes from 2007 to the present session," said McRae. "It was finally time in Montana where we encountered a legislative climate that was a 'cut' session. We knew there would be at least a two percent decrease in state funding, so it was time in Montana to consider tuition adjustments, and we haven't done that in a long time."
"If you remember, in January we were looking at cuts for funding that would have required increases probably averaging over 20 percent across the system. However, we were able to get a substantial amount restored, but in the end, still came out with less funding."
McRae said the Board of Regents at their meeting later this month will be restructuring the methods of funding for all schools within the university system.
"The goal is to bring consistency and continuity," he said. "So, we want to see MSU Bozeman and UM Missoula funded similarly from both a tuition and a state appropriations standpoint. Then, we want to see the four four-year regional comprehensives like Western and Northern funded similarly, as well. Then, for the two year colleges, we want to see them funded similarly."
McRae said the regents are attempting to move from the current disparity in funding towards parity.
The Board of Regents will meet in Great Falls on May 25 and 26