Posted: Mar 11, 2013 8:08 PM by Angela Douglas - MTN News
Updated: Mar 12, 2013 8:56 AM
BILLINGS - When it comes to everyday life on the campus of Montana State University - Billings, the classroom and curriculum will likely see little impact due to the sequester; it's the students sitting in the classroom who will feel the effect.
"Most of our federal money comes in the form of financial aid and in those program support grants," said MSU-B Chancellor Rolf Groseth.
That means students who receive direct loans from the federal government will experience a loan fee increase. There are also a couple military and teacher-related grants that will be reduced due to the budget cuts.
Other programs impacted by the recent across-the-board government budget cuts include supplemental education opportunity grants and the university's TRiO programs, which include Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services.
Tens of millions of dollars in financial aid are expected to be cut from work-study programs and supplemental education opportunity grants nationwide.
Just days after hearing the news of nationwide federal budget cuts, the Montana Board of Regents held a meeting last week discussing one of their top priorities.
"College completion is becoming a very important topic," explained Groseth.
In an effort to help students graduate in a more timely manner, the university is encouraging students to take on a larger credit load.
"The heavier load a student has, the better they seem to manage their time," Groseth pointed out. "And the greater percentage of time they devote to their studies."
Currently the average student at MSU-Billings earns just over 12 credits each semester. In order to graduate in four years, a 15 credit load per semester is needed.
As for the sequester, Groseth says it's still too early to really know the impact the cuts will have, but ultimately the goal of the university is to encourage and help their students obtain a degree.
"We're most concerned about opportunity," the chancellor said. "I don't want students to be denied the opportunity to pursue their education. So, that's where we'll put most of our efforts."