Online Colleges in Montana
Known as the “Big Sky Country,” Montana seems to offer endless possibilities when it comes to higher education.
The state boasts a number of exceptional schools, including its two largest, Montana State University and the University of Montana. Additionally, Carroll College and Montana Tech are ranked #1 and #3, respectively, in Regional Colleges West by US News and World Reports.
The top notch schools offer a variety of online learning opportunities, as well as some of the lowest tuition rates in the country, making Montana an excellent place to pursue a postsecondary degree.
Overview of Higher Education in Montana
Despite its large land area, Montana is only home to 22 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2015-2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of these, 17 are public schools and 4 are non-profit private schools. The state has no for-profit private schools.
According to Collegeboard.org’s 2016-2017 report, the average cost of in-state tuition and fees at one of Montana’s 4-year public institutions is $6410. This is the third lowest tuition rate in the US! Even non-residents – who pay approximately $22,100 – are charged well below the national average.
Students in the western portion of the US may get even deeper discounts, thanks to Montana’s partnership with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). WICHE’s Student Exchange Program allows students to enroll in degree programs at any of the 16 participating states for no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.
A conglomerate known as Montana University System (MUS) brings together all of the state’s public colleges and universities, enrolling more than 44,000 students each semester. The MUS website is a valuable resource for information regarding college preparation, financial aid, enrollment, credit transfers, online distance education and more for all 16 participating schools.
About Online Colleges in Montana
A 2012 study by the NCES reported that 6.3% of undergraduate students in Montana were enrolled in fully online degree programs, and another 14.1% were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus classes. Those numbers continue to rise as more schools improve their online course offerings.
Today, all of the schools in the MUS provide online courses and/or degree programs.
At Montana State University – Northern, students can choose from six fully online bachelor’s degrees in fields such as nursing, business administration and criminal justice.
Montana State University in Billings offers nine fully online bachelor’s programs, including the state’s only fully-online marketing degree.
For those interested in earning an Associate’s Degree online, Great Falls College may be a good fit. They have online degree programs available in the accounting, healthcare, and technology fields.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Montana
If you’re thinking about pursuing a postsecondary degree in Montana, the first thing you need to do is complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA gives you access to financial aid for college.
FAFSA funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis, so it’s important to apply as early as possible. The application is made available on October 1st every year.
To complete the FAFSA, you will need to provide information about income, assets, taxes and so on, for both you and your parents (unless you’re considered “independent”). This information will be used to determine how much and what type of financial aid you quality for.
The best types of financial aid are grants and scholarships, because they do not have to be repaid.
In addition to need and merit-based federal grants, students who enroll at schools in the Montana University System may be eligible for full tuition waivers under the following programs:
- American Indian Waiver – Students who are at least ¼ American Indian; Must demonstrate financial need
- Faculty and Staff Tuition Waiver – Students who are employed at least ¾ time for the entire period of enrollment
- The Montana University System Dependent Partial Tuition Waiver – Dependents of long-term employees may have up to half of tuition waived
- Honorably Discharged Veteran Waiver – Students who have served with the US Armed Forces during any of its wars and were honorably discharged
- War Orphans Waiver – For students 25 or younger whose parent served on active duty during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, or the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts and was killed or died as a result of combat
- Montana Senior Citizen Waiver – For students 65 years or older
Additionally, the Reach Higher Montana Scholarships are available to high school seniors or recent graduates who have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. These scholarships offer $1000 to recipients.
Montana students can also apply for private scholarships, which may be awarded to students based on academic or athletic achievements, financial need, intended career path or even peculiar hobbies or interests.
Here are some scholarships available to students in Montana:
|Horatio Alger Montana Undergraduate Scholarship||For high school seniors who have confronted and overcome adversity; Must demonstrate financial need, community and public service and academic achievement||
Up to $15,000 over 4 years
|Stephen T. Marchello Scholarship||For current year high school graduates who have had cancer; Judged based on GPA, SAT or ACT scores, letters of reference and essays; Open to residents of Montana and Colorado||
Up to $10,000
|National Garden Clubs Scholarship||For college sophomore or higher who is majoring in and plans to pursue a career in Horticulture or a related field||
|Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Technical School Scholarship||Junior or senior at a 4-year school who is preparing for a career in the coal industry||
8: $5500 (8) Engineering Scholarships ($2750 for 2 years)
|Korean American Scholarship||Open to Korean American residents of designated Western region states; Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher; Must demonstrate financial need||
You can find more scholarship opportunities by using search sites such as Fastweb.com.
Further assistance may be available through the college(s) you’re interested in. Check with the financial aid office to see about aid programs exclusive to the school.
List of Online Colleges in Montana
|Online Colleges in Montana||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|Montana State University||Bozeman, Montana||$6,887||Regional||$30|
|University of Montana||Missoula, Montana||$6,238||Regional||$30|
If you’re thinking about pursing a college degree in Montana, you won’t be disappointed.
With top-notch schools, most of which offer online learning opportunities, and some of the lowest tuition costs in the country, you can’t go wrong!