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UMW receives $1.24 million to serve student needs.

July 17, 2015

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education as a part of the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program with the goal of increasing retention and graduation rates among qualifying participants.

Montana Western’s program began in 2001 and the grant award will allow the campus to continue to offer services for the next five years.

Montana Western Chancellor Beth Weatherby said, “Our staff deserves huge credit for making this happen. It will have significant impact on our students’ success both at the university and in the future.”

SSS program goals align with several core themes expressed in the university’s strategic plan—to improve undergraduate education and maximize campus-wide support for student success and completion, Weatherby said.

Funds are awarded to institutions of higher education to provide opportunities for academic development, assist students with basic college requirements, and motivate students toward the successful completion of their education.  

UMW Director of Student Success Ilene Cohen said a high percentage of Montana Western students qualify for the program which serves approximately 160 students each year. “We have realized great success with our program, and attribute the significant increase in both student retention and graduation rates to our ability to serve eligible students,” Cohen said.

Specific services include academic tutoring, intensive advising, financial aid assistance, financial and economic literacy education, and help with admission to graduate and professional programs, Cohen said.

Notification for the grant came through Montana Sen. John Tester’s office earlier this week.

“TRIO has given hard-working students the opportunity to attend college and be among the first ones in their family to graduate. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee I proudly support TRIO so more students can get their degree, accomplish their goals and increase their shot at success,” Sen. Tester said.

For more information on the Montana Western’s Student Support Services program, call 406-683-7311 or visit the website at