- Associated Press - Saturday, May 27, 2017

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Montana’s Board of Regents has raised tuition rates after state cuts in higher education spending.

Friday’s decisions included a 28 percent hike for resident freshmen and sophomores at the University of Montana-Western, bringing all undergraduate tuition and fees to $5,502 in 2018.

University of Montana tuition and fees will be $7,047 for undergraduates, reflecting an increase of between 5 and 13 percent for students. Montana State-Bozeman’s total is the same, a 2 percent increase there.

The Missoulian reports (https://bit.ly/2r9pwrY ) that in Billings, MSU students won’t pay more, and tuition and fees will be $5,827.

The increases will generate nearly $25 million over the next two years. The regents, meeting in Great Falls, also eliminated a system in which freshmen and sophomores pay less than juniors and seniors.

Regent Bill Johnstone says the system must focus on helping students afford college.

State spending on higher education will be down by nearly 2 percent, or $3.2 million, for the 2018 fiscal year.

Maintaining system-wide enrollment has been a challenged with shrinking high school graduating classes. MSU-Billings, in particular, has been hard hit; with fewer than 4,000 students, its enrollment has shrunk by a fifth over the past decade.


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