Tester secures $6.7 million for state’s first-generation college students

By Missoula Current

Sen. Jon Tester on Friday said four Montana institutions will receive a combined $6.7 million to help the state’s first-generation college students earn their degrees – funding that includes $1.86 million for the Salish and Kootenai College.

The funding was made available by the U.S. Department of Education’s Upward Bound program, which had come under criticism after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos nullified dozens of grant applications over formatting errors earlier this year.

Tester on Friday announced the Department of Education’s program funding, secured for the next five years.

“When we talk about being fiscally responsible and making good investments, Upward Bound is exactly what we’re talking about,” said Tester, a former teacher. “These programs put taxpayer money to its best use, preparing the next generation to be productive, contributing members of the Montana community.”

Upward Bound is a program that provides low-income, first-generation college students with the support, resources and guidance they need to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and earn their degree.

According to Tester, the following Montana institutions were awarded five-year Upward Bound grants:

Salish Kootenai College, $1.86 million
The Upward Bound Program on the Flathead Indian Reservation helps 87 local high school students ascend to college each year and eventually earn their degrees.

Fort Belknap Indian Community, $1.67 million
The North Central Montana Upward Bound Program will continue helping 77 students from across Hill, Phillips and Blaine Countiescomplete high school each year and earn college degrees.

Montana Tech, $1.48 million
This Upward Bound program will help 69 low-income, first generation college students throughout Anaconda, Deer Lodge, Butte and Helena successfully complete high school and earn post-secondary degrees.

Montana State University – Billings, $1.69 million
Montana State University-Billings will use this funding to continue its highly successful Upward Bound Program, which serves 77 students each year from across Yellowstone and Big Horn Counties.