Montana Board of Regents

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article misstated how much funding could be cut for Montana's schools and universities. It was $4.5 million, not $45 million.

As the Montana legislature faces down a $227 million dollar budget shortfall, the state’s university system could see some steep budget cuts.

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.

Jackie Yamanaka

The House Education Committee approved an interim study bill to review the current structure of the Montana University system.

In 1994, the Montana Board of Regents took the separate campuses and consolidated them under either the University of Montana or Montana State University.

Representative Kathy Kelker, D-Billings, said House Joint Resolution 27 would look at how that reorganization has fared over the past 2 dozen years.

Jackie Yamanaka

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.


Jackie Yamanaka

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.


Jackie Yamanaka

Yellowstone County’s economic development arm is investing $50,000 in several healthcare education and provider projects in Billings. 

Big Sky Economic Development donated the largest amount, $20,000, to Billings Clinic for medical education. The money will go toward its Helmsley Simulation Laboratory and Medical Education Center. The center is for individuals in its internal medicine residency program and for practitioners across the region.

MSU Suicide Summit

A suicide prevention task force said there’s been a significant increase in the use of mental health services among college students, but the campuses don’t have the resources to meet the demand.

The Montana Board of Regents heard the report at its September meeting at City College in Billings. After hearing the report, the regents told campus leaders they want to campuses to act.

Montana State University Billings

The Montana Board of Regents is poised to approve a proposal to help nurses with an associate degree (ASN) earn their bachelor of science nurse degree (BSN).

David Trost, president and CEO of St. John’s Lutheran Ministries in Billings, says registered nurses with an ASN have the skills to be excellent nurses.

He says the additional education helps with the transformation taking place in health care.