student loans

GREAT FALLS- A candidate running for governor announced proposals for reducing student debt and addressing Montana’s workforce shortage.

Our Montana Promise is one of the proposals from Casey Schreiner, who's running as one of the Montana Democratic candidates to replace Gov. Steve Bullock.

A release from Casey for Montana says part of the proposal is to offer two years/60 credits of tuition-free education at Montana’s two-year institutions and programs, tribal and community colleges.

In order to be eligible, students would need to be a recent Montana high school graduate from the previous year and enrolled in a program that leads to a post-secondary credential. The two years would be paid for by the program after the student fills out a FAFSA and receives any federal grants by acting as the final payer.

Schreiner says he was born and raised in Great Falls and used to teach in high school and middle school in Great Falls and Butte. Schreiner says his experience as a teacher informs his ideas on education policy.

“Our Montana Promise is a commitment to put a two-year degree within reach for all recent high school graduates,” Schreiner said. “I haven’t paid off my student loans yet, and with three small sons, I know exactly what it’s like for Montana families who sit up at night and wonder how they will afford their kids’ college.”

Schreiner's other other proposal, Our Montana Deal, would be aimed at helping Montana residents who have not recently graduated high school, such as veterans, women returning to the workforce, or adults, who want to switch careers.

The program will provide two years or 60 credits of tuition-free education at Montana’s two-year institutions and programs, tribal and community colleges for any Montana resident who enrolls in a program that leads to employment in an in-demand occupation.

To be eligible, students will have to agree to work full-time in Montana for four years after graduation, veterans only having to commit to two years of full-time work. The program will be funded the same way as Our Montana Promise in that students fill out a FAFSA and the program would act as the last payer after any federal grants.

Schreiner says Our Montana Deal would help train people with skills that employers want.

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