Oct 26, 2010 4:59 PM by Marnee Banks (Helena)

College! Now tour stops in Helena to tout 2-year schools

It's estimated that 62% of Montana residents have not graduated from college, so the Montana University System is beginning a campaign to promote student achievement and college graduation. The News Station's Marnee Banks sat in on a listening session with the Commissioner of Higher Education Sheila Stearns and Helena community members.

College! Now is a campaign in which the Montana University System will team up with businesses, educators, lawmakers and community members to make two-year colleges more accessible.

The listening session on Tuesday highlighted the goals of College Now.

First, two-year colleges will expand job training services, which will allow the schools to partner with employers across the state so their employees can get continuing education.

Second, two-year colleges will work with four-year colleges to make transferring easier.

And third, the two-year colleges will expand online classes, making it easier for people to take classes taught in another community.

Stearns noted, "There is a fabulous two-year college or community college near you, and that it is for many of them the best and the most affordable choice to get started. If you go there, you can transfer, and you can go on later if you so choose. But you can get a good workforce degree or transfer degree and it's just a great choice."

The other key component of College! Now is providing funding to the colleges based on student success, not just enrollment.

The Lumina Foundation is funding the College! Now initiative at $1.77 million dollars over the next four years.


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