A proposed budget cut may lead to college tuition increase - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

A proposed budget cut may lead to college tuition increase

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

College tuition can leave a big hole in the wallets of students, leaving them thousands of dollars in debt years after graduating. A proposed budget out of Helena may cause tuition to increase, yet again.

With enrollment at Montana State University Billings already down from previous semesters, some students say they're worried it might hurt the campus even more.

The proposed budget coming out of Helena is to cut $23-million from the education fund. If the legislature pushes the budget cut forward, they can cut up to $25-million statewide.

ASMSUB Vice President and poly-sci major, Kennedee Burk, was just in Helena sitting in on one of the budget meetings. She says approval will cause tuition to increase.

Burk adds, that increase must happen so colleges can continue to function as a university system. She fears even more of a decline in enrollment, since MSUB has a non-traditional student body with students straight out of high school, to those who haven't been on a campus in decades and are returning to school.

Burk says the possible tuition increase is infuriating.

"Right now, some of us can afford to pay out of pocket and not have to take out loans. Some of us are very fortunate enough to be able to do that and even the students that are doing that now wont be able to do that if there's a tuition increase and it's going to add even more of a struggle for students that are going to have to take out loans have more loans to pay off when they're done with school," she said.

MSUB Interim Chancellor Ron Larsen sends this statement:

"As a campus, we are concerned how the impending budget deficient looming in this legislative session will affect our students ability stay in school and the impact it will have on the accessibility to higher education for all Montanans."

Right now, the proposed budget cut is moving through the process, so there's no definite answer on if and when tuition would rise.

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