Best Colleges in Montana

Montana College Guide – What You Need to Know

Montana is a state of great big skies and great colleges and universities. Despite a sparse population, there are colleges and universities to suit any academic need. You can study at a major research university or a smaller liberal arts college, and anything in-between. Since Montana is part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), you can even attend public colleges and universities in other cooperating states without incurring out-of-state tuition. If you only consider the addition of Washington State and California, you're already including a huge number of extra opportunities. Even if Montana does not currently support your academic goals, being a Montanan allows you access to absolutely any major or concentration you can think of.

What are the most popular bachelor's degrees offered in Montana?

Montana's most popular bachelor's degrees track pretty well with what students are demanding elsewhere in the United States' economy. You can see a definite Montanan flavor, though, when you consider that Land Use Planning is an area of intense study for the state's students. The state's students are also interested in Health Sciences, communication, and business, all of which are ably covered by universities in the state.

Not only are the most popular majors available, however. Montana colleges and universities offer a broad spectrum for eager minds. Seek out the field of study that speaks to you the strongest. Even if you don't see a clear career path stemming from a degree, remember that people rarely end up with careers that directly reflect their majors. Here are Montana's top five majors:

The top degrees in Montana include:

How Much Can You Make by Having a Degree in Montana


NO FORMAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA ASSOCIATE DEGREE BACHELOR’S DEGREE MASTER’S DEGREE DOCTORAL DEGREE
$30,784* $38,792* $46,124* $64,896* $77,844* $96,772*

Best 2 Year Associate Degree Colleges in Montana


Getting an associate degree in a program you’re interested in has several advantages. First, it’s an entry into a new career and can get you in the door of companies you want to work for. It’s also a great way to determine if your chosen career path is for you and if it’s worth making the investment in additional education. If you are thinking of pursuing a two-year degree in Montana, you have some excellent options for schools.

Pima Medical Institute-Dillon
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
55
Graduation Rate
75%
Net Price
$17,903
Salish Kootenai College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
690
Graduation Rate
52%
Net Price
$8,223
The University of Montana-Western
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,358
Graduation Rate
49%
Net Price
$13,519
Chief Dull Knife College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
162
Graduation Rate
44%
Net Price
$3,211
Dawson Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
447
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$9,449
Helena College University of Montana
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,423
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$12,175
Miles Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
567
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
$8,001
Aaniiih Nakoda College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
131
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$7,472
Flathead Valley Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,406
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$9,092
Great Falls College Montana State University
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,218
Graduation Rate
25%
Net Price
$7,991
Highlands College of Montana Tech
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
707
Graduation Rate
20%
Net Price
$9,746
Blackfeet Community College
College Type
2-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
366
Graduation Rate
15%
Net Price
$9,736
Fort Peck Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
346
Graduation Rate
15%
Net Price
$4,614
Little Big Horn College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
261
Graduation Rate
13%
Net Price
$7,308
Stone Child College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
318
Graduation Rate
10%
Net Price
$3,506

Best 4 Year Bachelor's Degree Colleges in Montana


A bachelor’s degree in a program is an achievement that could pay dividends. Those with four-year degrees often earn more than those without a degree or even a two-year degree. Whether you are interested in the healthcare fields, accounting, or another area of study, a four-year degree can get you started on the way in your dream career. If you’re contemplating pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Montana, you have quite a few options in Big Sky Country.

Carroll College
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,231
Graduation Rate
63%
Net Price
$25,187
Montana State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
16,692
Graduation Rate
57%
Net Price
$16,746
Montana Technological University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,714
Graduation Rate
54%
Net Price
$13,547
Salish Kootenai College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
690
Graduation Rate
52%
Net Price
$8,223
Rocky Mountain College
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,000
Graduation Rate
49%
Net Price
$18,999
The University of Montana-Western
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,358
Graduation Rate
49%
Net Price
$13,519
The University of Montana
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
10,487
Graduation Rate
45%
Net Price
$14,731
University of Providence
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
998
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$22,288
Montana State University-Northern
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,073
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$10,683
Montana State University Billings
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
4,416
Graduation Rate
24%
Net Price
$12,070
Montana Bible College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
NA
Graduation Rate
11%
Net Price
$12,730
Stone Child College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
318
Graduation Rate
10%
Net Price
$3,506

Best Advanced and Master's Degree Colleges in Montana


If you are considering getting a master’s, doctorate or MBA degree in a chosen career field, you have the goal of being an expert in your field. Perhaps you are considering teaching and imparting your wisdom to others. Whatever your motivation, getting a terminal degree shows that you are dedicated to your field of study and want to learn as much as possible so you can contribute at the highest level. Getting a master’s or doctorate degree in Montana is an option for many different fields and from a variety schools.

Carroll College
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
15
Graduation Rate
63%
Net Price
$25,187
Montana State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,932
Graduation Rate
57%
Net Price
$16,746
Montana Technological University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
221
Graduation Rate
54%
Net Price
$13,547
Rocky Mountain College
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
150
Graduation Rate
49%
Net Price
$18,999
The University of Montana
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,773
Graduation Rate
45%
Net Price
$14,731
University of Providence
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
213
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$22,288
Montana State University-Northern
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
51
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$10,683
Montana State University Billings
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
385
Graduation Rate
24%
Net Price
$12,070

Best Online Degree Colleges in Montana (Distance Learning Only)


If you’ve wanted to go back to school so you could switch careers or advance in your current career, but you have no idea how you’ll find the time, an online degree could be your solution. Many schools offer programs from accounting to nursing and they are completely online. If you’d like to continue your education from the comfort of your home, then Montana has several options for you.

Colorado Technical University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
27,232
Graduation Rate
26%
Net Price
$16,260
Purdue
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
38,138
Graduation Rate
27%
Net Price
NA
Southern New Hampshire University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
113,514
Graduation Rate
44%
Net Price
$39,743
Western Governors University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
136,139
Graduation Rate
21%
Net Price
$7,785
Capella University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
37,859
Graduation Rate
NA
Net Price
$17,368
Walden University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
48,420
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
NA

Cost of Montana College Education & Salaries


Education is expensive, so it's important to do a cost analysis prior to enrolling in a school. In order to gain a full grasp of the issue, you first need to determine what career path you wish to pursue, and its starting, or average salary. Once you have that information, you can begin to look at the financial reality of the situation.

With a firm grasp on your career intentions, you can assess the colleges that will help you build a foundation to support those dreams. You might find several schools that offer the degree you need, and you'll see that their fees have a range. Assess the top schools' tuition rates versus how much their alumni have been earning.

You should also consider restraining your first-choice schools to those where you can pay in-state tuition. Since you are in Montana, you can choose public universities in Washington, the Dakotas, Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, and any state that is part of the WICHE region. Though other states may charge more, or less, for their in-state students, you will avoid the exorbitant out-of-state fees you'd find in another state. In a non-WICHE state, you might pay three times the in-state tuition.

It's also beneficial to look at how a community college can play a role in your education. You can complete most of your core curriculum for a reduced price and receive equal instruction. Review the requirements for your major and for your intended alma mater's core curriculum to determine what classes you should take at a community college. Be certain that your courses will transfer to the four-year institution of your choice so that you don't have to pay for the same course again.

Finally, consider adding scholarships and grants to your payment scheme. There are many scholarships that go unclaimed every year. They might not offer more than, say, $500, but every little bit helps. Also consider whether or not you could participate in federal loan forgiveness programs. To qualify, you will likely need to work in the non-profit or public sector until you have worked off your debt. However, you'll gain valuable experience while never paying a cent of interest on your loans.

College Cost Analysis - Montana vs National


Average Montana Tuition & Fees at 4 Year Public Schools

In-State Tuition - $5,400

National – $10,000

Out-of-State – $17,257

National out-of-state – $25,600

Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid

Financial Aid Montana Nationally
Received Federal Grants 39% 37.7%
Average $ per Recipient $9,700 $10,927

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.
* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Best Scholarships for Montana


Scholarships and Grants can be a huge help when it comes time to pay tuition, course fees, and your book bill. There are even some scholarships that you can apply towards travel or room and board. Though many only pay a small fraction of a year's bill, you can always put the award on your resume.

  • MBAS
  • MACPA
  • HAMS
  • LWAFWCS
MBAS_logo

MBAS

Montana Broadcasters Association Scholarships

Amount: varies
Deadline: February 28
http://www.mtbroadcasters.org/broadcasting-careers/scholarships
If you have an interest in broadcasting, the MBA offers a wide range of scholarships. You must be majoring in journalism, broadcasting, media, advertising, engineering, or some related field, have exemplary academic qualifications, and perhaps experience in the field. Some of their scholarships are region-specific, while others focus on students from diverse backgrounds. Check their website for more.

MACPA_logo

MACPA

Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants Helena Chapter - Scholarships

Amount: $1,000 (7 Awards)
Deadline: March 18
https://www.mscpa.org/students/scholarships
Though this scholarship is open to any accounting student, preference is given to members of the Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants Helena Chapter. You must be an accounting major, or graduate student, with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Qualifying accounting programs can be found at: MSU Billings, Carroll College, MSU Bozeman, University of Montana, and Montana Tech.

HAMS_logo

HAMS

Horatio Alger Montana Scholarship

Amount: $10,000
Deadline: October 25
https://www.dpwfoundation.org/scholarships-programs/horatio-alger-montana-undergraduate-scholarship-program/
To qualify, you must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater, demonstrate financial need, and show interest and experience in community service. Students should also show how they have overcome obstacles and still have managed to thrive. The Horatio Alger Award seeks students of integrity, moral character, and determination.

LWAFWCS

Lawrence W. and Francis W. Cox Scholarship

Amount: Various
Deadline: February 10
https://www.asce.org/scholarships/cox/
This scholarship is awarded to an engineering student who is working on an ABET-accredited program. The funds, the amount of which is determined each year, will be credited to your student account to cover tuition or related expenses.