MTPR

Montana University System

Regents React To Feedback On Tuition, Fee Increases

May 11, 2017

Two members of the Montana Board of Regents were at MSU-Billings Wednesday, May 10, 2017, to hear from faculty, staff and students on how to keep higher education affordable and accessible.

The regents are scheduled to meet later this month to set tuition and fees for the coming two years.

'Cash Bill' Would Fund Veterans’ Home And University Renovations

Apr 13, 2017
(PD)

The Senate gave final approval today to a bill that would fund capital projects, like university system renovations and a veterans’ home in Butte, with money from state special revenue funds, grants and donations. 

On this episode of "Capitol Talk": The Legislature debates a bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's anti-discrimination law; should teachers carry guns in schools; proposed university cuts and how they could raise tuition; the delay in Zinke's confirmation hearing; and a new poll shows Rob Quist and Amanda Curtis are the front-runners on the Democratic side to replace Zinke in Congress.

Montana lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the state Board of Regents to adopt a policy on accepting money or other gifts for the state’s colleges and universities.

Both the University of Montana and Montana State University have benefited from multi-million dollar gifts that resulted in naming rights.


The amount of money a campus in the Montana University System receives from the state for a full-time resident student varies, sometimes widely.

The high is about $11,000 for a student at MSU-Northern to a low of $6,500 at Great Falls College MSU, according to data gathered by the Legislative Fiscal Division.


Public lands advocates flooded the state capitol this week and won a victory against privatization in Congress. What's fueling their increased intensity of late? With Ryan Zinke as Interior secretary, is development on public lands a bigger threat than privatization?

Faced with a revenue shortfall and an unwillingness to raise taxes, Montana's University System and other state agencies are preparing for some painful funding cuts.

And the Legislature spent time this week debating a ban on Sharia law in Montana courts. Find out why in this episode of "Capitol Talk".

Deep Cuts Proposed for University Service Agencies

Feb 2, 2017

Agricultural producers and fire chiefs say they will be among those harmed by the deep cuts proposed for the service agencies that are tied to the Montana university system.


The Montana University System used the $15 million dollars it received from the 2015 Legislative session to solve Montana problems with Montana based solutions, add jobs, and grow the economy.

The funding was for the Montana Research & Economic Development Initiative, or MREDI.


Students, campus officials, and others urged lawmakers to resist the up to $25 million budget cut proposed for the Montana University System (MUS) budget. They said it would reverse a decade of gains made to keep higher education accessible and affordable for low- and middle-income students.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian told the joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, officials are considering increasing tuition; cutting programs, faculty and staff; or a combination of the two.

“Any of those scenarios has dramatic impacts to students,” he said.


UM President Royce Engstrom speaks about UM's handling of sexual assaults at a July 10 press conference in Missoula, MT.
Eric Whitney - MTPR

The statement below was issued by Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian Thursday, December 1 at 8:50 am. 

Christian issued an additional statement at 10:00 am, which is below as well.

We'll have more on this story later today.

   A new pilot program will allow high school students in Billings to earn credits toward high school graduation and for college for free.

The project is called High School Connections. It was spearheaded by Montana State University Billings.

Greg Gianforte at his home in Bozeman in 2016
Eric Whitney

Montana University System Regents heard testimony Thursday about an $8 million gift to Montana State University by Greg Gianforte, the Bozeman software entrepreneur who’s running for governor as a Republican.

The Montana Supreme Court hears arguments in the Krakauer case in Bozeman, April 27, 2016.
Corin Cates-Carney

The Montana University System challenged bestselling author Jon Krakauer in a state Supreme Court hearing Wednesday. In 2015, Krakauer released the book "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town," examining how the University of Montana handled cases of alleged rape. One of those cases involved former UM student and quarterback Jordan Johnson.

Two bills designed to help protect Montanans from unexpected and exorbitant air ambulance bills get their first hearings at the state legislature Tuesday.
(PD)

Air ambulance and health insurance companies took turns blaming each other Thursday for costly but lifesaving air ambulance flights in Montana. The accusations flew during a legislative committee hearing.

Budget Stabilization Plan Outlines State's Response To Future Revenue Shortfalls
Reynermedia.com (CC-BY-2.0)

Legislative audits released today of the Montana University System came up clean and without criticism. After reviewing data for the fiscal year ending in June 2015, auditors saw no need for adjustments in how the universities handle their cash flow.

The University of Montana.
Josh Burnham

Montana University officials are condemning accusations of unfair hiring practices at the University of Montana. The charge is leveled by a group of community members and UM faculty.

Montana Lawmakers Hear State Employee Pay Plan

Mar 16, 2015
Rep. Nancy Ballance (R) HD87
Montana Legislature

A standing room only crowd packed into the hearing room for the state employee pay plan. Members of the House Appropriations Committee are considering whether to implement the pay plan agreement reached between the Bullock administration and the various public employee unions.

Sheila Hogan heads the Department of Administration. She was one of several agency administrators who spoke in favor of the pay plan.

News Roundup: Week Five At The Montana Legislature

Feb 8, 2015
Montana Capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

Juneau calls for early education, tax cuts pass, lawmakers consider drones on public lands and Fox supports bill to combat human trafficking.

In her address to a joint session of the Montana Legislature last week, Superintendent Denise Juneau praised Montana’s schools and called for more investment in them.

“We have a lot to be proud of in this state,” she said.

Juneau listed accomplishments like the highest graduation rates in the state’s history and growth in organizations like the Future Farmers of America.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk", tax cut bills are getting a lot of attention at the Montana Legislature this session. One legislator, Nicholas Schwaderer of Superior, introduced a bill that would put income tax cuts up to a vote via referendum. The bill drew bipartisan opposition during its hearing in the House. Schwaderer defended the bill saying, "taxation of income is theft."

Tax cuts could face vetoes from Gov. Bullock, who is intent on keeping at least a $300 million surplus.

Bill Allowing Guns On Campus Advances In Montana Senate

Feb 5, 2015

Today, the Montana Senate passed a bill 26-23 that would make it legal for students to carry guns on college campuses.

The debate during yesterday's second reading centered on second amendment rights and the safety guns could provide for women on campus. These points were heavily debated, first by Senator Kristin Hansen of Havre.

“I don’t think there are a ton of young women who want to carry a handgun ... But I do think there are some and they are qualified to do so.”

Senator Duane Ankney of Colstrip was one Republican to vote against it.

News Roundup, Week 4 At The Montana Legislature

Feb 2, 2015
Montana Capitol dome, Helena.
William Marcus

In the middle of the fourth week of the 64th Montana Legislature, Gov. Steve Bullock took the rostrum in the House of Representatives with a big smile.

“The state of our state is strong,” Bullock said, beginning his State of the State address.

Bullock touted his fiscal discipline and pushed his big legislative priorities, getting multiple standing ovations from Democrats and occasional claps from a few Republicans.

MUS Officials Say They're Meeting Benchmarks Set By 2013 Legislature

Jan 30, 2015
UM's Vice President for Integrated Communications, Peggy Kuhr, says 13,044 students are attending UM this fall semester, a 6 and one half percent drop from last fall.
Josh Burnham

Montana University System officials told lawmakers they are meeting the benchmarks the 2013 Montana Legislature set toward increasing student retention and graduation.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian says performance based funding is driving change at Montana’s colleges and universities.

"You know what it’s done is its creating focus for us," said Christian. "And that’s the good thing. We’re talking about things that will affect student success. That’s the bottom line of what it’s creating."

Republicans Face Off With Governor Over Infrastructure Spending

Jan 29, 2015
William Marcus

Despite a warning from the Governor to keep his Build Montana infrastructure bill intact, lawmakers are moving to break House Bill 5 into at least 5 bills. The move sets up a face-off with the Bullock Administration.

Montana University System Requests $53 Million In Bonds For Infrastructure

Jan 27, 2015

The Montana University System is asking lawmakers for permission to issue just over $53 million in bonds.

The money would be used to renovate existing buildings to protect the life and safety of students, faculty and staff;  bring the buildings up to code; and for improvements to classrooms and laboratories.

Among the projects: the library building at Montana State Billings. It has the largest lecture classrooms on campus, but it doesn’t comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Taylor Brown: How The Voice Of Agriculture Found His Senatorial Voice

Jan 26, 2015
Michael Wright

Of all the people on the Montana Senate Agriculture committee, there’s one who always seems to be having more fun.

“To me,” said Sen. Taylor Brown, R-Huntley, “that’s like recess.”

Brown, in his second Senate term, serves as the committee’s chair. He knows the issues and the people, and the people know him. For many years his voice reported farm news to every corner of the state for Northern Broadcasting System, which he now owns.

Dan Boyce

Officials with the Montana University System said this week the Affordable Care Act is creating problems for the health insurance plan offered to students at the state’s public universities.

Those students need to have some kind of health insurance. For years, the university plan has offered a reasonably priced alternative for students not on their parents’ plan.

But that may be in jeopardy.

The largest union of Montana University System employees announced this week a bargain has been reached with the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education over pay raises for the next two years.

The Montana Public Employees Association represents nearly 1700 ‘classified employees’ of the university system. Executive Director Quinton Nyman said the tentative agreement includes the following raises:

·        Effective Oct. 1, 2013: all MPEA bargaining unit members will receive a 46-cent per hour base pay raise.