Higher education often comes at a high price, and at a private school like Rocky Mountain College, tuition expenses are important.
Rocky’s tuition has risen by four percent since last year. According to the RMC website, full-time tuition expenses are $27, 982 a year, this is excluding room and board, along with other fees, which raise the total to $36, 902 a year.
RMC President Bob Wilmouth said that even though tuition has gone up, the College is giving out more aid to students to help cover the costs. “We are giving out more scholarships than we ever have before,” said Wilmouth. “We do that because, sure we want to help, but at the same time, we are hoping that more students will come.”
Wilmouth said that one of the biggest concerns is having enough money to reinvest back into the college. “It’s important that we get enough students,” said Wilmouth, “so our hope is that by giving out more money, more students will come here.”
Wilmouth also said that rising tuition rates are much more than a simple change of price. “At the level I’m at,” he said, “when you okay that, and agree with that, then you’ve really got to believe in your product, and we do believe in our product. But at the same time, we are constantly trying to make it better.”
Rocky receives much of its funding through community donations. Events such as Black Tie Blue Jeans and Phonathon help Rocky raise money through donations given by the Billings community.
According to Wilmouth, donations have been stable, but they need to continue to grow. “We are so thankful to this community for adopting Rocky as its private school,” said Wilmouth. “The support we get is exceptional, but we want to grow on that because that money helps to underwrite scholarships.”
Wilmouth also spoke on behalf of the 6-Mill Levy, which is currently being voted on in the midterm elections. Although the levy doesn’t directly affect RMC, it helps generate funds for other higher education institutions across Montana.
“Over the last six years I’ve gotten educated,” Wilmouth said. “I now know how important education is for the success of people, families, and the community. With that being said, I’m a big proponent.”
“Everything starts with education of some sort,” said Wilmouth, “On all different levels, not just higher ed. The most important thing we do here is what happens in the classroom and we have to make that, in combination with everything else, a transformational experience.”
“This is a lifelong education, lifelong learning. Rocky is just one stop, albeit a very important stop, that will launch students into a very successful career and life.”
In the end, Wilmouth says he has to believe that rising tuition costs at RMC are going to be worth it for the students.
“I believe in our product,” Wilmouth said. “But if we ever neglect our product and the value of our product, if we aren’t constantly getting better, then we shouldn’t be increasing tuition.”
Wilmouth is grateful that so many students chose Rocky as their school. “We’ve got the best students in the world,” said Wilmouth. “Not the country. Not the region. The world. All of them. We pick them right, and we are grateful for that.”