Best Public Colleges in Montana 2022

Best Public Colleges in Montana 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Montana provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Colleges and Universities in Montana

Montana has 21 higher learning institutions, including 16 public universities and colleges. The largest is Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman. With an affordable tuition of $7,000, MSU enrolls just over 16,000 students. Students can earn their degree in fields like forestry, wildlife biology, theatre, and creative writing. The state is also home to five private schools, three of which are religiously affiliated.

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Carroll College is a Roman Catholic liberal arts college with just over 1,000 students in attendance. The tuition runs about $35,000, the most expensive in the state, and it is located on a hilltop in Helena. Students can choose from 18 schools in Montana with tuitions of $7,000 or less, making Montana an affordable state to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. The state also offers loan repayment programs, including the Montana NHSC Student Loan Repayment Program, which grants up to $15,000 per year for two years for those in health-related fields.

Hiking through Glacier National Park, exploring the Northern Great Plains, and fishing from one of its many lakes and rivers are just some of the ways to enjoy the natural bounty that Montana has to offer. Visitors and locals can also drive Going-to-the-Sun-Road, a 52-mile highway that ventures through the National Park and crosses into Canada. No matter the outdoor hobby, prospective students are sure to love the scenic backdrop of The Treasure State as they earn their degree.

Check out the best programs Montana has to offer while enjoying the wide-open spaces of Big Sky Country.


What are Montana’s Colleges & Universities?

Montana’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 6 public universities in Montana. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Montana, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

How do we determine Montana's best public colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

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Best Public Colleges in Montana 2022

  1. #1

    University of Montana

    Missoula , MT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/23

    What is University of Montana known for?

    University of Montana’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Montana State University

    Bozeman , MT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/24

    What is Montana State University known for?

    Montana State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Anthropology
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/19

    What is University of Montana Western known for?

    University of Montana Western’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Education
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Montana State University Billings known for?

    Montana State University Billings’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/23

    What is Montana Technological University known for?

    Montana Technological University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

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Montana’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Montana State University
  2. University of Montana Western
  3. University of Montana
  4. Montana Technological University

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