Montana’s higher education system is comprised of six public universities, four private universities and colleges, and 12 public community and technical colleges. Montana has two large college systems. The first is the University of Montana System, which consists of four campuses. Part of this system, the University of Montana is perhaps the most prestigious university in the state. It is ranked 194th in the nation on U.S. News and World Report’s Best National Universities list. It is the state’s biggest university, with some 15,669 enrolled students according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
The second of Montana’s large college systems is the Montana State University System, which includes four universities. Belonging to this system is Montana State University – Bozeman; it is the second largest university in the state and has an enrollment of 13,671 students, according to the NCES. Founded in 1893, it offers students the option of 60 bachelor’s degree, 43 master’s degree, and 20 doctoral degree programs.
The Lumina Foundation founded its Big Goal 2025 in an effort to encourage states to take action and collaborate to increase the national average of Americans with degrees to 60% by 2025. As such, this nonprofit foundation completed policy briefs of each U.S. state. Montana’s policy brief demonstrates that the state is right in line with national averages; 38% of Montana adults aged 25-64 hold at least an associate degree while the national average for this same age bracket is 38.3%. However, for Montana to reach the Lumina Foundations 60% goal, it must increase the number of undergraduate degrees conferred to its citizens by 826 each year leading up to 2025. To do this, the foundation recommends the following strategies to Montana:
- Urge the 135,000 Montanans with some college experience but no degree to finish their degrees.
- Increase college success for working adults, minorities, low-income groups, and new U.S. Montanans.
- Pinpoint geographic areas known to fall behind in terms of post-secondary education and strategically encourage them to seek such education.
One of Montana’s best colleges online is the University of Montana. Aside from its many traditional degree programs, it offers associate and master’s degrees, bachelor’s degree minors, as well as endorsement and certificate programs, all completely online. Another of the best Montana colleges online is Montana State University. It presents online learners the options of an undergraduate completion program, about 10 master’s degree programs, and several graduate certificate programs. Montana State University – Billings is also one of Montana’s best colleges online. Its online selection includes eight bachelor’s degree programs, two of which have nine concentration options, five associate degree programs, and five master’s degree programs.
Below, we provide you with a ranked list of the best online colleges in Montana. We’ve determined these rankings based on the following attributes:
- total part-time to full-time faculty ratio
- financial aid rate
- acceptance rate
- retention rate
- graduation rate
- years accredited
- default rate
- job placement rate
Note that schools with fewer than half of these points were not ranked in order to be fair to the other schools with most of the above information available.
|RANK||School||Full-time to Part-time Faculty||Financial Aid Rate||Acceptance Rate||Retention Rate||Graduation Rate||Years Accredited||Default Rate||Job Placement Rate|
|1||The University of Montana-Western||4.06 to 1||89%||NA||70%||32%||81||4%||NA|
|2||Montana State University||2.23 to 1||51%||61%||74%||51%||80||3%||NA|
|3||The University of Montana||1.97 to 1||87%||94%||72%||47%||81||5%||NA|
|4||Dawson Community College||21 to 1||93%||NA||63%||56%||44||14%||NA|
|5||Montana State University Billings||0.81 to 1||86%||NA||56%||50%||81||6%||NA|
|6||Miles Community College||0.62 to 1||93%||NA||58%||58%||42||6%||NA|
|7||Montana Tech of the University of Montana||2.29 to 1||59%||88%||68%||40%||80||7%||NA|
|8||Highlands College of Montana Tech||NA||89%||NA||49%||17%||NA||7%||97%|
|9||University of Great Falls||0.52 to 1||91%||NA||55%||28%||77||8%||NA|
|10||Helena College University of Montana||0.36 to 1||90%||NA||61%||29%||36||11%||74%|
|11||Great Falls College Montana State University||0.4 to 1||90%||NA||51%||18%||46||10%||49%|
|12||Flathead Valley Community College||0.28 to 1||82%||NA||52%||27%||43||10%||91%|
|13||Montana State University-Northern||1.48 to 1||39%||64%||58%||30%||80||12%||NA|