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UM initiative will pay tuition costs for eligible Montana students

University of Montana's oval and Main Hall.
Josh Burnham
Montana Public Radio

The University of Montana launched a new initiative this week designed to fully cover the cost of tuition and fees for qualifying in-state students.

The University of Montana calls it the "Grizzly Promise." It’s designed to make college more accessible and affordable for first-time, entering freshmen.

UM spokesperson Dave Kuntz discussed why the new initiative was launched.

“Our goal is to make sure we remain competitive in that a majority of Montana students continue their educational journey at the university of Montana.”

UM’s total enrollment in recent years has held around 10,000 students after asteep drop from its peak of nearly 16,000 a decade ago.

The Grizzly Promise covers the cost of four years, or eight semesters, of tuition and fees at UM, and is not a loan. Eligible resident students from a family with an annual income of $50,000 or less won’t have to repay a dime of Grizzly Promise funding if they hold up their end of the bargain.

That includes maintaining a 12-credit course load and remaining a full-time student.

The financial assistance is made up of a combination of scholarships, grants, waivers, and other aid.

The Commissioner of Higher Education’s Office says that while there areother programs to help students in need get a postsecondary degree, UM’s Grizzly Promise is unique within the Montana University System.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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