Helena College by the Numbers
Increase to Helena College's resident tuition as approved by the Board of Regents of the Montana University System last month. The increase, to be divided evenly over the next two fiscal years, will move annual full-time resident tuition from $3,079 to $3,321. Over the past decade, the college's tuition rate has been nearly flat increasing only 3.5% since 2006. Ten years ago, our tuition was 36% greater than the regional average for two-year colleges. This year our tuition was 14% lower than the regional average. Following the approved increase, our tuition will be 7% lower than the regional average. Helena College's tuition rate remains the lowest in the Montana University System. At both the state and regional level, our educational offerings are an incredible value.

Projected net change in Helena College's budget over the next two fiscal years based on the overall MUS budget approved by the Board of Regents. Assuming enrollment remains stable, the tuition increase will provide an estimated 6% increase in revenue; however, state appropriations, which currently represent about 70% of the college's funding, will decline by 3% negating the potential for any budget growth. Essentially, it will be up to our students to maintain our current level of operating expenses.

Montana's current state rank for total higher education revenue per student FTE. This is the sum of state appropriations and net tuition revenue adjusted for differences in cost of living and enrollment. The states with even lower levels of revenue per student are California, Louisiana, Florida and Illinois. Three of those four states have very large populations of students working in their favor, so really we are closer to last, if not last, if you consider revenue based on total student population. 

The ratio of tuition and fees at Montana's two-year colleges to median household income based on 2017-18 tuition rates. The regional average is 6.3%. At Montana's smaller universities, the ratio is 11.5% as compared to 11.8% regionally. For UM and MSU the ratio is 14.2% as compared to 14.6%. A decade ago before the era of statewide tuition freezes, tuition costs, particularly at the four-year level, had been well above the regional average, nearly approaching a third of median household income for Montana families! While the Great Recession interrupted the trend for a number of years, growth in median household income in Montana, while modest, has generally outpaced increases in tuition over the past 10 years.
Helena College by the Numbers is brought to you by the Office of Institutional Research. The purpose of this newsletter is to highlight selected data points with some brief analysis to show how institutional data informs decision-making, measures progress on goals, and demonstrates student success. Comments, suggestions and/or questions are welcome and encouraged. If you have an interesting Helena College statistic to share, pass it along to michael.brown@umhelena.edu .