Montana’s Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) is expanding its evidence-based scholarship and student supports program called Montana 10. The Montana 10 model was designed to provide students with a combined set of targeted strategies that help them overcome barriers that may otherwise cause them to drop out of college. In particular, the comprehensive supports that make up Montana 10 were designed to meet the unique needs of Montana students, including students who are rural, low-income, and Native American. Montana 10 was also designed to meet the dual goals of student success and institutional success. In Montana’s small rural communities, where low rates of college enrollment, retention, and completion threaten institutional viability and economic development, Montana 10 aims to demonstrate that comprehensive student success programs are good for students and have a positive return on investment for the state and institutions.
Montana 10 includes ten targeted, evidence-based strategies categorized into three groups:
- Financial support: tuition waivers, textbook stipends, and a monthly financial incentive contingent on program participation;
- Academic support: requiring a full-time schedule of 30 credits per year, corequisite math and writing courses that enroll students simultaneously in remedial and college-level courses for extra support, and tutoring;
- Student support: services that improve knowledge and sense of belonging, including case management advising, career development, orientation, and a first-year seminar.
To support the expansion of this program, MDRC will evaluate Montana 10 using a randomized controlled trial to determine whether the program is working as intended. This evaluation will support OCHE’s goal of serving more students, ensuring that program services are delivered effectively, and sustaining the program long term.