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Online Colleges in Montana

Most Affordable Online Colleges
Article Sources

Sources:

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Montana is a land of contrasts, from its wide, flat stretches of dry rangeland to its frozen, snowcapped mountain ranges. With its sparse population and sprawling landscape, it's no wonder that many colleges and universities in the state have embraced online learning as a way to help residents earn a degree without having to travel great distances to campus. What follows is a rundown of what kind of online degree programs are offered in Big Sky country, as well as information on the most affordable schools.

There are 23 public and private 2- and 4-year colleges and universities in Montana. Seventeen of those schools are public, and the remaining six are private, nonprofit 2- and 4-year schools. The bulk of these 23 institutions are managed under the auspices of the Montana University System, which includes the six campuses of Montana State University, including the main campus in Bozeman. In addition, there are three public community colleges. All told, there are 11 colleges and universities in Montana where a student can earn a bachelor's degree.

According to the university system office, the following is a breakdown of the number of online degree programs offered at each level of academic achievement:

  • Online associate degree: 20 programs
  • Online bachelor's degree: 20 programs
  • Online master's degree: 20 programs
  • Online doctoral degree: 1 program

The following list of Montana schools that offer online degree programs or classes is ranked by tuition costs, from lowest to highest. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics for the 2013-2014 school year and reflect in-state tuition, when that data is available.

Affordable Online Colleges in Montana

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Montana

The following list of Montana two-year schools that offer online degree programs or classes was chosen for tuition costs. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics for the 2015-2016 school year and reflect in-state tuition, when that data is available.

1

Helena College University of Montana

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,085
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
29.71%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
1
School Type
2-year

About

Helena College offers a long list of for-credit online classes, from accounting and computer sciences to math and writing. Many of their classes are hybrid, combining online work with face-to-face classes. Helena College of the University of Montana makes a special effort to connect with and support lifelong learners.

2

Highlands College of Montana Tech

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,263
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
1
School Type
2-year

About

Highlands College is a small school within the larger sphere of Montana Tech. It offers associate degree and certificate programs that many students use as credit toward a bachelor’s degree at Montana Tech. Montana Tech's online degree programs include master's degree programs in industrial hygiene and project engineering and management, a graduate certificate in health care informatics, and an undergraduate certificate in health care informatics technology. What's more, it offers dozens of classes through its Moodle online teaching system.

3

Great Falls College Montana State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,130
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
58.66%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
11
School Type
2-year

About

Great Falls College offers more than 100 online and hybrid classes, and its fully online degree programs include Associate of Applied Science programs in business administration management, health information technology, medical billing and coding, and medical transcription. The school also offers Certificates of Applied Science in health information coding, medical billing and medical transcription. Its online professional certifications include health care office, pharmacy technician and health care informatics tech.

4

Dawson Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,965
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
38.36%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
4
School Type
2-year

About

Although it's in Montana, Dawson's online programs are through CCCOnline, which stands for Colorado Community Colleges Online. The school takes special care to offer individual attention to students who are learning from a great distance. Its online degree programs include Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science in business management, Associate of Applied Science in criminal justice, Associate of Applied Science in early childhood education and Associate of Applied Science in law enforcement.

5

Miles Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,085
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
50.31%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
1
School Type
2-year

About

Miles's online classes operate on the semester basis but allow students the freedom to study when and where they want. Classes include many humanities and science courses, including chemistry and human anatomy. The courses provide credit toward the many associate degree programs offered at the school.

Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Montana

These Montana schools offer four-year online degree programs or classes at low costs. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics for the 2015-2016 school year and reflect in-state tuition, when that data is available.

1

Montana State University-Western

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,835
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
21.74%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
2
School Type
4-year

About

The University of Montana-Western is the only school in the country at which students take one class at a time. The school calls it Experience One. Its School of Outreach also offers online classes that focus on professional development or personal enrichment. The outreach school offers some education programs fully online, including a teacher certification, an early childhood development degree, a special education endorsement and a library media endorsement. In a partnership with ed2go Online Career Training, the outreach school offers programs in business and professional, health care and fitness, hospitality and gaming, IT and software development, management and corporate, media and design, skilled trades and industrial, and sustainable energy and going green.

2

Montana State University-Northern

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,329
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
48.54%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
6
School Type
4-year

About

Montana State University-Northern calls its distance learning program Desire2Learn, and it emphasizes to its online students the importance of being disciplined and organized when taking classes over the internet. MSUN offers six online degree programs: Associate of Arts in general education, Associate of Science in business, Bachelor of Science in nursing, Bachelor of Science in business administration, Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and masters of education in instruction and learning. It also offers minors in business technology, marketing, accounting and small business management.

3

Montana State University-Billings

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,808
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
54.69%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
17
School Type
4-year

About

Montana State University-Billings offers online bachelor's degree programs in business administration (accounting), business administration (general), communication (organizational), communication (mass), health administration, public relations, applied science and liberal studies. It also offers a variety of additional concentrations in these areas. Its online associate degree programs are in accounting technology, business administration, general studies, human resource management (general), and human resource management (college of business articulated emphasis). MSU's master's degree programs are available online in educational technology, health administration, public relations, rehabilitation and mental health counseling, special education (advanced), and special education generalist.

4

The University of Montana

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,388
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
19.61%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
2
School Type
4-year

About

The University of Montana offers more than 220 courses online and several online degree programs. Master's degree programs online are offered in curriculum studies, educational leadership, music education, public administration and public health. There is a fully online bachelor's degree program offered in media arts and an associate degree program offered in energy technology. There are also six certificate programs: customer relations, forensic studies, network and information security, nonprofit administration, public health and wilderness management. Also offered are two minors, anthropology and communication studies, and one endorsement, library media.

5

Montana Tech of the University of Montana

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,797
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18.22%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
1
School Type
4-year

About

Montana Tech, founded in 1900 and originally called the Montana School of Mines, is located in Butte. The school has been affiliated with the University of Montana since 1994. Montana Tech's online degree programs include master's degree programs in industrial hygiene and project engineering and management, a graduate certificate in health care informatics, and an undergraduate certificate in health care informatics technology. In addition to its online degree programs, it also offers dozens of classes through its Moodle online teaching system.

College Accreditation in Montana

Students searching for a great degree program shouldn't forget to check an institution's accreditation. This voluntary process means an organization or commission has reviewed a college or university's programs and found they meet certain, minimum standards.

While there are many different types of accreditation available, approval from a regional accrediting body may be the most important. Each state has an accrediting body, approved by the Department of Education, which reviews and accredits postsecondary schools there. In Montana, this body is the following:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities(NWCUU)

The commission oversees 162 institutions across a seven-state region. Colleges in Montana may list accreditations from other entities as well, and students should confirm whether these are also approved by the Department of Education.

Financial Aid in Montana

Montana Loans

Montana does not offer any state-based loans to students, as the state prefers to focus on the Reach Higher Montana Scholarship programs. Students seeking financial aid assistance are encouraged to first exhaust scholarship and grant aid to help cover their cost of tuition, as these awards do not need to be repaid. However, if you are still in need of financial assistance for your college tuition and expenses, you may apply for federal and private loans to help bridge the gap. To qualify for federal loans, you will need to provide information about your family's financial situation by filling out the FAFSA.

Read more about how student loans work in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Montana

  • 10 Steps to Financial Aid offers a detailed list for Montana students to follow on their journey toward funding their education.

Featured Cities In Montana

Data sourced from the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).

Fun Facts

Many people come to Montana to enjoy the fishing, hunting, biking and hiking, but Billings also offers Pictograph Cave State Park, the Yellowstone Valley Farmers Market and shows at the Alberta Bair Theatre.

Missoula, MT Metro Area

Total Population

111,966

Median salary for high school grads

$25,009

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$31,903

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

43.6%

Median rent

$769

Fun Facts

Located on the Clark River, Missoula makes a great destination for those who enjoy water sports. Its long, cold winters also make it a mecca for those who enjoy snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and sleigh rides. Downhill skiing is just a short drive away at Snowbowl, which is minutes from downtown.

Great Falls, MT Metro Area

Total Population

82,090

Median salary for high school grads

$23,603

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$38,211

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

24.7%

Median rent

$639

Fun Facts

Great Falls is close to almost any type of outdoor recreation you can imagine. In the summer, Giant Springs State Park is a big attraction, as is Rainbow Falls and the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. In the winter, many residents and visitors head to Showdown Ski area for some downhill runs on that light Montana powder.

 
Article Sources