Montana Students Rally for Tuition Freeze - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Montana Students Rally for Tuition Freeze

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Students across the state ask state leaders to approve a tuition freeze at Montana colleges and universities.

They spoke out at the University of Montana, formed a crowd at Montana Tech, and carried signs around Montana State University: students are on a mission to convince legislators to pass a bill that would allow a tuition freeze.

"If we don't have a freeze go through then their tuition is going to go up," said Blayne Metz with the Associated Students of UM.

The Montana University System has frozen the cost of tuition for the last 4 years at four year institutions and the last 8 years at two year institutions. Still students like Metz have tens of thousands of dollars in loans to pay off.

"It's been really stressful. I have $15,775 worth in debt and as the tuition increases that debt load only increases," Metz said.

Students rallied on Friday hoping to convince legislators to enact a tuition freeze for two more years, so the tuition doesn't go up again.

"When the average Montana student graduates with $27,000 in debt that is an immediate repercussion on their back, that's a huge weight for them to carry," said Garrett Lankford with the Associated Students of MSU.

House Bill 13 is the bill at question here. It gives state employees pay raises and has to pass for the state to afford the tuition freeze. Currently the bill is marked as "probably dead." Students are still optimistic and hope to get a strong message across to state leaders.

"We as students voted for you last fall and we voted for you to send you to Helena to freeze our tuition, and you are not doing that for us. You are not representing us when you vote no," Lankford said.

Officials with the university system say HB 13 still has a chance at passing. Student representatives from a number of Montana colleges and universities are in Helena pushing legislators to approve the measure.

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