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University System Fares Well In Special Session

Todd Goodrich

Now that the special session of the Montana Legislature has adjourned, KGVO News has learned that the state university system was spared the deep cuts that other agencies endured.

Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education, Kevin McRae said Governor Stave Bullock knew that the university system had already undergone significant cuts in the last regular legislative session.

“Relatively speaking, the university system had a very successful special session,” McRae began. “Going into the session, Governor Bullock in his recommended cuts, put a very high priority on university system funding, recognizing that in the last regular session the state’s campuses took about a $10 million hit, which created a $20 million unfunded obligation that we largely charged students to cover by increasing tuition this fall.”

McRae said the governor recommended only a small cut in funding.

“The governor’s recommendation for that one percent reduction for this year and next year equates to about a $4.5 million reduction over this year and next year, and the legislature endorsed that.”

McRae said the fact that students are already absorbing the cuts through higher tuition and the campuses are cutting expenses, the special cuts are possible to absorb while still providing a quality education.

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