In the News

Helena, MT - The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has partnered with the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education’s (OCHE) Montana GEAR UP program to encourage more Montana students to seek out post-secondary educational opportunities by participating in College Application Week.

“There are so many opportunities available for the class of 2015, and I want to make sure students and families are aware of their options for life after high school,” said Superintendent Juneau. “We know that Montana has some of the brightest students in the country, and we want to get these bright students enrolled in post-secondary programs. Ensuring today’s students are trained for the jobs of tomorrow supports a strong economic future for our entire state.”

In 2013, 52 percent of Montana high school graduates enrolled in college in the fall semester immediately following graduation. The goal of College Application Week is to provide an opportunity during the week of November 3-7 for all seniors at participating high schools to complete one college application with support and guidance from school staff members and community volunteers. College Application Week also promotes excitement and enthusiasm about college exploration and preparation.

In 2013, 12th grade students from 84 high schools submitted more than 1,700 applications to 18 postsecondary institutions during College Application Week. It is estimated that 30 percent of those applications were from low-income or first generation college students. This year, all Montana University System, private and tribal institutions will defer or waive their application fees during College Application Week. Campuses that defer may waive the fee at the time of enrollment depending on the income eligibility of a student’s family. 138 Montana high schools have signed up to participate in College Application Week in 2014.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian said the Montana University System is making the transition from high school to college more affordable and conducive to student success in a lot of ways. They include the Montana University System paying for the ACT that is administered to all high school juniors, colleges and universities reducing the cost of applications in conjunction with this event, and the Montana University System leading the nation in holding down the price of college tuition. “We’re removing a lot of barriers to provide greater college opportunities for Montana students and families,” Christian said. “The Montana University System is thankful to all K-12 educators, and we are ready to help students continue their educational journey with success.”


The American College Application Campaign (ACAC) is a national effort to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential. The primary purpose of this effort is to help high school seniors navigate the complex college admissions process and ensure they apply to at least one postsecondary institution. The effort occurs during the school day, with a focus on students who might not otherwise apply to college.

Montana GEAR UP is a federal Department of Education college access grant program administered by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. Montana GEAR UP provides services to schools, students and families in low income communities to increase the number of first-generation and low income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college. At the invitation of the American Council on Education, Montana GEAR UP piloted Montana College Application Week in 2012 with four high schools.

For a list of the participating high schools, colleges and universities participating in College Application Week, go to:

Source: Beartooth NBC