Missoula County Coverage

Feb 9, 2010 8:41 AM by Allyson Weller

MT Commissioner talks higher education

Montana's Commissioner of higher education visited Missoula Monday, to address the growing need for higher education in Montana. It's all part of the national goal to increase the percent of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials.

"The message is we have a lot to be proud of in the Montana University System," said Commissioner Sheila Stearns

City Club Missoula invited Stearns to speak at the monthly forum about the "College Now" initiative that will help people further their education. She wants more residents to take advantage of the eight colleges in Montana that offer two year degrees, saying they allow students to take their first two years affordability and then work their way to a four year degree.

Stearns said Montana's economy needs more skilled workers, ""Keep your college options open, look at them carefully before you think college isn't for me, because if college isn't for you it could be long term that a middle class life, a family sustainable wage, isn't for you either,"

She added that 2.5% of high school students are taking advantage of dual enrollment and that number is rising. Some 45,000 students attend the schools that make up the Montana University System. Eight schools offer a two year degrees and six offer a bachelor degree or above.

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